Quick - Scan of History of Mewar
Geo-significance of 14-centuries of valor, sacrifice, & devotion
 
The Himalayas served as natural protector for the enemy attacks on India from the north; likewise, the Aravalli hill range also played a significant role in the history of people of this area (Mewar). The hill range was difficult to traverse with large army, horses, and supplies; additionally, the intruder was always vulnerable to “guerilla” attacks. Trend of north-northeast-south-southwest of the Aravalli hill range also made the Mewar area strategic for traders / armies moving from north India to south and more importantly for access to western sea ports.

The following RAPIDEX / QUICK-SCAN of history of this region is presented to have an idea of geo-significance of the region on its history.

 
>> Mewar was an independent Monarchy in western India founded in AD 566 by Guhil (Guhilot Dynasty) with the blessings and guidance of the sage Haarit Hrishi. Mewar was strategically located on trade route from north India to south and the all-important western seaports.
 
>> Kaalbhoj (reign AD 734-753) moves from Nagda to establish the Guhilot kingdom of Mewar from the then strategically located fort of Chittaurgarh and with the new power, successfully expelled the Arab invaders beyond west of Indus River. For this daring feat and for protecting the Hindu faith, the grateful public bestowed the title of Bappa Rawal on Kaalbhoj (cf. Gandhiji as Bapu, 12 centuries later for a similar feat). Bappa Rawal established a highly principled-cum-merit-based governance and dynasty-Maharana Pratap was 54th successor in the line that is still continuing with its 76th descendant. The onslaught of Arab invasion on Hindustan started in AD 636 and the Sindh was occupied in AD 712. Hindu rule in Afghanistan ended in AD 870. Islam had triumphant history elsewhere, but in India. But for the efforts of Mewar the Hindu India too would have succumbed before the onslaught of Islam as several countries of Asia, North Africa, and Europe did.
 
>> Haarit Hrishi was to Bappa Rawal what Chankya was to Chandragupta Maurya (321BC)…the sage guided and motivated Kaalbhoj to protect the faith that was being destroyed by waves of Arab invasions that witnessed destruction of temples and idols. Bappa Rawal’s mission was worthily carried forward by Rawals Khumaan (I, II, III-AD 753,828,878), this revered name has been immortalized in the common greeting of western India -KHAMMA GHANI-many salutations to Khumaan / may we be blessed with many a Khumaan! Rawal Khumaan-I (753-773) successfully repulsed numerous Arab attacks. The mission continued with Rawal Khumaan-II (828-85) who fought and won 24 major battles including …the (Abbasia) Caliph ….al Mamu…. Khumaan-II also commanded a combined force of 40 Hindu kingdoms. His exploits are narrate in the acclaimed KHUMAAN RASO-the poetic chronicles preserved in writing for posterity by the XVII-century Jain Muni Dalpati Vijay. Khumaan-III (878-942) continued the protection of the faith and the Rawals Khumaan between them served the DHARM for over a century and India witnessed a period of tranquility for next 500 years. Mewar not only saved Indian civilization but also those of China, Japan and the Far East and “…sank the Arab victory boat that vanquished Persia, Central Asia, Egypt, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iraq, W China (Xinjiang) and Mongolia...”. …bemoaned the Islamic poet Haali “Dooba duhane Sindu mein aa kur”
 
>> In this context it is worth reproducing the words of the Australian writer Ian Austin “…had it not been for Bappa Rawal and Khumaan successfully repelling these Arab invasion, it is quite probable that India would have been the next nation to fall under the yoke of Islam and, today, would have been a Muslim country. Then having the strength of India behind it, Islam could have conceivably continued its conquest, eventually taking all of China and even Europe. From there, it would have been only a matter of time before the entire world might have been forcibly converted to Islam. Due to the dedicated resistance led by Bappa and Khumaan, however, this scenario never eventuated…”Thereafter in XII century the invasions restarted from northwest, but there was no Khumaan to repeat the history! The “Khumaanas”, however, admirably continued the tradition of…“JO DHRUD RAKHE DHARM KO…”
 

Chittaurgarh was the capital of Mewar from AD 734 till 1567 and during this period it displayed …the history of valor, romance, chivalry and strict death-before-dishonor code glorified in Rajput legends…a creed that had taken a very heavy toll…1st Saka, 1303 Alauddin Khilji, >63,000 people perished, 12 crowned heads defended the ‘Crimson Banner” to the death…Alauddin names Chittaurgarh KHIJRABAD after his son, but the people did NOT accept the new name.

