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The Battle of Umberkhind took place on February 3, 1661 in the Sahyadri mountain range near Pen, Maharashtra, India. The war was fought between the Maratha army led by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the Mughal Empire’s General Kartalab Khan. The Mughal armies were decisively defeated by the Marathas.

This was an outstanding example of guerrilla warfare. Shahista Khan dispatched Kartalab Khan and Rai Bagan to assault Rajgad Fort on the orders of Aurangzeb. The men of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj came across them in the Umberkhind forest, which was located in the mountains.


Following Aurangzeb’s accession to the throne in 1659, he appointed Shaista Khan as viceroy of the Deccan and dispatched a huge Mughal army to implement the Mughal treaty with the Adilshahi of Bijapur.

This region, however, was fiercely contested by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, a Maratha ruler who gained notoriety after killing an Adilshahi general, Afzal Khan, in 1659. Shaista Khan arrived in Aurangabad in January 1660 and advanced rapidly, capturing Pune, the capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s kingdom.

After hard combat with the Marathas, he also took the forts of Chakan and Kalyan, as well as the north Konkan. The Marathas were forbidden from entering Pune. Shaista Khan’s campaign was entrusted to Kartalab Khan and Rai Bagan. Kartalab Khan and Rai Bagan were dispatched by Shaista Khan to capture Rajgad Fort. As a result, they set out with 20,000 troops for each of them.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj wanted Kartalab and Rai Bagan (Royal Tigress), the wife of Deshmukh of Mahur Sarkar of Berar Subah Raje Udaram, to join Umberkhind so that they would be easy prey for his guerilla tactics. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s men began blowing horns as the Mughals approached Umberkhind, a 15-mile passage.

The Mughal army as a whole was shocked. The Marathas then launched an arrow bombardment against the Mughal Army. Mughal soldiers like Kartalab Khan and Rai Bagan tried to retaliate, but the forest was so thick and the Maratha Army was so quick that the Mughals couldn’t see the enemy.

Mughal soldiers were being killed by arrows and swords without even seeing the enemy or knowing where to aim. A significant number of Mughal soldiers perished as a result of this. Kartalab Khan was then told by Rai Bagan to surrender himself to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and beg for mercy. “You made a mistake by putting the whole army in the lion’s jaw,” she said. The lion is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. You should not have assaulted Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in this manner. You must now surrender yourself to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in order to save these dying soldiers.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, unlike the Mughals, grants amnesty to all who surrender.” The fight lasted about an hour and a half. Then, on the advice of Rai Bagan, Kartalab Khan dispatched soldiers bearing a white flag of truce. They yelled “truce, truce!” and were encircled by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s men within a minute. Kartalab Khan was then allowed to return on the condition of paying a large ransom and surrendering all of their weapons. If the Mughals returned, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj stationed Netaji Palkar in Umberkhind to keep an eye on them.


In the year 1660, the Maratha Empire and the Mughal Empire fought the Battle of Chakan. According to the Mughal-Adilshahi agreement, Aurangzeb ordered Shaista Khan to assault Shivaji. Shaista Khan captured Pune and the nearby fort of Chakan with his better equipped and provisioned army of 150,000 men, which was several times the size of the Maratha armies.

Firangoji Narsala was the killedar (commander) of Fort Chakan at the time, which had 300–350 Maratha soldiers defending it. For one and a half months, they were able to fight off the Mughal assault on the fort. The Mughal army numbered over 21,000 soldiers. Then explosives were used to blow up a burj (outer wall). This resulted in an opening in the fort, enabling hordes of Mughals to penetrate the outer walls. Firangoji led a Maratha counter-offensive against a larger Mughal force. The fort was finally lost when Firangoji was captured. He was then brought before Shaista Khan, who admired his courage and offered him a jahagir (military commission) if he joined the Mughal forces, which Firangoji refused. Shaista Khan pardoned Firangoji and set him free because she admired his loyalty. When Firangoji returned home, Shivaji presented him with the fort of Bhupalgad. Shaista Khan took advantage of the Mughal army’s larger, better-equipped, and heavily armed forces to make inroads into Maratha territory.

