Tuesday, September 2

History of Rajasthan

According to the Hindu Mythology, the Rajputs of Rajasthan were the descendants of the Kshatriyas or warriors of Vedic India. The emergence of the Rajput warrior clans was in the 6th and 7th centuries. Rajputs ancestry can be divided into two: the "solar" or  suryavanshi-those descended from Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, and the "lunar" or chandravanshi, who claimed descent from Krishana, the hero of the epic Mahabharata. Later a third clan was added, the agnikula or fire-born, said to have emerged from the flames of a sacrificial fire on Mt Abu.

It has been accepted that the Rajputs were divided into thirty-six races and twenty-one kingdoms. The Rajput clans gave rise to dynasties like Sisodias of Mewar (Udaipur), the Kachwahas of Amber (Jaipur), the Rathors of Marwar (Jodhpur & Bikaner), the Hadas of Jhalwawar, Kota & Bundi, the Bhattis of Jaisalmer, the Shekhawats of Shekhawati and the Chauhans of Ajmer.

Early History

Rajasthan is the north-western region of India, and has remain independent from the great empires. Buddhism failed to make substantial inroad here; the Mauryan empire (321-184 BC), whose most renowned emperor, Ashoka, Converted to Buddhism in 261 BC, had minimal impact in Rajasthan, However, there are Buddhist caves and stupas (Buddhist Shrines) at Jhalawar, in Southern Rajasthan.

Ancient Hindu scriptural epics make reference to sites in present-day Rajasthan. The Holy Pilgrimage site of Pushkar is mentioned in both the Mahabharata and Ramayana.

Emergence of the Rajputs
The fall of the Gupta Empire, which held dominance in northern India for nearly 300 years until the early 5th Century, was followed by a period of instability as various local chieftains sought to gain supremacy. Power rose and fell in northern India. Stability was only restored with the emergence of the Gurjara Partiharas, the earliest of the Rajput (from 'Rajputra', or Sons of Princes) dynasties which were later to hold the balance of power throughout Rajasthan.

Whatever their actual origins, the Rajputs have evolved a complex mythological genealogy. This ancestry can be divided into two main branches: the Suryavansa, or Race of the Sun (Solar Race), which claims direct descent from Rama; and the Induvansa, or Race of the Moon (Lunar race), which claims descent from Krishna, Later a third branch was added, the Agnikula, or 'Fire Born'. These people claim they were manifested from the flames of a sacrificial fire on Mt.Abu From these three Principal races emerged the 36 Rajput clans.

The Rajput clans gave rise to dynasties such as the Chauhans, Sisodias, Kachhwahas and Rathores. Chauhans of the Agnikula Race emerged in the 12th century and were renowned for their valour. Their territories included the Sapadalksha kingdom, which encompassed a vast area including present- day Jaipur, Ranthambore, part of Mewar, the western portion of Bundi district, Ajmer Kishangarh and even, at one time, Delhi. Branches of the Chauhans also ruled territories know as Ananta (in present-day Shekhawati) and Saptasatabhumi.

The Sisodias of the Suryavansa Race, Originally from Gujarat, migrated to Rajasthan in the mid-7th Century and reigned over Mewar, which encompassed Udaipur and Chittorgarh.

The Kachhwahas, originally from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, travelled west in the 12th century. They built the massive fort at Amber, and later shifted the capital to Jaipur. Like the Sisodias, they belonged to the Suryavansa Race.

Also belonging to the Suryavansa Race, the Rathore (earlier known as Rastrakutas) traveled from Kanauj, in Uttar Pradesh. Initially they settled in Pali, south of present-day Jodhpur, but later moved to Mandore in 1381 and ruled over Marwar (Jodhpur). Later they started building the stunning Meherangarh (fort) at Jodhpur.

The Bhattis, who belong to the Induvansa Race, driven from their homeland in the Punjab by the Turks, installed themselves at Jaisalmer in 1156. They remained more of less entrenched in their desert Kingdom untill they were integrated into the state of Rajasthan following Independence.

