Mughal weapons

Mughal weapons significantly evolved during the ruling periods of Babur, Akbar, Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan. During its conquests throughout the centuries, the military of the Mughal Empire used a variety of weapons including swords, bows and arrows, horses, camels, elephants, some of the world's largest cannons, muskets and flintlock blunderbusses.

Ain-i Akbari Weaponry
Ain-i Akbari weaponry


Short arms

Zulfikar, a Mughal sword

Most cavalrymen mainly depended upon the short arms (kotah-yaraq) for close quarter combat. They are classified into five categories: swords and shields, maces, battle-axes, spears and daggers. Weapons used for long range attacks were the bow and arrow (Kaman & Tir), the matchlock (Banduq or Tufanq) and the pistols. Rockets were also used by the artillerymen (Topkanah).

No single man carried all these weapons at one time, but in a large army all of them were in use by someone or other. The great number of weapons that a man carried is graphically described by Fitzclarence, about an officer of his guards. He was a petty officer of the Nizam's service, who commended his escort:

Two very handsome horses with superb caparisons belong to this jamadar, who is himself dressed in a vest of green English broad cloth laced with gold, and very rich embroidered belts. A shield of buffalo hide with gilt bosses is hung over his back. His arms are two swords and a dagger, a brace of English pistols(revolver), and he has his matchlock carried before him by a servant.


Swordbelts were generally broad and handsomely embroidered. On horseback they were worn on a belt hanging over the shoulder. Otherwise a man carried his sword by three straps hanging from a waist-belt.

Dara Shikuh’s sword and scabbard (number 8), at the V&A Museum in London.
Prince Dara Shikuh's sword and scabbard (number 8), at the V&A Museum in London.

Types of blades

  • Shamsher - A curved weapon similar to a scimitar. Purely a cutting weapon due to its shape and the small size of the grip.
  • Dhup - A straight sword. It was adopted from the Dakhin, this straight sword had a broad blade four feet long and a cross hilt. Considered an emblem of sovereignty and high dignity, it was displayed on state occasions carried in a velvet wrapping by a man who held it upright before his master. It also lay on the great man's pillow when he was seated at a darbar, a public transaction of business. This kind of sword was conferred as a distinction on successful soldiers, great nobles, and court favourites. It was made of steel.
  • Khanda - A straight sword. It was apparently identical to the viv1 dhup.
  • Sirohi - A scimitar. This sword had a slightly curved blade, shaped like a Damascus blade, slightly lighter and narrower than the ordinary talwar. They were made in Sirohi with Damascus steel.
  • Pata - A narrow-bladed, straight rapier with a gauntlet hilt. Often used in performances.
  • Gupti - A straight sword concealed in the sheath of a walking stick . The head or handle and a fakir's crutch was closely allied in appearance with the crutch of dagger length and the weapon appearing like a short crooked staff about three feet long. It was used by persons of rank as an emblem of humility.


Dhal (shield), North India, Mughal period, 17th century, steel, gold, silk, leather - Royal Ontario Museum - DSC04543
Dhal (shield), North India, Mughal period, 17th century, steel, gold, silk, leather - Royal Ontario Museum - DSC04543

A shield always accompanied a sword as part of the swordsman's equipment. Carried on the left arm, or when out of use, slung over the shoulder, shields were made of steel or hide and were generally from 17 to 24 inches (430 to 610 millimetres) in diameter. If made of steel they were often highly ornamented with patterns in gold damascening while hide shields bore silver or gold bosses, crescents, or stars. Some types of shields were made of sambar deer, buffalo, nilgau, elephant, or rhinoceros hide, the last being the most highly prized. Brahman soldiers wore shields made up of forty or fifty folds of silk painted with colors.

Types of shields

  • Chirwah and Tilwah— These shields were carried by the shamsherbaj, or gladiators, groups of whom always surrounded the Mughal general Akbar (1542–1605) on the march.
  • Fencing Shields— Small circular shields of cane or bamboo sometimes called dal (pronounced dhaal) because their shape resembled a lentil. The quaint maru or singauta, was made from a pair of antelope horns tipped with steel and united at the butt-ends. Sainti were classed as parrying shields.

Ceremonial Mace

WLA vanda Ceremonial Mace chob
Ceremonial Mace chob
  • The mace (gurj), a short-handled club with three large round balls at the end, usually formed part of the weaponry of any Mughul warrior of considerable rank.
  • Another variety, the shashbur, or "lung-tearer", had a single round-shaped head while similar weapons included the dhara, gargaj and khandli phansi.
  • The 2 feet (0.61 m) long dhara had a six-bladed head and octagonal steel shaft and came from Kolhapur.
  • The garguz had eight-bladed heads and basket hilts or was seven-bladed with a basket hilt. Its length varied from 2.4 to 2.10 inches (61 to 53 mm).
  • The khundli phansi was 1 inch (25 mm) long and had a head of open scroll work.
  • The flail was a weapon that may be classed as a mace, along with the pusht-khar, or "back-scratcher", made of steel in the shape of a hand.
  • The khar-i-mahi, or "fish backbone", had steel spikes projecting from each side of a straight head.
  • The weapon called the gujbag was the common elephant goad or ankus.


