Statue of Maharana Pratap riding Chetak
|Notable role||War Horse|
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.
Pratap's forces were decisively outnumbered. While mounted on Chetak, Pratap made an attempt on the life of Man Singh I, the Commander of the imperial Mughal Army. When saw that the battle's tide was turning against him, he charged towards Raja Man Singh, 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 Man Singh's elephant. Once there, Chetak reared high in the air and planted his hooves on the forehead of Man Singh's elephant. Pratap threw his lance at Man Singh but 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. 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 Maan Singh 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. Mewar's bold gamble to siege the battle in its favor had failed.
Maharana then took Chetak out of the battlefield, running a distance of about 3- 5 kilometres. They came upon a river, 21 feet wide, which Chetak with his wounded leg jumped across. Some distance ahead Chetak collapsed and became unconscious, eventually dying.
- 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.