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All Battles Of Panipat | Important dates | Important Questions | Indian History | UPSC Exam

Updated on 02 August 2021
UPSC & State PSC
32 min read 252 views
Updated on 02 August 2021

The battles of Panipat are a popular question from a historical perspective in competitive entrance exams like the UPSC, Railways, and SSC. Here are the things you should know about them:

Panipat is the location of some of the most important battles that took place in the history of India. Hence, the battle of Panipat is one of the most common and important questions that is asked in UPSC, SSC, Railways, etc. Talking about UPSC then one can easily spot this question in the history section. So, let us take a look at some of the things related to these battles below: 

There were in total 3 battles that took place in Panipat

  1. The first battle was fought in the year 1526 between Babur and Ibrahim Lodi and paved the way for Mughal Empire in India. 
  2. The second battle was fought in the year 1556 which resulted in the re-establishment of the Mughal Empire under Akbar in Delhi. 
  3. The third battle was fought in the year 1761 between the Maratha Empire and the invading Afghan Army. 

First Battle of Panipat (1526): All you need to know 

The first battle of Panipat took place on 21 April 1526. This battle was fought between Babur and Ibrahim Lodi. This was a massive war that involved field artillery, musket guns, and gunpowder. It is said that Babur’s forces involved around 15,000 men and 20 to 24 pieces of field artillery. Whereas, Ibrahim Lodi’s forces involved 30,000 to 40,000 men along with 1000 war elephants. 

Ibrahim Lodi lost this war despite his huge army and war elephants. The reason behind this was the field artillery and guns used by Babur. The musket guns used by Babur not only killed their opponents but frightened Lodi’s elephants. The sound of the musket guns resulted in scaring the elephants and trampling their own men during the war.

Along with this, it is said that Babur’s tactics had led him to win this war. He used the Tulughma and Araba Technique to fight against Lodi. Tulughma means dividing the whole army into three parts i.e. Left, Right and Center. The Left and Right divisions were further divided into Forward and Rear divisions. The motive behind this was to attack the enemies from all sides as Babur had a small army and it was difficult to cover more ground and attack the huge forces of Lodi. 

In the case of the Araba technique, the center forward division was provided with carts (araba) which were tied to each other with animal ropes. These carts faced the enemies, the canons were placed behind each cart from where it could easily hit the enemy. 

The result of this war was that Ibrahim Lodi died on the field, abandoned by his own feudatories and generals. Hence, Babur took over the Delhi sultanate and this war paved the way for Mughal Empire in Delhi. 

Second Battle of Panipat (1556): All you need to know 

The second battle of Panipat took place on 5 November 1556. This war was fought between Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya (also known as Hemu) and Akbar. 

Some Background Facts Related to this Battle: 

  1. Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya belonged to Rewari and was an adviser to Sher Shah Suri’s Son Islam shah from the period of 1545-1553.
  2. He had successfully won 22 battles from 1553 to 1556 as the Prime minister and Chief of the Army of Islam Khan. 
  3. Hemu had established Hindu rule in North India after 350 years of Mughal rule. Provinces such as Agra, Kalpi and Etwah came under the dominance of Hemu. He was then crowned at Purana Quila and awarded the title of Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya. 
  4. The Mughal Ruler Humayun Died on 24 January 1556 in Delhi. 
  5. Humayun’s son Akbar was declared as the King on 14 February 1556. 
  6. At the time Akbar was crowned as King, the Mughal dominance was confined to Kabul, Kandahar, parts of Delhi and Punjab. 
  7. Akbar was not allowed to participate in this war as he was only thirteen years old. Instead, he was provided with special protection of 5000 guards who were considered to be the most faithful and well-trained troops. 
  8. Akbar was stationed with his guard Bairam Khan, a few kilometers away from the war area. In addition to this, Bairam Khan instructed Akbar to flee towards Kabul for his life in case their Army was routed on the war field. 

The Battle: 

The second battle of Panipat saw Hemu on one side who was leading his army himself with 1500 elephants and a vanguard of artillery. He marched forward with 30,000 skilled horsemen and afghans. On the opposite side, the Mughal army consisted of 10,000 cavalry, out of which 5000 veteran soldiers were highly experienced and were ready to beat Hemu’s advancing Army. 

Hemu was about to win the war until a turn of events took place. An arrow struck straight into Hemu’s squinting eye which passed his brain clean out from the cup of his head which led him to become unconscious. Not seeing Hemu around the war area caused his army to disarray and be defeated in the ensuing confusion. After several hours, Hemu was found dead and his body was brought to Akbar’s tent in Panipat by Shah Quli Khan Mahram. 

Hence, the war resulted in the strong re-establishment of the Mughal empire in Delhi.  

Third Battle of Panipat (1761): All you need to know 

The third battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761. This battle was fought between the Maratha Empire and Ahmad Shah Durrani (also known as Ahmad Shah Abdali) who was the king of Afghanistan with his two Indian Muslim allies- namely the Rohilla Afghans of the Doab and Shuja-ud-Daulah (Nawab of Oudh)

Some Background facts Related to the battle: 

  1. Gujarat and Malwa came under the Maratha Dominance through Peshwa Baji Rao. In addition to this, in the year 1737, he defeated the Mughals on the outskirts of Delhi and brought the majority of the Mughal territories under the Maratha Empire. 
  2. This conflict brought the Marathas in direct contact with Ahmad Shah Abdali. 
  3. In 1759, Ahmad Shah Abdali defeated many small Maratha troops in Punjab resulting in his victory. 
  4. He then collaborated with the Rohilla Afghans of the Doab 
  5. Both Marathas and Afghans tried to seek assistance from Shuja-ud-Daulah and to bring him into their camps. 
  6. However, Shuja-ud-Daulah decided to join the Afghans which was a major loss for the Marathas. 
  7. The Maratha camp reached Delhi and established its base along the bank of River Yamuna. 
  8. The Marathas won the battle of Kanjpura as they defeated the Mughal troops of around 15,000. 
  9. However, Abdali crossed the Yamuna River in October and cut off the supply of the Maratha camp base. 
  10. The Marathas starved as they ran out of food by Late December. Also, many soldiers lost their lives due to starvation in early January.  

The Battle: 

The Marathas finally fought the Mughals on 14 January 1761 with around 45,000 soldiers. Whereas on the other side, Abdali’s army consisted of around 60,000 soldiers. The Marathas managed to get an edge over the Mughals through the artillery provided by Ibrahim Gardi however they were badly defeated by the evening. Many Maratha rulers like Vishwas Rao, Jaswant Rao, Sindhia, etc were killed in this war. 

The number of soldiers who died fighting in a single day was around 50,000-70,000 which is considered the biggest number in history.

Related: Quit India Movement 1942


We have provided complete information on all the battles of Panipat above. The History section in IAS Exam is one of the sections having the highest weightage. So aspirants must carefully read the events and remember their respective dates to ace this section easily. All the best to all the UPSC aspirants.  

Important Question From Exam Perspective

Q1. An important aspect of Indian medieval history?

Q2. Role of guns in winning wars.

Q3. When did the third Panipat happen?

Q4. Why did the third battle of Panipat occur?

Q5. What was the Third Battle of Panipat all about? Examine whether the battle had distinctly religious undertones? What were the consequences of the battle?

Q6. who was involved in the First Battle of Panipat? What causes the battle and

what was the outcome?

Q7. who was involved in the Second Battle of Panipat? What causes the battle and

what was the outcome?

Q8. who was involved in the Third Battle of Panipat? What causes the battle and

what was the outcome?

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