The Battle of Purandar and the Purandar Treaty

history Jul 10, 2017


After visiting Fort Purandar, I spent a lot of effort looking for information on the history of the fort. The most reliable reference I found was the book:

History of Aurangzib - based on original sources by Sir Jadunath Sarkar, Vol 4 (ref)

This book contains a detailed account of the battle of Purandar and the Purandar Treaty. For I could not find any other source of this information in such detail, I thought it would be valuable to reproduce it for reference.

To the best of my knowledge, for this manuscript was published in 1929, it is now in public domain. In case this assumption is not correct, please write a comment below and I will take necessary action.

The text below is largely copied from various sections of the book. The first two sections are highly abridged for providing a background to the battle. The latter sections are largely reproduced with some sections skipped and minor spelling and grammatical changes.

Shivaji takes control of Northern Konkan

Shivaji's portrait (the 1680s) housed in the British Museum (ref)

The Mughals ruled most of the northern India from their headquarters in Delhi. Emperor Shah Jahan presided over the Mughal kingdom and his son Aurangzeb was in charge of the Southern Deccan region where he had to deal with the two threats of the Bijapur kingdom of Adil Shah and the Maratha leader Shivaji. Aurangzeb managed to contain both threats effectively till the year 1657 when Shah Jahan fell ill and his eldest son Dara Shukoh was about to take over the throne. Aurangzeb and his younger brother Murad collaborated to march northwards to overthrow Dara.

It was during this absence of Aurangzeb from the Deccan that Shivaji grabbed the opportunity and captured several forts and expanded his control over the region. At first to the north, he captured Thane, Kalyan, and Bhivandi. He then captured Mahuli Fort. By the year 1659 he had extended his dominions in the plains to the east of the Sayhadris - or Desh - to the southern limit of the Satara district, and in the Konkan from Mahuli to Mahad. On 14th May 1657, Shivaji's first son Sambhaji was born in Purandar Fort.

But Aurangzeb's absence was not ignored by the Bijapur kingdom either. They took that opportunity to send their general Afzal Khan (Abdullah Bhatari) to fight Shivaji with a cavalry of 10,000. Afzal Khan feared that Shivaji had a much larger armed force and hence decided to invite Shivaji to negotiate a truce. Shivaji agreed but chose the venue that was close to Pratapgad. It was during this meeting that the much taller Afzal Khan held the shorter Shivaji in an embrace and attempted to kill Shivaji him with his sword.

However, Shivaji had anticipated this and had worn an iron armor under his outer garments and an iron helmet under his turban. And concealed in Shivaji's left hand was a set of steel claws (vaghnakh) fastened to his fingers by a pair of rings, and up his right sleeve lay hidden a thin sharp dagger called the Scorpion (bichwa). Shivaji passed his left arm around the Khan's waist and tore his bowels open with the steel claws. Then with his right hand, he drove the bichwa into Afzal's side.

Shivaji used steel claws to disembowel the Bijapuri general Afzal Khan after they met for a negotiation (photo)

This led to Shivaji gaining victory over the Bijapuri attack and he amassed a lot of resources from the attacking army. Using this success they drove their campaign southwards and captured the fort of Panhala.

The defeat of Shaista Khan and the attack on Surat

Aurangzeb had meanwhile succeeded in acceding to the throne and he was coronated in July 1659. He immediately posted Shaista Khan, his trusted lieutenant as the viceroy of Deccan to contain and reverse the damage that Shivaji had done.

Representation of: Nawab Sháyista Khán (photo)

In early 1660, Shaista Khan opened the campaign against Shivaji from the north and arranged for an attack by the Bijapur army from the south. The Marathas at first retreated and Shaista Khan managed to come unopposed till Saswad, the town just to the north of Fort Purandar. When he attempted to attack Fort Purandar, the Marathas fought back but could not repel the advances of the Mughals. Shaista Khan returned to Saswad and took over Pune and marched on to take over Fort Chakan.

After a break for monsoon when armies generally did not engage in warfare, Shaista Khan continued his attacks and managed to keep control over extreme northern Konkan for about two years. Shaista Khan was settled in Pune with his harem.