2nd Saka, 1535 Bahadur Shah, Sultan of Gujarat, >32,000 Rajputs were slain

3rd Saka, 1568 Mughal Emperor Akbar, 74½-mun zenev is reported to have been collected from the slain (>30,000/-)! People again do NOT accept the new name AKBARABAD.

 
>> …Prince Hamir (1303) was now in security at (Shishoda) Kailwara, a town situated in the heart of the Aravalli mountains, the western boundary of Mewar, to which its princes had been indebted for thirteen centuries of dominion…Hamir regains Chittaurgarh (1326) and adopts the title of “Rana” and the Mewar dynasty was called Shishodya thereafter, (the title ‘Maharana” was adopted in 67th generation by Maharana Bhim Singh, reign: 1778-1828).
 
>> …of 84 fortresses for the defense of Mewar, 32 were erected by Kumbha
(Reign 1433-1468). Inferior only to Chittaurgarh is that stupendous work called Kumbhalmer (Kumbhalgarh)…the highest fort in Rajasthan (MRL 1075m)
 
>> Maharana Kumbha constructed the imposing 37-meter high, 9-story Vijay Sthambh-Victory Tower* constructed by Maharana Kumbha in 1458 at Chittaurgarh to commemorate his resounding victory over the combined armies of Malwa & Gujarat (1440). Referred to as Keerti Sthambh-Tower of Glory in Veer Vinod and as Vishnu Sthambh-Tower of Lord Vishnu in other texts. “…Kumbha met them on the Plains of Malwa bordering on his own State, and at the head of one hundred thousand horses & foot and fourteen hundred elephants, gave them an entire defeat, carrying captive to Chittaur Mahmud the sultan of Malwa…”…“such is the character of the Hindu: a mixture of arrogance, political blindness, pride, and generosity. To spare a prostrate foe is the creed of the Hindu cavalier, and he carries all such maxims to excess…”
 
>> A temple was built at Chittaurgarh for Meerabai (1498-1547) by her father-in-law, the great Maharana Sanga. “…another remarkable Mewar queen. A mystique and a poetess, she defied Rajput convention and devoted her life to the worship of Lord Krishna…”Meerabai is one of the most revered poet-saints of India, whose charisma still persists.
 
>> The word Rajasthan (Raj –Regal; sthan-dwelling) is first mentioned by James Tod in his“…chief English Classic upon India…” Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, 1829.
 
>> Panna Dhai, the foster mother, sacrificed her own son-Chandan (1536) - to save her 13-year old charge - the minor heir - Prince Udai Singh - from assassination by the Regent Banbir
 
>> Maharana Udai Singh shifted the capital of his beleaguered kingdom to Udaipur in response to the changing strategic realities of that period. …Maharana Udai Singh realized that in the wake of the changed situation a rational policy has to be adopted. It was under these circumstances that he also wisely changed the age-old tradition of: "PERISH BUT DO NOT SURRENDER” TO "NEITHER PERISH NOR SURRENDER” It should be realized that this strategy was essential to ensure the survival of his race and protection of the Indian culture. The Maharana was proved right when Chittaurgarh suffered the (Third) SAKA, JOHAR, and massacre that followed the capture of Chittaurgarh by the Mughal emperor Akbar (1568)… Moti Mahal atop Moti Magri was the modest “Palace” in which Maharana Udai Singh stayed with his family
>> PRATAHSMARNIYA Maharana Pratap, eldest of 25 brothers & 16 sisters, was born at Kumbhalgarh on May 09,1540 to Maharana Udai Singh and Maharani Jayanta Bai Songara (Chouhan).…to proclaim the birth of an infant destined to be the greatest monarch who ever swayed the scepter of Hindustan …Mai aiha poot jun jeha Raan Pratap - oh mother if you are to bear a child - it better be the like of Rana Pratap!
 
>> Hindupat - the Lord of all Hindus Veer-Shiromani Maharana Pratap’s Rajtilak was held on stone platform besides a step-well at Gogunda on (Holi) February, 1572.He was the unanimous choice of the Nobles and the people of Mewar to succeed Maharana Udai Singh and to lead Mewar against the Mughal Challenge
 
>> …Unfailing in courteous hospitality, yet not in the least inclined to abandon his unbending attitude for independence…-Korchi Jalal Khan’s report to Mughal Emperor Akbar after the envoy’s failed visit to Mewar in November 1572.
 
