On 9 April 1669, Aurangzeb issued an order to the Hindu subjects that all Hindu temples and schools in the Mughal Empire should be demolished, Hindu festivals should not be celebrated and Hindus should not go on pilgrimage. The construction of new Hindu temples and schools was banned. To demolish Hindu temples and schools, Aurangzeb formed thousands of Muslim parties and directed the Mughal officials to send information about the demolition done in his area. Compliance of these orders started immediately in North India. On 4 September 1669, the temple of Kashi Vishwanath was demolished and a mosque was built there. The famous temples of places like Keshavraj temple in Mathura, Ujjain, Ahmedabad etc. were grounded. The second temple of Somnath was also demolished. The same was done in the provinces of Assam, Orissa, Bengal etc. The aid given by the Hindu rulers to Hindu monasteries, religious institutions and schools under the emperor was stopped and the lands and jagirs of priests and temples were confiscated. Lakhs of deity idols were vandalized and temples set on fire.
Shivaji's opposition to Aurangzeb's actions
Shivaji abandoned the policy of peace when Aurangzeb started the demolition of temples and deities throughout the country. Between 14 December 1669 and 11 January 1670, Shivaji withdrew his forces from the Mughal camps. Prataprao and Anandrao, appointed in Aurangabad with Prince Muazzam, returned with their forces back to Rajgarh. After this Shivaji started attacking the Mughal territories. He started recapturing his old forts that had been taken away by Maharaja Jai Singh. Shivaji's mother Jijabai also inspired Shivaji to suppress the evil king who is oppressing the Hindu subjects and insulting the Hindu deities. The English President of Surat, Gary, wrote a letter to the high officials of his company on 23 January 1670, informing - "The rebel Shivaji is again engaged in the fight against Aurangzeb, who, inspired by the spirit of religious reform, destroyed many non-Christian temples. demolished and forced many to become Muslims.”
Underlining Shivaji's success in obstructing Aurangzeb's activities by killing Aurangzeb, Shivaji's contemporary poet Bhushan has written-
Kumbhakarna Asura Autari Aurangzeb
Somebody kills Mathura Dohai Pheri Rab ki.
Khodi Dare Devi Dev Sahar-Mhalla Bakee,
Lakh Turuk Who Missed Then Ki.
Bhushan Bhagyaon Kasipati Vishwanath,
And who has forgotten speed in counting.
Leave four Varna Dharma, read Kamala Nawaz,
If you don't have Shiva, you would have listened to everyone.
Right on Sinhagad
One day Jijabai expressed her wish that Shivaji should regain control of Sinhagad. This fort was earlier under the control of Bijapur and it was taken over by Shivaji. Later in the treaty of Purandar with Jai Singh, Sinhagad was surrendered to Aurangzeb and was still under the Mughals at this time. Udaybhan Rathod, the Mughal fortress of Sinhagad, had a large number of soldiers. Therefore conquering Sinhagad was a difficult task. Nevertheless, Shivaji decided to follow the orders of his mother and entrusted it to Tanaji Malsure. Tanaji attacked Sinhagad on 4 February 1670 at midnight with 300 Mavli soldiers. He along with his brother Suryaji hid 250 soldiers at the main gate of the fort. Tanaji, taking some of his soldiers, climbed on top of the fort with the help of an elephant, and descended inside the fort, opened the gates of the fort and signaled to Suryaji. Suryaji stood ready with his soldiers, he immediately stormed the fort. The Mughal emperor Udaybhan Rathore also came to the front with his soldiers, which caused a fierce fight and Tanaji Malsure came in handy.
As soon as Tanaji fell, the Mavli army started running away. To this, Suryaji shouted that everyone would be killed if they tried to escape as the exit was closed. So fight till you live and win. The Mavli soldiers started fighting again and after a brief struggle they killed Udaybhan along with his soldiers. By morning, the fort had come under the control of the Marathis. Suryaji set fire to a house in the fort and informed Shivaji about the capture of the fort. The body of Tanaji Malsure was brought in front of Shivaji and Jijabai. Shivaji mourned and said that the citadel has come but the lion has gone. Suryaji Malsure was appointed as the Durgpati of Sinhagad. In memory of this day, the tradition of celebrating Shaurya Diwas started in Sinhagad which is prevalent till date.
Right on Purandar, Mahuli and Chandwara
After conquering Sinhagad, Shivaji intensified the work of snatching the fort from the Mughals. On March 8, 1670, the Marathas attacked Purandar fort and recaptured it and captured the Mughal general Rajiuddin. Shivaji's Marathas climbed the fort of Lohagarh and Rohida. There was chaos among the Mughals. The Marathas were fighting in every part of the Deccan. A Mughal information paper dated January 24, 1670, states- "Shivaji's forces are plundering the Berar province. They have collected 20 lakh rupees from the royal areas."
Barkhurdar Khan, the chieftain of Ausha, a fort in the Osmanabad district of Marathwada, informed the emperor - "Shivaji's forces of twenty thousand soldiers have arrived in this area. Marathas are looting and collecting goods in the province. His halt is two kos away from the fort. Shivaji has looted my jagir. I have no means of subsistence left. Please be kind to give me some money."
