Kumbha of Mewar

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Rana Kumbha
Kumbha
Rana Kumbha
Rana of Mewar
Reign1433–68
PredecessorMokal Singh
SuccessorUdai Singh I
Died1468
IssueUdai Singh I
Rana Raimal
FatherMokal Singh
MotherSobhagya Devi
Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar II
(1326–1884)
Hammir Singh (1326–1364)
Kshetra Singh (1364–1382)
Lakha Singh (1382–1421)
Mokal Singh (1421–1433)
Rana Kumbha (1433–1468)
Udai Singh I (1468–1473)
Rana Raimal (1473–1508)
Rana Sanga (1508–1527)
Ratan Singh II (1528–1531)
Vikramaditya Singh (1531–1536)
Vanvir Singh (1536–1540)
Udai Singh II (1540–1572)
Pratap Singh I (1572–1597)
Amar Singh I (1597–1620)
Karan Singh II (1620–1628)
Jagat Singh I (1628–1652)
Raj Singh I (1652–1680)
Jai Singh (1680–1698)
Amar Singh II (1698–1710)
Sangram Singh II (1710–1734)
Jagat Singh II (1734–1751)
Pratap Singh II (1751–1754)
Raj Singh II (1754–1762)
Ari Singh II (1762–1772)
Hamir Singh II (1772–1778)
Bhim Singh (1778–1828)
Jawan Singh (1828–1838)
Sardar Singh (1828–1842)
Swarup Singh (1842–1861)
Shambhu Singh (1861–1874)
Sajjan Singh (1874–1884)
Fateh Singh (1884–1930)
Bhupal Singh (1930—1955)

Kumbhakarna (r. 1433-1468 CE), popularly known as Rana Kumbha, was the ruler of Mewar kingdom of western India. He belonged to the Sisodia clan of Rajputs.[1] Kumbha was a son of Rana Mokal Singh of Mewar by his wife, Sobhagya Devi, a daughter of Jaitmal Sankhla, the Paramara fief-holder of Runkot in the state of Marwar.

Early period[edit]

After being overrun by the armies of Alauddin Khalji at the turn of the 13th century, Mewar had become relatively insignificant. Rana Hammira is credited with casting off the Turkic yoke and establishing the second Guhila dynasty of Chittor in 1335. The title Rana, and later Maharana, was used by rulers of this dynasty.

Rana Hammira's grandson, Maharana Mokal was assassinated by two brothers (Chacha and Mera) in 1433. Lack of support, however, caused Chacha and Mera to flee and Rana Kumbha ascended the throne of Mewar. Initially, Rana Kumbha was ably assisted by Ranmal (Ranamalla) Rathore of Mandore. In November 1442, Mahmud Khalji, Sultan of Malwa, commenced a series of attacks on Mewar. After capturing Machhindargarh, Pangarh and Chaumuha, the Sultan camped for the rainy season.

On 26 April 1443, Rana Kumbha attacked the Sultan's encampment, following an indecisive battle the Sultan returned to Mandu. The Sultan attacked again in November 1443, capturing Gagraun and adjoining forts but the capture of Chittor eluded him. The sultan then fought and lost in the Battle of Mandalgarh and Banas. Bloodied by these engagements, the Sultan did not attack Mewar for another ten years.

Capture of Nagaur and reaction of the sultans[edit]

The ruler of Nagaur, Firuz (Firoz) Khan died around 1453-1454. This set into motion a series of events which tested Kumbha's mettle as a warrior. Shams Khan (the son of Firuz Khan) initially sought the help of Rana Kumbha against his uncle Mujahid Khan, who had occupied the throne. After becoming the ruler, Shams Khan, refused to weaken his defenses, and sought the help of Qutbuddin, the Sultan of Gujarat (Ahmad Shah died in 1442). Angered by this, Kumbha captured Nagaur in 1456, and also Kasili, Khandela and Sakambhari.

In reaction to this, Qutbuddin captured Sirohi and attacked Kumbhalmer. Mahmud Khalji and Qutbuddin then reached an agreement (treaty of Champaner) to attack Mewar and divide the spoils. Qutbuddin captured Abu, but was unable to capture Kumbhalmer, and his advance towards Chittor was also blocked. Rana Kumbha allowed the army to approach Nagaur, when he came out, and after a severe engagement, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Gujarat army, annihilating it. Only remnants of it reached Ahmedabad, to carry the news of the disaster to the Sultan.

