Chavand: Maharana Pratap’s last capital where he breathed his last, lies in ruins

Chavand (Rajasthan) (IANS) It might sound unbelievable but it is true that the place where renowned Rajput warrior Maharana Pratap spent the last two decades of his life and died, lies in ruins.

The forlorn Chavand, located about 65 km south of Udaipur in Rajasthan, is in shambles.

The Maharana had set up the last capital of Mewar in this town in Sarada tehsil after the Haldighati battle got over on June 18, 1576. He breathed his last on June 29, 1597.

The 13th king of Mewar had his armory, stables, store-rooms and even the main apartment where he spent nearly 20 years — stand uncared for, almost in dust.

One can easily walk through the rubble to try to trace out the penultimate period of this braveheart’s life who was a star of the medieval Indian history.

It was in Chavand that Pratap tried to reorganise infantry and cavalry to fight back and restore “Mewar ro maan” (prestige of Mewar region).

An entry gate stands as the lone sentinel of this erstwhile Mewar capital telling the story of complete disregard shown by all governments till date towards their own golden history.

For centuries, the precincts have been allowed to decline into oblivion as no one cared to restore or renovate the last vestiges of an era that still fills up pages and silver screen with stories of the time.

Dilapidated walls reveal living chambers and other buildings. Scattered stones, lime, wooden beams, etc can be re-assembled if a renovation initiative is taken up. It is over a raised hill-side overlooking the main village, says local resident from Chavand, Dharamnarayan More who has been the member of Pratap Smarak Samiti a few years back.

“What luck for the forgotten Rana? Some years ago, a marble cenotaph was raised amidst a rectangular garden over an island in Kejad lake, a few kilometers away from Chavand. A stone idol of Lord Shiva is placed beneath the cenotaph, which is the reminder of Lord Ekling ji. A bridge was created to link the island with the mainland. And a hoarding raised at the entrance to give details of the entire Sisodia clan. It looks wind blown, too obvious that it has not been cared for after having been installed,” rues Harsh Vardhan, a veteran environmentalist who also shares his interest in history.

In fact, Maharana Pratap has been ignored at Haldi Ghati too which finds place in all history books due to the Haldi Ghati battle between Pratap and Akbar. “There is just a tiny cenotaph which signifies the place where his war horse, Chetak, had died.

“A museum on his legacy is run by a private entrepreneur, showing off flimsy historic yarns. Down the road, a couple of cenotaphs stand amid a small green to eulogise warriors who fell in that battle.

“The Tourism and Archaeology authorities’ footprints are difficult to find.

“Contrary to it, Kumbhalgarh, where this Rana was born on May 9, 1540, is restored and agog with visitors. Udaipur, where this Rana seldom lived, showcases Rana’s Statue at Moti Magri forest regime. The display is fairly majestic with appreciable upkeep.

“The localities here are still waiting as to who shall bell the cat at Chavand? The government or the Mewar ruling house, successor of the famed Rana,” questions Harsh Vardhan.

However, More says that the Government has altogether ignored Chavand.

“Whatever little things have been done here have been done by people around. Years back, former Chief Minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat took cognisance of the issue and got some developments going but since then, it has almost been ignored,” he said.

Vishvapratap Singh from the Mewar royal family also quoted government apathy for this place for its ruinous condition. “Much publicised Haldi Ghati, Rakt Talai are themselves encroached upon — govt has no intention nor ability to secure history and culture,” he said.

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