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History: The Rise & Fall of Mugal Empire


A unique View of Taj

A descended on his father's side from Timur and on his mother's side from Chingiz Khan, Babur was the founder of Mughal empire in India. He defeated Ibrahim Lodi in Panipat on April 1527 and occupied Delhi and Agra. He suppressed Afghans in 1527. The Afghans of Bengal and Bihar were brought to their knees in 1529. When he died on 26th Dec.1530, his kingdom spread across Oxus to Gorga and from Himalayas to Gwalior.


Three days after the death of Babur, his son Humayun ascended to the throne. He was a weak ruler and in-spite of earlier success in his expeditions against the Afghans and the ruler of Gujarat, Afghan Chief Sher Khan dethroned his in 1539 and placed himself in Delhi as Sher Shah. Humayun returned to Delhi after 15 years with the help of the ruler of Iran and recovered most of the territory he lost before his death in Jan.1556.

Akbar The Great

Palace in Redfort, Delhi

Akbar was only 13 when he was declared 'Padsha'. In the 40 years that followed he used power and diplomacy to sub due his opponent and the Rajputs . By 1595 his empire spread from Himalaya to Narmada and from Hudukush to Brahmaputra.

Akbar was the greatest of all Mughals. He was a man of culture and wisdom with a sense of fairness. Unlike his predecessors he integrated Hindus into his empire and used them as advisers and administers. His deep interest in religious matters made him eventually to formulate a religion called 'Deen Ilahi', combining best parts of all religions he had studied.


Akbar's son Salim succeeded him after his death as Emperor Jahangir. Despite many challenges, his empire remained more or less same as what Akbar had left behind. Jahangir preferred to spend most of his time in Kashmir. He died in 1627 while returning to Kashmir.


After the death of Jahangir, his son Shahjahan succeeded him and secured his position by deposing all possible contenders to the throne. Shahjahan ruled india from Agra. It is during his reign that many monuments of the Mughal Era were built.


Agra Fort

In 1658, after imprisoning his father Shahjahan, Aurangaseb accented to power. He devoted his resources to strengthen his military and expand his empire. Aurengaseb marched into Deccan and annexed Bijapur and Golconda. Like Mohamed Bin Tughluq, he shifted his capital to Aurangabad. He was an ardent follower of Islam. Levying heavy taxes to fund the military had generated dissatisfaction among the people.

The Decline of Mughals

The empire was facing challenges from the Marathas and the British. The inflated taxes and religious intolerance weakened the grip of Mughal Empire. The empire stared disintegrating with the death of Aurangaseb in 1707. Within three decades of Aurangaseb's death. the Mughal Empire was split into numerous independent or semi-independent states. Nadirshah of Iran sacked Delhi in 1739 and exposed the fragility of the power of Mughals.

The empire rapidly shrank in extent being reduced only a small district around Delhi. Yet Mughal emperors ruled India until 1857.The imperial dynasty became extinct with Bahadur Shah II who was deported to Rangoon by the British on suspision of assisting the sepoy mutineers. He died there in 1862.