Siege of Golconda

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Siege of Golconda (1687)
Part of Mughal-Qutbshahi War (1686-1687)
Golconda Fort Hyderabad 315.jpg
"The modern Reminiscent's of the Golconda Fort, it was later rebuild and fortified by Aurangzeb after its conquest in the year 1687"
Date January 1687 - September 22, 1687
Location Golconda, India (then ruled by the Qutb Shahi dynasty)
Result A famous victory of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and the overthrow and imprisonment of Abul Hasan Qutb Shah. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb was also handed over famous diamonds and gained full control of the Kollur Mine.
Territorial
changes
Qutb Shahi dynasty, Golconda included in the Mughal Empire.
Belligerents
 Mughal Empire Qutb Shahi dynasty
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Mughal Empire.svgAurangzeb
Flag of the Mughal Empire.svgAbdullah Khan Bahadur Firuz Jang
Flag of the Mughal Empire.svgMunnawar Khan
Flag of the Mughal Empire.svgKilich Khan Bahadur 
Flag of the Mughal Empire.svgShaista Khan
Flag of the Mughal Empire.svgIbrahim Khan
Flag of the Mughal Empire.svgDilir Khan
Flag of the Mughal Empire.svgGhazi ud-Din Khan Feroze Jung
Flag of the Mughal Empire.svgKhalilullah Khan
Abul Hasan Qutb Shah
Muqarrab Khan[1](defector)
Sarandaz Khan[2](defector)
Strength
90,000 men ~ 120,000
50,000 Cavalry
240 Cannons
35,000 men
110 cannons
10,000 Cavalry
Casualties and losses
1000 killed or wounded, 5000 killed or wounded,

In January 1687, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb led his forces to besiege the Qutb Shahi dynasty at Golconda Fort (also known as the Diamond Capitol of its time) and was home to the Kollur Mine. The ruler of Golconda was the well entrenched Abul Hasan Qutb Shah. Aurangzeb and the Mughal army had successfully conquered two Muslim kingdoms: Nizams of Ahmednagar and the Adilshahis of Bijapur. It was only a matter of time that the Mughal army arrived at Golconda Fort. The siege of Golconda lasted 8 months and on various occasions it had pushed the massive Mughal army to its limits, in fact the Golconda Fort was probably the most impregnable fort in South Asia. Aurangzeb and the Mughals entered Golconda through a decisive victory but through the secret treachery of Sarandaz Khan, a military official in the army of the Qutb Shahi dynasty.

Command[edit]

After the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and the Mughal army had successfully conquered two Muslim kingdoms: Nizams of Ahmednagar and the Adilshahis of Bijapur; the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb then assembled the most advanced Mughal army to date and began his siege on Golconda Fort. Aurangzeb had assigned Mir Jumla and his army of 10,000 to lead any future assault on Golconda Fort.

Firuz Jang was assigned to bombard the walls of the fort using almost a 100 Cannons including the very powerful and massive Rahban and Fateh Rahber (one of Aurangzeb's most favorite cannon). Another Mughal cannon is said to be the most impressive its is known as the Azdahar-Pikar (Dragon Body) it had the ability to shoot Cannon balls weighing over 35 kg, this particular bronze cannon was cast in the year 1647.[3]

The respectable Mughal admiral Munnawar Khan was assigned to deliver food and weapon supplies to the besieging Mughal army. The general Dilir Khan was assigned to command the Matchlock Sepoys that tried to penetrate the defenses of Golconda Fort. While Shaista Khan, Murshid Quli Khan and Ibrahim Khan commanded the rest of the army and its reserves around Golconda Fort and throughout all the Qutbshahi territory. The defending ruler of Golconda Fort, Abul Hasan Qutb Shah had strong walls reinforced with granite and a very powerful mortar called the Pata Burj.[4]

Siege[edit]

As the Qutbshahi ruler of Golconda, Abul Hasan Qutb Shah the refused to surrender to the Mughal's, he and his servicemen fortified themselves at Golconda Fort, and fiercely protected the Kollur Mine (then, the worlds only diamond mine), even though his most experienced Golconda commander Muqarrab Khan, defected to the Mughals.[1] In fact of the 18 most famous diamonds in the world 13 came from the Golconda Kollur Mine ruled by the then Qutbshahi dynasty the city was also famous for its diamond cutters. The Qutbshahi's had constructed massive fortifications throughout successive generations on a granite hill over 400 ft high with an enormous 8mile wall enclosing the city. The main gates of Golconda had the ability to repulse any War elephant attack.

