The new monarch now enjoyed a long period of comparative peace: he received grand embassies from Persia (22nd May, 1661), Bukhara (19th November, 1661), Mecca, Abyssinia (1665), and Arabia, sent to congratulate him on his accession; and the envoys were treated to a sight of the lavish splendour of the Mughal Court,—a splendour which dazzled the eyes of Bernier, Tavernier and other European travellers of the time. He had a sharp attack of illness (12th May—24th June, 1662), which threatened to shake his newly established throne; but he recovered and paid a visit to Kashmir (1st May—29th September, 1663).

Though peace reigned in the heart of the empire, there was war on the frontiers: ambitious and enter­prising officers tried to extend their master's dominion; Daud Khan, the governor of Bihar, conquered Palamau (April—December, 1661). Mir Jumla, the governor of Bengal, overran Kuch Bihar and Assam, capturing their capitals on 19th December, 1661 and 17th March, 1662; but famine and pestilence destroyed his army, and he sank down under disease before reaching Dacca on return (31st March, 1663). Shaista Khan, the next governor of Bengal, wrested Chatgaon (Chittagong) from the Portuguese and Burmese pirates (26th January, 1666), and also captured the island of Sondip in the Bay of Bengal. An expedition from Kashmir forced the ruler of Greater Tibet to be a feudatory of the Emperor and to “submit to Islam” (November, 1665). To crown all, the able and astute general Jai Singh tamed Shivaji, the daring and hitherto invincible Maratha chief, annexed two-thirds of his forts, (Treaty of Purandhar, 11th June 1665), and induced him to do homage to the Emperor by a visit to Agra (12th May, 1666). Aurangzib's lack of statesmanship in dealing with Shivaji and the latter's romantic escape from prison (19th August) are a familiar tale all over India. True, the Mughal arms did not gain any conspicuous success in Jai Singh's invasion of Bijapur (first half of 1666), but these expeditions were of the nature of raids for extortion, and not deliberate schemes of conquest.

A more formidable but distant trouble was the revolt of the Yusufzai clan and their allies on the Afghan frontier, (begun in 1667). The war against these sturdy hillmen dragged on for many years; successive Mughal generals tried their hands and buried their military reputation there, and at last peace was purchased only by paying a large annual subsidy from the Indian revenue to these “keepers of Khaibar gate.”

A state of war also continued against the Bijapur king and Shivaji for many years; but the Mughal generals were bribed by the former to carry on the contest languidly, and the latter was more than able to hold his own. These operations present us with nothing worthy of note. The Muhammadan kings of the Deccan, in fear of the Mughals, courted the alliance of Shivaji, who rapidly grew in wealth, territory, armed strength, and prestige, and had made himself the foremost power in the Deccan when death cut his activity short at the age of 52, (5th April, 1680).

Meantime Aurangzib had begun to give free play to his religious bigotry. In April, 1669 he ordered the provincial governors to “destroy all the temples and schools of the infidels and to utterly put down their teachings and religious practices.” The wandering Hindu saint Uddhav Bairagi was confined in the police lock-up. The Vishwanath temple at Benares was pulled down in August 1669. The grandest shrine of Mathura, Kesav Rai's temple, built at a cost of 33 lakhs of Rupees by the Bundela Rajah Birsingh Dev, was razed to the ground in January, 1670, and a mosque built on its site. “The idols of this temple were brought to Agra and buried under the steps of Jahanara's mosque that they might be constantly trodden on” by the Muslims going in to pray. About this time the temple of Somnath on the south coast of the Kathiawar peninsula was demolished, and the offering of worship there ordered to be stopped. The smaller religious buildings that suffered havoc were beyond count. The Rajput War of 1679-80 was accom­panied by the destruction of 240 temples in Mewar alone, including the famous one of Someshwar and three grand ones at Udaipur. In the loyal State of Jaipur 67 temples were demolished. On 2nd April, 1679, the jazia or poll-tax on non-Muslims was revived. The poor people who appealed to the Emperor and blocked a road abjectly crying for its remission, were trampled down by elephants at his order and dispersed. By another ordinance (March, 1695), “all Hindus except Rajputs were forbidden to carry arms or ride elephants, palkis, or Arab and Persian horses.” “With one stroke of his pen he dismissed all the Hindu clerks from office.” Custom duties were abolished on the Muslims and doubled on the Hindus.

The discontent provoked by such measures was an ominous sign of what their ultimate political conse­quence would be, though Aurangzib was too blind and obstinate to think of the future. A rebellion broke out among the peasantry in the Mathura and Agra dis­tricts, especially under Gokla Jat (1669), and the Satnamis or Mundias rose near Narnol (May, 1672), and it taxed the imperial power seriously to exterminate these 5000 stubborn peasants fighting for church and home. The Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur was tortured in prison till he courted death as a release (1675), but his followers thereafter gave no rest to the Panjab officers.

At last Aurangzib threw off all disguise and openly attacked the Rajputs. Maharajah Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur died in the Emperor's service at Jamrud (10th December, 1678). Immediately Aurangzib sent out officers to take possession of his kingdom and himself marched to Ajmir to overawe opposition. Two wives of the Maharajah delivered two sons after reaching Lahor in the following February. Aurangzib sold the Jodhpur throne (May, 1679) for 36 lakhs of Rupees to a worthless grand-nephew of Jaswant and ordered the late Maharajah's widows and new-born babes to be seized and detained in his Court till the latter should come of age. But thanks to the devotion of their Rathor guards, most of whom died like heroes, and the sagacity and loyalty of Durgadas, (one of the noblest characters in Rajput history), Ajit Singh, the surviving infant of Jaswant and the future hope of the Rathor clan, was safely conveyed to Marwar (23rd July, 1679). But Aurangzib was up to any trick: he proclaimed Ajit Singh to be a counterfeit prince, and for many years cherished a beggar boy in his Court under the signi­ficant name of Muhammadi Raj, as the true son of Jaswant! All Rajputana (except ever-loyal Jaipur) burst into flame at this outrage on the head of the Rathor clan. The Maharana, Raj Singh, chivalrously took up the defence of the orphan's rights. The war dragged on with varying fortune; the country was devastated wherever the Mughals could penetrate; the Maharana took refuge in his mountain fastnesses. At last Prince Akbar, the fourth son of Aurangzib, rebelled (January, 1681), joined the Rajputs, and assumed the royal title. For a few days Aurangzib was in a most critical position, but his wonderful cunning saved him: by a false letter he sowed distrust of Akbar in the minds of the Rajputs, the prince's army melted away, and he fled, leaving all his family and property behind and reaching the Maratha Court after a perilous journey under the guidance of the faithful Durgadas (May, 1681). The Emperor patched up a peace with the Maharana (June, 1681), both sides making conces­sions. But henceforth the Rajputs ceased to be sup­porters of the Mughal throne; we no longer read of large Rajput contingents fighting under the imperial banner; he had to depend more on the Bundelas. The Rathors continued the war till the close of Aurangzib's life. Here ends the first and stable half of Aurangzib's reign—the period passed in Northern India.