Mumtaz Mahal Museum, Red Fort19
1. Dagger Crutch (fakir's crutch, mendicant's crutch), 2. Tabar (war axe), 3. Eight Bladed flanged mace, 4. Tabar (war axe) and 5. Zaghnal (war axe) 6.Sword Stick (at the time of Mughals)
  • If the head was pointed and had two cutting edges, the axe was called a zaghnol, or "crow's beak".
  • A double headed axe with a broad blade on one side of the handle and a pointed one on the other was styled a tabar zaghnol.
  • An axe with a longer handle, called tarangalah, was also used. The shafts of the tabar ranged from 17 to 23 inches (430 to 580 mm) in length with a head from 5 to 6 inches (130 to 150 mm) one way and 3 to 5 inches (76 to 127 mm) the other. Some heads were crescent shaped with one of the shafts hollow for storage of a dagger.
  • A 'Basolah' looked like a chisel while highly ornamented silver axes were carried by attendants for display in the audience hall.


Mumtaz Mahal Museum, Red Fort10
Rifle, Spear and Inscribed Sabre-Hilt at the time of Mughals

There were several varieties of this class of weapon. Cavalry troops generally used a lance with other types of spears used by foot soldiers and guards surrounding the emperor's audience hall. There is also some evidence, particularly among the Marathas, for the use of a javelin or short spear, which was thrown.

  • Nezah - A cavalry lance with a small steel head and a long bamboo shaft carried by nezah-bazan (lance-wielders). In normal use, a man on horseback held his spear above his head at the full length of his arm. Made up of Bamboo and steel
  • Barchhah - a Mughal weapon also used by the Marathas. With a head and shaft made wholly of iron or steel, use of this heavy spear was confined to infantry as it would prove too heavy for men on horseback.
  • Sang - Made up entirely of iron, this spear was much shorter than the barchhah although some exist that are 7.11 feet (2.17 m) long, of which the head accounting for 2.6 feet (0.79 m). The weapon possessed long, slender, three or four-sided heads, steel shafts, and had a grip covered with velvet.
  • Sainthi - The shaft was shorter than that of the sang.
  • Selarah - A spear with a head and shaft longer than those of the sainthi but not so long as those of the sang.
  • Ballam - A spear, pike, or lance with barbed heads and wooden shafts and a total length of 5.11 feet (1.56 m), of which the blade took up 18 inches (460 mm). The Ballam was a short spear with a broad head used by infantry. || Infantry
  • Pandi-ballam - A hog-spear with an iron leaf-shaped blade at the end of a bamboo shaft with a total length of 8.3 feet (2.5 m), of which the blade accounted for 2.3 feet (0.70 m).
  • Panjmukh - Five-headed spear used by the people of Gujarat.
  • Lange - A Mughal lance with a four-cornered iron head and a hollow shaft.
  • Garhiya - may be Pike, javelin or spear
  • Alam - A Spear (properly a standard or banner)
  • Kont - One type of Spear
  • Gandasa - A kind of bill-hook or pole-axe with a steel chopper attached to a long pole. Used by the chaukidar or village watchmen

Daggers and knives

Dagger, Mughal dynasty, late 17th century, watered steel blade, hilt of nephrite inlaid with gold, rubies, and emeralds - Freer Gallery of Art - DSC05186
Dagger, Mughal dynasty, late 17th century, watered steel blade, hilt of nephrite inlaid with gold, rubies, and emeralds - Freer Gallery of Art - DSC05186

These were of various shapes and kinds, each with a separate name.

  • Katara or Katari - A lightweight thrusting knife similar to a poignard and peculiar to India. Made with a hilt whose two branches extended along the arm so as to protect the hand and part of the arm, this weapon had a thick blade with two cutting edges having a breadth of 3 inches (76 millimetres) at the hilt and a solid point 1 inch (25 millimetres) wide. The blade could not be bent and was so stiff that nothing but a cuirass could stop it. A katara's total length extended to 22 inches (560 mm), one half of this being the blade. The hilt had a cross-bar at right angles to the blade, by which the weapon was grasped such that it could only be used for a forward thrust. Some were slightly curved whilst others resembled a fork or were two-bladed. Blades were of various patterns with a length that varied from 9 to 17.5 inches (230 to 440 mm).
  • Jamadhar - This had the same handle as a katara but with a broad and straight blade, while the katara blade could be either straight or curved. The jamadhar katari - Had a straight blade and a handle held in the same way as a table-knife or sword.
  • Khanjar - A poignard type dagger with a hilt like a sword of which most had doubly curved blades and were about 12 inches (300 mm) long. The weapon originated among the Turks, who carried it upright and on the right side, but it was occasionally worn by both Persians and Indians, the latter wearing it inclined on the left side. They were four types: jamhak, jhambwah, bank, and narsingh moth. All four of these weapons appear to be of the same class as the khanjar, although they varied slightly in form. Mainly used by Turks, occasionally by both Persians and Indians
  • Bichuwa and Khapwah. Literally "scorpion", this type of knife had a wavy blade while the khapwah was also a type of dagger. It was almost identical with the jambwahand used by mainly Marathas.
  • Peshkaj - A pointed Persian dagger generally with a thick straight back to the blade and a straight handle without a guard, though at times the blade was curved, or even double-curved. Some of the hilts had guards.
  • Karud is Introduced by Afghans, this resembled a butcher's knife and was kept in a sheath. Karuds had a total length of 2.6 feet (0.79 m) with a blade 2 feet (0.61 m). The gupti-karud was inserted into a stick while the qamchi-karud was a whip-shaped knife. The chaqu was a clasp-knife. It is a Combat knife used by Panjabis.
  • Sailabah-i-Qalmaqi - The name for a knife used by men from Kashghar. As long as a sword and with a handle made of fish-bone called sher-mahi (lion-fish), it was worn slung from an ashob or shoulder belt.This Combat Knife is Used by the men from Kashghar.


