The word Rajputs has a special place in the pages of Indian History. This martial race had fought in every region of the Indian Sub-continent. They are known for their chivalry and courage which is still unmatched even today.
It is believed that there are around 36 major dynasties that ruled over north and central India. The Rajputs of Mewar, Marwar, Jaipur (Kachwaha), Chauhans of Ajmer or Delhi, etc are some of the important dynasties of Rajputs.
In this article, we will shed light on the history of Kachwaha Rajputs who ruled over Amer/Amber and modern-day Jaipur.
The Kachwaha is one of the most reputed Rajput clans of Rajasthan. Their saga of heroism, bravery, and chivalry is still alive in the plains of Rajasthan. Their military might and able governance had made them a strong and known power in Rajputana.
Background: Origin of Kachwaha Rajputs
From the beginning of the 8th Century CE, the Rajputs emerged as a strong force in northern India. They heroically resisted the onslaughts of Arabs, Turks, and Mughals and emerged as the protectors of the Hindu religion.
The Kachwaha Rajputs are believed to be the descendants of Kush the eldest son of Shri Ram. This Kshatriya clan of Rajput thus belongs to the great Solar Race also known as Suryavanshi/Sooryavanshi.
Initially, it is believed that the Kachwaha’s main homeland was Ayodhya (the territorial home). Furthermore, an inscription of 1612 CE mentioned the Kachwahas as Raghukul Tilak.
Throughout history, they migrated from place to place and later established themselves at Gwalior and Narwar (in Madhya Pradesh) and finally at Amber (Amer).
Note: It is believed that Maharaja Soor Singh (Suraj Sen) was the founder of the city of Gwalior.
The Rajput clan ruled the area of Gwalior and Narwar at the beginning of the 8th century. At Narwar Maharaja Nal of the Kachwaha lineage built the fort of Narwar.
Some Eminent Kachwaha Kings
Raja Bhagwan Das (1574-1589)
He was a great military leader and a trusted ally of the Mughal emperor Akbar.
Maharaja Man Singh (1589-1619)
Son the Maharaja Bhagwan Das. He fought countless battles in Bengal, Assam, and Orissa under the banner of the Mughals. He also became commander in chief of the Mughal army during the reign of Akbar.
Mirza Raja Jai Singh I (1621-1667)
He was a brilliant and charismatic military leader. He ascended the throne of Jaipur in the year 1621 and fought battles for Jahangir, Shahjahan, and Aurangzeb.
He led the famous campaign against another great king (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) in the year 1665.
Sawai Jai Singh II (1699-1743)
He took the Kachwaha Rajputs to new heights and founded the majestic city of Jaipur. He also built observatories at Mathura, Delhi, Jaipur, and Ujjain.
Military Structure of Kachwaha Rajputs
The Rajputs followed the ancient Indian military structure where the army was divided into four arms known as Chaturangini.
The Chaturanga/Chaturangini structure consisted of Chariots (Rathas), Elephants (Gajas), Cavalry, and Infantry. However, the use of chariots declines rapidly during the reign of the Guptas.
In the context of the Kachwaha Rajputs, Chariots and Elephants were replaced by cannons and camels in the modern era.
Cavalry: Central Asia is the home of nomads who are excellent horse archers. Their skill in horse riding and archery led them to victory everywhere they went.
Similarly in the case of the Rajput horses played a very important part. Rajputs were born soldiers and every single male in the family was an excellent horse rider making the cavalry unit an invincible arm of their army.
Infantry: Foot soldiers are considered a backbone of an army. Through the course of history, the infantry of the Rajput underwent several changes.
For example, initially, the primary weapons of the Kachwaha infantry were swords, spears, and bows. Later in the modern era Rustic matchlocks, flint guns, and rifles replaced spears and bows.
Furthermore, during the reign of the great Swai Jai Singh the Nagas were recruited as an infantryman.
Some Famous but untold Military Campaigns of the Kachwahas
There are many instances in medieval history which gave us glimpses of the bravery of the Kachwaha Rajputs.
Resistance to Mahmud Ghazni
For example, the Kachwaha prince Kirtipal/Kirti raja (Nandpal) and Arjun Dev Kachwaha killed the Pratihara king Rajyapal of Kannauj as the latter surrendered without fighting in front of Mahmud Ghazni. Due to this Mahmud launched an attack on the Kachwaha at Gwalior but he failed as it was not successful.
Clash with Delhi Sultanate
Another instance of their bravery comes from Tabaqat-i-Nasiri which was written by Minhaj-i-Siraj and mentions that in the year 1234 when Sultan Shamsuddin Altamash sent a strong force under the leadership of his general Malik Nasiruddin.
The Rajputs under their leader Chahad Dev vehemently crushed the forces of the Delhi Sultanate. Furthermore, the sultan sent another expedition towards Narwar but again it resulted in a failure.
Role in the Battle of Tarain
Maharaja Pajoon Raiji and his son Malai Singh of Amer/Amber fought and defeated Mohammad Ghori in the first battle of Tarain.
Campaign against Babur
Maharaja Prithviraj of Amber was an ally of the great Maharana Sanga when the latter defeated the Mughals in the battle of Bayana in 1527.
All in all the Kachwaha Rajputs had fought in every major battle and through their military campaigns and valor, they had earned the respect of modern-day historians.
As an ally of Mughal Emperor Akbar
There were many instances in medieval history when the Kachwaha army saved the life of Mughal emperor Akbar. The first instance occurred when Emperor Akbar launched his Gujarat campaign in 1572.
The Mughals and their Kachwaha allies attacked the Mirzas at Sarnal. The battle was ruthless and there was an instance in the battle when the enemy horsemen made a tremendous charge toward the emperor.
But due to the quick movement of the Kachwaha guards this charge was repulsed by the Rajput allies of the Mughal saving the emperor from immense danger.
In the year 1573, the Kachwaha showed their valor in the battle of Ahmadabad. Raghawa Das Kachwaha fought even when his palms were broken and fell heroically on the battlefield.
It is true that the Kachwaha Rajputs had fought and bled in almost all parts of the Indian subcontinent. From the mountains of Hindukush to Assam and from the Himalayas in north India to Vindhyas the Kachwahas had proved that their valor and military skills are still unmatched in today’s world.
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