Shivaji's grand procession in Haidarabad (February 1677)

Shivaji's historic visit to Haidarabad, the capital of the Qutb Shahi Kingdom of Golkonda, took place in February 1677. He was proceeding on his longest campaign – to Vellore, Paddapolam, Jinji, Tanjore, etc., and an alliance or tacit consent of Qutb Shah was desirable. Shivaji's envoy at Haidarabad court, Prahlad Niraji, and the then all powerful wazir of Abul Hasan Qutb Shah, Pandit Madanna, played an important part in arranging Shivaji's meeting with Qutb Shah and later in settling the terms. Qutb Shah was already paying Shivaji one lakh of hun as annual tribute. He showed his willingness to welcome Shivaji in his capital and to hold direct talks with the celebrated Maratha hero. We get an excellent account of Shivaji's visit in Shabhasad Bakhar, 91 Qalmi Bakhar and other sources.

Leaving Raigarh in the beginning of January 1877, with about 50,000 troops and a number of officers, he reached Haidarabad in early February 1677.

On entering the city, which was specially dressed and decorated for the occasion, Shivaji received a truly royal and spontaneous welcome. The Maratha army too was splendidly attired. It will be difficult to improve upon Sir Jadhunath Sarkar's lively description of the scene based on Sabhasad Bakhar and other sources.

"At the auspicious hour chosen for the interview, the Maratha army 50,000 strong entered the city. The citizens gazed with admiration, not unmixed with awe, at the men who had vanquished the greatest kings of North India and South India alike, caused wailing at the court of Bijapur and consternation amongst the peerage of Delhi. Here rode the fleet of hardy horsemen who had poured like a swift resistless flood to the farthest districts of the Mughal Deccan and carried their raids to the very gates of Bijapur and Golkonda. There tramped the Mavle infantry, whose feats were the theme of many a ballad and legend throughout the southern land, whose assault no fort had been able to withstand, and whose swords were dreaded by every foe. The leaders were men whose names had become household words; Hambir Rao Mohite, Anand Rao, ….. Suryaji Malusre, Yesaji Kank, the gigantic captains of the Mavles.

"But none of them attracted so much attention as the moving spirit of all this host. In the center of a brilliant throng of ministers and generals, rode a short spare figure, rendered still thinner by his recent illness and the fatigue of an unbroken march of 300 miles. His quick beaming eyes were glancing right and left, and a natural smile played on his long light brown face distinguished by Roman nose. The assembled citizens gave cheers for "Shiv Chhatrapati", flowers made of gold and silver were showered on him from the balconies crowded with ladies and the road-side alike. Every now and then the women came forward and waved lighted lamps round his person with verses of welcome and blessing. In his turn Shivaji also kept showering handful of gold and silver among the crowd …"

On arriving at the palace, Shivaji was warmly received by Qutb Shah. Shivaji stayed at Haidarabad for nearly a month, formally concluded an alliance with Golkonda State. The meeting, and the subsequent gains in Karnatak, including Jinji, Vellore, Kolar etc., were a high water mark in the extraordinarily successful career of Shivaji.

In the next painting, the artist has tried to portray the scene of grand the procession of Shivaji in Haidarabad in early February 1677 as described above.