Shivaji attacked Mahuli. The frightened Mughal fortress Manohardas Gaur resigned from his post. The Mughal general Dawood Khan brought a large army and appointed another Durgpati. When, Dawood Khan left some of his army there and left for Junnar, on the way, Shivaji cut his neck and captured Mahuli. A huge treasury of the Mughals lived in the fort of Chandwad. Shivaji attacked the fort and took away all that treasure. Shivaji captured Kalyan and Bhiwandi by killing Uzbek Khan. The Mughal general Lodhi Khan escaped from the area badly injured. Shivaji also took away the forts of Matheran and Karnala. Thus Shivaji snatched all the forts of the Mughal state including the Konkan region, which had gone to Aurangzeb after the treaty with Jai Singh.
Surat's second robbery
Shivaji did not want to let Aurangzeb sit in peace. He decided to attack Surat again. Shivaji got the information that the Subedar of Surat had died and at this time there were a small number of soldiers there. On 3 October 1770, Shivaji reached Surat with 15,000 horsemen. He then sent a message to the merchants of Surat, but no merchant came to meet him. On this, the soldiers of Shivaji entered the city and started looting. Surat was looted for three days. The British had already transferred their wealth to the port of Swali. When Shivaji came, the British pleased him by giving him gifts etc. The Portuguese also followed the path of keeping Shivaji happy. In those days the Sultan of a Muslim state of India had returned from Mecca and was at Surat port. Shivaji robbed him too. Lakhs of rupees were received from him including a bed of gold. Shivaji's army looted 66 lakh rupees from Surat this time and burnt half the city to ashes. Meanwhile, information was received that a large Mughal army from Burhanpur was moving towards Surat at a high speed. So Shivaji left with the loot money. After this loot of Surat, a large number of merchants left Surat and went to cities like Bombay and the Mughals could not protect them. Due to the destruction of this port of the Mughals, the source of huge income of the Mughal Sultanate ended.
Confrontation with Dawood Khan Qureshi
When Shivaji was returning to his kingdom from Surat, he got information that the Mughal general Dawood Khan Qureshi was standing in his way with a large army. Shivaji divided his army into 4-5 divisions and instructed each unit to engage in the war by attacking the Mughal army from different directions under the leadership of a smart general. After this, an army of Shivaji moved towards Rajgarh through a pass carrying the looted goods. While all this was going on, Shivaji captured four thousand horses of the Mughals. For this reason, the Mughal general proposed to Shivaji that if the horses were returned, Shivaji could go on without a fight. Shivaji accepted this condition. There was a female general named Raibagga in the Mughal army, who had earlier fought Shivaji on the side of the Mughals in the war with Shivaji and Kartalab Ali Khan. He refused to accept this agreement and attacked Shivaji. Shivaji defeated Raybagga's army badly and gave him the opportunity to return alive knowing him to be a woman. The Mughal army sat down in silence and Shivaji went to Rajgarh with pride.
Invasion of Berar and Khandesh
After plundering Surat, Shivaji also attacked Berar, Baglan and Khandesh and took many forts under his control. Shivaji's general Prataprao Gujar plundered Bahadurpur near Burhanpur, the famous fort of the Mughals and entered the Berar province and looted the prosperous city of Karanja. From here Shivaji got property worth about Rs 1 crore which was sent to Poona and Raigad. Prataprao took the big merchants of Karanja hostage and released them with a huge amount. Shivaji collected Chauth from all the Mughal areas through which Shivaji's armies passed. Thus Shivaji disturbed the balance of power of the Mughals in the south.
Chattrasal meets Shivaji
Raja Champatarai of Bundelkhand served Aurangzeb for life but Aurangzeb got Champatarai killed. Chhatrasal, the son of Champatarai also did great service to Aurangzeb and fought many wars against Shivaji by staying with Jai Singh's army. He was very impressed by Shivaji's valor. One day Chhatrasal left the Mughal camp on the pretext of playing hunting with his wife and friends and quietly reached Poona. Shivaji welcomed him and informed him about politics, pseudo-politics and guerilla warfare. Chhatrasal along with Shivaji expressed his desire to fight Aurangzeb's army. On this Shivaji advised him to return to his homeland Bundelkhand and free his motherland from the Mughals. There he will find many friends from his own country. Chhatrasal found this advice appropriate. Shivaji tied a sword to his waist and tilaked him with his hands. Chhatrasal left the job of the Mughals and went to his native state Mahoba and declared war against Aurangzeb.
Meeting with Sant Tukaram
Shivaji met Tukaram, the famous saint of Maharashtra. Tukaram advised him to take refuge in Samarth Guru Ramdas and accept him as his Guru. Ramdas was born for your guidance only. Shivaji followed the orders of Sant Tukaram and met Samarth Guru Ramdas and made him his Guru. Ramdas also gladly accepted Shivaji as his disciple. Ramdas built temples of Lord Ramchandra at Ramtek near Nagpur which became the center of faith of Hindus.
Arrival of Mahout Khan in the South
The second robbery of Surat posed a tough challenge to Aurangzeb. He sent Mahavat Khan to campaign against Shivaji in the south. Subedar Bahadur Khan of Gujarat was sent as his assistant general. On 10 January 1671, Mahavat Khan met Prince Muazzam at Aurangabad. Maharaja Jaswant Singh, Diler Khan and Dawood Khan were also still in the south. All these commanders, subedars and kings were jealous and hostile to each other. That's why all the people were busy in dancing and singing and hunting. He had little interest in furthering Aurangzeb's campaign. Meanwhile, a disease spread in the south, which engulfed thousands of humans and animals. Due to this many soldiers of the Mughal armies and the animals carrying the burden died.