Pratap Singh, popularly known as Maharana Pratap, was one of the bravest Rajput rulers of India who ruled Mewar in Rajasthan for 35 years. While other Rajput rulers accepted the supremacy of Akbar, he was one of the few rulers in Indian history who stood strong against the mighty Mughal Empire.
Maharana Pratap Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Rajput king Pratap Singh which according to the English calendar falls on 9 May. But in India, the warrior king’s birth anniversary is celebrated, as per the Hindu calendar, on the Tritiya tithi of Jyeshtha’s Shukla Paksha. This year, it is the 482nd birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap. The day will be celebrated on 2 June. The day is observed as a public holiday in some states such as Rajasthan, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
On this occasion, let’s take a look at some lesser-known facts about the 13th king of Mewar:
- Maharana Pratap’s father was the 12th ruler of the Mewar dynasty who founded Udaipur.
- Pratap Singh was known for his hulk-like body structure. Some historians have noted that Maharana Pratap had a height of 7'5" and his weight was almost 110 kgs. Many believe that he could carry two 104-kg swords. The weight of his armour was about 72 kg and the weight of his weapon was 32 kg.
- Pratap Singh had 11 wives and 17 kids. Among his children, Maharana Amar Singh 1 was the eldest son who later became the successor and 14th Rajput ruler. It is also said that the three sons of Pratap Singh played crucial roles in the battle against the Mughals.
- Many people in India consider Maharana Pratap as ‘India’s first original freedom fighter’ because he fought valiantly against Akbar’s army in the battle of Haldighati and the Battle of Dewair and restricted the expansionism of the Mughal empire. He defeated the Akbar’s army thrice - in 1577, 1578 and 1579. However, Maharana Pratap lost the battle of Haldighati but refused to surrender. Later, he reoccupied the maximum areas but failed to win back Chittor again.
- Maharana Pratap's bonding with his loyal horse named Chetak is the stuff of legends. During the battle of Haldighati, Mughal force leader Man Singh I attacked Chetak and caused some fatal injuries. Despite the condition, Chetak saved the life of Maharana Pratap and gave his own life by jumping across a stream that was approximately 22 feet wide.
- Maharana Pratap died at 56 after getting injured in a hunting accident at Chavand on 19 January 1597. On the death bed, he asked his son Maharana Amar Singh 1 to win back Chittor again. However, later he accepted the supremacy of the Mughals and entered Chittor.
- In 2007, a statue of Maharana Pratap was built in the Parliament of India as a symbol of heroism, the spirit of freedom pride and valour.