Battle of Nadaun 1691: Historic Insights


On March 20, 1691, the Battle of Nadaun took place, which was a significant event with long-lasting consequences. The battle involved an imperial expeditionary force, along with the support of Raja Kirpal Chand of Kangra and Raja Dyal of Bijharval, fighting against a coalition of nearby chieftains who received support from Guru Gobind Singh. This battle is also mentioned in Guru Gobind Singh's autobiography, known as the Bachittar Natak.

Notably, this engagement was the second major battle of Guru Gobind Singh, following the Battle of Bhangani. The event is historically significant and holds great importance in Indian history.

Historical Confrontation

The battle took place in Nadaun, which is now a tehsil of the Hamirpur district. On one side was Raja Bhim Chand of Bilaspur, and on the other side were the Mughals commanded by Alif Khan. Raja Bhim Chand's position was further strengthened by Guru Gobind Singh and several other hill chieftains who had vehemently refused to pay tribute to the Mughal emperor. In contrast, the Mughals received their support from the Raja of Kangra and Raja Dayal of Bijarwal. Eventually, Raja Bhim Chand and his allies won the historical confrontation.

The Root Cause

The Battle of Nadaun was not just a military conflict but had its origins in a pressing issue - the demand for revenue. 

The hill Rajas had found an opportune moment, taking advantage of Emperor Aurangzeb's preoccupation with the Maratha rebellion in the South. They had refused to pay their annual tributes to the imperial treasury for three consecutive years. In response, orders were given in early 1691 to Hifzullah Khan, also known as Mian Khan, the Governor of Jammu, to collect the outstanding revenue. Mian Khan acted quickly and sent a punitive force under the leadership of Alif Khan. Interestingly, two chieftains, Raja Kirpal Chand and Raja Dyal, decided to surrender without resistance and even allied themselves with Alif Khan's forces.

Bhim Chand's Defiance

One of the prominent figures among the chieftains was Raja Bhim Chand of Kahlur, which was a part of Bilaspur. He possessed considerable influence and rallied other rulers to resist the Mughal demands. What made Raja Bhim Chand stand out was his unwavering refusal to submit to Aurangzeb's tributary demands and his ongoing religious wars. In search of support, Raja Bhim Chand turned to Guru Gobind Singh, a staunch opponent of paying tributes to the Mughals. Together, they launched a joint effort to repel Alif Khan and his punitive force.

Mughal Financial Strain

The historical confrontation was set against the backdrop of the Mughal empire's significant financial burden due to Aurangzeb's campaigns in the Deccan against Bijapur and Golconda. To meet the growing expenses, Aurangzeb ordered Azim Khan, the Governor of Punjab, to recover the annual tributes from the hill state rulers who had defaulted on their payments for three consecutive years. Alif Khan was given the responsibility of collecting the overdue tributes from Kangra and the surrounding principalities. Alif Khan's initial approach was to request Raja Kirpal Chand or Bhim Chand Katoch of Kangra to pay the tribute, with the expectation that others would follow suit. Raja Dayal of Bijarwal (or Bijharwal) was also influenced by Raja Kirpal to acquiesce to Alif Khan's demands.

At the behest of Raja Kirpal, Alif Khan embarked on a long journey towards Bhim Chand's capital. Alif's journey was not an easy one and he faced many obstacles along the way. However, he finally arrived in Nadaun where he decided to dispatch an envoy to Raja Bhim Chand of Bilaspur. The envoy was tasked with presenting the Mughal demands, which included the payment of tribute.

Upon receiving the demands, Raja Bhim Chand refused to pay the tribute and instead, he chose to take a firm stand. This act marked the beginning of a grand alliance forming among the hill Rajas who were also opposed to the Mughal tributary demands. Their resolve was further fueled by Guru Gobind Singh's unwavering support, who was known for his strong opposition to the Mughal demands.

The Guru wholeheartedly aligned himself with Raja Bhim Chand in their collective resolve to face the challenges that lay ahead. Together, they were determined to stand up to the Mughal Empire and protect their people from the Mughal tributary demands.

ALSO READ ABOUT: Battle Of Banghani


Following the battle, Chand resolved his issues with the Mughal faujdar and agreed to pay tribute to them. In response, Guru Gobind Singh attacked and looted a nearby village within his territory. According to Bichitra Natak, the Guru stayed in Nadaun, alongside the Beas River, for eight more days and visited all the local chiefs. Eventually, the two parties reached an agreement, and peace was restored.

Later on, Maharaja Ranjit Singh erected a gurdwara at the exact spot where the Guru had set up his camp, which became known as Gurudwara Dasvin Patshahi or Gurdwara Nadaun Sahib. In 1935, the gurdwara was affiliated with the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post