On January 1687, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb led his grand Mughal army against the Deccan Qutbshahi ruler taking refuge in Golconda Fort. Aurangzeb had surrounded Golconda Fort and alongside about 100 Cannons began siege operations. In order to breach the granite walls of Golconda Fort, Firuz Jang was appointed to utilize the massive Rahban, Fateh Rahber and the most impressive Cannon during the siege known as the Azdahar-Pikar (Dragon Body) it had the ability to shoot Cannonballs weighing over 50 kg. In response to the Mughal bombardment Abul Hasan Qutb Shah fired from his powerful high-vicinity mortar called the Pata Burj, and according to Saqi Mustad Khan bamboo rockets were also utilized day and night against Mughal encampments.[5]

Meanwhile due to heavy rains the Manjera River over-flooded and the scarcity of food supplies became a dire complication, this led to the death of many animals and caused malnourished troops to get ill. Fearing a possible counterattack organized from the fort, Aurangzeb ordered the construction of a fortified position made of wood and mud, which would house and organize Mughal attacking parties.

The intense cannon fire from Golconda Fort against the approaching Mughals eventually caused the death of the very experienced Mughal commander Kilich Khan II and furthermore Aurangzeb was grieved by the death of his long tome commander Abdullah Khan Bahadur Firuz Jang, who died of natural causes.

Although the Qutbshahi's maintained impregnable efforts defending their walls, at night the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and his well organized infantry of assembled and erected complex scaffolding that allowed them to scale the high walls. Aurangzeb also ordered his men to throw huqqa (grenades)[6] while scaling the fortified wall and were reinforced by Matchlocks and Composite bows unfortunately most of these attacks remained largely unsuccessful but managed to demoralize the defenders of Golconda Fort. During the eight-month siege the Mughals faced many hardships like small scale famines for weeks at a time but whenever the Mughal Admiral Munnawar Khan arrived with suppleies and weapons with his river fleet, Aurangzeb would intensify the siege.[7]

Although the Qutbshahi's maintained impregnable efforts defending their walls, the siege had become unbearable for the officials in service of the Qutbshahi's and finally Sarandaz Khan revealed a back door that led directly Golconda Fort, immediately after the Mughals stormed the fort, Sarandaz Khan opened the gates that allows the Aurangzeb's army to enter.

The Mughal army led by Ghazi ud-Din Khan Feroze Jung the son of the fallen Kilich Khan II was among the first to entered the gates the immediately charged towards the citadel of Abul Hasan Qutb Shah, eventually taking him prisoner by surprise, Firuz Jang and his forces occupied Kollur Mine and the Mughal reserves disarmed the defenders of the fort and paved their way for the entry of victorious Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Golconda Fort was later repaired and armed with superior cannons. Shaista Khan is known to have spared the Qutbshahi servicemen, the ruler of Golconda was not so lucky, Abul Hasan Qutb Shah was imprisoned in Daulatabad Fort by the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Aftermath[edit]

The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and his managed to penetrate the walls by capturing a gate prompting the Qutbshahi's of Golconda and the ruler Abul Hasan Qutb Shah to surrender peacefully and hand over the Nur-Ul-Ain Diamond, Great Stone Diamond, Kara Diamond, Darya-e-Nur, The Hope Diamond, the Wittelsbach Diamond and the The Regent Diamond making the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb the richest monarch in the world.

References[edit]