>> For the new capital, Maharana Udai Singh constructed a water reservoir – Udai Sagar in 1565. It was on its dam that in June 1573 Kunwar Man Singh of Amber, as the emissary of Mughal Emperor Akbar, arrogantly demanded that Maharana Pratap should give up protocol and be present at the feast in his honor. The Maharana did not oblige. This incident precipitated the Mughal-Mewar conflict
 
>> With Rajput princes of Amber, Marwar, Bikaner and even Bundi, late his firm ally, arrayed against him and taking part with Akbar-Pratap stood resolutely alone! Maharana Pratap was affectionately called-“KIKA” especially by the tribal, and PATTA to poets (cf. Bappa for Kaal Bhoj, Lakha for Lakshya Singh, Kumbha for Kumbha Karan, Sanga for Sangram Singh)
 
>> HINDUVA-SURYA Maharana Pratap- kept afloat the crimson banner of Mewar and steadfastly stood for the indomitable spirit of independence… the Shishodiya dynasty of Mewar is the only dynasty of these races which has outlived thirteen centuries of foreign dominations, in the same lands where conquest placed them…
 
>>…with only a small impoverished inheritance, he proved himself, in face of insurmountable difficulties, a great leader of men, a generous enemy, and above all a prince among men. His name will ever have a permanent and prominent niche in the halls of valor, patriotism, and heroism. - J. M. Shelat
 
>> Udaipur is a favorite destination, for the local and foreign tourists - for its natural scenic beauty, inspirational history, palaces, man-made lakes, festivals, mineral wealth, educational institutions, arts & craft…Udaipur valley is located on the eastern flank of the Aravalli Hill Range
 
>> Maharana Pratap Smarak (Memorial), Udaipur, India was founded in 1962 across 28.3 ha of strategically located Moti Magri (Pearl Hill) overlooking the Udaipur Valley, at the eastern flank of Aravalli Hill Range. “…the terrain that baffles pursuit…”. In the next four slides, note the ring of hills around Udaipur valley (GIRWA) that provided it a natural protective barrier
 
>> The vast expanse of Udaipur Valley in which the city is built as viewed facing east from Moti Magri that is 640 meters above Mean Sea Level (MRL). In the background is the Debari Hill Range, nearly 100 km east of which is the Mewar plain up to Chittaurgarh, from where the Vindhyan plateau starts,
 
The Northern View from Moti Magri overlooking the Fateh Sagar Lake with Neemaj Mata Temple Hill in the background. MRL of Udaipur Railway Station is 579m. The Western View from Moti Magri, showing the eastern flank of the Aravalli Hill Range, Sajjangarh, in the background, is the highest point (MRL922m) of the Udaipur Valley. The Southern View from Moti Magri - Maharana Udai Singh realized the strategic importance of Girwa Valley located at the eastern margin of the thickly forested and inhospitable Aravalli range. The area he selected had a fairly flat basin surrounded on all sides by hills. This was the region from where the Maharana's founding ancestor Bappa Rawal had moved to a more strategic region of his times, during the 8th century, to Chitrakoot or Chittaurgarh to establish the still surviving Shishodya dynasty of Mewar. This valley had also supported a thriving civilization nearly 4000 years BP (Before Present) - the Ayad (Ahar) Valley Civilization is considered by archaeologists to be contemporary of Indus Valley Civilization.
 
>> The impressive bronze statue of Maharana Pratap astride his famous steed Chetak was donated by Maharana Bhupal Singh (the 74th Maharana, Reign: 1930-1955) and is a creation of the famous sculptor Shyam Rao Mahatre and was made in India in early 1950s.
>> Vishwa-Paalak Surya - the symbol of the House of Mewar. One of the six Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) Solar Observatories is also located near the Smarak www.gong.noao.edu
>> Chetak, the faithful and valiant charger of Maharana Pratap, succumbs to his battle wounds at Haldighati where innumerable admirers visit his CHATRI every year!
>> Haldighati-the Symbol of the Spirit of Independence - the Battle was fought on June 18, 1576. Loona and Ramprasad, the war elephants of Maharana also fought valiantly! Pratap preferred a proactive horse to safety of an elephant
>> To lead his fight, Pratap, in addition to Jhala Bida and Hakim Khan also had an array of other brave and loyal generals like Raja Ramshah of Gwalior, Krishnadass Chundawat of Salumber, Dodiya Bheem, Ramdas Rathore of Badnor, Rathore Shankerdass of Kelwa, Rawat Netsi of Kanod, Jhala Maan of Delwara, Sandoo Rama, Barhats Jaisa & Keshav…They all laid their lives in the Battle of Haldighati to keep the torch of independence alight!
>> The indomitable spirit of independence of Maharana Pratap and his handful loyal supporters was displayed on this ochreous terrain of the Aravalli Hills
 
>> Shakti Singh, who had defected to the Mughal court, offered his steed Ankara to Maharana Pratap as the Maharana’s charger was fatally wounded when he attacked the Mughal Commander Kr. Man Singh seated safely on a war elephant.
 
