The pata, patta, dand patta or dandpatta (Hindi: पट) (Marathi:दांडपट्टा) is an Indian sword with a gauntlet integrated as a handguard. Traditionally, Maratha warriors were trained to fight with dual patas by bearing one in each hand. Alternatively, a single pata was used in addition to a belt, javelin, or axe in the other hand. This combination of dual weapons was referred to as dand patta. Created during the Mughal period, its use in warfare appears to be mostly restricted to the 17th century when the Marathas came into prominence. Ranging in length from 10-44 inches, it was considered to be a highly effective weapon for infantrymen against heavily armoured cavalry. Folklore has it that a maratha soldier would use the dand patta when encircled, so as to maximize the casualties on the opposition, before he fell. The founder of the Maratha Empire —- Shivaji —- was reputedly trained in the art of fighting with pata. One of his generals, Tanaji Malusare, wielded the weapon with both hands during the Battle of Sinhagad, before one of his hands was cut off by the Rajput Udaybhan Singh Rathod.
In the Battle of Pratapgad, when Afzal Khan’s bodyguard Sayyed Banda attacked Shivaji with swords, Shivaji’s bodyguard Jiva Mahala fatally struck him down, cutting off one of Sayyed Banda’s hands with a dandpatta. Emperor Akbar also used a pata during the siege of Gujarat. The Rajput warriors are known to have used this weapon very effectively during the Mughal period. The Mughals also developed a variation of the pata with matchlock pistols adjoining the handle.
One of the best pata collections can be seen at the Durbar Hall, Shiva Nivas Palace, at Udaipur, Rajasthan. The erstwhile rulers – the Royal Family of Mewar owns the collection. It is displayed along with many other bladed weapons.