After the grand Chittorgarh, our excursion took us to "Udaipur". As I always say - The best plans should be kept early in your schedule. In line with my philosophy the first on schedule was the "Walk down the history lane from Udaipur to Nathdwara via Haldighati".
All the good things start with praying to God, just on the outskirts of Udaipur there is a small temple of Lord Krishna. However you have to climb a 100 steps to reach to the temple. After praying we were all set to our first destination, Haldighati Museum.
This is the exact route which had once witnessed the battle of Haldighati. The excursion around Udaipur has been designed in such a way that one gets to walk the way which was used to be taken by armies and most notably by Maharana Pratap for the battle of Haldighati. The hospitality of the local population is amazing and is worth mentioning. They are always willing to go an extra yard to assist the tourists in order to metamorphose their good experience into an excellent one.
In the Haldighati Museum the life of Maharana Pratap has been canvassed in a fantastic manner by a mix of audio and visual films. From his childhood to being a great leader all the details have been articulated diligently. Though the times might have changed but the Welcome is still that GRAND and ROYAL.
(Take your camera inside by paying a very nominal fees, else you will surely miss out a lot)
The life of Pratap was a unending saga of struggles to save the freedom of his motherland. He has also been proclaimed as one of the greatest and most respected warrior to date.
Thanks to my camera I got the chance to the cart carrier, Anyone want a lift...perfect blend of history and enjoyment...
The most notable is the portrait of Chetak breathing for the last time in the arms of Maharana Pratap.
Saddened by the plight of his soldiers; Rana Pratap prayed to the Lord Shiva and asked the almighty to save his armies from the thirst. Those who do not believe in the power of FAITH/ TRUST will not believe that on the prayers of Rana Pratap, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a statue* and a fresh water spring also erupted at that place to provide respite to the Rana Pratap's armies. This brought us to our next point, Rameshwar temple.
|* Small statue, slightly hidden inside the pit is said to be the original statue.|
A bigger statue was later placed here so that no one misses the smaller statue which is inside the pit. This point is small but is on unparalleled significance. The cave inside the temple, which you can see in the below picture used to serve as the meeting point of the Rajput armies.
Though the opening looks small but the cave is very huge from inside, so huge that the Rajput armies used to reside inside this cave. Though the entrance to this cave has been closed by the government, but this cave will take you to Chittorgarh, Eklinji Temple and Nathdwara temple. Select your destination...
Moving further ahead we reached a very narrow stretch of road. This is not just any other road, we were into the Haldighati valley and were about to turn an another page in the history books.
under the black surface of this road lies the testimony of that great war, a war that was fought to safeguard the independence of Rajput kingdom.
Jolted by this sudden and severe attack, Mughal forces retreated back to their camping field, which is now again a memorial in form of a garden, BADSHAHI BAGH.
This was the place where the decisive battle was fought. 12,000 Rajputs were severely outnumbered severely against 40,000 Mughals. Despite the odds; the spirited battle field heroics of Pratap continue to instill Nationalism and inspire generations after generations and till today.
Even the Rain-Gods had arrived on the battlefield on that day to embrace the warriors. 4-5 hour long intense battle saw 18,000 soldiers laying down their lives. Due to the intense rains, the tremendous amount of blood shed during the fighting got accumulated at a low lying place and formed a pond of Blood. The place is now known as “RAKT TALAI”, meaning pond of blood. According to the legends the bloodshed in this war had made the colour of soil in this region turned to Red forever. A strange coincidence is that the colour of the soil continues to fade year after year. If you talk to the elderly persons in this region; they will say that the colour of the soil had turned red due the Haldighati battle.
Pratap had a worthy partner with him, who needs no introduction. On whom poets and historians have lavished unparalleled praise, most notable of them:
रण बीच चौकड़ी भर भर चेतक बना निराला था,
राणा प्रताप के घोड़े से पड़ गया हवा का पाला था...
During one of the attacks on this region, the auspicious idols of Lord Krishna were being transported on a bullock cart to a relatively safer place. The place where the temple stands now is the place where the bullock cart came to a sudden halt. Even the combined efforts of many persons were unable to move the cart an inch.
Rose syrup, almond syrup, Fennel seed/ Aniseed syrup (सौंफ ), Wood Apple (बेल ) syrup and many more you will get at this place) from the market. You can enjoy "Daal-Baati-Churma" and a number of locally prepared snacks, all are mouth watering YUMMY...
Last on the schedule was the RELIGIOUS COMPLEX, devoted to EKLINGJI (Lord Shiva). Built in 734 AD, this temple consists of 108 beautifully chiseled and carved temples. It is one of the most beautiful temples I have come across in my life.
The four face statue of Lord Eklingji, worshiped as Mahadeva Chaumukhi, the quadriform divinity is simply captivating. No doubts this temple is always crowded with the devotees from all over the India.The spectacular hall with its huge pyramidal roof composed of vividly carved and finely decorated coloured stones provide an ideal house to the Lord Eklingji.
Photography inside the temple premises is strictly prohibited, so no pictures. Do NOT even try to take pictures here.
All is well that ends well, it was almost dark when we reached back to Udaipur with lots of memories and tons of pride in the historical lanes of this region. Rightly said; without Rajasthan, trip of India is not complete. There is a lot more to see, but as Mr. Rocky says, there is always another round. Till then....keep on traveling...
(# - Pratap mentioned in the article shall be read as "Maharana Pratap")