Afghan Sher Shah defeated Humayun, Babur's son in 1540. Humayun spent 12 years in exile. After Sher Shah's death, he regained the Delhi throne.
Akbar succeed Humayun in 1556 AD, at the age of 13. He defeated Afghans at the second battle of Panipat in the same year. Akbar believed that a ruler was the guardian of his subjects. He looked after the welfare of his subjects irrespective of their religion. He was daring, brave and an able general. This humanitarian king is regarded as a great ruler of India. Akbar brought Malwa and Gujrat under his control. He was however unable to get Mewad under his control, becase of Rana Pratap's bitter resistance.
Salim succeeded Akbar as Jahangir in 1605. His four successive campaigns forced Amar Singh of Mewad to accept his suzerainty. He was famous for his sense of justice. Even a common man could easily approach the Emperor for justice. Nur Jahan, his queen, took part in matters of the State and she also ruled the empire when Jahangir was ill.
Shah Jahan successed the throne after Jahangir's death. He controled revolts in Bhundelkhand and the Deccan. During his regin the Marathas emerged as a major threat to the authority of the Mughals.
Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan's third son, defeated his brothers, imprisoned his father and became the new emperor of Delhi. During his long reign of 50 years, the Mughal empire reached its territorial climax. Being orthodox, Aurangzeb discarded Akbar's secular principles and re-introduced Jaziya. He destroyed many temples. This did not make Muslims more loyal to the Islamic state, but it certainly enraged the Hindus who worked for Mughals. After Chattrapati Shivaji's death Aurangzeb marched south. He conquored the Bahamani kingdom. The Marathas put up a bitter resistance, and even after 30 years, Aurangzeb was unable to destroy the Maratha power.
After his death, the Mughal empire collapsed due to conflicts among the successors. Marathas under the leadership of Peshwas, gradually extended their hold in North India. Nadir Shah (1729 AD) and Ahmed Shah Abdali's (1747-61 AD) invasion further weakened the empire. Their rule was reduced to the area around Delhi. The last Mughal Empror, Bahadur Shah Zafar was imprisoned by the Britishers after the 1857 mutiny.The Famous peacock throne, the Red Fort and Taj Mahal were built by the Mughals. They made major contributions Indian Music.