Man Singh I

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Man Singh I
Maharaja of Amber
Mirza Raja
Raja Man Singh I
Mughal portrait of Raja Man Singh I
24th Raja of Amber
Reign10 December 1589 –
6 July 1614
Coronation10 December 1589
PredecessorBhagwant Das
SuccessorBhau Singh
Subahdar of Bengal
Term9 November 1595 –
2 September 1606
EmperorAkbar I
PredecessorSyed Khan
SuccessorQutubuddin Koka
Born21 December 1550
Amber, Kingdom of Amber, (present-day Amer, Rajasthan, India)
Died6 July 1614(1614-07-06) (aged 63)
Ellichpur, Berar Subah, Mughal Empire
(present-day Achalpur, Maharashtra, India)
  • Sushilawati Bai
  • Munwari Bai
  • Sahodra Gaud
among others...
  • Kunwar Jagat Singh
  • Raja Bhau Singh
  • Kunwar Durjan Singh
Mirza Raja Man Singh Kachhwaha
FatherBhagwant Das
MotherBhagwati Bai
Military career
Allegiance Mughal Empire
Service Mughal Army
Years of service1562–1614
RankKunwar (1562–589)
Mansab (1598–1605)
Mansabdar (1605–1614)

Mirza Raja Man Singh I (21 December 1550 – 6 July 1614) was a Kachhwaha Rajput prince who became the 24th Maharaja of Amber from 1589 to 1614 and the Subahdar of Bengal for three terms from 1595 to 1606. He served in the Imperial Mughal Army under Emperor Akbar. Man Singh fought sixty-seven important battles in Kabul, Balkh, Bukhara, Bengal and Central and Southern India. He was well versed in the battle tactics of both the Rajputs as well as the Mughals.[1] He is commonly considered to be of the Navaratnas, or the nine (nava) gems (ratna) of the royal court of Akbar.[2][3]

Early life of Man Singh I

Portrait of Man Singh c.1790

He was the son of Raja Bhagwant Das and his wife Bhagawati of Amer.[4] He was born on Sunday, 21 December 1550.

Initially known as Kunwar (prince), Man Singh received the title of Mirza or Raja (King) and the rank mansab of 5000 after the death of his father on 10 December 1589 from Akbar.[5] On 26 August 1605, Man Singh became a mansabdar of 7,000, i.e., a commander of 7,000 cavalry in the Mughal forces, which was the maximum command for anyone other than a son of the Mughal emperor and the guardian of Khusrau, the eldest son Jahangir.[6] Akbar called him Farzand (son). He fought many important campaigns for Akbar. Kunwar Man Singh led the Mughal Army in the well-known battle of Haldighati fought in 1576 against the Kingdom of Mewar and for his reestablishment of Jagannath Temple of Puri, Orissa.[7]

War against Mewar

Portrait of Raja Man Singh c.1790

Man Singh was sent by Akbar to Maharana Pratap to make a treaty with Akbar and accept Mughal sovereignty. However Pratap refused, starting the Battle of Haldighati, [8][9]

Pratap had 3,000 horsemen, elephants and 400 Bhil archers under Rana Poonja. A small artillery unit was also with him under Hakim Khan Sur. The force was divided into five wings. The advance wing was under Hakim Khan Sur, Bhim Singh Dodiya and Ramdas Rathore. The right wing was under Bhamashah and Maharaja Ramshah Tanwar. The left wing was under Jhala Man Singh. Rana Pratap was in the centre. Behind him was Rao Poonja with his Bhil warriors.[8]

Man Sing's Forces Consisted of 10,000 horsemen, infantry and some elephants. This included 4,000 Kachwaha Rajput forces. and 5,00 Mughal forces, out of which, 1,000 were other Hindu reserves, and 5,000 were Muslims.[10]

This force was divided into five wings. There were two advance wings. The first was under Sayyid Hashim Barha, son of Sayyed Mahmud Khan, Jagannath Kachwaha and Asaf Ali Khan. The second advance troop was under Madho Singh Kachwaha. Behind this was Man Singh. To his right was Mulla Qazi Khan and to his left were Sayyeds of Barah. At first Rana Pratap attacked and scattered the advance and left wings of the Mughal army but soon momentum shifted with Mansingh's counter charge forced Pratap to retreat back. Jagannath Kachwaha killed Ramshah Tanwar and Rajput warriors of both sides engaged in a fierce battle. The Mughals were the victors and inflicted significant casualties among the Mewaris but failed to capture Pratap, who escaped to the hills. [11][12]