On Sunday, 5th April 1663 when Shivaji and 400 of his bravest and expert soldiers entered the camp at night. It was the sixth day of Ramzan, the month of fasting. The Maratha party arrived at Khan's quarters around midnight and entered through the kitchen and started chipping away a brick wall that separated the kitchen from the harem. Shivaji and his lieutenant Chimnaji Bapuji entered through a hole they made in the brick wall and were followed by 200 men. Hacking away at the maze of canvas and screen walls they reached the Khan's bedroom and attacked him managing to severe one of his thumbs. But then the lamps in the room were put out by one wise woman, and in the darkness, the Khan escaped with the help of his slave girls.

Abdul Fath, a son of Shaista Khan was one of the first to rush to the rescue of his father but the brave youth was slain after he struck down two or three Marathas. The night attack was a complete success! The Mughal viceroy, covered with shame and guilt, retired to Aurangabad for greater safety. He was later sent away to Bengal as a punitive deportation by Aurangzeb and Prince Muazzam was appointed to Deccan in his place.

It was during this change in the governors that Shivaji did a second even more audacious feat. From the 6th to the 10th of January 1664 he looted the city of Surat, the richest port on the west coast. The fort of Surat stood on the south bank of the Tapti, 12 miles from the coast. But the city was unprotected and its wealth boundless. After plundering the city, the Marathas departed on the 10th with a considerable treasure.

Jai Singh sent against Shivaji

The failure of Shaista Khan and the sack of Surat caused bitter mortification to Aurangzeb and his Court, and he decided to send his ablest Hindu and Muhammadan generals to the Deccan. Among the promotions and transfers on his birthday, 30th September 1664, the Emperor appointed Mirza Rajah Jai Singh to put down Shivaji. Under him were deputed Dilir Khan, Daud Khan Qureshi, Rajah Rai Singh Sisodia, Ihtisham Khan Shaikhzada, Qubad Khan, Rajah Sujan Singh Bundela, Kirat Singh (a son of Jai Singh), Mulla Yahia Nawaiyat (a Bijapuri noble who had come over to the Mughals), and many other officers, with 14,000 troopers.

After making the necessary preparations, and collecting his subordinates, Jai Singh left Upper India and crossed the Narmada at Handia on 9th January 1665. He pushed rapidly on, never wasting a day by halting, except when strong necessity compelled him, arrived at Pune on 3rd March and took over charge from Maharajah Jaswant Singh, who immediately afterward (7th) started for Delhi, as commanded by the Emperor.

Maharaja Jai Singh of Amber and Maharaja Gaj Singh of Marwar - Folio from the Amber Album, circa 1630 (ref)

Jai Singh’s career had been one of undimmed brilliance from the day when he, an orphan of twelve, had received his first appointment in the Mughal army (1617). Since then he had fought under the imperial banner in every part of the empire, from Balkh in Central Asia to Bijapur in the Deccan, from Qandahar in the west to Mungir in the east.

Wherever there was a difficult or delicate work to be done, the Emperor had only to turn to Jai Singh. A man of infinite tact and patience, an adept in the ceremonious courtesy of the Muslims, a master of Turki and Persian, besides Urdu and the Rajput dialect, he was an ideal leader of the composite army of Afghans and Turks, Rajputs and Hindustanis, that followed the crescent banner of the sovereign of Delhi.

Age and experience had cooled the impetuous ardor of his youth, he had once led a forlorn hope, at the storming of Mau, and he now employed stratagem in preference to force, and bribe in preference to war. His foresight and political cunning, his smoothness of tongue and cool calculating policy, were in striking contrast with the impulsive generosity, reckless daring, blunt straightforwardness, and impolitic chivalry which we are apt to associate with the Rajput character.

And now this veteran of a hundred fights donned his armor at the age of sixty to crush a petty chieftain, who in less than ten years had grown great enough to baffle all the resources of Bijapur and to challenge the prestige of the empire of Delhi.

Jai Singh’s Preparations and Plan of Campaign

In view of his two enemies, Jai Singh very wisely decided to take up a position between both, i.e., in the eastern part of Shivaji’s dominion, whence he could also easily threaten Bijapur, instead of pushing the war into the Western Ghats or the Konkan plain further west. He knew that if he could strike fatally at the heart of the Maratha kingdom, the distant limbs Would drop down of themselves.

Portrait. Ali Aadil Sháh II of Bijapur

Secondly, he played skillfully upon the hopes and fears of the Sultan of Bijapur, holding forth the chance of reduction of tribute and removal of the Emperor’s displeasure, if Adil Shah aided the Mughals and thus clearly proved his want of connection with Shivaji. Thirdly, he arranged to combine against Shivaji all his enemies and distract his attentions by attacks from all possible quarters. As early as January he had sent two Europeans named Francisco de Mello and Diogo de Mello to the western coast with letters to the chief of the Portuguese settlement
of Goa inviting him to help the imperialists by attacking Shivaji, who had collected a fleet of his own.