Mewar is the oldest kingdom of the world. Mewar or Udaipur state was founded by Guhil 568 AD, and his descendants have ruled over the area ever since. Separated from the rest of India by mountains and dense forests, Mewar developed the spirit of iron discipline and stoic resolve, which was to become its most salient feature and to arm its determined resistance.

Sisodia, the major clan of Mewar since Maharana HAMIR SINGH I (1326-1364). Prior to that, since Guhil (569-586) founded the dynasty, the original Guhilot family ruled Mewar. However, in the 12th century, Chittor came under attack and the Mewar capital was relocated at AHAR. It was during this period that there was a FAMILY SPLIT. For reasons unknown, the breakaway occurred possibly towards the end of the reign of Rawal KARAN (RAN) SINGH I (1158-1168). Two of his sons, Mahap and Rahap, quit Ahar, possibly in anger that another son, KSHEM SINGH had been declared Karan's heir. Mahap established a small, independent kingdom at Dungarpur. Rahap defeated Mokal, the Paramara (Parihara) Prince of Mandor at SISODA. He established a junior branch of the Guhilot family at Sisoda, naming his clan Sisodias after the town, and taking the title of 'Rana'.

Sisoda, a town about 15 km. northwest of NATHDWARA, which became the headquarters of the breakaway branch of the ruling Guhilot family of Mewar, naming themselves SISODIA after the town. See following entry, and MEWAR FAMILY SPLIT.

Genealogy: The line of succession of the Sisodia Ranas was Rahap, Narpat, Dinkaran, Jaskaran Nagpal, Puran Pal, Prithi Pal, Bhuvan Singh, Bhim Singh, Jai Singh and Laksha (or Lakshman) Singh.

Laksha was killed at the first sack of Chittor (1303), as was the ruler of Mewar, Rawal RATAN SINGH I. Laksha's grandson, Hamir succeeded him, and also the king. Thus the Sisodias became the ruling family of Mewar with HAMIR SINGH I (1326-1364), who replaced the age-old, traditional title of 'Rawal' with that of the Sisodias, 'Rana', extending it to 'Maharana'.

In his Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, James TOD recounts an amusing story of the origin of the name Sisodia. He claims an old holy man near Bhainsrorgarh told it to him.

In these wilds, an ancient Rana of Chittor (actually Ahar, as his patronymic in this tale is Ahariya) sat down to a got (feast) consisting of the game slain in the chase: and being very hungry, he hastily swallowed a piece of meat to which a gadfly adhered. The fly grievously tormented the Rana's stomach, and he sent for a physician. The wise man (bedi) secretly ordered an attendant to cut off the tip of a cow's ear, as the only means of saving the monarch's life. On obtaining this forbidden morsel (the cow being sacred to a Hindu, the consumption of beef is therefore anathema), the bedi folded it in a piece of thin cloth, and attaching a string to it, made the royal patient swallow it. The gadfly fastened on to the bait, and was dragged to light. The physician was rewarded; but the curious Rana insisted on knowing by what means the cure was effected. When he heard that a piece of sacred kine had passed his lips, he determined to expiate the enormity in a manner that its heinousness required, and to swallow boiling lead (sisa)! A vessel was put on the fire, and half a ser soon melted, when, praying that his involuntary offence might be forgiven, he boldly drank it off; but lo! It passed through him like water. From that day, the name of the tribe was changed from Aharya to Sisodia (possibly after the miraculous dose of molten lead, 'sisa').

Told called it "an absurd tale"; as stated above, the name Sisodia was derived from the village of Sesoda in western Mewar. Author, Chandradioji Sisodia, writing in the time of Maharana Fateh Singh, paid the clan this eulogistic (and, of course, biased) tribute:

The noblest of the noble race of Rajputs, represent the elder branch of the Suryanvanshi (Children of the Sun) Raghuvansi, another patronymic derived from the predecessor of Rama from whom (as genealogists state), all the solar lines descended. The titles of many of these families are disputed. But the entire Aryan or Hindu race yield unanimous franchise to the Chief of the Sisodias, as the legitimate heir to the throne of Many, Ishwaku, Delipa, Raghu, Darasratha, and Rama, and style him 'Hindua Suraj' (sun of the Hindu race) and 'Yavadaryakulakamladhivarkara' (sun of the entire Aryan race). He is universally allowed to be the first of the 36 royal clans, therefore, as the crowning ornament of the Aryan aristocracy is quite beyond all question of rivalry.

