Story of Rao Lunkaran: The Rajput king who single-handedly killed 21 enemies

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Previously we had delved into the early history and origin of the kingdom of Bikaner. Under the leadership of their first ruler Rao Bika, the kingdom emerged as a dominant power recognized by neighboring chiefs.

However, after his demise, the kingdom of Bikaner witnessed rebellions from the conquered regions. Political instability grew in the second branch of the Rathore kingdom and it was in this troubled period there emerged an astute leader who took the responsibility to safeguard the very foundation of Bikaner.

He is remembered for his unmatched valor and aggressive military policies through which he extended the dominion of Bikaner in all possible directions.

His heroism to this day is well preserved in the folklore which mentions how he alone slayed around 21 enemies during a battle against the Nawab of Narnaul.

In this article, we will cover the story of Rao Lunkaran a spirited Rajput king and a gallant warrior who defy the might of neighboring sultans and chiefs.

Rao Lunkaran: The Brave and Indomitable

Rao Lunkaran ascended the throne of Bikaner after the death of his elder brother Rao Narayan Singh (Nara) around 1505 CE. He is known for his expansionist policy and spirited courage due to which he was given the epithet of Warrior Karan of Mahabharata. He was 35 years old when he took charge of safeguarding the precious kingdom which his father had built.

Bikaner State
Rao Lunkaran
Image of the Kingdom of Bikaner

However, his kingdom witnessed internal rebellions and threats from neighboring chieftains. With his leadership shrewdness and valor Rao Lunkaran suppressed various rebellions and expanded the banner of the Bikaner kingdom.

He suppressed various rebellions and defeated the neighboring chiefs after his accession. His first major military campaign was initiated against the ruler of Churu (Dadrewa). The conflict dates to 23 September 1509 which resulted in the defeat of King Man Singh Chauhan and the subjugation of the Churu region.

Later in the year 1512 Rao Lunkaran defeated the ruler of Fatehpur. At that time the region was under the Muslim control of Daulat Khan and Rang Khan. However, both were defeated by the Rao and in return around 120 villages were given to the Bikaner Rao by the Muslim rulers.

To better establish and manage the administrative and military affairs in the conquered territories Rao Lunkaran established various military outposts in those regions. Furthermore, the ruler of Jaisalmer Rawal Jaitsi, or Jait Singh was also defeated by the Bikaner king and even captured by the latter.

Around 1513 CE Mohammad Khan the Nawab of Nagaur launched his expedition against Bikaner and tried to take advantage of the political turmoil of Bikaner for his own ambitions. However, the Rao of Bikaner ably defended his kingdom and defeated the invading hordes of Mohammed Khan.

Note: He also raided the bordering region of Hissar.

Forging victorious campaigns in almost all possible directions the kingdom of the Rao controlled the regions like Didwana, Narbad, Bagad, Kanthalia, and Singhana.

Last Battle: The Betrayal and slaying of 21 troops of Nawab

The ambitious Rao Lunkaran emerged as a powerful chief who withstood every onslaught and rebellion launched against him. Emerging victorious against every possible enemy Rao made himself the master of several regions. 

But there was one region which he desired more than any other region. It was the territory of Narnaul (located in present-day Haryana) which was ruled by its Nawab Sheikh Abimira. The Nawab wanted to establish a truce with the Rajput ruler of Bikaner but the latter refused the proposal and wanted to settle the matter on the battlefield.

The Nawab was in a precarious situation as the Rathores of Bikaner prepared to crush his kingdom. But the fortune of the Nawab turned as several combatants and chiefs like Kalyanmal and Raimal of Rao’s army withdrew themselves from the battlefield.

Despite witnessing the betrayal from his chiefs who deserted their king at a crucial moment the Rao decided to fight on his own. However, the audacious Rao fought till his last breath and slayed around 21 troops of the Nawab. The king of Bikaner and his loyal troops perished on the battlefield after creating havoc in the enemy army.

The battle between Rao Lunkaran and Nawab of Narnaul is believed to have occurred around 1526. After the death of Rao Lunkaran his son Rao Jait Singh ascended the throne of Bikaner.

Sources taken

History of Bikaner by G.S.Ojha

The Royal Rajputs by Manoshi Bhattacharya  


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