In January he had sent his Brahmin emissaries to various Deccani chieftains, to stir them up against Shivaji. Everyone who bore a grudge to Shivaji or envied the sudden rise of the Bhonslés had been approached by the Mughal general’s spies. Money and promises of high rank in the Mughal service were lavishly employed on Shivaji’s officers to corrupt their loyalty, and with some success.

Above all, Jai Singh concentrated all authority in his own hands, as an indispensable condition of success in war. Jai Singh rightly insisted that in war there should be only one head and that the ‘man on the spot’ should be given full authority, or else the work would suffer. The Emperor yielded to the argument and Jai Singh gained absolute civil and military authority alike. The commandants of the Mughal forts at Ahmadnagar and Parenda were also placed under his orders.

The Campaign Opened, 1665.

Going southwards from Junnar (which is 55 miles west of Ahmadnagar) and crossing the old Mughal frontier, we have first the valley of the Indrayani, overlooked by the hill-forts of Lohgarh and Tikona in the west and Chakan in the center. Next, comes the valley of the Bhima, in which Pune stands. Further south, across a long range, lies the valley of the slender brook Karha, with the cities of Saswad and Supa in the plain and the forts of Singhgarh on the western hills and Purandar on its southern rocky barrier. Beyond these hills lies the valley of the Nira, with the town of Shirwal on its bank and the forts of Rajgarh and Torna in the west and Rohira in the southwest.

Pune is almost the same distance (about 28 miles) from Lohgarh in the northwest and Singhgarh in the south. Saswad was admirably situated for attacking Purandar (6 miles south of it), Singhgarh and Rajgarh (18 and 24 miles in the west), and Pune (18 miles northwest of it) while the widening plain east of it enabled cavalry to make an easy and rapid dash into Bijapur territory. or bar the path of reinforcements coming from that side. Even now five main roads meet at Saswad.

Jai Singh, therefore, with a true general’s eye for the ground, made Saswad his base. Pune was strongly garrisoned. An outpost was established opposite Lohgarh to observe and blockade it and guard the road leading north to the Mughal frontier near Junnar. A flying column was organized to ravage the Maratha villages embosomed among the hills to the west and southwest of Saswad. On his eastern side, he was quite secure from attack, from the nature of the ground, the position of Saswad close to the boundary line between Shivaji’s dominion and Bijapur, and the existence of a Mughal advanced post at Supa.

After arriving at Pune (3rd March), Jai Singh spent some days in settling the country and establishing outposts, which he regarded as the “first of the pillars supporting the work of this expedition.”

Jai Singh marched out of Pune on 14th March. Arriving on the 29th at a place one day’s march short of Saswad, he sent on Dilir Khan with the vanguard and the artillery to cross the pass lying in the way, advance four miles up the hill, and then halt.

Next day the Rajah crossed the hill and pushed on to Dilir Khan’s camp, leaving Daud Khan below the pass to see to the safe transit of the army up to noon. The rearguard was to bring up the stragglers.

A portrait representing Dilir Khan Daudzai (ref)

On this very morning (30th March) Dilir Khan went with the Van to select a proper place for an encampment. In this reconnaissance, he approached Fort Purandar. A large body of Maratha Musketeers, who occupied an enclosure in the waist of the hill called vadi in the local language, now came down and attacked the imperialists, who, however, routed them and captured the vadi. The houses there were burnt and the Mughal Van very boldly improved their victory by at once pushing on as near Purandar as they could and entrenching just beyond the fire of the fort guns.

Jai Singh on hearing of it, at once sent up 3,000 of the troops of his command under Rai Singh Rathor, Kirat Singh, Qubad Khan, Mitraesn, Indraman Bundela and other officers at a gallop. He also despatched an urgent order to Band Khan to come to him, take charge of the camp, and enable the Rajah to go to supervise the siege. But Daud Khan, on hearing the news, had hastened to join Dilir Khan, without coming to Jai Singh.

The day was far spent; there was no high officer left to guard the camp, and so Jai Singh had to stay there perforce. He had already sent forward a party of pioneers and water-carriers, shot, powder, gun munitions, and entrenching tools for the use of Dilir Khan.