Kachawaha has been a distinguished Rajvans of the 36 Rajput Rajvans, well known person Ram of history is worshiped as god. Descendants of Kush, son of Ram were known as Kushwah (Kachawaha). Raja Suryapal founded Gwalior, Raja Vazaradama of Gwalior was a famous ruler of this vans.

In 10th century descendent of Varzadama Dulhe Rai founded the Kachawa rule in Rajasthan in 12th century. It is said Kankil became the ruler of Amber. Pajwan of Amber was the contemporary of Prithviraj Chauhan (1178-1192 AD.) OF Ajmer. was called the crown Sanwants of Prithviraj. He was killed in the fight to win over Sanyogita. Later in Amber Rajvans Raja Man Singh who showed his bravery from Kabul to far south, Gujarat and Bengal.

Kachawaha are the suryavansi rajputs, they reined over area in and around Jaipur. Present districts under them were Jaipur, Dausa, Sikar ,Jhunjhunu, Churu, Sawai Madhopur.

Rathore are the people from the west Rajasthan. Their area spreads from Marwar (Jodhpur) region, Barmer, Churu, Bikaner. They had kingdoms in Rajasthan, Jodhpur (Marwar) and Bikaner (Jangladesh), Nagaur. Rathore's have many gotras, most of these gotras are from the name of the great warriors of the past and gotras are being used by their family members. Some of these gotras are: Jodha, Bidawat, Banirot, Champawat, mertiya and so forth.

Rathore's were said to be the worshipers of sun. To understand the huge clan of Rathore's we will have understand their areas they occupy. Rathore's of Jodhpur were supreme in present districts such as - Jodhpur, Pali, Ajmer, Nagaur, Barmer, Sirohi. Rathore,s of Bikaner were occupant of the area that included districts Bikaner, Churu, Ganganagar, Hanumangarh.

These two states (Jodhpur and Bikaner) had many major and minor thikana's ( Thikana was the jagir and each Jagir included many villages as per the thikana). Each Thikana had a Thakur. Who in turn paid revenue to the Maharaja of the state and also provided with well trained soldiers to the Maharaja in Battle.

According to the Rajput bards the Chauhan is one of the four Agnikula or 'fire sprung' tribes who were created by the gods in the anali kund or 'fountain of fire' on Mount Abu to fight against the Asuras or demons. Chauhan is also one of the 36 (royal) ruling races of the Rajputs.

Chauhan dynasty flourished from the 8th to 12th centuries AD. It was one of the four main Rajput dynasties of that era, the others being Pratiharas, Paramaras and Chalukyas. The Chauhans dominated Delhi, Ajmer, Ranthambhor. They were also prominent at Sirohi in the southwest of Rajputana, and at Bundi and Kota in the east. Inscriptions also associate them with Sambhar, the salt lake area in the Amber (later Jaipur) district. Chauhan politics were largely campaigns against the Chalukyas and the invading Muslim hordes. In the 11th century they founded the city of Ajayameru (Ajmer) in the southern part of their kingdom, and in the 12th century captured Dhilika (the ancient name of Delhi) from the Tomaras and annexed some of their territory along the Yamuna River. Prithviraj III has become famous in folk tales and historical literature as the Chauhan king of Delhi who resisted the Muslim attack in the first Battle of TARAIN (1191). Armies from other Rajput kingdoms, including Mewar assisted him. However, Prithviraj was defeated in a second battle at Tarain the following year. This failure ushered in Muslim rule in North India in the form of the SLAVE DYNASTY, the first of the Delhi Sultanates.