Sunday, July 27, 2014

The fields of Panipat

The fields of Panipat are where three pivotal battles were fought. The first battle was in 1526, between Babur the first Moghul emperor of India and Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi. The second battle was fought in 1556 between the forces of Akbar, the greatest Mughal emperor led by Bairam Khan (Akbar was only 13) and Hemu Vikramaditya. The third battle was fought in 1761 between the forces of Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Marathas.

All of them were watersheds in Indian history and volumes could be written about the origin of these clashes, the course of the battles, the tactics and treacheries and the changes that they brought about. Especially the third battle, in which there were huge casualties. Now, a lovely patch of green among cultivated fields, with a small guesthouse which however remains under lock and key. For lack of visitors, presumably.

A small town, only a few hours from Delhi, I had an occasion to visit Panipat and nothing could make me miss the memorial at Panipat. Remembering my father, describing how Babur prepared his battle lines, with cannons dug into trenches in front, and cavalry hidden in mango groves in the flanks under the command of Humayun, his son. At the site where a black mango tree used to stand, there is a small memorial

Interesting, that checker board layout. I also came upon a strange looking bird, about the size of a peafowl but with a huge, curved beak foraging in the undergrowth by the road to the Panipat memorial

Never seen anything quite like it. Had a red patch at the back of its head, and my friend informs this to be the Indian Black Ibis. That certainly made my day!


  1. Wonderful photos, and, as always, an interesting post to go with them. Imagine an emperor who is only thirteen. So cool that your father whetted your interest in history.

  2. I agree with Sherry; it's so cool that you have an interest in India's rich history. And amazing that these battlefields still exist all these years later.

    I saw a flock of black ibises while at the New Jersey shore (east coast) last week. How wonderful to see your photos of the Indian Black Ibis!

    Thanks for this interesting post.

  3. Good picture, soumen. Last year i visited one institute in Pune and amazed to see he variety of birds. I tried to click pictures of Indian Black Ibis but it was so shy or afraid of me (only he knows), but couldn't get a good posture.

    But this is a news to me that there is a memorial of Panipat War.