In the last Article, we discussed how the King of Ranthambore and his army defeated one of the most formidable fighting forces in all of India.
Today we will be reading further on the battles which:
1: Elaborate how strong Ranthambore castle really is and,
2: The last stand that made Rajputs the stuff of legends.
With this great loss Allaudin had started to take the Rajputs with more seriousness. He called for one of his major generals, veteran campaigner named Nusrat Khan and ordered him to besiege the castle of Ranthambore.
Nusrat Khan wasn’t just a very formidable warlord. He was also a very shrewd tactician, and one of the people who by his cunning strategy defeated the Crown prince Simhana of Devgiri. Under his laurels was the extremely successful Gujarat Campaign and had defeated the Mongols beforehand.
He was now the Wazir of The Sultan himself and the Governor of Awadh region in northern India. For a general of his calibre, a single rogue kingdom was no match.
But both Allaudin and Nusrat had under-estimated the Rajput King. They had under-estimated Hammirdeva greatly.
Status prior to the third battle:
By this time Nusrat Khan had realised that the Rajputs were far stronger than he had anticipated. Plus, their victory in the Hinduvata pass had boosted the morale of the defenders.
Now all they had to do was to keep that mountain pass under their control and soon enough, Allaudin’s forces will ask for a truce.
Some other minor generals under Ulugh Khan earlier again tried to take on the Hinduvata pass. But most of them never returned, and those who did, never went back again.
As long as Hammira had that mountain pass under his control, his city was well protected. And Nusrat Khan knew it.
He wasn’t going to waste anymore of his soldiers to fight against the Rajputs.
Instead, he tried deception tactics to bring Hammirdeva out.
Nusrat started setting the seeds of Ranthambore’s destruction by his tactfulness. He made Ulugh Khan send an official declaration of truce, asking Hammira to pull back his troops. This would allow the Delhi Army easy access to the Castle of Ranthambore, Stronghold of Hammira.
According to Hammira Mahakavya, the Rajput king on thinking that as the truce is official, means that the war is over. And ordered his troops to retreat back to their city.
He had just made the biggest mistake of his life.
As it turns out, the idea of truce was completely fabricated and Hammira had just given away his major advantage that he had. Important towns and villages that came under the Ranthambore kingdom such as Jhain were now under Delhi Sultanate.
With this in mind, the castle itself was the last line of defence for the Rajput king and his kin.
Nusrat with all pomp and glory then gave Hammira his demands.
1: Give up the rebel Mongol leaders
2: Give his own daughters hand in marriage to Allaudin
3: Give up 4 elephants and
4: Give up 400,000 pieces of gold as compensation.
To which, the defending king replied, “We have but 400,000 swords to give you.”
And the mighty siege of Ranthambore was on.
Together Nusrat and Ulugh Khan had around 30,000 men, while Hammira had less than 10,000.
On the first day, trebuchets of both armies exchanged blows. While the Delhi sultanate had more siege crafts than the Ranthambore forces, the defender’s trebuchet could propel heavier projectiles.
The strong walls of Ranthambore fort was doing well against the enemy’s projectiles, so the invaders started using flaming arrows to wreck-havoc.
But most of the arrows fell flat on the ground unable to do any sort of damage.
On the second day, at the very dawn, the Delhi Army was given orders for a general assault. With most of the defenders being tired and overworked, Nusrat led an all-out attack, while Ulugh Khan maintained pressure by overviewing the siege crafts.
They had once again under-estimated the Rajputs.
The defending tower sentries were cut down before more poured in. Ranthambore wall was almost being scaled when the defenders fought back once again.
Though weakened, they were in no mood for surrender and as the enemy forces scaled the walls, they gave them one hell of a fight. Throwing away ladders, dropping big boulders, arrows blocking out the sky. It was a complete massacre, where men from both the sides lost their lives.
But as the dust settled, it was clear. Ranthambore was still in the hands of King Hammira.
The castles of Rajasthan, such as Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh and Ranthambore were not considered impregnable for no reason.
With this minor setback, Nusrat Khan regrouped his men by the dusk. And he made a similar plan of attack for the next day.
With the first couple of days under Hammirdeva, this time, both Nusrat and Ulugh will lead a general assault together. With such heavy numbers they will surely overwhelm the castle garrison. Their plan had no chance of a mistake, they were sure of victory.
And then it happened.
One of the large projectiles from Hammir’s trebuchets hit Nusrat Khan’s contingent. And this is where the Delhi army’s problems increased. The large projectile had hit Nusrat, smashing his horse along with many men from his contingent.
And had ended up killing Nusrat in the process.
With one man; down Ulugh Khan had to retreat back in his camp while saving himself from the volley of arrows and boulder coming his way.
This was a massive morale boost for the Rajputs who were now going for the offences. The moment this news reached Hammira, he brought forth around 5000 men from his garrison who were not afraid of death.
Because now they were going to bring the fight to their invaders.
Before the Delhi Army could even realise what to do, Hammirdeva smashed his 5000 cavalry against his enemies. The Sultan’s Army couldn’t even make head and tail of what was going on.
Ulugh Khan tried to fight back again but as Nusrat Khan’s men started to flee, he had realised that this was battle which he will lose.
The Rajput with their staggering bravado and bravery turned the tide of an unwinnable battle to their advantage, making most of a glass canon situation.
Hammir’s contingent smashed so hard against the enemy forces that they were routed as far back as Jhain once again.
Hammir’s victory against such staggering odds once again proved his mettle. And meanwhile Allaudin Khilji had started to lose it. He was angry before-hand, but after this latest fiasco, he vowed to destroy Ranthambore once and for all. He will now lead the assault on Ranthambore himself.
Now no general will be sent, no quarters left. It will be one king against another.
In the next article, we will see how Allaudin fares against Hammirdeva. How one mistake of past can come back to haunt later. And the final fall of the great king.
Until next time.
P.S: If you like what I have written and wish to read more of such articles on a regular basis then click here
And If you wish to author a free guest post on this website then click here.