Haldighati, a famous battlefield and a pass in the Aravali Mountains, was made popular by the heroic deeds of Maharana Pratap Singh, a historic warrior from Mewar and his devoted warhorse, Chetak. Haldighati is believed to have received its name due to its yellow sand that resembles turmeric, or haldi in Hindi. A recently constructed memorial of Maharana Pratap is the major attraction at Haldighati.
In 1576, the historic battle of Haldighati took place. Maharana Pratap Singh, the King of Mewar and son of Rana Udai Singh of Udaipur, had turned down several proposals of alliance with the mighty adversary, Akbar. Resultantly, Akbar’s army led by his general, King Man Singh of Amber attacked Mewar. Maharana Pratap Singh’s army of nearly ten thousand took on a four times larger Mughal Armey. However the Guerrilla tactics of Pratap Singh’s army and their ferocity drove away the Mughal army up to a long distance. Finally, the Mughal army gathered itself and faced the army of Mewar at a place which is today known as Rakta Talai, the lake of blood at Haldighati.
As the intensity of the battle grew, Pratap Singh attacked General Man Singh. While Pratap Singh rode his beloved horse Chetak, Man Singh was seated on an elephant. Pratap Singh bounded on Chetak and drove his spear through the man with the leash of the elephant. However, the sword tied at the elephant’s trunk, gravely wounded a hind leg of Chetak. As the situation grew delicate, Pratap Singh’s general who was also named Man Singh, convinced Pratap Singh to leave the battlefield, as there would still be hope for Mewar while he was alive. Man Singh, who also happened to be a look alike of Pratap Singh, wore his crown and helped Pratap Singh escape Haldighati.
The wounded Chetak carried Pratap Singh many a mile from the battlefield of Haldighati, while being chased by enemy horses. Chetak leaped over a river crossing a distance the enemy’s horses would not dare to take on and took Pratap Singh to safety. However, that proved to be the final leap of his life. At the bank of the river Chetak took his last breath and died with his head in his master’s lap. It was said that before Pratap Singh left for the battle, his wife had carried the religious rite of Puja for him as well as for Chetak. She had said to Chetak that he made sure her husband came back home safely. Chetak, who kept that promise at the cost of his life, became immortal in Indian history.
After the battle of Haldighati, Maharana Pratap Singh swore an oath that he would denounce all the earthly pleasures such as a bed to sleep, gold and silverware to eat from and a palace to live in till he freed his motherland from the enemies. For the rest of his life thereafter, he lived in the forest, slept on the grass beds and ate from the leaves giving an example of the honor and pride for which he lived.
The memorial of Maharana Pratap at Haldighati displays large bronze statues of Maharana Pratap as well as Chetak. Here, there is an exhibition as well as a series of chambers visualizing the incidents from Maharana Pratap’s life brought alive through animated statues, impressive sound effects and voice overs.
You can take out a couple of hours to visit the Haldighati memorial which is on the way to Kumbhalgarh from Udaipur at a distance of 40 kilometers. Understanding Maharana Pratap can give a great insight into the people and history of Mewar.
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Haldighati is a popular battlefield and a pass in Aravali Mountains near Udaipur. It was during the historic battle of Haldighati, that the famous horse of Maharana Pratap Singh, ‘Chetak’ sacrificed his life for his master. The main attraction of Haldighati is a museum that demonstrates incidents from the life of Maharana Pratap Singh.
||C (What is this?)
||Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur
|Nearest Major City(s):
||Udaipur (40 Km)
|How to Reach:
||Regular bus from Udaipur
|Major Tourist Attraction:
||Haldighati Battle Field, Ahar Cenotaph, Memorial of Maharana Pratap
||Historic Battle field.
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