Battle of Surat

05 Jan 2019  Sat

Surat, the otherwise silent and wealthy port city of Mughal Empire witnessed tremors of terror under the hooves of horses that wandered the rocky mountains of Sahyadri. It was an ordinary day of 5th January 1664 Surat was raided by the Maratha King Shivaji Maharaj and defeated the local Subhedar of Mughal, Inayat Khan.

If we look back to the events that precede the Surat raid, they themselves paved the way to undertake this risky campaign. In the early years of the 1660s, Aurangzeb unleashed the Mughal Army under General Shaista Khan who plundered the territory and occupied the main base of the kingdom. This fight weakened Marathas financially.

Hence, it was necessary to capture a hoard of money and other resources and what could have been more perfect than a wealthy port of Surat which had been in the inefficient and defenseless hands. So, on the day of 5th January 1664, the Maratha forces plunged into the city. The Maratha cavalry of 8000 under Shivaji Maharaj met with the 1000 men commanded by weak-hearted Inayat Khan.

Surat was under attack for nearly three days, in which the Maratha army looted all possible wealth from Mughal and Portuguese trading centers. The Maratha soldiers took away cash, gold, silver, pearls, rubies, diamonds and emeralds from the houses of rich merchants. All this loot was successfully transported to Deccan before the Mughal Empire at Delhi could get the news of the sacking of Surat.

This led to the further important events in the history of Marathas such as the treaty of Purandar, Shivaji’s visit to Agra and escape from the house arrest.

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