>> Veer Shresht Jhala Maan of Sadri, also known as Jhala Bida, not only sacrificed himself but his six generations also laid their lives for Mewar. Likewise, Raja Ramshah of Gwalior along with his three sons and forces fought very valiantly in the Haldighati battle and routed the Mughal army beyond river Banaas. “…No pen can describe their valor and sacrifice…” wrote the eyewitness Mughal court chronicler Badayuni. The Hero of Haldighati - Shaheed Jhala Maan. The statue was unveiled by H. E. Justice Anshuman Singh, Governor of Rajasthan on November 14, 2000. Abdul Qadir Badayuni, the court chronicler of Mughal Emperor Akbar has left an eye-witness account of the Battle of Haldighati in his account in Mintakhab-ul-Tawarikh
 
>> Hakim Khan Soor was a great Commander who died fighting for Pratap in the battle of Haldighati on June 18,1576. He was buried with his sword clutched in his hand, as was his desire. Hakeem Soor Afghan’s statue was unveiled on June 15, 1992, by Shri Madhav Rao Scindhia, Union Minister for Tourism
 
>> Swords, bows & arrows, spears were the weapons of war; firearms, just introduced in the XVI Century, were yet to gain popularity. In this historic battle, Maharana Pratap sustained seven wounds - Three of the swords, three by the lances, and a shot from musket.
 
>> The Great Patriot Bhamashah (Kavedia) was born on June 28, 1547 at Chittaurgarh. Bhamashah, the custodian of wealth of Mewar and its Prime Minister also displayed his valor by attacking Malwa and extracting penalty of Rs.2.5 million and 20,000 gold coins, which he offered to Maharana Pratap to continue his struggle against the Mughal might. The inspiring statue was unveiled by Hon’ble Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, on February 27, 1997. The wealth of Maharana Kumbha and Sanga was withdrawn from Chittaurgarh before the attacks of Bahadur Shah (1535) and Akbar (1567) and hidden in secret sites in Aravalli hills. This wealth was subsequently utilized by Pratap from his capitals in the Aravalli hills. Ancient underground mines in Aravalli hills that provided protection to men and treasure. Abdur Rahim Khankhana, the Subedar of Ajmer tried hard to win over Bhamashah for the Mughal Court with lucrative offers but the loyal son of Mewar preferred to share hardships with his Maharana.

>>
Rana Poonja of Merpur was the tribal chief who with his band of Bhils assisted the Maharana in his guerilla warfare in the difficult terrains of the Aravalli hills. The Bhil Chieftain’s statue was unveiled on February 08, 1989 by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Bhils are accorded a place-of-pride on the crest of Mewar …the friendly Bhils of the west, to whom this house owes a large debt of gratitude…furnished bowmen, supplied them with provisions, or guarded the safety of their families when they had to oppose the foe in the field…
 
>> High moral character, boundless courage, unwavering self-confidence, firm patriotism, and inspirational hard life were indeed motivating qualities that rallied the people of Mewar behind the Maharana.
>> Founding of Udaipur had far reaching impact on the course of politics, history, culture, religion of the Indian sub-continent. Mughal Emperor Akbar also built (1571-1585) a capital for his empire at Fatehpur Sikri, but owing to faulty selection of the site the capital had to be abandoned after his death in 1605. Akbarabad - the name that Emperor Akbar had given to Chittaurgarh following his victory never gained acceptance and the name was soon forgotten. Mewar, Chittaurgarh and the Shishodya dynasty not only survived but also thrived and earned increased reverence following the founding of Udaipur.
>> Oadhi - the Shooting Box, frequent the Aravalli hills because it was rich in forest resources and wild life - which enjoyed state and social protection!
>> Maharana Pratap commanded his son Amar Singh (eldest of 17 sons and 5 daughters) to return with honor the womenfolk of Abdur Rahim Khankhana who were captured by Amar when the Mughal Subedar was camping at Sherpur on his way to campaign against Mewar ca. 1580. Khankhana was so charmed of Maharana’s character that he refused campaign against such a magnanimous monarch and therefore he was appointed guardian of the Mughal Prince Salim in 1581
>> Maharana Pratap inflicted a crushing defeat to Mughal forces at Dewair (1582), which proved turning point in Mewar-Mughal contest and Pratap moved to offensive from defensive and in short span of time he recaptured most of the lost territory. Dewair is a strategically located northern entry point of Mewar connecting Marwar, Malwa, Gujarat, and Ajmer. Its capture ensured Maharana Pratap supremacy in the Rajputana
>> Bahlol Khan was slashed vertically through his Armour by Maharana Pratap’s powerful blow in the Battle of ... Likewise, Pratap’s son Kr. Amar Singh demonstrated immense valor at Dewair and his slaying by spear of Sultan Khan with his horse must have greatly pleased Pratap and Mewar forces alike.
>> This was the region that had assisted Pirate's indomitable spirit to live in independent discomfort when most of his contemporary maharajas had chosen a life of subjugation and apostasy. In due course of time Maharana Pratap liberated most of the territory from the Mughal occupation. A great deal of credit for the success of Maharana Pratap should go to his father for wisely affecting the shift in policy as well as the capital.
>>…Maharanas - with a spirit of consistency and enduring courage, seized every opportunity to turn upon his oppressor. By his perseverance and valor he wore out entire dynasties of foes, alternately yielding ‘to his fate’ or resisting the circle of conquest…they steadfastly stood by the family motto “JO DHRAD RAKHEY DHARM KO, TIHI RAKHE KARTAR – Blessed are those who stand unwaveringly by the FAITH”
>> 9th May is celebrated as Maharana Pratap Jayanti (birth anniversary) with great enthusiasm by every section of the society to remember the history of valor, romance, chivalry and patriotism enacted in Mewar.
 
