The rich culture and heritage of Rajasthan have always been a matter of great pride for the people of the state. Without the royal kingdoms that ruled the desert state ultimately led to the formation of so many palaces, forts, and other marvels of architecture that presently reflect the true essence of colorful Rajasthan with all its shades still intact throughout the ages.
As the History of the state is incomplete without its glorious past and stories of mighty rulers like Rana Sanga or the fearless dames, here are 5 rulers of medieval Rajasthan and their heroic tales that are worth acknowledging.
Hammir Dev Chauhan, also known as Hammiradeva, was the last king of Chauhan dynasty to have ruled Ranastambhapura, which is currently called Ranthambore. He was a legendary king of the medieval period and conquered several neighbor states to expand his kingdom. Due to this, he didn’t have any allies during the time when he was fighting the Great War against Alauddin Khilji, the Muslim Sultan of Delhi.
Although he defeated Khilji in the first war that took place between 1290 and 1299, he was ultimately defeated and killed in 1301 by the army led by Khilji. Till date, the Ranthambore Fort located in the Ranthambore National Park illustrates the tale of Raja Hammir Dev’s courage.
Rana Kumbha, also known as Hindu Sultan or Kumbhakarna Singh, ruled the state of Mewar between 1433 and 1468 AD. He belonged to the Sisodia clan of Rajputs. It’s said that he was 8 feet tall, highly intellectual and also a great builder. He is known to have renovated 32 forts around Mewar and also wrote pieces of literature like Rasika-Priya and Sudaprabandh.
He got erected the 9 storey-high Vijay Stambha at Chittorgarh as a sign of his victory over armies of Malwa and Gujarat. Besides, he is also credited for the construction of Kumbhalgarh Fort, the highest fort in Rajasthan that appears to be a true marvel of architectural techniques considering that it was built in the ancient times.
Hemchandra Vikramaditya or Hemu was a General in the army of ADIL Shah Suri of the Suri dynasty but it’s believed that he ultimately rose to power and assumed the royal status. He led his army to victory in 22 battles against the Mughals and Afghans. In the year 1555 when Humayun died, Hemu sensed an opportunity and began marching all the way from Bengal, Bayana, Etawah, Kalpi, Narnaul, and Agra.
In 1556 he defeated Akbar’s army and earned the name Vikramaditya. After that, he defeated Tardi Beg Khan and captured Tughlaqabad. It’s said that even Hemu’s enemies praised him for his courage. His supporters also erected a memorial for him at Panipat which is now known as Hemu’s Samadhi Sthal.
Maharana Pratap is one of the most legendary kings to have ruled the kingdom of Mewar and is still remembered for his fearlessness and determination. He was a man of principles and denied to bow down before the power of Akbar at the time when most of the Rajput Kings had accepted Akbar’s supremacy.
Since he refused to accept the Mughal Emperor’s supremacy, he was left with no allied but that didn’t make him weak. Even after losing the Haldighati battle in 1576, he kept fighting for Mewar and ultimately recaptured many lost territories.
There is a memorial in the form of a Chhatri at Chavand, a small village of Rajasthan which happened to be the last capital of Mewar. Also, there is a memorial in his name which features a statue of Maharana Pratap on the back of his horse Chetak. It’s an 11 feet high statute at Maharana Pratap Smarak, which is one of the most popular tourist spots of Udaipur.
Maharaja Sural Mal or Sujan Singh was the ruler of Bharatpur described as “the Plato of Jat people and “Jat Odysseus” because of his political clarity and vision. The jats under Suraj Mal overran the Mughal garrison at Agra, plundered the city, and took away the two silver doors from the entrance gate of Taj Mahal which was melted by Suraj Mal.
After showcasing his talent and war strategy in various battles, he died in 1763 fighting against Nawab Najib ad-Dawlah. There is a large cenotaph dedicated to him at Kusum Sarovar of UP and institutions in Bharatpur named after him.