Expedition to Kabul

In 1580 CE, some prominent Muslim officers of Akbar, displeased with his liberal religious policies, started to conspire against him. Qazi Muhammad Yazdi declared it the duty of every Muslim to rebel against Akbar. In Bihar and Bengal they declared Mirza Hakim, Akbar's stepbrother and Governor of Kabul, to be the emperor. Akbar sent armies to Bihar and Bengal to crush this rebellion, while he himself started towards Kabul; Man Singh with him. On 8 March 1581, Akbar reached Machhiwara and soon arrived on the banks of River Indus, he then sent an advance force led by Man Singh to Kabul. Although, Akbar's army was hesitating to cross the swelling Indus River, Man Singh was able to cross it first followed by troops. Hearing the news Mirza Hakim fled to Gurband. Following the army, Akbar himself arrived at Kabul on 10 August 1581. Hakim was pardoned by Akbar, but his sister Bakhtunissa Begum was appointed Governor of Kabul. After Akbar returned to Fatehpur Sikri; Bakhtunissa remained as the nominal head of state, while Hakim acted as the governor (Hakim died in July, 1582). Kabul was annexed by the Mughal Empire and Man Singh was appointed governor. He remained in Kabul for some years and built a fortress, used by succeeding Mughal governors. Man Singh brought many talented men with him when he returned from Kabul. Some of their descendants still live in Jaipur.[citation needed]

Again in 1585 CE, some Afghan tribes rose against the Mughal empire. The Yusufzai and "Mandar" tribes were the main ones among them. Akbar sent an army under Zain Khan, Hakim Abul Fateh and Raja Birbal to control these revolting tribes. However, they failed to control the revolting Afghans and Raja Birbal, friend of Akbar and one of his Navratnas was also killed in the battle with Afghans. Akbar then sent Raja Todar Mal to crush the revolt and called Raja Man Singh to help Todar Mal. Todarmal had some success in controlling the rebellious Afghan tribes, but the real source of the revolt was behind the Khyber Pass. It was hard to cross this pass which was dominated by Afghan "Kabailies". Man Singh was accompanied by "Rao Gopaldas" of Nindar in this expedition, who bravely made way for Mughal army in the pass. After crossing the pass Man Singh decisively defeated five major tribes of Afghans including Yusufzai and "Mandar" tribes. The flag of Amber was changed from "Katchanar" (green climber in white base) to "Pachranga" (five colored) to commemorate this victory. This flag continued in use until accession of Jaipur state in India. This permanently crushed the revolt and the area remained peaceful thereafter.[citation needed]

In 1586 CE, Akbar sent another army under Raja Bhagwant Das, father of Kunwar Man Singh to win Kashmir. Kashmir was captured and annexed in the Mughal Empire and made a Sarkar (district) of Kabul province. Man Singh and his father Raja Bhagwant Das are reputed to have brought the technology of cannon production to Amber.[citation needed]

Conquest of Bihar

When Akbar had conquered Delhi, many of his Afghan enemies had fled to the refuge of the eastern Raja's. Man Singh was sent by Emperor Akbar to bring the resisting Raja's to submission. Man Singh's first target was Raja Puranmal of Gidhaur whose fort was easily conquered by the Kachwaha army. Puranmals treasury was captured and his daughter was married to Man Singh's brother Chandrabhan Kachwaha. Man Singh continued his campaign and defeated the raja's of Gaya and Kargpur, both of them were forced into submission and paid tribute to the emperor. Some Afghan nobles of Bengal tried to invade Bihar during Man Singh's occupation, but were soundly defeated by Man Singh's son Jagat Singh. The invaders left their loot and fled back to Bengal, the spoils of war and 54 elephants were sent to the emperor. Abul Fazl has described Man Singh's campaign in Bihar in the following words. "The Raja united ability with courage and genius with strenuous action".[13][14]