Mahmud Khalji captured Ajmer and in December 1456, conquered Mandalgarh. Taking advantage of Kumbha's preoccupation, Rao Jodha (the son of Ranmal Rathore) captured Mandore. It is a tribute to Rana Kumbha's skills that he was able to defend his kingdom against this multi-directional attack. The death of Qutbuddin Ahmad Shah II in 1458, and hostilities between Mahmud Begada (the new ruler of Gujarat) and Mahmud Khalji allowed Rana Kumbha to recapture his lost territories.

Rana Kumbha successfully defended Mewar and expanded his territory at a time when he was surrounded by enemies like Mahmud Khalji of Malwa, Qutbuddin Ahmad Shah II of Gujarat Sultanate, Shams Khan of Nagaur and Rao Jodha of Marwar.

Construction of forts[edit]

The walls of the fort of Kumbhalgarh extend over 38 km

Kumbha is credited with having worked assiduously to build up the state again. Of 84 fortresses that form the defense of Mewar, 32 were erected by Kumbha.[1] The chief citadel of Mewar, is the fort of Kumbhalgarh, built by Kumbha. It is the highest fort in Rajasthan (MRL 1075m).

Other architecture[edit]

Vijay Stambha was constructed by Rana Kumbha in 1448 CE to commemorate his victory over the combined armies of Malwa and Gujarat led by Mahmud Khalji.

Rana Kumbha commissioned the construction of a 37 metre high, nine-storey tower at Chittor. The tower, called Vijay Stambha (Tower of Victory), was completed probably between 1458-68, although some sources date it to 1448.[2][3] The tower is covered with sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses and depicts episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

There are many inscriptions on the Stambha from the time of Kumbha.

  • Verse 17: Kumbha is like the mountain Sumeru for the churning of the sea of Malwa. He humbled its king Muhammad.
  • Verse 20: He also destroyed other lowly Mleccha rulers (of the neighborhood). He uprooted Nagaur.
  • Verse 21: He rescued twelve lakh cows from the Muslim possession and converted Nagaur into a safe pasture for them. He brought Nagaur under the control of the Brahmanas and secured cows and Brahmanas in this land.
  • Verse 22: Nagaur was centre of the Mleccha. Kumbha uprooted this tree of evil. Its branches and leaves were automatically destroyed.

The Ranakpur Trailokya-dipaka Jain temple with its adornments, the Kumbhasvami and Adivarsha temples of Chittor and the Shantinatha Jain temple are some of the many other structures built during Rana Kumbha's rule.

Death and aftermath[edit]

James Tod, a British administrator in Rajputana who is still much lauded by Rajputs but generally considered unreliable by modern historians, mistakenly believed Rana Kumbha to have married Mira Bai.[4] He was killed in 1468 by his son Udaysimha (Udai Singh I), who thereafter became known as Hatyara (Murderer). Udai himself died in 1473, with the cause of death sometimes being stated as a result of being struck by lightning but more likely to have also been murder.[2]

The lightning strike claim allegedly occurred when Udai was in Delhi, whence he had gone to offer his daughter in marriage to the Delhi Sultan in return for his support for regaining Mewar which was captured by his brother Raimal. In five years of his reign, he lost much of Mewar territory and made Abu Deora Chief independent and gave Ajmer, Sakambhari to Marwar's Rathore king Jodha as a token of friendship(they were cousins). Udai Singh was succeeded not by his son but another brother, Raimal of Mewar. Raimal sought the help of Sultan of Delhi and a battle ensued at Ghasa in which Sahasmall and Surajmall, the rebel brothers were defeated by Prithviraj, second son of Raimal.[citation needed]

However, Prithviraj could not ascend the throne immediately because Raimal was still alive. Nevertheless, he was chosen as the crown prince, as his younger brother Jaimal was killed earlier, and his elder brother Sangram Singh was absconding since the fight between the three brothers.[citation needed]

Prithviraj was ultimately poisoned and killed by his brother-in-law, whom Prithviraj had beaten up for maltreating his sister. Raimal died of grief a few days later, thus paving way for Sangram Singh to occupy the throne. Sangram Singh, who had, meanwhile, returned from self-exile, ascended the throne of Mewar and became famous as Rana Sanga.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 116–117. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  2. ^ a b Ring, Trudy; Watson, Noelle; Schellinger, Paul, eds. (2012). Asia and Oceania: International Dictionary of Historic Places. Routledge. p. 193. ISBN 978-1-13663-979-1.
  3. ^ "Chittaurgarh Fort, Dist. Chittaurgarh". Archaeological Survey of India. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007.
  4. ^ Nilsson, Usha (1997). Mira Bai. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-260-0411-9.

Further reading[edit]

Kumbha of Mewar
Born: 1433 Died: 1468
Preceded by
Rana Mokal
Sisodia Rajput Ruler
1433–1468
Succeeded by
Udai Singh I