The sun city of Rajasthan has a very interesting history behind its foundation. Rao Jodhaji had founded it in 1459 AD. Rao was also the founder of the historical state Marwar which he established after capturing the surrounding territories.
It all began with the dawn of rivalry between the royal family of Marwar and Mewar. The ancestors of Rao Jodhaji (aka Rathores) were the rising stars of the late 14th century. They had already captured major parts of the Marwar region including Ajmer, Nagaur, and Mandore. They were already on the rise and had continued to be so, with just one ditch in between.
Rao Ranmal, the father of Rao Jodhaji, was the crowned prince of the state of Marwar. He was a brave warrior with short temperament. He was also accused of being over-eager to expand his influence with tactical means.
So when Rao Ranmal was the heir apparent of the throne of Marwar, he decided to establish alliance with the other powerful dynasty of the time, Ranas of Mewar. He himself went to the royal court of Mewar to present the nuptial proposal for the then heir apparent of Mewar- Rana Chunda- with his sister princess Hansabai.
However, as the fate had it, Hansabai was wedded to the father of Rana Chunda and the ruler of Mewar- Rana Lakha. It was promised, as the condition of the match, that it would not be Rana Chunda who would rule Mewar after Rana Lakha but the progeny of Hansabai.
Thus decided, Rana Mokal (son of Rana Lakha and Hansabai) became the next ruler of Mewar after the death of Rana Lakha in a battle. However, at the time Rana Mokal was too young to handle the responsibilities of a ruler, therefore, Rana Chunda became his regent. But after some unfavorable discussion, Rana Chunda was forced to leave the territory of Mewar to establish himself in the nearby region of Malwa.
Thereafter, Rana Mokal handled all the tasks himself with the active assistance of his ministers. . However, unfortunately for the peace of Mewar, the splendid ruler was assassinated by his step brothers Chacha and Mera, soon afterwards, to the rage of his maternal uncle Ranmal.
The latter decided to take revenge on the despicable duo, which by then had fled away.
Hansabai then persuaded her brother to help her grandson in the administration, which the Rao agreed with. Rao Ranmal helped young Maharana Kumbha in the administration of the task. But after sometime, Rao became too enthusiastic about his role in Mewar and had called several of his relatives and acquaintances to establish freely in Mewar. He even had Rana Chunda’s younger brother assassinated, to tighten his grasp on the throne.
All this was too way much for the regent queen mother Hansabai, who by now had started fearing her own life. She, along with other ministers of the state, called for the Rana Chunda’s aid. The ever obliging Rana did his part and had Rao Ranmal killed to save Mewar from falling into the hands of Rathores.
To further ensure the safety of his grand-nephew, he tried to kill Ranmal’s son Rao Jodhaji too. Providentially, Rao safely dodged the attack and escaped with all the soldiers he could manage to gather.
While returning to his capital Mandore, Rao again faced an attack by the pursuers of Rana Chunda. He fought valiantly alongside with his limited force to bar the pursuers, and as a result had only few warriors beside him in the end, who followed him to Mandore.
Rao Jodhaji had now too little an army to guard the capital, therefore, he went to the region of Jangalu in order to strengthen his force. Afterwards, he made several attempts to retake the control of Mandore from the hands of Rana Chunda and later Rana Kumbha.
Rao’s persistence in the recapture of Mandore is absolutely noteworthy, considering he made ceaseless efforts for 15 years before he can achieve success in his endeavors.
Now about the anecdote promised in the title. It was somewhat after 13 of 14 years of futile attempts, a tiny but revolutionary incidence happened in the life of Rao Jodhaji. He was exploring the outskirts of Mandore when he found himself ravenous and asked a Jat villager, if he could find something edible nearby.
The villager agreeably took Rao to his home, although Rao was in disguise and Jat could not possibly know the real identity of the former. Nonetheless, Rao was cordially invited to dine with the family. He was served hot stew. Not knowing how to eat the dish, being raised in the royal environment, Rao made an attempt to scoop the stew from the center of the serving bowl with his fingers.
Predictable enough, he burnt his fingers severely. On this the Jat’s wife commented that he is making a similar mistake as their rightful king. The stew is the hottest in the center and coolest around the edge. Therefore, he should eat the stew placed at the edge and gradually take the portion in the center.
This piece of advice was all that the Rao needed at that time. After returning to his camp, he renewed the skirmish strategies focusing on the outlying forts. These forts were scantly guarded and Rao managed to capture them with comparative ease.
While he was gradually treading towards his cherished capital, an unforeseen opportunity presented itself. In 1453, valiant Rana Kumbha was attacked simultaneously by the Sultans of Gujarat and Malwa. He immediately focused his whole attention to protect his capital in Mewar, leaving little force to guard the fort of Mandore. This was all Rao needed to made his final successful attempt.
After recapturing Mandore, Rao joined his forces with Rana to bar their mutual enemies (Sultans of Malwa and Gujarat). After succeeding in that, the two rulers of Marwar and Mewar formed a truce. It was settled that north of Ghanerao (believed to be the place where Rana Chunda’s son was killed by Rao Jodha in the battle for Mandore), will be the state of Mewar and in south Rao Jodha can expand his territories as Marwar.
The truce continued for three centuries, after which Maratha rulers took most of Rajasthan under their control. But in between Rathores have captured many territories including that of Jalore, Bundi, and Bikaner, under the direction of brave Rao Jodhaji.
Rao established his capital in Jodhpur, when a sage advised him to settle his capital in the safety of height. The hilltop of Chidiya tunk was definitely a favorable destination considering the negligible distance between the palace of Mandore and the hill. Rao built the grand fort of Mehrangarh on the mountain and established the surrounding area as his capital, which he named as Jodhagarh. Afterwards, the same place became popular as Jodhpur.
This is how the second largest city of Rajasthan was founded. The Sun City has definitely had a very rich history, and the live testimony of the same is the abundance of heritage sites found here. You can visit the famous Mandore gardens, Mandore palace, Mehrangarh fort and other places that still hold the charm of the times bygone. After reading this article, we promise that your visit to the beautiful city will give you a retrospective glimpse of the place that had witnessed the valor and perseverance of the great warriors of Rathore dynasty.