Bows and arrows, matchlocks, pistols and cannons made up the four categories of missile weapons. Cavalry were mainly equipped with the bow with Mughal horsemen noted for their archery. Legend told that the bow and arrow were brought down straight from Heaven and given to Adam by the archangel Gabriel. Personal weapons were ranked in the following order: the dagger, the sword, the spear and the soldier's with the top weapon the bow and arrow.

Despite the spread of firearms, use of the bow persisted throughout the 18th century due to its superior build quality and ease of handling. Bows were widely used by the rebels during the Indian rebellion of 1857.

The matchlock, a cumbrous and no doubt ineffective weapon, was left mainly to the infantry while pistols seem to have been rare.

Mughal field artillery, although expensive, proved an effective tool against hostile war elephants and its use led to several decisive victories. After Babur's artillery defeated the armies of Ibrahim Lodi in the 16th century, subsequent Mughal emperors considered field artillery the most important and prestigious type of weapon.[1]


A standing portrait of Muhammad Shah holding a bow and arrow, as well as a huqqa pipe
A standing portrait of Muhammad Shah holding a bow and arrow, as well as a huqqa pipe

Considered especially expert in the use of their weapons, Mughal horsemen armed with bows could shoot three times faster than musketeers.

The standard Mughal kaman (bow) was about 4 feet (1.2 metres) long and generally shaped in a double curve with a grip covered in velvet. Made of horn, wood, bamboo, ivory, and sometimes of steel, two of these steel bows.

Several strings of thick catgut lined the Mughal bow on its concave side (convex when strung) to give it elasticity and force. The belly was made of finely polished buffalo or wild goats' horn in jet black. Glued to this was a thin slip of hard, tough wood. The ends were fashioned to represent snakes' heads with the horn left plain, while the wooden back was decorated with rich intermingled arabesques of gilded birds, flowers or fruit. Indian bows carried by travellers also served for show or amusement. These types were made of buffalo horn in two identically curved pieces curved, each with a wooden tip for receipt of the string. Their other ends were brought together and fastened to a strong piece of wood that served as a centre and was gripped in the left hand. After construction, they were covered with a size made of animal fibres then wrapped in a thin layer of fine tow before the application of a final coat of paint and varnish.

Bow strings were sometimes made of strong threads of white silk laid together to form a cylinder about 1.25 centimetres (0.49 in) in diameter. Whipping of the same material was then bound firmly round for a length of three or four inches at the centre, and to this middle piece large loops of scarlet or other coloured material attached by a complicated knot. These gaudy loops then formed a striking contrast to the white silk.

Bow string holder comprised a broad ring made of precious stone, crystal, jade, ivory, horn, fishbone, gold or iron in accordance with an individual's rank.

Special bows

  • Charkh - A crossbow used by Afghan men from Charkh
  • Takhsh kaman - A type of small bow.
  • Kaman-i-gurohah - A pellet-bow, identical to the modern gulel, used by boys to scare birds away from ripening crops.
  • Gobhan are Slings such as these were brought by the villagers who assembled in 1710 to aid in the defence of Jalalabad town against the Sikhs led by Banda Singh Bahadur.
  • Kamthah' - The long bow of the Bhils of Central India. This group held the bow with their feet, drawing the string (chillah) with the hands and able to shoot with enough power for their arrow to penetrate elephant's hide. The principal weapon of the Bhils was the kampti or bamboo bow, with a string made of a thin strip from the elastic bark of the bamboo. Bhils carried sixty barbed arrows each a yard long in their quiver, those intended for striking fish having heads which came off the shaft on striking the fish. A long line connected the head and the shaft, so that the shaft remained on the water's surface as a float.
  • Nawak' - A pipe through which an arrow was shot, the narak was used for shooting birds. This was either a cross-bow, or formed in some way as part of an ordinary bow. It was not a blow-pipe like those used by the Malays for their poisoned arrows. Specimens of the pipe are 6.6 to 7.6 feet (2.0 to 2.3 m) long and use foot-long arrows.
  • Tufak-i-dahan - A blow-pipe used as a tube for shooting clay balls by force of the breath.

