The death of Nusrat Khan sent shockwaves throughout the sultanate. This wasn’t just a death of a single general, but a serious blow to the Khalji Dynasty.
If Ranthambore survives the onslaught, then their victorious story could mobilise other small kingdoms to revolt. Larger kingdoms such as Hoysalas, or the Devgiri, and the Pandya might even unite to over-throw the foreigner rulers.
If Allaudin wanted to survive, he needed to destroy Ranthambore by one way or the other.
He at once took the reins from his generals.
Now it was a battle of king against king.
He messaged all his generals to come at once and with the combine force of around 30,000 he descended on Ranthambore with all his might.
Hammira on the other hand didn’t waste any time either. He tried his best to horde as much food and grain is possible in order to survive what was about to come.
The siege of Ranthambore was now at its final stage.
Status Prior to Battle:
The moment Allaudin saw the fortress of Ranthambore, he realised his mistake. The defending battlements were too strong and the entire castle was on top of a hill.
Along with that a ditch separated his army with Hammir’s. All this made it impossible for a general assault to take place.
Despite having a four times larger army, the defenders were still at a major advantage.
He soon got to work by ordering his army to form an incline mound in between his camp and the castle. This would allow his army to scale the wall with more success than with just ladders.
He brought in thousands upon thousands of bags, filling them with dirt and using them to build his incline. The defending Rajputs used stones and arrows to wreck-havoc to their invaders.
Their flaming arrows burned many mounds and men, and every time Allaudin would form a mound, Hammir’s men would be ready to destroy it. It was impossible to build the mound as long as the Rajputs were focused on their walls.
So Allaudin tried another method. He continued to build the mound, all the while his elite troops were busy forming a tunnel that would bring them directly under the fortress.
This allowed the Delhi army to have a two-pronged attack. They could keep the pressure of the Rajputs in one direction, while simultaneously reaching closer and closer from right under their grounds.
This was a fool proof plan. His entire elite contingent will get into the castle in the night, and open the gates. There was no chance of failure at all.
Except, Hammira came to know about this plan as well. So, on the night Allaudin’s troops tried to invade through the tunnel, the Rajputs were ready for them.
In a brutal mielie battle that took place in the cramped conditions, both parties lost many men. But in the end the Rajputs were victorious once again. They poured oil in the entire tunnel, and burned the entire secret contingent of Delhi’s Army.
This was a massive loss once again, but Allaudin’s fate turned for the worst when countless attempts were made to seize the throne in Delhi by usurpers.
Now imagine if you will. The Sultan of Delhi, one of the most powerful man on the Indian subcontinent, didn’t go back to claim his thrown. Instead, he sent his generals such as Ulugh Khan to take care of the mess.
The usurpers were captured, brought back and executed. But Allaudin didn’t move from his siege. He was dead set on capturing Ranthambore because now his pride was involved. There was too much at stake here.
Status prior to battle 2:
The sultan had to raid nearby towns in order to keep his siege afloat, and his coffers were bleeding dry. It looked like this would be the fall that will destroy Allaudin. Urged by his ministers and generals, he finally conceded and sent an official declaration of peace between the Rajputs and the Khalji dynasty.
But Hammira wasn’t that sure. He had been duped into a corner before by the same ruse. So, this time he sent his generals Ratipala for the negotiations.
And Ratipala did something that changed the fate of the entire battle.
He secretly switched sides and joined Allaudin. The sultan finally took a sigh of relief and treated the deserters lavishly with food and drink. He also promised to make Ratipala the governor of Ranthambore should they win this battle.
That night, Ratipala came back to the fortress and lied to Hammira that the peace negotiations were a success. But in order to legitimize this Hammira had marry his daughter to Allaudin.
The Rajput ministers started to take this into consideration. They appealed to Hammira to accept Khalji’s proposal but the king was adamant. Their fortress was well defended and Khalji will lose.
The ministers debated back and forth with the king entire knight in the private quarters. This gave Ratipala the chance. He along with the other disillusioned general named Ranmal left the fortress and joined the enemy ranks.
This was the final blow to Hammira who was now legitimately at his wits ends. But this was not the final straw.
He still had around 3000-5000 men under him who were completely loyal. His army was as angry as a pack of wolves for the treachery of the two generals. And they were still safe behind the mighty walls of the Ranthambore Fortress.
The final problem was, that they had no food or water.
The Battle 2:
By July of that year, the mound was complete and the defenders had exhausted their entire stockpile of food. The green gardens within the castle had turned to small dirt filled desert. Those that did not die from thirst, would soon die from hunger.
The bardic lore says that a man by the name of Sarjan shah was responsible for this. He purposely poisoned the wells and had burned the crops.
According to them, his father was executed by Hammirdeva and Sarjan was taking his revenge by plotting this conspiracy.
This was what send the Rajputs over the edge. Hammirdeva realised that in conditions such as these, Allaudin will capture the fortress sooner than later.
So, he did what he as a king was supposed to do. He managed to secure route, allowing the Mongol refugees safe passage, while he and his men act as the vanguard.
Surprisingly, the Mongol leader declared that he will fight and die alongside the Rajput King. His wife and children committed ritual suicide as the other women of the castle prepared to follow.
Hammir then looked at his youngest brother Viramana, but he too wished to die by the side of his king.
The entire populace of the fort threw whatever valuables they had onto the deep padmasara lake so that the invader won’t have anything to gain.
And then as the women committed the ritual sacrifice, their husbands, sons, brothers, and all the men wore saffron cloth over their armour and flung open the gates.
With his entire contingent Hammira clashed against the sea of enemies, cutting down waves after waves of men.
For the first initial moments, the Rajputs nearly killed any man who came in front of him. But Allaudin used his greater number to his advantage and the defenders were now being pushed back.
The Delhi army slowly and slowly started to envelop the Rajputs. They had thought that once the defenders realise that they have been outflanked, the fighting will stop.
It came as a big surprise for Allaudin when he saw that the Rajputs just started fighting even more ferociously.
Armour broke, shield splintered, swords clanged and the defenders kept on fighting. Then their weapons broke down then the Rajputs started fighting bare hands.
It is here, surrounded by his loyal soldiers that Hammirdeva, King of Rajputs was slain. None of the Rajputs lived, all went down while smiling.
Out of all the soldiers, Muhammad Shah, the Mongol rebel had survived. Allaudin gave him a test, asking what will he do if was to be pardoned.
The Mongol replied by saying that the first thing would be to appointing Hammira’s son as the new king of Ranthambore.
Such audacity in front of the sultan did not bode him well. He soon met his fate after being trampled by elephants.
After destroying numerous temples including the Vagabhata temple, Allaudin actually proclaimed his general Ulugh Khan as the governor of the province. King Hammira had his last laugh as Allaudin later had the traitors killed. According to the sultan, those who betray their own king could not be trusted at all.
Ulugh khan was the governor, but only in name perhaps. He was so hated by the local populace that he rarely ever went outside lest he be assassinated.
Though Hammira had died and for some time the fort was under the Delhi sultanate, this would not continue for long.
Another great king who had risen against the tyranny of the sultanate would reclaim Ranthambore, making it the formidable Rajput stronghold that it once was.
And that king was none other than Rana Hammir Singh Sisodia of Mewar.
But that is a story for another time.
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