According to the legend, Panipat was one of the five cities (prasthas) founded by the Pandava brothers during the times of the Mahabharata; its historic name being Panduprastha. Panipat was the scene of three pivotal battles in Indian history.The First Battle of Panipat was fought on 21 April 1526 between Ibrahim Lodhi, Sultan of Delhi, and the Timurid warlord Zaheeruddin Babur. Babur’s force defeated Ibrahim’s much larger force of over one lakh (one hundred thousand) soldiers.This First battle of Panipat thus ended the ‘Lodi Rule’ established by Bahlul Lodhi in India.

The Second Battle of Panipat was fought on 5 November 1556 between the forces of Akbar and Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, a King of North India, who belonged to Rewari in Haryana and had captured the large states of Agra and Delhi defeating Akbar’s forces. This king, also known as Vikramaditya had won 22 battles against the Afghan rebels from 1553–1556 from Punjab to Bengal, and had his coronation at Purana Quila in Delhi on 7 October 1556 and had established ‘Hindu Raj’ in North India, before the 2nd battle of Panipat.Hem Chandra had a large army, and initially his forces were winning, but suddenly Hemu was struck by an arrow in the eye and he lost his senses. On not seeing him in his howdah on the back of an elephant, his army fled. He was later captured and beheaded by the Mughals. His head was sent to Kabul to be hanged outside Delhi Darwaza and torso was hanged outside Purana Quila in Delhi. This Second battle of Panipat thus ended the ‘Hindu Raj’ established by Hemu in north India, albeit for a short period.

The Third Battle of Panipat was fought in 1761 between the Afghan invader Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Marathas under Sadashivrao Bhau Peshwa of Pune. Ahmad Shah won but with a very heavy casualty rate on both sides. It resulted in the worst defeat of Marathas in their history. The war led to a power vacuum which later led to the British conquest of India. The famous Urdu shayar Maulana Hali was born in Panipat.