Arrows were of two types: those in common use relied on reeds for their fabrication and used against tigers had wooden shafts. Reed-based arrows used resin to attach the head while those of wood had a hole bored into their shaft into which a red-hot head was forced. Some arrows in the India Museum are 2.4 feet (0.73 m) long; one example, obtained at Lucknow in 1857, extended to 6 feet (1.8 metres) and would have required the use of a larger than average bow. Feathers used for arrows were frequently mixed black and white (ablaq) while the arrowhead was ordinarily of steel although the Bhils used bone.


Officer of the Mughal Army, c.1585 (colour litho)
Officer of the Mughal Army with large Matchlock

Known as the tufang, Mughal Emperor Akbar introduced many improvements in the manufacture of the matchlock.[2] Nevertheless, up to the middle of the 18th century the weapon was looked on with less favour than the bow and arrow. The matchlock was left chiefly to the infantry, who occupied a much inferior position to that of the cavalry in the opinion of Mughul commanders. It was not until the middle of the 18th century, when the way had been shown by the French and the English, that efforts were made to improve the arms and discipline of the foot soldier.

The barrels of Akbar's matchlocks were of two lengths: 66 inches (1,700 mm) and 41 inches (1,000 mm). They were made of rolled strips of steel with the two edges welded together. In the Deccan Plateau the introduction of the flintlock weapon, owing to intercourse with the French and English, may have been somewhat earlier.

Matchlock barrels, covered with elaborate damascened work, had their stocks adorned with embossed metal work or with various designs either in lacquer, paint, or inlays of different materials. The stocks were at times decorated with embossed and engraved mounts in gold, or the butt had an ivory or ebony cap. The barrel was generally attached to the stock by broad bands of metal or by wire made of steel, brass, silver or gold. The broad bands were sometimes of perforated design and chased. The stocks were of two designs, the first narrow, slightly sloped, and of the same width throughout and the second sharply curved and narrow at the grip, expanding to some breadth at the butt. When not in use, matchlocks were kept and carried about in covers made of scarlet or green.

The set consisted of a powder flask, bullet pouches, priming horn (singra), matchcord, flint and steel with the whole ensemble attached to a belt often made of velvet embroidered in gold. The receptacles which contained powder and musket balls were unwieldy, and as the Mughal troops never used cartridges for their pieces, they were slow to load. Some soldiers carried more than twenty yards of match about their person, similar in appearance to a large ball of pack-thread.

Special type of guns

  • Cailletoque - A strange very long and heavy matchlock. This musket was often carried under the arm.
  • Jazail or Jazair - A wall-piece or swivel gun falling somewhere between a firearm as carried by combatants and a piece of artillery and having features of both.
  • Ghor-dahan was a kind of jazail. The allusion in the name seems to be to the everted or widened mouth of the barrel.


The pistols were called as tamanchah. The pistol was in use in India, to some extent at any rate, early in the 18th century. For instance, it was with a shot from a pistol that in October 1720 a young Sayyad, related to Husain Ali Khan, killed that nobleman's assassin. The pistol was confined to the higher ranks of the nobles, very few soldiers having European pistols and tabanchah.

  • Sherbachah - This musketoon or blunderbuss seems to have been of a still later introduction than the pistol. Probably the weapon came into India with Nadir Shah's army (1738) or that of Ahmad Shah, Abdali, (1748—1761). In the last quarter of the 18th century there was a regiment of Persian horse in the Lucknow service known as the Sher-bachah.


Bullocks dragging siege-guns up hill during the attack on Ranthambhor Fort
Bullocks dragging siege-guns up hill during Akbar's attack on Ranthambhor Fort[3]

The Mughal military employed a broad array of gunpowder weapons larger than personal firearms, from rockets and mobile guns to an enormous cannon, over 14 feet (4.3 m) long, once described as the "largest piece of ordnance in the world."[4] This array of weapons was divided into heavy and light artillery.[5]

Possession of mobile field artillery is seen by some historians as the central military power of the Mughal Empire and distinguished its troops from most of their enemies. A status symbol for the emperor, pieces of artillery would always accompany the Mughal ruler on his journeys through the empire.[1] In battle the Mughals mainly used their artillery to counter hostile war elephants, which made frequent appearances in warfare on the Indian subcontinent. However, although emperor Akbar personally designed gun carriages to improve the accuracy of his cannons, Mughal artillery proved most effective in frightening the other side's elephants on the battlefield. The chaos that ensued in the opposing army's ranks allowed Mughal forces to overcome their enemy.[1] Animal-borne swivel guns became a feature of Mughal warfare with stocks often more than 6.7 feet (2.0 metres) in length, which fired a projectile 3.9 to 4.7 inches (99 to 119 mm) in diameter[2]


1526-First Battle of Panipat-Ibrahim Lodhi and Babur

Mughal battle scene, 16th century.

