Question: The third battle of Panipat was fought in 1761. Why were so many empire-shaking battles fought at Panipat?
Answer: In history, Panipat has been at forefront of many important battles viz between Babur and Ibrahim Lodi, Akbar and Hemu, Marathas, and Ahmad Shah Abdali. There are various reasons for such decisive battles to take place in Panipat.
Reasons for major battles taking place at Panipat
- Strategic location
Panipat is located on way from Delhi towards the Hindu Kush pass that was the major entry for any ruler trying to enter India. It was located on the Grand Trunk Road and could be easily accessed by any invader from Punjab and Afghanistan.
- Distance from Delhi
Panipat is located at a short distance from Delhi that allowed ruler to mobilize his forces easily and much faster. The challenger could easily wait for ruler to come and face outside Delhi without having to enter inside the territory.
- Plain structure of land topography
The topography of Panipat is of plain structure which made it suitable for movement of cavalry. Large armies could make use of their strength without having to rely much on strategy. In addition, tactics such as guerrilla became useless in Panipat. This was one of the reasons for defeat of Marathas.
- Presence of large number of artisans
Panipat and its surrounding regions is famous for artisans such as blacksmith, carpenters, and others that were very important for making weapons and instruments for battle. Easy availability of such resource made Panipat a good option for staging battles.
- Presence of warrior classes
Panipat and its surrounding regions host large number of martial classes that constitute major soldiers for armies. Groups such as Jats, Gujjars, Sikhs, Rajput were available nearby so that they could be mobilised on a short notice.
- Climatic conditions
Climatic conditions in Panipat was very suitable for long battles. The rainy season is very short and there is a long dry season. The attacking enemy could be in disadvantage if scorch earth policy was implemented.