Siege of Bijapur
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|Siege of Bijapur|
The legendary "Malik-i-Maidan" cannon is stated to be the largest piece of cast bronze ordnance in the world.
|Mughal Empire||Adil Shahi dynasty|
|Commanders and leaders|
Muhammad Azam Shah
Abdullah Khan Bahadur Firuz Jang
Kilich Khan Bahadur
Ghazi ud-Din Khan Feroze Jung I
Jahan Khan Bahadur
|Sikandar Adil Shah
Sher Khan Lodi
18,000 War elephants
|Casualties and losses|
Siege of Bijapur began on March 1685 and ended on 12 September 1686, with a Mughal victory. The siege began when the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb dispatched his son Muhammad Azam Shah with a force of nearly 50,000 men to capture Bijapur Fort and defeat Sikandar Adil Shah the ruler of Bijapur who refused to be a vassal of the Mughal Empire.
In the year 1637 while young Prince Aurangzeb was the Subedar of Deccan during the reign of his father the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, he led a 25,000 strong Mughal Army and besieged Bijapur Fort and its ruler Mohammed Adil Shah. The siege however was unsuccessful because the Adil Shahi dynasty sought peace with Shah Jahan mainly through the cooperation of Dara Shikoh.
Ali Adil Shah II inherited a troubled kingdom. He had to face the onslaught of the Maratha led by Shivaji, who had fought and killed Afzal Khan the most capable commander in the Bijapur Sultanate and the leaderless troops of Bijapur were thenceforth consequently routed by Shivaji's rebels. As a result the Adil Shahi dynasty was greatly weakened mainly due to the rebellious Maratha led by Shivaji and his son Sambhaji.
Sikandar Adil Shah was chosen to lead the Adil Shahi dynasty. he allied himself with Abul Hasan Qutb Shah and refused to become a vassal of the Mughal Empire. Angered by his refusal to submit to Mughal authority Aurangzeb and the Mughal Empire declared war.
In the year 1685, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb dispatched his son Muhammad Azam Shah alongside Ruhullah Khan the Mir Bakshi (organizer), with a force of nearly 50,000 men to capture Bijapur Fort. The Mughal Army arrived at Bijapur on March 1685. Elite Mughal Sowars led by Dilir Khan and Qasim Khan began to surround and capture crucial positions around Bijapur Fort after the encirclement was complete Prince Muhammad Azam Shah initiated siege operations by positioning cannons around Bijapur Fort.
Bijapur Fort however was well defended by 30,000 men led by Sikandar Adil Shah and his commander Sarza Khan. Attacks by Mughal cannon batteries were repulsed by the large and heavy Bijapur cannons such as the famous "Malik-i-Maidan", which fired cannonballs 69 cm in diameter, that forced Mughals to maintain a safe distance away from Bijapur Fort. Instead of capturing territories on open ground the Mughals, then dug long trenches and carefully placed their artillery, but made no further advancements.
The Mughals could not cross through the deep 10 ft moat surrounding the Bijapur Fort and the 50 ft high 25 ft wide fine granite and lime mortar walls were almost impossible to breach. The situation of the Mughals worsened when Maratha forces led by Melgiri Pandit under Sambhaji had severed food, gunpowder and weapon supplies arriving from the Mughal garrison at Solapur. The Mughals were now struggling on both fronts and became overburdened by the ongoing siege against the Adil Shahi's and battles with roving Maratha bands. Things worsened when a Bijapuri cannonball struck a Mughal gunpowder position causing a massive explosion into the trenches that killed 500 infantrymen.
In response to their hardships Aurangzeb sent his son Shah Alam and his celebrated Mughal commander Abdullah Khan Bahadur Firuz Jang. Unable to allow the collapse of the Mughal Army outside Bijapur Fort, the Mughal commander Ghazi ud-Din Khan Feroze Jung I led a massive expeditionary reinforcement army to alleviate the hardships of the Mughal Army and drive out the Maratha and defeat their ambushing forces. Abdullah Khan Bahadur Firuz Jang a highly experienced Mughal commander positioned at the outpost of Rasulpur routed a 6,000 strong infantry contingent led by Pam Naik, which intended to carry supplies to Bijapur Fort, during a night attack.
The Mughals regained control of supply routes leading to Solapur but no successful advancement had been made into Bijapur Fort. The lengthy siege had turned into a stalemate the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb himself gathered a massive army on July 1686 and marched slowly towards Bijapur Fort. He finally arrived outside Bijapur Fort and setup encampments beside Abdullah Khan Bahadur Firuz Jang, on September 4, 1686. Very soon Aurangzeb, personally rode out inspiring his army of almost a 100,000 men to begin a full scale all-out assault. After eight days of intense fighting the Mughals had successfully damaged the five gates of Bijapur Fort and collapsed substantial portions of the fortified walls thus enabling them to cross the moat on several locations and eventually march into the city.
Although the Adil Shahi Matchlock caused considerable casualties to the Mughal Army Aurangzeb and his Cavalry finally breached into the city and captured Sikandar Adil Shah who was bound in silver chains and presented before the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Sikandar Adil Shah had suffered many wounds, was captured and ultimately died on September 12, 1686 and the Adil Shahi dynasty came to an end. Aurangzeb then appointed Syed Mian (father of the Sayyid Brothers) as the first Mughal Subedar of Bijapur.
The Mughals annexed and conquered a weakened Bijapur and their control in the region began to weaken after the death of Aurangzeb in the year 1707. It was massive onslaughts and raids organized by the Marathas that later weakened the Mughals and their Nawabs in region and eventually Bijapur and much of the Deccan was no longer under Mughal control by the year 1753.
- Sarkar 1930, p. 370: Quote="On 21st February a Maratha contingent under Shambhuji's diwan Melgiri Pandit reached Bijapur and was welcomed by the Sultan from the Zuhrapur gate. Diplomatic relations with the Mughals had already ceased, and both sides were preparing for an appeal to the sword.True, there had been another collision between the Mughals who were setting up outposts near Turgal and the Bijapuri troops who opposed it (January), but the war was precipitated at the end of March, when the Mughal army arrived within sight of Bijapur. On 28th March, Khwajah Abdur Rahim, the Mughal envoy, was attacked by the Adil-Shahi troops and the imperialists hastened to his aid. Next day the fort was reconnoitred from the side of Daulatpur (or Khawaspur) and Raz Muhammad's tomb, and on 1st April 1685 the first trenches were opened and the siege of Bijapur began."