A Mughal Infantryman

Mughal soldier, 19th century.

Tanding figure of an officer

Mughal officer, 17th century.

Elephants pushing cannons drawn by bullocks

Elephants pushing cannons drawn by bullocks, Kota, mid-18th century.


 This article incorporates text from The army of the Indian Moghuls: its organization and administration, by William Irvine, a publication from 1903 now in the public domain in the United States.

  1. ^ a b c Rothermund, Dietmar (2014). "Akbar 'Der Große'" [Akbar 'The Great']. Damals (in German). Vol. 46 no. 1. pp. 24–29.
  2. ^ a b Richards 1995, p. 288.
  3. ^ Unknown (1590–95). "Bullocks dragging siege-guns up hill during Akbar's attack on Ranthambhor Fort". the Akbarnama.
  4. ^ Irvine (1903): The army of the Indian Moghuls, 113–159.
  5. ^ Gommans JJL. (2002). Mughal Warfare: Indian Frontiers and Highroads to Empire 1500–1700. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415239899.


Army of the Mughal Empire

The Army of the Mughal Empire was the force by which the Mughal emperors established their empire in the 15th century and expanded it to its greatest extent at the beginning of the 18th century. Although its origins, like the Mughals themselves, were in the cavalry-based armies of central Asia, its essential form and structure was established by the empire's third emperor, Akbar.

The army had no regimental structure and the soldiers were not directly recruited by the emperor. Instead, individuals, such as nobles or local leaders, would recruit their own troops, referred to as a mansab, and contribute them to the army.


Muhi-ud-Din Muhammad (Persian: محي الدين محمد‎) (3 November 1618 – 3 March 1707), commonly known by the sobriquet Aurangzeb (Persian: اورنگ‌زیب‎ "Ornament of the Throne") or by his regnal title Alamgir (Persian: عالمگير‎ "Conqueror of the World"), was the sixth Mughal emperor, who reigned for a period of 49 years from 1658 until his death in 1707. Widely considered to be the last effective Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb was also one of the most influential rulers of the 17th century and one of the most powerful and controversial emperors in both history of India and history of Islam.

Described as a military paragon, Aurangzeb was a notable expansionist and an Islamic economist; during his reign, the Mughal Empire reached its greatest extent, ruling over nearly all of the Indian subcontinent. During his lifetime, victories in the south expanded the Mughal Empire to 4 million square kilometres, and he ruled over a population estimated to be over 158 million subjects, with an annual yearly revenue of $450 million (more than ten times that of his contemporary Louis XIV of France), or £38,624,680 (2,879,469,894 rupees) in 1690. Under his reign, India surpassed China to become the world's largest economy and manufacturing power, worth over $90 billion, nearly a quarter of global GDP and more than the entirety of Western Europe.Unlike his predecessors, including his father Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb considered the royal treasury to be held in trust for the citizens, and not as a hereditary private property. He did not enjoy a luxurious life and his personal expenses and constructions of small mosques were covered by his own earnings, which included the sewing of caps and trade of his written copies of the Quran. Aurangzeb never claimed to be a caliph, but a King who is elected as God's guardian and trustee of His money, he has been variously called as a Caliph of The Merciful, Monarch of Islam, and Living Custodian of God. As a memorizer of the Quran, he was one of the few powerful rulers who established Sharia law and Islamic ethics in India.Aurangzeb has been subject to controversy and criticism for his policies that abandoned his predecessors' legacy of pluralism and religious tolerance, citing his introduction of the Jizya tax, destruction of Hindu temples, and the executions of Maratha Kingdom ruler Sambhaji and the ninth Sikh guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. Various historians question the historicity of the claims of his critics, arguing that his destruction of temples has been exaggerated, and noting that he also built temples, paid for the maintenance of temples, employed significantly more Hindus in his imperial bureaucracy than his predecessors did, and opposed bigotry against Hindus and Shia Muslims.Aurangzeb's other criticisms include the prohibition and supervision of behaviour and activities that are forbidden in Islam, such as the bowing to the king, drinking of alcohol, gambling, sexual immorality, music, human drawings, castration, servitude, eunuchs, music, nautch and even the use of narcotic and addictive substances, which have been argued to have violated rights to freedom of enjoyment. The downfall of the Mughal Empire is sometimes thought to have begun near the end of his reign due to his political and religious intolerance.Aurangzeb died by natural causes at his military camp in 1707. His funeral was ascetically modest, and the personal earnings that he left behind were given to charity as per his instructions. His death marks the end of Medieval India, the start of modern Indian history and the domination of European powers in India.