Next morning (31st March), Jai Singh carefully escorted the baggage to a permanent camp serving as a base, between Saswad and Purandar, only 4 miles from the latter. Then he reconnoitered the fort from the position of Daud Khan and Kirat Singh. It was not a single fort, but a fortified mass of hills; hence to surround and closely blockade it was impossible.

Purandar Besieged

A Google Earth image showing Purandar and Vajragad forts

Six miles south of Saswad rises the stupendous mountain mass of Purandar, the highest point of which towers 4,564 feet above sea-level and more than 2,500 feet above the plain at its foot. It is really a double fort, with an independent and very strong sister enclosure, named Vajragarh, on a ridge running out east of it. Purandar consists of an upper fort or citadel with precipitous sides all around and a lower fort or machi, 300 feet or more below it. The latter is a ledge running round the waist of the hill with many a winding, the entire circuit being four miles. On the north side, the ledge widens out into a broad terrace, containing the barracks and offices of the garrison.

This terrace is bounded on the east by the high spur named Bhairav Khind, which starts from the base of the steep overhanging north-eastern tower (called Khad-kala or the Skyscraper) of the upper fort, and runs for about a mile eastwards in a narrow ridge, ending in a small tableland (3,618 feet above sea-level), crowned with the fort of Rudramal (now called Vajragarh).

This Vajargarh commands the machi or lower fort of Purandar on its northern and most important face, as the garrison has to live here. It was by seizing Vajragarh that Jai Singh in 1665 and the English in 1817 made Purandar untenable for the Marathas. Jai Singh, like a true general, decided to attack Vajragarh first.

Dilir Khan with his nephews and Afghan troops, Hari Bhan and Udai Bhan Gaur, entrenched between Purandar and Rudramal. In front of him was the chief of the artillery, Turktaz Khan, and the party sent by Jai Singh. Kirat Singh with the 3,000 troopers of the Rajah and a few other mansabdars made a stockade opposite the north gate of Purandar. On the right were the trenches of Rajah Narsingh Gaur, Karn Rathor, Jagat Singh of Narwar, and Sayyid Maqbul Alam. Behind Purandar and facing its postern gate (Khirki) was the position of Daud Khan, Rajah Rai Singh Rathor, Md. Salih Tarkhan, Ram Singh [Hada ?], Sher Singh Rathor, Raj Singh Gaur and others.

To the right of this position was posted Rasul Beg Rozbhani and his Rozbhani followers. Opposite Rudramal, Chaturbhuj Chauhan with a party of Dilir Khan’s followers entrenched, and behind these Mitrasen, Indraman Bundela and some other officers.

Jai Singh removed his quarters from the camp to the foot of the hill to be nearer the besieged fort, while the soldiers pitched their tents along the hillside. He visited the trenches every day, encouraged his men, and supervised the progress of the siege. At first, all his efforts were directed to dragging guns to the top of the steep and difficult hill. It took three days to raise a gun, named Abdullah Khan, and mount it opposite Rudramal. In 3 and a half days more a second gun, named Fath Lashkar was taken there. A third, named Haheli, was painfully approaching the summit. The incessant bombardment of the Mughals demolished the bases of the tower in front, and pioneers were sent to its foot to dig a hole underneath.

Capture of Vajragarh

A view of Vajragad from Purandar Fort

At midnight, 13th April, Dilir Khan’s division stormed the tower and drove the enemy into an enclosure behind it, leaving on the field seven slain and four wounded. Jai Singh reinforced Dilir Khan with a party of his own Rajputs. Next day, the victorious Mughals pushed on to the inner enclosure and tried to capture it by escalade. The garrison, oppressed by their fire, capitulated in the evening (14th April), left the fort, and were disarmed. But Jai Singh very wisely allowed them to return home in order to tempt the garrison of Purandar, by this example of leniency, to surrender instead of fighting to the last. The imperialists lost 80 killed and 109 wounded, as the price of this success.

The possession of Vajragarh was the stepping-stone to the capture of Purandar, or in Jai Singh’s own language, “the key that would unlock Purandar.” Dilir Khan now turned to the latter fort, while Jai Singh organized raids into the Maratha country, in order, as he wrote to the Emperor, to convince Shivaji and the Sultan of Bijapur that the Mughal army was large enough to be able to spare troops from the siege, and also to prevent any concentration of forces around Shivaji by creating constant terror and disturbance in various parts of his kingdom.