>> Besides bravery and sacrifices, the state of Mewar is also known for its rich mineral resources – it had the world’s oldest lead-zinc-silver smelting site and was known for its heft-dhaat (seven metals - silver, lead, zinc, copper, antimony, iron, gold). And also deco-stones, art, and architecture.
   
>> After the Haldighati Battle, Mughal Emperor Akbar made repeated attempts to capture or kill Maharana Pratap, but he did not succeed; in the year 1576 he captured Udaipur and named it Mohammadabad, earlier, after the fall of Chittaurgarh he had named it Akbarabad – both the name never gained acceptance. cf. Allahabad for the holy Triveni-Sangam-Kumbh city PRAYAAG and Ahmedabad for the historic and trading city KARNAWATI!
 
>> Maharana Pratap served (struggled) for 25 years and died a peaceful death on January 19, 1597 at Chawand, the capital founded by him in deep hills south of Udaipur. Pratap’s arch foe Mughal Emperor Akbar is believed to have shed tears at this end of a saga, because he was the only ruler who refused to compromise his honor for comfort & safety and, in the end, he died a proud and free king…
 
>> The Interstate Bus Terminus (ISBT) New Delhi is named after Maharana Pratap, so is the Udaipur Airport. Innumerable products and places are named after Pratap & Chetak !
>> Government of India issued Commemorative Stamps (1967, 1998) and Coins (2003) to honor this great son of India …history is replete with instances when people have followed a leader who is rich of material resources, but it’s rare to find followers of a leader like Maharana Pratap who had only hardship to offer…
  
Following India’s independence in 1947, Maharana Bhupal Singh (reign 1930-1955, Maharaj Pramukh of Rajasthan 1952-1955 – the only post in Republic of India specially created for Mewar!) was the first ruler to merge his state with independent India (18th April 1948). India’s first Union Home Minister (Loh Purush -the Iron Man) Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel reprimanded the reluctant Hyderabad and other states saying that …if any ruler in India had any right to claim of independence it was Mewar, which has gladly and readily merged with the Indian Union saying that it was fulfillment of 14 centuries of their mission…but for Mewar no other rulers has that right... Even in the post independent period, the Indian public, Indian Presidents, Prime Ministers and politicians irrespective of their political affiliation, continued their appreciation and reverence to the values of Mewar and Chittaurgarh… the noted Indian freedom fighter, Union Minister and founder of Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, K. M. Munshi (1887-1971) has written,“ …the Maharanas of Mewar represented the best and noblest in Hindu culture and polity…they translated into practice the Puranic concept of Ram Rajya…
 
   Maharana Pratap has always been held in great esteem in India and was    projected as model of patriotism and freedom struggle against the British rule in    India. The names Pratap and Chetak, his stallion, are very famous and the    Government of Republic of India has issued commemorative Stamps (1967,    1998) and coins (2003) to honor this great Son of India. The grateful nation    installed Pratap’s Chetak-mounted statue along with those of his morerenowned    associates - Jhala Maan, Bhilu Raja (the tribal chief), Bhama Shah, Hakim Khan    Soor and an attendant in front of the Parliament House in New Delhi on August    21, 2007.

   We would like to end with what CHARLES DARWIN had said “…It is NOT the    strongest of species that survives nor the most intelligent, but the one who is most    responsive to change and challenge in life” …the same holds good for the    survival of the value of Bappa for past thirteen centuries!