Battle of Pollilur (1780)

The Battle of Pollilur (a.k.a. Pullalur), also known as the Battle of Polilore or Battle of Perambakam, took place on 10 September 1780 at Pollilur near Conjeevaram, the city of Kanchipuram in present-day Tamil Nadu state, India, as part of the Second Anglo-Mysore War. It was waged between two forces commanded by Tipu Sultan of the Kingdom of Mysore, and Lt. Colonel William Baillie of the British East India Company. The army of the East India Company surrendered and suffered a high number of casualties. It was the worst loss the East India Company suffered on the subcontinent until Chillianwala. Benoît de Boigne, a French officer in the service of 6th Regiment of Madras Native Infantry, wrote, "There is not in India an example of a similar defeat".Tipu prevented Lt. Col. Baillie, from joining his detached force, consisting of two companies of European infantry, two batteries of artillery, and five battalions of native infantry, from Guntur, joining Hector Munro at Conjeevaram, while Tipu's father Hyder Ali continued the siege at Arcot. Of the 3853 men under Baillie's command, only 50 European officers and 200 men were taken prisoner after the "general massacre". Baillie was taken to Seringapatam (Srirangapatnam near Mysore in the present-day Karnataka state).

Pullalur was also the site where the king of Badami Chalukya, Pulakesin II fought the Pallava king, Mahendravarman I, in the 7th century.

Battle of Thanesar

Battle of Thanesar, (also known as the Battle of the Ascetics) was fought on the eve of Solar eclipse holy bath fair on 9 April 1567, near Thanesar on the banks of the Sarsawati Ghaggar River in the state of Haryana. While the Mughal Emperor Akbar was on his campaign to subdue the renegade Rajputs, he set up camp at a water Qanat and established camp around that fresh water reservoir in order to properly manage his forces in the nearby regions.

Fathul Mujahidin

Fathul Mujahidin is a military manual that was written by Zainul Abedin Shustari at the instruction of Tipu Sultan, a defacto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, considered a pioneer in the use of rocket artillery. Mysore started to equip their army with rockets in the 1750s and during the Second Anglo–Mysore War (1780–1784) Tipu and his father Haider Ali used this technology against British troops. Tipu Sultan used rockets in battle with the British Army in the 1792 Siege of Srirangapatna, a battle at the end of the Third Anglo-Mysore War.

Tipu distributed copies of his military manual to all of his officers. In the manual he defined 200 men to handle rockets within each of the Mysore cushoons, with 16 to 24 cushoons of infantry. The personnel handling the rockets were trained to define the launch angle to properly affect the curve at which the rocket would land. Tipu also defined in the manual a multiple rocket launcher (much like a musical organ) that would launch up to 10 rockets. Some of the rockets had blades in the front of the bamboo guiding rods, while others were designed as incendiary rockets.

Although not the first use of rockets by Mysore, the 1792 Siege of Srirangapatna reportedly began with showers of as many as 2,000 rockets fired simultaneously.According to Stephen Oliver Fought and John F. Guilmartin, Jr. in Encyclopædia Britannica (2008):

Hyder Ali, prince of Mysore, developed war rockets with an important change: the use of metal cylinders to contain the combustion powder. Although the hammered soft iron he used was crude, the bursting strength of the container of black powder was much higher than the earlier paper construction. Thus a greater internal pressure was possible, with a resultant greater thrust of the propulsive jet. The rocket body was lashed with leather thongs to a long bamboo stick. Range was perhaps up to three-quarters of a mile (more than a kilometre). Although individually these rockets were not accurate, dispersion error became less important when large numbers were fired rapidly in mass attacks. They were particularly effective against cavalry and were hurled into the air, after lighting, or skimmed along the hard dry ground. Hyder Ali's son, Tippu Sultan, continued to develop and expand the use of rocket weapons, reportedly increasing the number of rocket troops from 1,200 to a corps of 5,000. In battles at Seringapatam in 1792 and 1799 these rockets were used with considerable effect against the British.

Hyder Ali

Hyder Ali , Haidarālī (c. 1720 – 7 December 1782) was the Sultan and de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born as Sayyid wal Sharif Hyder Ali Khan, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers. Rising to the post of Dalavayi (commander-in-chief) to Krishnaraja Wodeyar II, he came to dominate the titular monarch and the Mysore government. He became the de facto ruler of Mysore as Sarvadhikari (Chief Minister) by 1761. He offered strong resistance against the military advances of the British East India Company during the First and Second Anglo–Mysore Wars, and he was the innovator of military use of the iron-cased Mysorean rockets. He also significantly developed Mysore's economy.

Though illiterate, Hyder Ali earned an important place in the history of southern India for his administrative acumen and military skills. He concluded an alliance with the French against the British and used the services of French workmen in raising his artillery and arsenal. His rule of Mysore was characterised by frequent warfare with his neighbours and rebellion within his territories. This was not unusual for the time as much of the Indian subcontinent was then in turmoil. He left his eldest son, Tipu Sultan, an extensive kingdom bordered by the Krishna River in the north, the Eastern Ghats in the east and the Arabian Sea in the west.

Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis

Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis was an Ottoman admiral who is best known for commanding the Ottoman naval expedition to Sumatra in Indonesia (1568–1569).


The Mansabdar was a military unit within the administrative system of the Mughal Empire introduced by Akbar. The word mansab is of Arabic origin meaning rank or position. The system, hence, determined the rank of a government official and also other military generals. Every civil and military officer was given a 'mansab' and different which could be increased by ten were used for ranking officers. It also determined the salaries and allowances of officers. The term manasabadar means a person who has a positioning or ranking of a government can give power .

