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Written by vir pratap suravanshi   
Tuesday, 01 September 2009 12:25
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Legend and early history
The Kachhawas belong to the Suryavanshi lineage, which claims descent from the Surya and Sun Dynasty of the ancient Kshatriyas. Specifically, they claim descent from Kusha<1> younger of the twin sons of Rama, hero of the Ramayana, to whom patrilineal descent from Surya is in turn ascribed. Indeed, the name Kachawaha is held by many<2> to be a patronymic derived from the name "Kusha". However, it has been suggested that Kachwaha is a diminutive of the Sanskrit conjoint word ''Kachhahap-ghata'' or ''Tortoise-killer''; Tortoise in Sanskrit being Kashyapa, although there may be several connotations for the interpretation of these terms.
According to Vishnu Purana<5>, Bardic chronicles and popular tradition; Sumitra was the last king of this dynasty in Ayodhya. In fourth century BC Mahapadma Nanda of Nanda Dynasty included Ayodhya in his empire and Kushwahas were forced to leave. Kurma was son of Sumitra thus migrated from their parental abode and established themself at the bank of the river son, where they constructed a fort called the Rohtas (Rahatas) fort.
T.H. Henley, states in his Rulers of India and the Chiefs of Rajputana that the Kachwaha clan is believed to have settled in an early era at Rohtas(Rahatas) on the son river in
present- day Bihar. He notes however that their notable seats of power were Kutwar, Gwalior, Dubkhund, Simhapaniya and Narwar (Nalapura), all in present-day Madhya Pradesh. This second westwards migration to Madhaya Pradesh is said to have been initiated under Raja Nala, the legendary founder of Narwar.
James Tod, has recorded the view as being prevalent in his time, that the clan occupied Narwar in the 10
th century and remained there until Narwar was captured by Parihara Rajputs in the 12th century, however local history suggests that the Kachwahas were in Narwar several centuries earlier than the date given by Tod''s arbitrary view. Many historians aver that the Kacchapaghatas, like the Chandellas and Paramaras, originated as tributaries of the preceding powers of the region. They point out that it was only following the downfall, in the 8th-10th century, of Kannauj (the regional seat-of-power, following the break-up of Harsha''s empire), that the Kacchapaghata state emerged as a principal power in the Chambal<6> valley of present-day Madhya Pradesh. This view is largely supported by archaeological artefacts<3> and Kacchapaghata coinage (minted in Gupta-fashion)<4> discovered in Madya pradesh, as also by inscriptions of Gopasetra (Willis). It is interesting to note that according to popular legend,<5> the rise of the Kachwahas in Madhya Pradesh is closely associated with Suraj/Surya Sen, a Kachwaha prince of the 8th century, whom is said to have been responsible for the building of Gwalior fort and the founding of that city<7><8>. In the oldest section of Gwalior fort there still exists a sacred pond known as the Suraj-Kund <9>. It may thus be logical that the Kachwaha rule in Chambal valley predates the dates ascribed in the Sas-Bahu insription.
According to an inscription in the Sas-Bahu temple within Gwalior fort, Vajradaman (Vazradaman) (964-1000 AD), the successor of the Kacchapaghata ruler Laksmana (940-964 AD) "put down the rising power of the ruler of Gandhinagara (Kannauj) and his proclamation-drum resounded on the fort of Gopadri (Gwalior)." Lakshmana father of Vajradamana was son of Dhola or Salhkumar (It is thus believed that Vajradamana was grandson of Dhola or Salhkumar).
According to Bardic chronicles and popular legend, Vazradaman was succeeded by his son Mangalraja. Mangalraja had two sons Kirtiraj(Kirtirai) and Sumitra. While Sumitra got Narwar in succession, Kirtiraj got Gwalior. Kirtiraja, also founded the temple city of Simhapaniya (present-day Sihonia),<6> there he had a Shiva temple constructed to fulfil the wish of his queen Kakanwati. Built between 1015 to 1035 A.D., the Kakan Math temple is 115 ft.vals in splendour the temples of Khajuraho.<7> Interestingly Simphaniya like present day Jaipur, was a flourishing center of Jainism.
After Sumitra, Madhubramh, Kanh, Devanik, and Isha Singh ruled Narwar. The Sas-Bahu inscription is dated to 1093 AD and it gives the genealogy of the ruling family up to Mahipal who died sometime before 1104 AD.
Prior to the adoption of the Pachrang (five coloured)
flag by Raja Man Singh I of Amber, the original flag of the Kachwahas was known as the ''Jharshahi'' (tree-marked) flag. The flag is based on the archaic flag of Ayodhya, the ''Kanchnar-dhavaj'' flag of Rama, which is composed of the figure of a Kachnar tree on a white cloth. The Famous 7th century, Sanskrit poet Bhavabhuti whom was a resident of Padmavati, near Narwar, the abode of the Kachwahas at the time, also gives mention to this flag in his celebrated drama ''Uttara Ramacharita''.

