Battle of Delhi (1737)

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First Battle of Delhi
Part of Later Mughal-Maratha Wars (1728-1763)
Date28 March 1737
Result Maratha Victory
Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Maratha Empire Fictional flag of the Mughal Empire.svg Mughal Empire
Commanders and leaders

Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Baji Rao I

Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Malhar Rao Holkar

Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Ranoji Shinde

Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Tukoji Pawar

Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Jiwaji Pawar

Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Yashwant Rao Pawar

Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Manaji Paygude

Flag of the Maratha Empire.svg Vithoji Bule
Mir Hasan Khan Koka[1]
Asaf Jah I
Amir Khan Bahadur
Muin ul-Mulk
70,000 soldiers 8,000 soldiers[2]

The First Battle of Delhi took place on 28 March 1737 between the Maratha Empire and the Mughal Empire.[3] It was part of the Later Mughal-Maratha Wars (1728-1763).


On 12 November 1736, the Maratha general Baji Rao I advanced on Old Delhi to attack the Mughal capital. Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah sent Saadat Ali Khan I with a 150,000-strong army to stop the Maratha advance on Delhi. But Baji Rao's subordinate chiefs Malhar Rao Holkar and Pilaji Jadhav crossed the river Yamuna and looted Ganga-Yamuna Doab. Saadat Khan then retired to Mathura, thinking the Marathas had retreated towards Pune. But Baji Rao's army advanced to Delhi and encamped near Talkatora.


Muhammad Shah sent Mir Hasan Khan Koka with an army to intercept Baji Rao. The Mughals were devastated by the fierce Maratha attack, and lost half of their army, which compelled them to ask for all regional rulers to help against the army of the Marathas. After the battle, when the news of Saadat Ali Khan's approaching large Mughal army reached Baji Rao, he retreated to Pune.


The battle signified the further expansion of the Maratha Empire towards the north. Muhammad Shah called upon the Nizam's and Nawab's armies to destroy the Maratha Army.

The Nizam of Hyderabad and the Nawab of Bhopal left Hyderabad to protect the Mughal Empire from the invasion of the Marathas, but they were defeated decisively in the Battle of Bhopal (24 December 1737).[4][3] The Marathas extracted large tributaries from the Mughals, and signed a treaty which ceded Malwa to the Marathas.[3]

The Maratha plunder of Delhi weakened the Mughal Empire, which got further weakened after successive invasions of Nadir Shah in 1739 and Ahmad Shah Abdali in the 1750s. The continuous attacks led the Marathas to wage another Battle of Delhi in 1757 against the Rohillas who were pushed out, which largely effaced the remaining central authority of the Mughal Empire.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Advanced Study in the History of Modern India 1707-1813
  2. ^ Dighe, V.G. Peshwa Bajirao I and Maratha expansion. p. 135.
  3. ^ a b c An Advanced History of Modern India
  4. ^ History Modern India
  5. ^ Robinson, Howard; James Thomson Shotwell (1922). "Mogul Empire and the Marathas". The Development of the British Empire. Houghton Mifflin. p. 106-132.