It was a system whereby nobles were granted the rights to hold a jagir, or revenue assignments (not land itself) for services rendered by them, with the direct control of these nobles in the hands of the king. Abu'l Fadl has mentioned 66 grades of mansabdars but in practice there were not more than 33 mansabs. During the early reign of Akbar, the lowest grade was ten and the highest was 12,000. Higher mansabs were given to princes and Rajput rulers who accepted the suzerainty of the emperor.

Mughal Empire

The Mughal Empire (Persian: گورکانیان‎, translit. Gūrkāniyān; Urdu: مغلیہ سلطنت‎, translit. Mughliyah Saltanat) or Mogul Empire was an empire in the Indian subcontinent, founded in 1526. It was established and ruled by the Timurid dynasty, with Turco-Mongol Chagatai roots from Central Asia, claiming direct descent from both Genghis Khan (through his son Chagatai Khan) and Timur, and with significant Indian Rajput and Persian ancestry through marriage alliances; the first two Mughal emperors had both parents of Central Asian ancestry, while successive emperors were of predominantly Persian and some Rajput ancestry. The dynasty was Indo-Persian in culture, combining Persianate culture with local Indian cultural influences visible in its court culture and administrative customs.The beginning of the empire is conventionally dated to the victory by its founder Babur over Ibrahim Lodi, the last ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, in the First Battle of Panipat (1526). During the reign of Humayun, the successor of Babur, the empire was briefly interrupted by the Sur Empire established by Sher Shah Suri. The "classic period" of the Mughal Empire began in 1556, with the ascension of Akbar to the throne. Some Rajput kingdoms continued to pose a significant threat to the Mughal dominance of northwestern India, but most of them were subdued by Akbar. All Mughal emperors were Muslims; Akbar, however, propounded a syncretic religion in the latter part of his life called Dīn-i Ilāhī, as recorded in historical books like Ain-i-Akbari and Dabistān-i Mazāhib. The Mughal Empire did not try to intervene in native societies during most of its existence, rather co-opting and pacifying them through concilliatory administrative practices and a syncretic, inclusive ruling elite, leading to more systematic, centralized and uniform rule. Traditional and newly coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, the Pashtuns, the Hindu Jats and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule which, through collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition and military experience.Internal dissatisfaction arose due to the weakness of the empire's administrative and economic systems, leading to its break-up and declarations of independence of its former provinces by the Nawab of Bengal, the Nawab of Awadh, the Nizam of Hyderabad and other small states. In 1739, the Mughals were crushingly defeated in the Battle of Karnal by the forces of Nader Shah, the founder of the Afsharid dynasty in Persia, and Delhi was sacked and looted, drastically accelerating their decline. By the mid-18th century, the Marathas had routed Mughal armies and won over several Mughal provinces from the Punjab to Bengal. During the following century Mughal power had become severely limited, and the last emperor, Bahadur Shah II, had authority over only the city of Shahjahanabad. Bahadur issued a firman supporting the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Consequent to the rebellion's defeat he was tried by the British East India Company for treason, imprisoned, and exiled to Rangoon. The last remnants of the empire were formally taken over by the British, and the British Parliament passed the Government of India Act 1858 to enable the Crown formally to displace the rights of the East India Company and assume direct control of India in the form of the new British Raj.

At its height, the Mughal Empire stretched from Kabul, Afghanistan in the west to Arakan, Myanmar in the east, and from Kashmir in the north to the Deccan Plateau in the south, extending over nearly all of the Indian subcontinent. It was the third largest empire in the Indian subcontinent (behind the Maurya Empire and the British Raj), spanning approximately four million square kilometers at its zenith, 122% of the size of the modern Republic of India. The maximum expansion was reached during the reign of Aurangzeb, who ruled over more than 150 million subjects, nearly 25% of the world's population at the time. The Mughal Empire also ushered in a period of proto-industrialization, and around the 17th century, Mughal India became the world's largest economic and manufacturing power, responsible for 25% of global industrial output until the 18th century. The Mughal Empire is considered "India's last golden age" and one of the three Islamic Gunpowder Empires (along with the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Iran). The reign of Shah Jahan (1628–1658) represented the height of Mughal architecture, with famous monuments such as the Taj Mahal, Moti Masjid, Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Lahore Fort being constructed during his reign.

Munnawar Khan

Munnawar Khan Mughal Admiral born in Agra (died. 1671 AD) of Mughal descent, he entered service during the rule of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, during the conquest of Golconda, he first started his naval training by protecting Mughal supply routes in narrow and difficult rivers, he was also promoted as the chief admiral in the Bay of Bengal, he visited Janjira on several occasions. Munnawar Khan was sent on a campaign in the Brahmaputra River against the Ahoms in Assam along with the talented Muhammad Saleh Kamboh, they built trade cog sized Dhows some with artillery, archers and musketeers under five Sardars (admirals), during the Battle of Saraighat. But the Mughal fleet was outnumbered by 3300 Ahom war-canoes. Munnawar Khan was killed by a deadly arrow which struck his backbone, throwing the Mughals out of gear. They suffered the loss of three top-ranking Amirs, and another 4000 dead on that fatal day in 1671.

