Story of Maharana Kumbha - Founder of 32 Forts in Mewar

Story of Maharana Kumbha - Founder of 32 Forts in Mewar, it tells about the life history of warrior and art lover, writer and founder of 32 Forts.

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Maharana Kumbha was born in Mewar. His father’s name was Maharana Mokal and his mother’s name was Subhagya Devi.

Maharana Kumbha attain the throne of Mewar in 1433 CE. After becoming the ruler, he not only fought and finished the internal and external issues of his kingdom.

But also made a popular image through his courage and bravery. He also conferred heights to the prestige of Chittor through his wartime and cultural achievements.

Initial Problems for Maharana Kumbha

Just after becoming the ruler, various internal and external problems came in front of Kumbha.

The offspring of the Mewar’s Maharana Kshetra Singh’s (1364-1382) queen, his (Kumbha’s) uncle and Mera were trying to eliminate his (Kumbha’s) father to occupy Mewar.

These reasons lead to divide the chieftains into two groups. One group was in support of Kumbha’s father and the other was with his uncle, Mera and Mehpa Panwaar.

And during these conditions, various feudal lords tried to establish their independent kingdom in Mewar.

And soon after, an army was sent to crush the rebels by Kumbha under the leadership of Ranmal and Raghavdev.

Kumbha’s Uncle and Mera were killed with their companions, his uncle’s son Ekka and Mehpa Panwaar became successful in running away from Kumbha and went to the heaven of Malwa’s Sultan Mahmud Khilji.

Relationship between Mewar and Malwa

Malwa was situated in the neighbour of Mewar. And the ruler of both the kingdoms wished to expand the boundaries of their kingdoms.

Because of this reason, dispute between both the rulers was inevitable, but when the ruler of Malwa protected the rebel chieftains of Kumbha, that thing became the main cause of the fight between them.

Mehpa Panwaar, who was the one who assassinated Maharana Mokal Singh, took protection and shelter from Malwa’s ruler, Mahmud Khilji.

After getting information about this, Maharana Kumbha wrote a letter to Mahmud Khilji and demanded to hand over Mehpa Panwaar to him.

But this demand from Kumbha was rejected by the Sultan of Malwa and because of that, Kumbha decided to invade upon Malwa.

Then a fierce battle took place between both the armies at a place named as Sarangpur in the year 1437 CE. And after being defeated, Mahmud fled away from there.

Noticing that Mahmud Khilji was running away, Kumbha followed him. Kumbha sieged Malwa and also imprisoned Mahmud Khilji and took him to Chittor.

And after keeping Mahmud in prison for six months, Maharana Kumbha released him without any condition and demand.

After getting released from the prison, Mahmud Khilji wanted to avenge his first defeat and that six months imprisonment. So, he invaded upon Kumbhalgarh in 1443 CE.

A powerful army was deployed by Maharana Kumbha near the Ban Mata Temple under the door of the fort under the leadership of Deep Singh.

Another fierce struggle took place between both the armies and it continued for seven days, and after such a violent struggle the enemy army got successful in occupying the temple after the death of Deep Singh and his companions.

And because of this attack Mahmud’s army had to face such a severe loss, that after destructing the temple, the broken statues were given to the butchers to weight meat.

The lime obtained from the statue of Nandi was baked and given to Rajputs to consume that lime in betel leaves.

That army of Mahmud tried to occupy Chittor also, but his army remained unsuccessful in it and another attempt was made by Mahmud to occupy Chittor and Mandalgarh in the year 1446 CE.

But as before, he remained unsuccessful in that campaign. And the last and final attempt to occupy Mandalgarh was made by Mahmud Khilji in the year 1456 CE.

Relationship between Mewar and Gujarat

The maladministration prevailed in Gujarat was ended at the time of Maharana Kumbha and the ruler of Gujarat wanted to extend his empire.

Because of this reason, the struggle continued between Mewar and Gujarat and the political condition of Gujarat and Sirohi made the struggle inevitable between them.

After the death of Firuz Khan of Nagaur, his son, Shams Khan became the new ruler of Nagaur in 1456 CE, but the younger brother of Firuz, Mujahid Khan defeated Shams and occupied Nagaur.

After getting help from Maharana Kumbha, Shams Khan reoccupied Nagaur and after a short period of time, against the conditions laid down by Kumbha, he started to repair the Nagaur fort.

This made Maharana Kumbha anger and he (Kumbha) invaded upon Nagaur and occupied it. And Shams Khan also got angered with Kumbha after this incident.

Shams Khan got his daughter married to Qutb-ud-Din, the Sultan of Gujarat and also demanded his support. On this, Qutb-ud-Din went on to invade upon Mewar.

He sent his commander Malik Shahban to conquer Abu, on the request of Dewra ruler of Sirohi and himself went towards Kumbhalgarh.

According to a famous historian, Firishta, instead of getting Kumbhalgarh invaded, Maharana gave wealth to the Sultan and the Sultan returned back to Gujarat.

At this time, Taj Khan, a representative of Mahmud Khilji put a proposal in from of Qutb-ud-Din for the joint invasion of Gujarat-Malwa upon Mewar.

According to which, Gujarat would take the southern part of Mewar and rule upon it and Malwa would occupy the rest part of Malwa and Ahirwara.

An alliance of both the armies was made at a place named Champaner for this campaign in the year 1456 CE.

Malwa invades upon Mewar from Malwa’s side and on the other hand Qutb-ud-Din conquered Abu and proceeded towards Chittor.

According to Firishta, Rana settled this invasion by granting wealth to the invaders and sent them back to their respective places.

While according to Rasikpriya and Kirti Stambh Prashasti, Maharana Kumbha defeated both the Sultans and because of the victories upon the Mughal rulers, Kumbha was renowned by the name of “Hindu Suratran”.

Cultural achievements of Maharana Kumbha

Being a great and brave warrior, Kumbha was also a lover of art and literature. And because of this he has been regarded as “of a stable mindset during war”.

According to Ekalinga Mahatamya, Kumbha was excelled in Smritis, Vedas, Vyakarana (Grammar), Mimansa, Upanishads, politics and literature.

Because of being a great musician, he was called “Abhinav Bharatacharya” and “Veenavaadan Pravenen”.

He had written major texts such as Sangeet Raj, Sud Prabandh, Sangeet Mimansa and Sangeet Karm Deepika.

And there are five parts of Sangeet Raj ie Vadhya Ratan Kosh, Path Ratan Kosh, Ras Ratan Kosh, Geet rattan Kosh and Nritya Ratan Kosh.

Kumbha also composed various plays in Marathi (Maharashtri), Karnati (Kannada) and Mewari languages.

As Kumbha was a lover of art and literature, he was also a protector of scholars and because of this he was also known as “Rano Raso” which means ‘the protector of scholars’.

During the reign of Kumbha, Vijaya Stambha was made, which was nine storeys and 112 feet tall and is situated inside the Chittor fort.

Vijaya Stambha was made by Kumbha in the memory of his victory upon Malwa’s Sultan Mahmud Khilji. It was also called as the “precious treasure of ancient Hindu sculpture”.

And the construction of Vijaya Stambha took place under the guardianship of head sculptor Jaita and his three sons- Poma, Punja and Napa.

Because of the presence of Lord Vishnu on its main gate, it is also known as “Vishnu Dhwaja”.


Ramesh Sharma {M Pharm, MSc (Computer Science), PGDCA, MA (History), CHMS}

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