Conquest of Orissa

Man Singh I riding a Horse

After conquering Bihar, Man Singh was ordered to defeat the Afghan Sultan Qatlu Khan Lohani of Orissa. Man Singh set out for Orissa in April 1590. Jagat Singh Kachwaha was sent with an advance army to study the area, however he was attacked by Sultan Qatlu Khan and was badly defeated where several notable commanders of Amber were killed, including Bika Rathor, Mahesh Das and Naru Charan. Jagat was saved by Raja Hamir Singh and escaped to the fort of Bishnupur. Qatlu however died after 10 days and the Afghans under his son Nasir Khan surrendered to Man Singh. Nasir bowed before Man Singh and promised to read the Khutba and stamp coins in the name of emperor Akbar. He further ceded lands and gave a tribute of 150 elephants. After this success, Man Singh returned to Bihar. The Afghans however rebelled against Nasir after his regent Isa Khan died. The Afghans captured the lands that had been ceded and started another rebellion. Man Singh was once again forced to march to Orissa. On 9 April 1592, the two armies met near Jaleswar city and after a bloody fight Man Singh defeated the Afghans, Man singh followed the fleeing Afghans and forced the Afghan leaders to accept Mughal overlordship. The remaining Afghan chieftains fled to the Hindu Raja's of Orissa. Man Singh attacked these Raja's and captured several forts with ease and forced them to surrender, the strongest of these Raja's, the Raja of Khurda however refused and was pressed by Man Singh, several of his cities and forts were captured after which the Khurda Raja shut himself in his capital fort. Akbar denounced this rough behaviour towards such an ancient dynasty and ordered Man singh to show leniency after which the Khurda Raja surrendered and offered his daughter to Man Singh in marriage. The conquest of Orissa was thus complete. Man Singh was called to Lahore where the crown prince Salim personally received him and he was given robes of condolence by the emperor for his father's death. Man Singh presented to the emperor three sons of Quatlu Khan Lohani and 2 nobles of Orissa.[15]

Governor of Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha

On 17th March 1594, Man Singh was made the guardian of Prince Salim (Jehangir) by Akbar. He was also appointed as the viceroy of Bengal and many large jagirs in Orissa and Bengal were given to Man Singh and his nobles. Man Singh soon started sending his men to quell the rebellions in Bengal. On 2nd April 1595, the Amber army conquered Bhushna fort.[5] On 7th November, Man Singh founded a new capital for Bengal called Akbarnagar. After founding the new capital, Man personally marched against the Afghans under Isa Bhati, resulting in the retreat of the Afghans and the annexation of Isa's lands. Man Singh fell ill after this campaign, which renewed the rebellion. Man Singh sent Himmat Singh to deal with the rebels, and once again defeated them.[5] Man Singh also helped Lakshmi Narayan, the raja of Cooch Behar, for which the grateful Raja of Cooch Behar gave his sister in marriage to Man Singh and also agreed to become a vassal of the Mughal Emperor.[5] Man Singh would leave Bengal for Ajmer and during this period the Mughals started to lose control over Bengal and even lost several skirmishes. Man Singh was thus once again sent to Bengal. Man Singh defeated the rebels near Sherpur-Atia on 12th February 1601 and chased them for 8 miles. Man Singh, after this victory, marched towards Dacca and forced Kedar Rai, the zamindar of Bhushna, to submit to him. The rebels Jalal Khan and Qazi Mumin were also defeated by Man Singh's grandson. Man Singh then marched towards the Banar river where he defeated the successor of Qatlu Khan called Usman and quelled the Pathans under him. Man Singh would go on to defeat the Arracan Pirates and then Kedar Rai, who was captured after a battle and died before he could be brought before Man Singh. The Magh raja and Usman were also defeated after this battle. Man Singh thus returned to Dacca and camped at Nazirpur after a series of victories against the powerful rebels of Bengal.[5]

Jahangir and twilight of Man Singh I

Prince Salim was born, but he became addicted to alcohol and opium in his youth. He disobeyed royal orders and became infamous for torture such as murdering Abul Fazal. Akbar tried hard to reform him as well as his eldest son Khusrau Mirza. Two of Akbar's sons, Murad and Danial, died in his lifetime. The royal court was divided into two factions, one favoring Khusrau and the other Salim to be the next emperor. Raja Man Singh and Mirza Aziz Koka were in Khusrau's favour. In 1605, when Akbar fell ill, he appointed Salim to be his heir. Though Man Singh opposed Salim's accession to the throne during Akbar's lifetime, he never opposed Jahangir (Salim) after his coronation. After Akbar's death, Jahangir (Salim) became emperor. Man Singh was initially sent as Subahdar of Bengal on 10 November 1605 for a short period, but soon he was replaced by Qutb-ud-Din Khan Koka on 2 September 1606.[16] Jahangir also ordered removal of some of the modifications which had been made by Raja Man Singh to his palace at Amber. But in 1611 CE, the southern provinces of Ahmednagar, Berar and Khandesh defied Mughal sovereignty under Malik Ambar. Jahangir sent Raja Man Singh and others to crush the revolt.[citation needed]