Despite keeping Pune for nearly a year, he had little success after that. In the city of Pune, he had set up residence at Lal Mahal, Shivaji’s palace.

 In Pune, Shaista Khan maintained a high level of security. Shivaji, on the other hand, planned an assault on Shaista Khan in the midst of tight security. A wedding party had received special permission for a procession in April 1663, and Shivaji plotted an assault using the wedding party as cover.

The Marathas arrived in Pune dressed as the bridegroom’s procession. Shivaji had spent most of his childhood in Pune and was well-versed in the city as well as his own palace, Lal Mahal. One of Shivaji’s childhood friends, Chimanaji Deshpande, aided him in the attack by offering his services as a personal bodyguard.

The Marathas arrived in Pune in the guise of the bridegroom’s entourage. Shivaji had spent the majority of his childhood in Pune and was familiar with both the city and his own palace, Lal Mahal. Chimanaji Deshpande, one of Shivaji’s childhood friends, aided him in the attack by offering his services as a personal bodyguard.

 According to Babasaheb Purandare, it was difficult to differentiate between Shivaji’s Maratha soldiers and the Mughal army’s Maratha soldiers because the Mughal army also had Maratha soldiers. As a result, Shivaji and a few of his trusted men penetrated the Mughal camp, taking advantage of the situation.

Shaista Khan was then directly confronted by Shivaji in a face-to-face assault. Meanwhile, one of Shaista’s wives, sensing risk, switched off the lights. As he fled through an open window, Shivaji chased Shaista Khan and severed three of his fingers with his sword (in the darkness). Shaista Khan narrowly avoided death, but his son, as well as many of his guards and soldiers, were killed in the raid. Shaista Khan left Pune and moved north to Agra within twenty-four hours of the assault. As a punishment for causing the Mughals humiliation with his ignoble defeat in Pune, an angry Aurangzeb exiled him to distant Bengal.

HISTORY OF CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ - Chapter 2- The Battle of Salher - Hindufaqs

The Battle of Salher took place in February 1672CE between the Maratha Empire and the Mughal Empire. The fighting took place near the Salher fort in the Nashik district. The outcome was the Maratha Empire’s decisive victory. This war is important because it is the first time the Mughal Dynasty has been defeated by the Marathas.

According to the Treaty of Purandar (1665), Shivaji had to hand over 23 forts to the Mughals. The Mughal empire took control of strategically important forts such as Sinhagad, Purandar, Lohagad, Karnala, and Mahuli, which were fortified with garrisons. The Nashik area, which included the forts Salher and Mulher, had been firmly in the Mughal Empire’s hands since 1636 at the time of this treaty.

Shivaji’s visit to Agra was triggered by the signing of this treaty, and after his famous escape from the city in September 1666, two years of “uneasy truce” ensued. However, the destruction of the Viswanath and Benares temples, as well as Aurangzeb’s resurgent anti-Hindu policies, led Shivaji to declare war on the Mughals once more.

Shivaji’s power and territories expanded significantly between 1670 and 1672. Shivaji’s armies successfully raided Baglan, Khandesh, and Surat, retaking over a dozen forts in the process. This resulted in a decisive victory on an open field near Salher against a Mughal army of over 40,000 soldiers.

The Battle

In January 1671, Sardar Moropant Pingle and his army of 15,000 captured the Mughal forts of Aundha, Patta, and Trimbak, and attacked Salher and Mulher. With 12,000 horsemen, Aurangzeb dispatched two of his generals, Ikhlas Khan and Bahlol Khan, to recover Salher. Salher was besieged by the Mughals in October 1671. Shivaji then ordered his two commanders, Sardar Moropant Pingle and Sardar Prataprao Gujar, to retake the fort. For more than 6 months, 50,000 Mughals had besieged the fort. Salher, as the main fort on key trade routes, was strategically important to Shivaji.

