Rajasthan,India: The Aravalli mountain ranges in Rajasthan (India) is the home to a historic mountain pass called Haldighati. It is located at a distance of 40km from the city of Udaipur. The name ‘Haldighati’ is made up of 2 words, Haldi (meaning Turmeric) and Ghati (meaning Valley). So, the literal translation of the name ‘Haldighati’ is the valley of Turmeric. The mountain pass is made up of yellow soil that appears to be like a giant turmeric rhizome. A close look at the below photograph of the place will help you understand the reason better.
Close up of Haldighati Mountain Pass
The uniqueness of Haldighati does not end with the yellow soil of the region. This place is etched in the memory of Indians because of the famous battle fought on a land nearby this mountain pass between Maharana Pratap Singh Sisodia (famously known as Rana Pratap), the ruler of Mewar dynasty and Emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, the emperor of Mughal dynasty in the year 1576. The two armies confronted each other near Haldighati. A massive bloodshed between the armies mixed the blood of the soldiers with the rainwater, thus creating a pool of blood. The scene was so unforgettable that the place was later named as Rakht Talai (meaning the Pond of Blood). Rana Pratap’s forces were outnumbered by the mighty Mughal Army and the outcome of the battle was pretty know to everyone. Yet, Rana Pratap fought valiantly and even came closer to killing the commander in chief of the Mughal Army – Maharaja Maan Singh of Amer (Jaipur). However, with his limited resources, Rana Pratap was unable to contain the Mammoth Mughal Army and finally decided to fight for another day; he left the battlefield on his favourite horse named Chetak. Chetak was badly wounded in the battle but his wounds did not weaken his resolve to save his master from the enemy. The horse ensured that Rana Pratap was well out of the reach of the chasing Mughal soldiers before breathing his last. Rana Pratap later erected a memorial in the name of his loving horse – Chetak
Memorial of Rana Pratap’s horse – Chetak
Rana Pratap may have lost the battle of Haldighati but the place became the emblem of pride for the coming generations. Almost half a century after the death of Rana Pratap, Maratha empire was founded in the rugged mountain ranges of Sahyadri by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The Marathas, later mauled the mighty Mughals and fulfilled the dream of Rana Pratap. The writers of our eminent history do point the fact that Rana Pratap’s Battle of Haldighati was one of the major sources of inspiration for the Maratha warriors.
Rana Pratap: 13th king of Mewar Dynasty
Travelling through the momentous mountain pass certainly give you goosebumps. The yellow stone of Haldighati narrates you the story of a man, who refused to swim along with the tide and surrender his pride before the foreign rulers. It recites, how a man refused to trade the daughters of his clan to save his kingdom from the wrath of Emperor Akbar. Instead, he stood like a true warrior and fought the tyrant emperor. It almost convinces you that ‘the battle of Haldighati’ may be the reason behind the sacredness of turmeric in Indian culture.
This place also has a museum, which provides finer details of the Battle of Haldighati and about the reign of Rana Pratap. Please do visit that place to know more about valour and pride of Maharana Pratap Singh Sisodia.