[edit] Sub-clans

Overall, sub-clans of the Kachwaha number around 71. Prominent sub-clans of the Kachhawa clan include: Rajawat, Shekhawat,Jamwal Sheobramhpota, Naruka, Nathawat, Khangarot and Kumbhani. Raja Prithiviraj organised his clan and accepted twelve main houses which were regarded as distinguished system. Among twelve houses nine were his sons and grandsons and three houses from his forefathers. They are known as the Bara Kotris.

There is a saying in the honour of Kachawa Rajputs-

कछवाहा री कीर्ती, सारी सदा सवाय l
जसधारी बणिया जगत, जय माता जमवाय ll

English version of this poetic phrase:

(The fame of Kachwaha is always a quarter more, They were famed in the world,I praise mother goddess Jamvay.)

[edit] Legend and early history

Lord Sri Rama (center) with wife Sita, brother-- Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman. Rama and Lakshmana are always shown to be ready for battle, with bow and arrow, as it is their Kshatriya dharma to fight. Rama was from Suryavanshi lineage.

The Kachhawas(Kushwaha) belong to the Suryavanshi lineage, which claims descent from the Surya (Sun Dynasty) or Suryavansha of the ancient Kshatriyas. Specifically, they claim descent from Kusha[1] eldest of the twin sons of Rama, hero of the Ramayana, to whom patrilineal descent from Surya is in turn ascribed. Indeed, the name Kachawaha is held by many[2] to be a patronymic derived from the name "Kusha". However, it has been suggested that Kachwaha is a diminutive of the Sanskrit conjoint word 'Kachhahap-ghata' or 'Tortoise-killer'; Tortoise in Sanskrit being Kashyapa, although there may be several connotations for the interpretation of these terms.

According to Vishnu Purana[1], bardic chronicles and popular tradition; Sumitra was the last king of this dynasty in Ayodhya. In the fourth century BC Mahapadma Nanda of Nanda Dynasty included Ayodhya in his empire and Kushwahas were forced to leave. Kurma was son of Sumitra thus migrated from their parental abode and established them self at the bank of the river son, where they constructed a fort called the Rohtas (Rahatas) fort.

T.H. Henley, states in his Rulers of India and the Chiefs of Rajputana (1897) that the Kachwaha clan is believed to have settled in an early era at Rohtas(Rahatas) on the son river in present-day Bihar. He notes however that their notable seats of power were Kutwar, Gwalior, Dubkhund, Simhapaniya and Narwar (Nalapura), all in present-day Madhya Pradesh. This second westwards migration to Madhaya Pradesh is said to have been initiated under Raja Nala, the legendary founder of Narwar.

James Tod, has recorded the view as being prevalent in his time, that the clan occupied Narwar in the 10th century and remained there until Narwar was captured by Parihara Rajputs in the 12th century, however local history suggests that the Kachwahas were in Narwar several centuries earlier than the date given by Tod's arbitrary view. Many historians aver that the Kacchapaghatas, like the Chandellas and Paramaras, originated as tributaries of the preceding powers of the region. They point out that it was only following the downfall, in the 8th-10th century, of Kannauj (the regional seat-of-power, following the break-up of Harsha's empire), that the Kacchapaghata state emerged as a principal power in the Chambal[2] valley of present-day Madhya Pradesh. This view is largely supported by archaeological artefacts[3] and Kacchapaghata coinage (minted in Gupta-fashion)[4] discovered in Madya pradesh, as also by inscriptions of Gopasetra (Willis). It is interesting to note that according to popular legend,[5] the rise of the Kachwahas in Madhya Pradesh is closely associated with Suraj/Surya Sen, a Kachwaha prince of the 8th century, whom is said to have been responsible for the building of Gwalior fort and the founding of that city[3][4]. In the oldest section of Gwalior fort there still exists a sacred pond known as the Suraj-Kund [5]. It may thus be logical that the Kachwaha rule in Chambal valley predates the dates ascribed in the Sas-Bahu inscription.

