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Rawal Mallinath is a 14th-century[when?] folk hero of Rajasthan. He was the eldest son of Rao Salkhaji, the ruler of Mehwanagar in Barmer District. He and his wife, Rani Rupade, are revered as folk saints in Western Rajasthan.
Rawal Mallinath's descendants are the oldest among all houses of Rathores in Rajasthan. Rawal Mallinath was the eldest son of Rawal Salkhaji. Salkhaji's other two sons were Viramdeo and Jaitmal. Rao Salkhaji died when Mallinath was 12 years old. The houses of Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ratlam, Sitamau, Sailana, Idar, and Alirajpur trace their lineage to Viramdeo. The houses of Gudamalani and Kelwa trace their lineage from Jaitmal.
For more than 100 years, the Rathores of Khed struggled to establish their rule around Khed. Rawal Mallinath was born in Gopdi near Pachpadra. He was named Mallinath by his father.
Rawal Mallinath died at Dodiali. His wife Rupade became a satimata with him.
The statue of Rawal Mallinath was established in Gopdi village by Kunwar Manohardas, son of the ruler of Jaisalmer Rawal Kalyandas, on Shravan vadi 14, 1675, since Manohardas's mother was from Mahecha clan, and Mallinath was revered by Manohardas.
Rawal Mallinath is viewed as a warrior-saint, and songs of his heroic valour and saintly attitude are still sung by folk singers of western Rajasthan. His wife Rani Rupade was also a saint – bhajans composed by her are still popular in Western Rajasthan.
The Mallinath cattle fair is held every year at Tilwara in Barmer district. It is the biggest cattle fair in Rajasthan. The Mallinath Fair often features highly popular breeds of animals including cows, camels, sheep, goats, and horses. People from as far away as Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh attend the fair seeking good prices on livestock. It is said that the fair originated when admirers of Rawal Mallinath, a popular local hero, gathered in Tilwara, riding on well-bred animals to meet him. There is a shrine of Mallinath, where people pray with the belief that their wishes will be granted. If their wishes are fulfilled, it is customary to offer miniature horse statues as a token of thanks to the shrine. One can see wood, brass, and bronze horses being sold by the traders who come from Mathura, Agra, and Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh. There are other shops selling general merchandise, fodder, and agricultural tools.
The fair opens with the hoisting of the flag of Rawal Mallinathji and songs praising his valor and greatness. The fair features bullock, camel, and horse races on the dry riverbed. The animals that win are crowned with white badges and are sold for higher prices at the fair.
- Sir William Wilson Hunter, James Sutherland Cotton, Sir Richard Burn, Great Britain. India Office, Sir William Stevenson Meyer, Imperial gazetteer of India - Volume 17, page 93
- Dhananajaya Singh, The house of Marwar
- Hukam Singh Bhati (1990), Maheca Rathaurom ka mula itihasa: Ravala Mallinatha ke vamsaja - Maheca, Baramera, Pokarana, Kotariya aura Khavariya Rathaurom ka sodhapurna itihasa. Publisher: Ratan Prakashan, Jodhpur.