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Travails of Panipat: Battle of Narela 1757

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The Battle of Narela of 1757 was a significant military encounter fought between the Maratha Empire and the Durrani Empire. It took place in the vicinity of Narela, a town located in present-day Delhi, India.

Ahmed Shah Abdali came to India for the fourth time in 1757. This led to the Battle of Panipat four years later. During this invasion, Abdali attacked Delhi and Mathura. In Mathura, many temples were destroyed and looted, the destruction was shocking. The Marathas did oppose Abdali’s invasion, but it still caused a lot of damage.

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Advancement of Abdali in Bharat

Marathas were on a trail of decimating all the Islamic powers and principalities in Bharat over the years of formation of Hindawi Swarajya. Shivaji Maharaj and his legacy of Hindu Pad Padshahi paved way for the shattering of Mughal Empire.

(p.c. –

While, The Durranis advanced in Bharat, Maratha again stood tall to save their land. Durrani army was composed of Afghan, Pathan, and Baloch soldiers, and was considered to be a formidable force in the region. However, the Maratha army was no less powerful, and its soldiers were renowned for their skill and bravery on the battlefield.

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Antaji led the Army

The Marathas had made an agreement with the Mughal emperor in 1752 to protect him from foreign invaders. The Maratha Peshwa Shrimant Nana Saheb had given Antaji Mankeshwar and his 50,000 strong Maratha army the task of guarding the emperor.

However, the Peshwa ordered most of the Maratha troops back to Deccan for military operations.

Therefore, leaving behind only 3,400 troops under the command of Antaji Mankeshwar to protect the Mughal capital.

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(p.c. – quora- Antaji Mankeshwar)

So, the small group of Marathas along with other forces were responsible for protecting the Mughal emperor from Durrani. Durrani reached Sonipat by 14 January 1757 and decided to stay there. He sent Rahim Khan with a 5,000-strong Afghan force to capture the regions around Delhi. Antaji led his contingent along the road towards Karnal to counter the Afghan invaders. This resulted in a fierce battle between the Marathas and Afghans had a fierce battle on the outskirts of Delhi in a place called Narela.


The Afghans were badly defeated and they went back to Sonipat for an escape.

The battle began with the Durrani army launching a surprise attack on the Maratha encampment near Narela. However, the Maratha army quickly regrouped and formed a solid defensive line to repel the enemy attack. The Maratha soldiers, armed with swords, spears, and muskets, fought fiercely and managed to hold off the Durrani army’s advance.

Maratha Hindus aimed to save Bharat

The trail of battles that happened during the invasion of Afghan Ahmed Shah Abdali not only shows how fierce the Jihadi enemy was. Moreover, the desperation of Marathas to save the seat of Empire and guard Kashi and Mathura which were the eventual targets of Durrani. This battle is one of the small events of how various Maratha Sardars valiantly fought and challenged the invaders. In their minds was only one target to somehow defend the Hindus and this punyabhumi against the rampages of Jihadi troupes.


In conclusion, the Battle of Narela of 1757 was a significant military encounter that showcased the extraordinary courage and valour of Antaji Mankeshwar and Hindu resistance. The Maratha soldiers, under the leadership of Pant Peshwa Shrimant Balaji Baji Rao, fought with great determination and skill, against all odds.





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