In the meantime, Dilerkhan had invaded Pune, and Shivaji was unable to save the city because his main armies were away. Shivaji devised a scheme to distract Dilerkhan’s attention by pressuring him to travel to Salher. To relieve the fort, he ordered Moropant, who was in the South Konkan, and Prataprao, who was raiding near Aurangabad, to meet and assault the Mughals at Salher. ‘Go to the north and assault Salher and defeat the enemy,’ Shivaji wrote in a letter to his commanders. Both Maratha forces met near Vani, bypassing the Mughal camp at Nashik on their way to Salher.

The Maratha army had a combined strength of 40,000 men (20,000 infantry and 20,000 cavalry). Since the terrain was unsuitable for cavalry battles, the Maratha commanders agreed to entice, break, and finish the Mughal armies in separate locations. Prataprao Gujar attacked the Mughals with 5,000 cavalry, killing many unprepared troops, as anticipated.

After half an hour, the Mughals were completely prepared, and Prataprao and his army began to escape. The Mughal cavalry, numbering 25,000 men, began pursuing the Marathas. Prataprao enticed mughal cavalry into a pass 25 kilometres from Salher, where Anandrao Makaji’s 15,000 cavalry was concealed. Prataprao turned around and assaulted the Mughals once more in the pass. Anandrao’s 15,000 fresh cavalry blocked the other end of the pass, encircling the Mughals on all sides.

 In only 2-3 hours, the fresh Maratha cavalry routed the exhausted Mughal cavalry. Thousands of Mughals were forced to flee the war. With his 20,000 infantry, Moropant surrounded and attacked the 25,000 strong Mughal infantry at Salher.

Suryaji Kakde, a famous maratha sardar and Shivaji’s childhood friend, was killed in the battle by a Zamburak cannon.

The fighting lasted an entire day, and it is estimated that 10,000 men from both sides were killed. The light cavalry of the Marathas outmatched the Mughal military machines (which included cavalry, infantry, and artillery). The Marathas defeated the imperial Mughal armies and handed them a humiliating defeat.

The triumphant Maratha Army captured 6,000 horses, an equal number of camels, 125 elephants, and the entire Mughal train. Aside from that, the Marathas confiscated a significant amount of goods, treasures, gold, gems, clothing, and carpets.

The fight is defined in the Sabhasad Bakhar as follows: “As the battle began, a (cloud of) dust erupted to the point that it was difficult to say who was friend and who was foe for a three-kilometer square. Elephants were slaughtered. On both sides, ten thousand men were killed. There were too many horses, camels, and elephants (killed) to count.

A river of blood gushed out (in the battlefield). The blood transformed into a muddy pool, and people started to fall in it because the mud was so deep.”


The war ended in a decisive Maratha victory, resulting in Salher’s liberation. This war also resulted in the Mughals losing control of the nearby fort of Mulher. Ikhlas Khan and Bahlol Khan were arrested, and 22 wazirs of note were taken as prisoners. Approximately one or two thousand Mughal soldiers who were held captive escaped. Suryajirao Kakade, a famous Panchazari Sardar of the Maratha army, was killed in this battle and was renowned for his ferocity.

A dozen Maratha sardars were awarded for their outstanding performance in the battle, with two officers (Sardar Moropant Pingle and Sardar Prataprao Gujar) receiving special recognition.


Up until this battle, most of Shivaji’s victories had come through guerilla warfare, but the Maratha’s use of light cavalry against the Mughal forces on the Salher battlefield proved successful. The saint Ramdas wrote his famous letter to Shivaji, addressing him as Gajpati (Lord of Elephants), Haypati (Lord of Cavalry), Gadpati (Lord of Forts), and Jalpati (Lord of Forts) (Master of the High Seas). Shivaji Maharaj was proclaimed Emperor (or Chhatrapati ) of his realm a few years later in 1674, but not as a direct result of this war.

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HISTORY OF CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ – Chapter 1: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj The Legend