Rajsamand, Rajasthan, India
|Notable role||War Horse|
Cetak, or Chetak, was the horse of Maharana Pratap, whom Pratap rode during the Battle of Haldighati, June 21, 1576. Chetak died in this battle and since then has been immortalized in the ballads of Rajasthan. The warhorse was of Kathiawari breed. Folklore has it that Chetak's coat had a blue tinge. That is why Rana Pratap is sometime referred as the Rider of the Blue Horse in ballads.
The battle and Chetak
Maharana Pratap's forces were decisively outnumbered. While mounted on Chetak, Pratap made an attempt on the life of Maharaja Mansingh the Commander of the imperial Mughal Army. When Pratap saw that the battle's tide was turning against him, he charged towards Maharaja Mansingh, who was directing the battle seated on an elephant. Pratap made a frontal charge at the imperial army, hacked his way through the massed ranks of enemy combatants and reached in front of Akbar's elephant. Once there, Chetak reared high in the air and planted his hooves on the forehead of Mansingh's elephant. Pratap threw his lance at Mansingh, who ducked in time. The blow fell on the mahout (elephant driver) instead, who was killed instantly. In the general melee that followed, Chetak received a fatal wound on one of his legs. This was the turning point of the battle. Mewar's bold gamble to siege the battle in its favor had failed. As Mansingh was whisked away to safety, Pratap found himself surrounded by enemy soldiers.
Maharana Pratap was loath to leave a battle in between, but was prevailed upon by his faithful followers. By some accounts, one of the Jhala Sardars literally snatched the Royal Insignia from Maharana's person and wore them himself, thus making him a target for the Mughal Army.
As the Mughal army fell upon the Jhala sardar mistaking him for Maharana, Maharana left the battlefield with some of his loyal followers. Chetak was exhausted and seriously wounded, but labored on carrying his master, about 2 miles from the site of the battle he came across a small stream. It was here, while trying to leap across the stream that Chetak collapsed.
Maharana erected a small monument for his horse at the place where Chetak fell. The cenotaph still exists at Haldighati in Rajsamand District.
- Cetak's breed was Kathiawari or Marwari, based on traditional accounts: Elizabeth Thelen, "Riding through Change: History, Horses and the Reconstruction of Tradition in Rajasthan", p, 60. D Space, University of Washington.
- Glover, Fjh (2011). 1000 Famous Horses Fact and Fictional Throughout the Ages: (Not Race Horses and Not Show Jumping Horses). Xlibris Corporation. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-4568-8530-4.
- "Chetak's act of loyalty". The Hindu (India). 4 October 2010.