2.4 Siege of Panhala and Battle of Pavan Khind

2.4 Siege of Panhala and Battle of Pavan Khind















In 1660, Adilshah sent his general Siddi Jauhar to attack Shivaji's southern border, in alliance with the Mughals who planned to attack from the north. At that time, Shivaji was encamped at Panhala fort near present-day Kolhapur with his forces. Siddi Jauhar's army besieged Panhala in mid-1660, cutting off supply routes to the fort. During the bombardment of Panhala, Siddhi Jahuar had purchased grenades from the British at Rajapur to increase his efficacy, and also hired some English artillerymen to bombard the fort, conspicuously flying a flag used by the English. This perceived betrayal angered Shivaji, who in December would exact revenge by plundering the English factory at Rajapur and capturing four of the factors, imprisoning them until mid-1663. Accounts vary as to the end of the siege, with some accounts stating that Shivaji escaped from the encircled fort and withdrew to Ragna, following which Ali Adil Shah personally came to take charge of the siege, capturing the fort after four months besiegement. Other accounts state that after months of siege, Shivaji negotiated with Siddhi Jahuar and handed over the fort on 22 September 1660, withdrawing to Vishalgad;Shivaji would later re-take Panhala in 1673. There is some dispute over the circumstances of Shivaji's withdrawal (treaty or escape) and his destination (Ragna or Vishalgad), but the popular story details his night movement to Vishalgad and a sacrificial rear-guard action to allow him to escape.Per these accounts, Shivaji withdrew from Panhala by cover of night, and as he was pursued by the enemy cavalry, so his Maratha sardar Baji Prabhu Deshpande of Bandal Deshmukh, along with 300 soldiers, volunteered to fight to the death to hold back the enemy at Ghod Khind (horse ravine) to give Shivaji and the rest of the army a chance to reach the safety of the Vishalgad fort. In the ensuing Battle of Pavan Khind, the smaller Maratha force held back the larger enemy to buy time for Shivaji to escape. Baji Prabhu Deshpande was wounded but continued to fight until he heard the sound of cannon fire from Vishalgad,signalling Shivaji had safely reached the fort, on the evening of 13 July 1660. Ghod Khind (khind meaning a narrow mountain pass) was later renamed Paavan Khind (sacred pass) in honour of Bajiprabhu Deshpande, Shibosingh Jadhav, Fuloji, and all other soldiers who fought in there.

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