A cobweb with raindrops at Purandar Fort

There was also a secret reason for thus sending away some generals from the siege camp. He had some disloyal officers under him, whose presence was worse than useless. Daud Khan Qureshi was posted to watch the postern gate (Khirki) of the fort; but after a few days, it became known that a party of Marathas had entered the fort by that gate, without being opposed by him. Dilir Khan severely rebuked Daud Khan for his failure, and a bitter quarrel broke out between the two. Jai Singh then transferred Daud Khan to his own division and posted Purdil Khan and Subh-Karn Bundela opposite the postern.

But matters did not improve: “Subh-Karn did not at all give his heart to the work, but preferred above everything else to favor Shiva !” Daud Khan, too, was a source of mischief in his new station. He constantly declared that the capture of Purandar was beyond the range of possibility and that the siege was a waste of men and money. His intention in talking in this way was, as Jai Singh detected, to discourage the commander-in-chief from heartily supporting the siege-operations so that Dilir Khan would be left to bear the burden of the fight unaided and would have to retire with failure and disgrace. Jai Singh removed the mischief-maker from the camp by creating an independent flying column and sending him at its head, to make raids daily, or on alternate days, in different places in the district.

Maratha Efforts to Raise the Siege

Meantime the Maratha captains had not been idle but tried hard to harass the Mughals and raise the siege. Early in April, Netaji Palkar, Shivaji’s kinsman, and cavalry leader made a dash on Parenda, but a Mughal detachment from Supa hastened in pursuit, and the Maratha host melted away at the news and offered no fight. Late in May, Qutb-ud-din Khan had to advance up to Fort Urouda, to break up a gathering of the enemy of which he had got news.

But the Marathas did not invariably fail. As Jai Singh admits, “sometimes we have failed to prevent the enemy from accomplishing their hostile designs.” Khafi Khan is more explicit: “The surprises of the enemy, their gallant successes, attacks on dark nights, blocking of roads and difficult passes, and burning of jungles, made it very hard for the imperialists to move about. The Mughals lost many men and beasts.”

View of Vajragad from a bastion of Purandar Fort

After the capture of Vajragarh in the middle of April, Dilir Khan advanced along the connecting ridge and laid siege to the machi or lower fort of Purandar. His trenches approached the tower of Khad-kala at the north-eastern angle of the fort. “At first, the garrison made sorties to drive back the besiegers. One night they attacked Kirat Singh, who was quite prepared and repulsed them with slaughter. Another attack was mags; in a dark night on the trenches of Rasul Beg Rozbhani: he was caught napping, the guns in his trenches were spiked, and 15 of his soldiers wounded. But reinforcements, attracted by the din of battle, poured in from the neighboring trenches, and the enemy was repulsed with loss. Next day there was a sharp skirmish over the removal of the corpses, in which the Mughals lost 8 men.

But Dilir Khan sat down before Purandar like grim Death, his men “doing in a day what could not be achieved elsewhere in a month.”

Outworks of Purandar Stormed

The Maha Darwaja or main entrance of Purandar Fort

When, in the course of May, the Mughal trenches reached the foot of the two White Towers, which had been dismantled by bombardment, the garrison began to throw down lighted naphtha oil, leather bags full of gunpowder, bombs and heavy stones which effectually stopped the further advance of the Mughals. Jai Singh ordered a high: wooden platform of logs and planks to be made, on which guns were to be mounted and parties of gunners and musketeers placed, to command the enemy’s position. His first two attempts were frustrated: on the first occasion, the upright posts had been just set up, on the second the cross-pieces had been joined, when the enemy burnt them down.

On 30th May, however, the parts of the third tower were joined together in the rear and sent to the appointed place in front of the White Tower, in charge of Rup Singh Rathor and Giridhar Purohit, with orders to set up a defensive wall in front first of all, and then plant the two rows of posts. Next, some Rajput marksmen were to climb to the top and keep the enemy down with their bows and matchlocks while the tower was being completed. This was done two hours before sunset.

Then the general’s hands were forced by the impetuosity of his men. Before artillery was mounted on the wooden tower and the enemy opposite crushed, with only two hours of daylight remaining, some Ruhela soldiers, without informing Dilir Khan, tried to storm the White Tower. The enemy crowded on the wall in large numbers and checked them. But reinforcements rapidly arrived: the men of the trenches on both hands sealed the wall with ladders, and ran towards the enemy. Jai Singh’s officer Bhupat Singh Puar, a commander of 500, was slain on the right side of the smaller White Tower, with several other Rajputs. On the left side, Balkrishna Sakhawat and some Afghans of Dilir Khan carried on the fight. Just then the line of supports, under Achal Singh and Kirat Singh, arrived on the scene of battle from their shelter behind the wooden structure.

