As usual history books don’t mention her nameIt was 1635. Emperor Shahjahan was on the throne of Agra. The Mughal kingdom was mighty. It had been expanding north, south, east and west. Emperor Shahjahan was also busy building architectural wonders.
In Garhwal, Raja Mahipat Shah left the world. His son was only seven years old. So, the widow of Mahipat Shah, Rani Karnavati, was ruling the small kingdom of Garhwal on behalf of her seven year old son, Prithvi Pat Shah. Emperor Shahjahan decided to conquer the small kingdom. In April, 1635, he handed the command of his strong army to Najawat Khan. Mughal army advanced to capture the small kingdom of Garhwal.
The numerically superior Mughal army easily captured Shargarh town on the eastern bank of the Yamuna. It captured Kalsi, Biratgarh, Bairatgarh and Sanar in quick succession. Mughal army crossed the Ganges near Haridwar and marched towards Srinagar in Garhwal.
Rani Karnavati, a great military tactician, instructed her commanders to create hurdles on the route of Mughal army. So, everywhere Mughal army had to clear walls of stones and fallen trees. This caused wastage of time and energy and delayed the progress of the army. But more importantly, Mughal army had to be divided into smaller groups to clear these hurdles. Garhwali soldiers took this opportunity and resorted to guerrilla warfare. They started attacking smaller groups of Mughal army like thunder and caused major damage and attrition to the Mughal army. After the attack, Garhwalis used to disappear quickly. After series of ambush, the Mughal army was terrified. Moreover, the topography of the land was not convenient for the Mughal army whereas Garhwalis knew the area like the palms of their hands.
Soon monsoon commenced. The rain worsened the situation for the Mughal army. The incessant rain forced the Mughal army to remain in tents. Taking advantage of the monsoon, Rani Karnavati ordered her army to attack the Mughals with full force. Her army obeyed the orders and attacked the Mughal soldiers. In a disastrous fight (for the Mughals), many of them were killed, some fled and some of them jumped into river Alaknanda and drowned. The remaining Mughal soldiers were taken as prisoners.
Rani Karnavati ordered to chop off the noses of the captured Mughal soldiers and generals as the ultimate insult to the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. He never dared to attack the small kingdom of Garhwal and the great military strategist Rani Karnavati during the remaining years of his reign.
In our history books, we study about Emperor Shahjahan, his kingdom and his monuments. Emperor Shahjahan occupies prominent position in our history books at every level. But those books invariably fail to mention Rani Karnavati, who is remembered as 'nak-kati Rani' in the folklores of Garhwal.