According to an inscription in the Sas-Bahu temple within Gwalior fort, Vajradaman (Vazradaman) (964-1000 AD), the successor of the Kacchapaghata ruler Laksmana (940-964 AD) "put down the rising power of the ruler of Gandhinagara (Kannauj) and his proclamation-drum resounded on the fort of Gopadri (Gwalior)." Lakshmana father of Vajradaman was son of Dhola or Salhkumar (It is thus believed that Vajradaman was grandson of Dhola or Salhkumar).

According to bardic chronicles and popular legend, Vazradaman was succeeded by his son Mangalraja. Mangalraja had two sons Kirtiraj(Kirtirai) and Sumitra. While Sumitra got Narwar in succession, Kirtiraj got Gwalior. Kirtiraj, also founded the temple city of Simhapaniya (present-day Sihonia),[6] there he had a Shiva temple constructed to fulfil the wish of his queen Kakanwati. Built between 1015 to 1035 A.D., the Kakan Math temple is 115 ft (35 m). high and rivals in splendour the temples of Khajuraho.[7] Interestingly Simphaniya like present day Jaipur, was a flourishing center of Jainism. The affix of Pal was adopted by the Kachwaha rulers of Narwar for many centuries, and it was 8 centuries later that this epithet was changed to Singh.

After Sumitra, Madhubramh, Kanh, Devanik, and Isha Singh ruled Narwar. The Sas-Bahu inscription is dated to 1093 AD and it gives the genealogy of the ruling family up to Mahipal who died sometime before 1104 AD.

[edit] Advent of the Kachwahas in Dhundhar

Vajradamana (Vazradama) the kachhawah ruler was ruling Narawar and Gwalior in 10th century AD. He fought Mahmud Gazanavi with Anangpal Tomara I, ruler of Delhi and was killed in this battle in 1000 AD. After Vazradama, his son Mangalraja sat on the throne.

Jaigarth, the invincible Fort of Amber and sacred sanctuary of the Kachhawas.

Mangalraja had two sons Kirtirai and Sumitra. While Kirtirai succeeded at Gwalior, Sumitra got Narwar in succession.In this dynasty Isha Singh became the king of Narwar.Isha Singh had a son named Sodh Dev and Dulah Raya was son of Sodh Dev. The Kachwaha prince Dulah Raya (Popular name)) as he was bridegroom in the area he ruled. His original name was Tejkaran wed a daughter of Ralhan, the Chauhan ruler of Ajmer. He received Dausa, which was part of the Dhundhar region of present-day Rajasthan as dowry, its location is the territory west from the Kachwahas domain of Narwar and Gwalior. Dausa was at the time was ruled partly by the Chauhans, and partly by the Bargujar/Birgoojur Rajputs. It was also surrounded by Meenas strongholds. Following his matrimonial alliance, Raja Duhaladeva initiated his conquest of neighbouring Meenas strongholds at Manchi, which he renamed Ramgarh, this was the beginning of the clan's westwards migration into Rajasthan. The year agreed upon by most sources gives the date of this event at around 967AD. This was followed by further annexation of Khoh and other strongholds of the Bargujar Rajputs.

Todate, the 10th century, Jamwa Devi temple built by Dūhaladeva (Dulhe Rai) to commemorate his victory over the Meenas is still worshipped by the Kachhawas. Kākaladeva (popularly known as Raja Kākil Dev) further consolidated and organised the Kachhawa rule in Dhundhar. Following his suppression of the Meenas, the Birgoojurs and the Yadava Rajputs in Dhundhar, around the year 1037AD Raja Kākil Dev moved his capital from Ramgarh westwards to Amber (Ambikeshwar/Ambawati). There he built the original Fort of Amber, on the site which to the present day is known as Jaigarh fort and it is possible that he also built or expanded the Ambikeshwar Mahadev Temple. Hanutdeva came to the throne in 1129. According to bardic chronicles and local history, Hanutdeva died in a battle with the Meenas. His son Jahnadadeva (popularly known as Janad Dev ) also fought battles with Meenas. According to local tradition, the Meenas stopped Janad Dev while he was on his way to get married, thus a battle ensued and the Meenas were defeated by Janad Dev.