After an obstinate struggle at close quarters, the Marathas lost heavily, retreated to behind the Black Tower and began to gall the Mughals by discharging bombs, kettles full of gunpowder, rockets, stones etc. Finding further advance impossible, Jai Singh was contented with the capture of the three bastions made that day and ordered his men to dig trenches exactly where they had reached and to hold the White Tower, without attempting to push on to the Black Tower.

View from one of the bastions on Purandar Fort

In the course of the next two days, the wooden structure was completed and two small pieces of cannon were mounted on it. The enemy, unable to reply to this fire from a superior height, evacuated the Black Tower and another bastion near it and took refuge in a stockade adjoining the wall of the tower. But they could not show their heads. The stockade was untenable, and they retired to the trenches behind it. Thus five towers and one stockade of the lower fort fell into the hands of the Mughals.

Purandar now seemed doomed. And, as if to complete its destruction, the Emperor had at J ai Singh’s request dispatched a train of very heavy artillery which was now on the way to the fort. The garrison had suffered heavy casualties during two months of incessant fighting. Early in the siege, they had lost their gallant commandant Murar Baji Prabhu.

A statue of Murar Baji Prabhu Deshpande within Purandar Fort

Taking seven hundred select men with himself, Murar Baji made a sortie on Dilir Khan, who was trying to climb the hill with 5,000 Afghans and some more troops of other races. The Marathas dashed forward, mingled with the enemy on all sides, and there was severe fighting at close quarters. Murar Baji with his Mavles slew 500 Pathans besides many Bahlia infantrymen, and at the head of sixty desperate followers cut his way to Dilir’s camp.

His comrades were slain by the overwhelming body of the Mughals, but Murar Baji rushed straight on towards Dilir. The Khan, in admiration of his matchless courage, called upon him to yield and promised him his life and a high post under him. Murar indignantly refused and was going to strike at Dilir when the latter shot him down with an arrow. Three hundred Mavles fell with him, and the rest retreated to the fort. But the garrison continued the struggle, undismayed by their leader’s fall and saying, “What though one man Murar Baji is dead? We are as brave as he, and we shall fight with the same courage !”

The north facing entrance to Purandar Fort

But at last the steady pressure of Jai Singh bore fruit. Purandar was closely invested, the garrison had been woefully thinned by two months of fighting, and now the capture of five bastions of the lower fort made the stronghold untenable. Its fall was only a question of time. Shivaji found it futile to prolong the resistance. The families of the Maratha officers were sheltered in Purandar, and its capture would mean their captivity and dishonor. He had also failed to prevent the Mughal flying columns from ravaging his country. Failure and ruin stared him in the face wherever he looked.

View of the lake on Purandar Fort. The ruins seen behind were dwellings that are now dilapidated. See the pencil drawing below for comparison.

Pencil drawing of Purandhar Fort by Alexander Nash (fl. 1834-1846) in 1845. This image is from an album of 19 drawings depicting the monuments of Bijapur and the hill forts of Dejouri and Purandhar, made during a Revenue Survey of the Deccan. Nash served with the Bombay Engineers and from 1836 was mainly employed in the Revenue Survey of the Deccan, first as an assistant and from 1841 as Superintendent (ref:Rare Books Society of India)

The Mughal victory of 2nd June and the impending fall of the lower fort decided Shivaji. He resolved to interview Jai Singh and offer fresh terms for peace with the imperialists. Shivaji next demanded and secured from Jai Singh an assurance, confirmed with solemn oaths, that he would be allowed to visit Jai Singh and return home in safety, whether his terms were accepted or not.

Shivaji interviews Jai Singh

Raghunath Ballal, the Maratha envoy, returned to his master on 9th June. On the 1oth he sent word that Shivaji would come next day. On the 11th, at 9 o’clock in the morning, while Jai Singh was holding court in his tent at the foot of Purandar, Raghunath came in and reported that Shivaji had arrived at hand in a pallet: accompanied by six Brahmans only. Jai Singh immediately sent his secretary Udairaj and Ugrasen Kachhwa to meet him on the way and tell him that if he agreed to surrender all his forts he might come, otherwise, he should turn back from the place. Shiva agreed to the terms in general and proceeded forward with the two officers. At the door of the tent, he was welcomed by Jai Singh’s Paymaster and ushered in.

