Haldi-Ghati is a ghati (mountain pass) in the Aravali Ranges of Rajasthan. The sand of the rocks of Haldi-Ghati, when crushed, has the color similar to the color of haldi (turmeric), therefore named ‘haldi-ghati‘.
The pure land of Haldighati is situated just a few kilometres (around 40 km) from The City of Lakes, Udaipur. This place holds a very important place in the history of Mewar. Many battles were fought here but the most memorable one is the bloodiest battle fought in 1576 between the King of Mewar, Maharana Pratap and the Mughals.
The Bloodiest Battle of Haldighati
The battle of Haldighati was fought on 21st June, 1576. The armed forces of mewar were led by their Rana, Maharana Pratap who fought against the Mughal Emperor Akbar’s Army which was led by his General Man Singh I, Prince of Amer(Also a Rajput but with different vision).
During the medieval period, the Mughal Emperor, Akbar was on a mission to conquer Rajput States. In 1568, the Siege of Chittorgarh led to the loss of the eastern belts of Mewar to the Mughals. In 1572, when Maharana Pratap was crowned as the King of Mewar, Akbar sent him many envoys asking him to surrender just like other Rajput leaders. But, the Rana refused so the war became inevitable.
The war started at the time of sunrise in the narrow strip of Haldi-Ghati and continued for 4 hours. According to the Mewari tradition, there were 20,000 forces in Rana’s troop and around 80,000 forces were in the Mughal troop. The ferocious fight led to the death of a lot of heroic soldiers of Mewar at that time and unfortunately, the Mughals won the battle and left Maharana Pratap wounded.
Maharana’s Companion Chetak
Maharana Pratap had a horse named Chetak. During the battle of Haldi-Ghati, Chetak was also wounded while fighting but still he managed to rode Maharana away from the battle ground. He took Maharana to a safe place 3 kilometers away and then took his last breath there. Maharana then, in the loving memory of his loyal companion, erected a monument place where Chetak fell. That place is known as the Chetak Smarak. This cenotaph (chhatri) still exists at Haldi-Ghati. It is 4 km away from Haldi-Ghati. The cenotaph is constructed in pure white marble to pay respect to the courageous horse who contributed to the Indian history.
Maharana Pratap Museum
In Haldi-Ghati, except for the cenotaph of chetak, there are many amazing places to visit such as the Maharana Pratap Museum. This Museum was opened in 2003. This museum is dedicated to the great leader Mahrana Pratap and the ferocious battle of Haldi-Ghati. It has tried to cover all the aspects of the war to take back the spectator to that era. The founder and owner of this museum is Dr. Mohan Lal Shrimali. He has won a National Award for his excellent services in the field of social service, national service, history, tourism, art and culture.
A Walk Through The Museum
The museum has many structures and figures that properly describe the war scenario. There are statues of Maharana on Chetak with a sword in his hand attacking the enemy, the brave Bhil warriors with bow and arrows, etc. The museum also showcases a short film depicting the life of Maharana and the battle. This show is the best part of the visit to this museum. The museum also has many magnificent gardens and a pond where you can have a peaceful boat ride amidst the beautiful nature.
Other Attractions Of Haldi-Ghati
- Molela Terracotta– There is a small, nondescript village found on the banks of river Banas known as Molela Terracotta. This village is named so because people living in this village are usually potters by profession. This village is popular because of their art of flat terracotta plaques. It is also called the mud art of Molela.
- Badshahi Bagh– Haldi-Ghati is also famous for its charity rose products. Badshahi Bagh is a garden near Haldi-Ghati having a special breed of roses- the ‘Chaitri-Gulab’. These roses have high medicinal value and here, you can find pure rose water and a very tasty dish made from roses called ‘Gulkand’ (Jam made from Rose petals.)
- Rakht-Talai– Rakht Talai is a beautiful garden in Haldi-Ghati. It is named as ‘Rakht-Talai’ because during the war, this large ground was flooded with the blood of the brave warriors.