Spouses and Issues


  • Sushilawati Bai
  • Munwari Bai
  • Sahodra Gaud
  • Sumitra
  • Jambhvanti
  • Chhamavati
  • Prabhavati Bangalan
  • Bibi Mubarak (Niece of Akbar)[citation needed]


  • Kunwar Jagat Singh
  • Raja Bhau Singh (d. 1621)
  • Kunwar Durjan Singh (1575–1597)
  • Kunwar Himmat Singh (1590–1597)
  • Bhogda Singh (1596–1610)
  • Sabal Singh
  • Raj Kuwri Mena Baisa (1591–1682)
  • Manorama Bai (1614–1689)

Death and succession

Man Singh I aged 39-40 c.1590

Man Singh died a natural death on 6 July 1614 at Ellichpur. Following his death, he was succeeded by his son Mirza Raja Bhau Singh. His direct descendants became known (to this date) as the Rajawats who had the privilege to the throne of Amber and subsequently Jaipur.[citation needed]

Cultural achievements

Amber Fort, built by Man Singh in 1592

Raja Man Singh was a devotee of the deity Krishna. He had a seven-storied temple of Krishna constructed for Srila Rupa Goswami, disciple of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in Vrindavan. The cost of construction was one crore rupees at that time. The four-storey temple is still present at Vrindavan. He also constructed a temple of Krishna at his capital, Amber. The place is now known as "Kanak Vrindavan" near Amber Ghati of Jaipur. He constructed the temple of Shila Devi at Amber Fort. He also constructed and repaired many temples at Benaras, Allahabad and various other places. He added much beautification to his palace at Amber. When Akbar called a meeting of his nobles at Fatehpur Sikri in 1582, to discuss Din-i-Ilahi, Raja Bhagwant Das was the only man to oppose this religion. Later, Man Singh also refused to convert to Din-i-Ilahi. It is believed his son Jagat Singh I received education from Goswami Tulsidas and Man Singh himself used to attend his religious lectures. Tulsidas was a contemporary of Akbar and author of Ramacharitamanasa, also known as the Tulasi Ramayana, and much other famous poetry devoted to Rama and Hanuman.[citation needed]

In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ Hooja, Rima (2018). Rajasthan, a concise history. Rupa Publications India. p. 322. ISBN 9788129150431. Man Singh took part in as many as sixty-seven important military campaigns and battles....Man Singh became familiar with traditional Rajput as well as Mughal technique of warfare and tactics.
  2. ^ 30. Ra´jah Ma´n Singh, son of Bhagwán Dás - Biography Archived 7 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. I.
  3. ^ Raja Man Singh Biography India's who's who,
  4. ^ Harnath Singh Dundlod, Jaipur and Its Environs (1970), p.7
  5. ^ a b c d e Sarkar, Jadunath (1984, reprint 1994). A History of Jaipur, New Delhi: Orient Longman ISBN 81-250-0333-9, p.74-85
  6. ^ Sarkar, Jadunath (1984, reprint 1994). A History of Jaipur, New Delhi: Orient Longman ISBN 81-250-0333-9, p.86
  7. ^ Beveridge H. (tr.) (1939, Reprint 2000). The Akbarnama of Abu´l Fazl, Vol. III, Kolkata: The Asiatic Society, ISBN 81-7236-094-0, p.244
  8. ^ a b Sarkar 1960.
  9. ^ Chandra, Satish (2005). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals Part - II. ISBN 9788124110669.
  10. ^ Sarkar 1960, p. 77.
  11. ^ de la Garza 2016, p. 56.
  12. ^ Raghavan 2018, p. 67.
  13. ^ Akbarnama III pg.872
  14. ^ Rajasthan Through the Ages Vol III, By R.K. Gupta, S.R. Bakshi pg.3-4
  15. ^ Rajasthan Through the Ages Vol III, By R.K. Gupta, S.R. Bakshi pg.4-6
  16. ^ Sarkar, Jadunath (1984, reprint 1994). A History of Jaipur, New Delhi: Orient Longman ISBN 81-250-0333-9, pp.86-87


External links