Raja Jai Singh of Amber receiving Shivaji Maharaj a day before concluding the Treaty of Purandar (ref)

The Rajah advanced a few steps, embraced Shivaji, and seated him by his side, while armed Rajputs stood around to guard against any treacherous movement on the part of the slayer of Afzal Khan!

Jai Singh had got up a little scene to conquer any lingering reluctance that Shivaji might still have had. In anticipation of the Maratha chief’s arrival, he had sent word to Dilir Khan and Kirat Singh, whose trenches were the most advanced, to be ready to deliver an assault on Purandar.

After Shivaji had entered, Jai Singh gave the signal, the Mughals attacked and captured the remaining part of the Khadkala defenses. The garrison made a sortie to check them but was driven back with the: loss of 80 killed and many wounded. The fighting could be distinctly seen from the interior of the Rajah’s tent. Shivaji then offered to surrender the fort in order to prevent the useless slaughter of his men.

Treaty of Purandar, 1665.

View from Purandar Fort

Up to midnight, the two sides haggled for the terms of a permanent peace. But Jai Singh knew the strength of his position. Gradually, after much discussion, they came to this agreement:

  1. That 23 of his forts, the lands of which yielded 4 lakhs of hun as annual revenue, should be annexed to the Empire; and
  2. that 12 of his forts, including Rajgarh, with an annual revenue of 1 lakh of hun, should be left to Shiva, on condition of service and loyalty to the imperial throne.”

Shivaji, however, begged to be excused from attending the Emperor’s Court like other nobles and Rajahs, and proposed to send his son, as his representative, with a contingent of 5,000 horse, (to be paid by means of a jagir) for regular attendance and service under the Emperor or the Mughal governor of the Deccan.

In addition to the above terms, Shivaji made another and a conditional engagement with the Mughals: “If lands yielding 4 lakhs of hum, a year in the lowlands of Konkan and 5 lakhs of hun a year in the uplands (Balaghat Bijapuri), are granted to me by the Emperor and I am assured by an imperial farman that the possession of these lands will be confirmed in me after the expected Mughal conquest of Bijapur, then I agree to pay to the Emperor 40 lakhs of hun in 13 yearly instalments.” He was expected to wrest these lands from the Bijapuri officers by means of his own troops.

Here we detect the shrewdness of Jai Singh’s policy in throwing a bone of perpetual contention between Shivaji and the Sultan of Bijapur. As he wrote to the Emperor, “This policy will result in a threefold gain: first, we get 40 lakhs of hun or 2 crores of Rupees; secondly, Shivaji will be alienated from Bijapur; thirdly, the Imperial army will be relieved from the arduous task of campaigning in these two broken and jungle regions, as Shiva will himself undertake the task of expelling the Bijapuri garrisons from them.” In return for it, Shiva also agreed to assist the Mughals in the invasion of Bijapur with 2,000 cavalries of his son Shambhuji’s mansab and 7,000 expert infantry under his own command.

Next day (12th June), according to the agreement, 7,000 men and women, (of whom 4,000 were combatants), left Purandar, and the Mughals entered into possession of it; all the stores, weapons, artillery, and other property found within were attached by the Government. Mughal officers were sent with Shivaji’s men to take charge of five other forts to be surrendered by the Marathas.

On the 14th Shivaji was presented by Jai Singh with an elephant and two horses, and sent away to Rajgarh with Kirat Singh, after paying a ceremonial visit to Band Khan. Reaching Kondana at noon of the 14th, Shivaji delivered the fort to Kirat Singh and left for Rajgarh, where he arrived on the 15th. On the 17th he sent away Shambhuji from Rajgarh, in charge of Ugrasen Kachhwa and they arrived in Jai Singh’s camp on the 18th.

The Maratha forts surrendered to the Emperor by the Treaty of Purandar were:

  • In the Deccan: Rudramala or Vajragarh, Purandar, Kondana, Rohira, Lohgarh, Isagarh, Tanki, Tikona, Khad-kala near Kondana;
  • In Konkan: Mahuli, Muranjan, Khirdurg, Bhandardrug, Tulsikhul, Nardurg, Khaigarh or Ankola, Marg-garh or Atra, Kohaj, Basant, Nang, Karnala, Songarh, and Mangarh.

