The Mughal Empire

Indian history and culture are rich and dynamic. The country has been home to some of the worlds greatest empires, including the legendary Mughal Empire. Today let’s take a trip to the past, about 500 years ago, when the founder of the empire came to India and defeated Ibrahim Lodi to form the legendary Mughal Empire.

In 1524 the descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur, Babur came to India on the invitation of Daulat Khan, a rebel of the Lodhi dynasty, to overthrow the king of the dynasty, Ibrahim Lodhi. Many thought that he would leave the country after defeating Lodhi. Little did they know that he had no intention of doing so. Babur defeated Lodhi at the famous First Battle of Panipat in 1526 and established the Mughal Empire. He was opposed by Rana Sanga of Mewar, but the Rana was defeated in the Battle of Khanwa. Thus began the rule of the empire. 

Babur died in 1530 in Agra, where he was buried. Later, his remains were moved to Kabul as per his wishes. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Humayun. Babur had decided to divide the territories his empire between his sons, with Humayun succeeding his father to the throne of Delhi, and his half-brother Kamran Mirza inheriting the northernmost parts of his father’s empire. This was not a common practice in India at the time, but was a common Central Asian practice from the time of Genghis Khan. Many believed that Humayun was an unqualified king as he was only 22, and several of his brothers revolted against him when he came to the throne. 

In 1539, Humayun faced the founder of the Suri empire in India, Sher Shah Suri at the battle of Chausa. Humayun had to escape the battlefield to save his own life, and Suri was crowned the winner.He fled to the refuge of the Safavid Empire in Persia, and with their aid successfully won back his empire. The death of Sher Shah Suri and his successor Islam Shah rendered the Suri empire weak, and Humayun defeated the armies of Sikandar Shah Suri in 1555, re-establishing the Mughal Empire in India. Unfortunately, Humayun died due to an unfortunate accident. During his short time as a ruler, he managed to further expand the empire and was succeeded by his son Akbar.

Akbar was popularly known as Akbar The Great because of the many accomplishments he achieved during his successful rule. He defeated the Hindu king Hemu at the Second Battle of Panipat, which wasn’t far from the site where his grandfather had defeated the Lodhi’s, and occupied Delhi and Agra. After conquering most of Northern India, he sought to take over the Rajputana, and did so by defeating Pratap Singh who was the descendant of Rana Sanga at the legendary battle of Haldighati in 1576. Akbar introduced many social reforms during his time as ruler. He left a rich legacy for the Mughal empire was praised by many. He died in 1605, and was succeeded by his son Jahangir, a lover of literature, architecture and the fine arts. His successor, Shah Jahan is considered one of the greatest Mughal Emperors, and many believe that under his reign, the Mughal Empire reached its peak.Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb, who is considered one of India’s most controversial king. After his son Bahadur Shah Zafar died, the Mughal Empire declined significantly. The last ruler of the empire was exiled by the British East India Company in 1868.

The Mughals made several contributions to the culture of India, including the development of the Mughlai cuisine, large scale urbanisation, and the magnificent Taj Mahal. The Empire is considered to be one of the greatest ones in India