However, Mughal Admiral Muhammad Saleh Kamboh survived and wrote an account on that tragic encounter against the Ahoms, he noted:

Although much weaker, the Ahom army defeated the Mughal army by brilliant uses of the terrain, clever diplomatic negotiations to buy time, guerrilla tactics, psychological warfare, military intelligence and by exploiting the sole weakness of the Mughal forces—its navy.

Ottoman weapons

Military forces of the Ottoman Empire used a variety of weapons throughout the centuries. The armoury in Topkapı Palace has a large collection of which it shows select items.


The pesh-kabz or peshkabz (Persian: پیش قبض‎, Hindi: पेश क़ब्ज़) is a type of Indo-Persian knife designed to penetrate mail armour and other types of armor. The word is also spelled pesh-quabz or pish-ghabz and means "fore-grip" in the Persian language; it was borrowed into the Hindustani language. Originally created during Safavid Persia, it became widespread in Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent during Mughal period.

Siege of Bijapur

The Siege of Bijapur began in March 1685 and ended in September 1686 with a Mughal victory. The siege began when the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb dispatched his son Muhammad Azam Shah with a force of nearly 50,000 men to capture Bijapur Fort and defeat Sikandar Adil Shah, the then ruler of Bijapur who refused to be a vassal of the Mughal Empire. The Siege of Bijapur was among the longest military engagements by the Mughals, lasting more than 15 months until the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb personally arrived to organize a victory.


The talwar (pronounced [t̪əlʋaːr]), also spelled talwaar and tulwar, is a type of curved sword or sabre from the Indian subcontinent.

Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan (born Sultan Fateh Ali Sahab Tipu, 20 November 1750 – 4 May 1799), also known as the Tipu Sahab or Tiger of Mysore was a ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore and India's first freedom fighter. He was the eldest son of Sultan Hyder Ali of Mysore. Tipu Sultan introduced a number of administrative innovations during his rule, including his coinage, a new Mauludi lunisolar calendar, and a new land revenue system which initiated the growth of the Mysore silk industry. He expanded the iron-cased Mysorean rockets and commissioned the military manual Fathul Mujahidin, and is considered a pioneer in the use of rocket artillery. He deployed the rockets against advances of British forces and their allies during the Anglo-Mysore Wars, including the Battle of Pollilur and Siege of Seringapatam. He also embarked on an ambitious economic development program that established Mysore as a major economic power, with some of the world's highest real wages and living standards in the late 18th century.Napoleon Bonaparte, the French commander-in-chief, sought an alliance with Tipu Sultan. Both Tipu Sultan and his father used their French-trained army in alliance with the French in their struggle with the British, and in Mysore's struggles with other surrounding powers, against the Marathas, Sira, and rulers of Malabar, Kodagu, Bednore, Carnatic, and Travancore. Napoleon learned a lot about Quran and Islam from Tipu Sultan.

Tipu's father, Hyder Ali, rose to power capturing Mysore, and Tipu succeeded him as ruler of Mysore upon his father's death in 1782. He won important victories against the British in the Second Anglo-Mysore War and negotiated the 1784 Treaty of Mangalore with them after his father died from cancer in December 1782 during the Second Anglo-Mysore War.

Tipu's conflicts with his neighbours included the Maratha–Mysore War which ended with the signing the Treaty of Gajendragad The treaty required that Tipu Sultan pay 4.8 million rupees as a one time war cost to the Marathas, and an annual tribute of 1.2 million rupees in addition to returning all the territory captured by Hyder Ali.Tipu remained an implacable enemy of the British East India Company, sparking conflict with his attack on British-allied Travancore in 1789. In the Third Anglo-Mysore War, he was forced into the Treaty of Seringapatam, losing a number of previously conquered territories, including Malabar and Mangalore. He sent emissaries to foreign states, including the Ottoman Empire, Afghanistan, and France, in an attempt to rally opposition to the British.

In the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, the imperial forces of the British East India Company were supported by the Nizam of Hyderabad and Marathas. They defeated Tipu, and he was killed on 4 May 1799 while defending his fort of Srirangapatna.

He was one of the few South Indian kings to provide stiff resistance to British imperialism, along with his father Hyder Ali. He is applauded as a ruler who fought against British colonialism.Tipu has been a controversial figure and criticized for his repression of Hindus and Christians. Various sources describe the massacres, imprisonment, forced conversion, and circumcision of Hindus (Kodavas of Coorg and Nairs of Malabar) and Christians (Catholics of Mangalore) and the destruction of churches and temples which are cited as evidence for his religious intolerance. Other sources mention the appointment of Hindu officers in his administration and his endowments to Hindu temples, which are cited as evidence for his religious tolerance.

Battles andconflicts
See also
Successor states

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