These terms were reported to the Emperor for ratification, together with a letter of submission and prayer for a pardon from Shivaji (but really drafted by Jai Singh’s secretary Udairaj) and a despatch from Jai Singh recommending the acceptance of the terms and the granting of a robe of honor to Shivaji. They reached Aurangzeb at Delhi on 23rd June and he was pleased to accede to them all.

Thus, in less than three months from the date when he opened the campaign, Jai Singh had succeeded in vanquishing Shivaji. Shivaji loyally carried out his promises: in the war with Bijapur he with his contingent rendered distinguished service under the Mughal banner and was mentioned in the dispatches.

Marathas' Re-capture of Purandar

The Shiva Temple located at the peak of Purandar Fort

In the period after the Purandar Treaty from 1667 to 1669, Shivaji lived in peace with the Mughal Government. His relations with Bijapur were also passive. He was busy framing a set of very wise regulations, which laid the foundation of his Government that remains as an object of admiration to this day.

But the peace was essentially a hollow truce on both sides. Shivaji's aim was to recover his strength during this respite from war.

On 11th December 1669, Emperor Aurangzeb received a dispatch from the Deccan reporting the desertion of four Maratha captains of Shivaji's clan (biradari) from the imperial services. Aurangzeb responded by sending Dilir Khan from Deogarh and Daud Khan from Khandesh to Deccan to defend it against Shivaji.

Shivaji opened his offensive with great vigor and immediate success. His roving bands looted Mughal territory and he attacked many of the forts that he had lost in the Purandar Treaty. The most conspicuous capture was of Fort Kondana from Udai-bhan, it's Rajput killedar on 4th February 1670. Assisted by some Koli (fishermen) guides who knew the place well, Tanaji Malsure, with 300 Mavle warriors scaled the hillside near the Kalyan gate using rope ladders and advanced into the fort, killing the sentinels.

The samadhi Of Tanaji Malusre,Shivaji's general who lost his life while capturing the fort (ref)

Despite the loss of the brave Tanaji Malsure, his brother Suryaji Malsure continued the fight and won the Fort. It was later renamed as Singh-garh in honor of Tanaji Malsure, the lion-hearted hero.

Entrance of Purandar Fort

On 8th March, Nilo Pant recovered Fort Purandar, capturing its killedar Razi-ud-nin Khan. A few days later they recovered the forts of Kalyan and Bhivandi. On 16th June 1670, Mahuli Fort was also recovered. By the end of April 1670, Shivaji had won back almost all the forts he had lost in the Purandar Treaty.

The second treaty of Purandar - 1776

Pencil drawing of Purandhar Fort by Alexander Nash (fl. 1834-1846) in 1845. This image is from an album of 19 drawings depicting the monuments of Bijapur and the hill forts of Dejouri and Purandhar, made during a Revenue Survey of the Deccan. Nash served with the Bombay Engineers and from 1836 was mainly employed in the Revenue Survey of the Deccan, first as an assistant and from 1841 as Superintendent (ref:
Rare Books Society of India

After the power of the Peshwas had superseded that of the descendants of Sivaji at Poona, Purandar was the usual stronghold to which the Peshwas retreated when unable to remain in safety at their capital.

In 1818, Purandhar was invested by a British force under General Pritzler. On the 14th of March a mortar battery opened on it; and on the 15th, Wazirgarh admitted a British garrison. As Wazirgarh commanded Purandhar, the commandant had to accept the terms given to that garrison, and the British colors were hoisted at Purandhar on the 16th March 1818.

The fort commands a passage through the Ghats, called the Purandhar Ghat. Here, in 1776, was concluded a treaty between the British Government and the Maratha States; but its conditions were never fulfilled, being overruled by the subsequent treaty of Salbai in 1782 between the Bombay Government and Raghuba, at the close of the
first Maratha war (ref: Hunter, William (1886), The Imperial Gazetteer of India, London: Trubner and Co.).

During the last war, the British military sanitarium on Lower Purandhar Fort was used for the accommodation of Jewish and anti-Nazi refugees from Germany and Austria detained under comparatively light restrictions (ref: The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland No. 3/4 - October, 1950, pp. 158-162).

Notice Board outside the gates of Purandar Fort - Sep 2014

Now the area around Purandar Fort has been allocated and built up as an Army Training Area and is restricted for entry between 9 am and 5 pm.

A Maruti Idol in Purandar Fort


Ashutosh Bijoor

Adventurer, mathematician, software architect, cyclist, musician, aspiring wood worker