By the time of Pajawan (Pradhyumn Singh or Pujjuna) the son of Jahnadadeva, the Kachhawas had become the undisputed sovereign of Dhundhar, with the Meenas as their close allies, and keepers of their forts. Nevertheless they were destined to have lost most of their ancestral domain in present day Madhya Pradesh by the early 12th century, save but the area which todate constitutes the Rajawati chiefdoms that still dots the area adjoining the former Jaipur state and Madhya pradesh (being the area around Sawai Madhopur/Narwar). The original capital of the state in Dhundhar (and in Rajputana) was thus Dausa then Ramgarh, prior to the shift to Amber and Jaipur respectively.

Another alliance with the Chauhan was forged through the marriage of Pajawan with a sister of Prithviraj III of Delhi as recorded in the chronicles of the Prithviraj Raso. Raja Pradhyumn Singh or Pajawan/Pajjuna fought valiantly alongside (his brother in law), Prithviraj Chauhan. At the time of Swayamvar of Samyogita at Kannauj in 1185, Pajjuna was trusted general of Prithviraj chauhan III. When Samyogita garlanded the statue of Prithviraj Chauhan, Prithviraj came out from his refuge and took the Samyogita with him. Jaichand of Kannauj ordered his forces to pursue Prithviraj, but the forces were stopped and engaged in a battle with Pajjuna. Thus Prithviraj III was able to reach safety in his capital.

In this battle, Pajawan's three brothers Palansi, Jaitsi, and Kansi and two sons Balbhadra, Bhinvsi were killed. Pajawan is believed to have been killed in the Second Battle of Tarain in 1192. Following the capture and death of Prithviraj Chauhan, Pajawan's son Malaya Si succeeded his father having fought bravely and suffered wounds in the battle with which his father and brothers lost their lives. The Kachwahas remained a threat to the neighboring Islamic Sultanate of Delhi, their kingdom also stood on major trade and (Islamic) pilgrimage routes leading to the shrines of Ajmer and the ports of Gujarat.

The successor of Malaya Si was Bijaladeva, whom in 1226 extended his matrimonial alliance through the marriage of his daughter to Raja Veernarain Chauhan of Ranthambhore. Bijaladev was succeeded by his son Rajadeva (Rajdev). During the siege of Ranthambore by the Khilji invaders, Rajadeva is said to have given his support to Rana Hamir of Mewar. Rajadeva is also said to have added much fortifications, temples and water tanks to his capital of Amber. Another important event of this period is the disjunction of the Shekhawats and the founding of the Shekhawati territory by the great warrior Rao Shekha, the distinguished great grandson of Raja Udayakarna (Udaykarana) of Amber.

[edit] Kachwahas and the Mughals

In March 1527, Raja Prithviraj of Amber (1502-1527) supported (his father-in-law) Rana Sanga of Mewar at the Battle of Khanua, but was unable to prevent his defeat by Babur, leading to the establishment of the Mughal Empire. He also organised his family into what is known as the Bara Kothris, or the twelve patrilineal branches of the Kachwaha clan, his successor Puran Mal (1527-1534) is said to have helped Humayun's brother Hindal, in his struggle against Tatar Khan in the battle of Mandrail (1534 AD). After the death of Puran Mal his brothers Bhim, and nephews Ratan Singh, and Askaran ruled Amber for short periods.

The period of 13 years following Puran Mal's death is shrouded with mystery and controversies, intrigues and murders until Bharmal (Bhāramala/Bihārīmala) ascended the throne of Amber in 1547. Bharmal was a brother of Puran Mal, and thus another son of Prithviraj (who was killed in the battle of Khanua in 1527). He overpowered all controversies and feuds with the help of Akbar the Mughal emperor. During this time many of the Kachwaha relatives left Jaipur and migrated to Jodhpur and Nagaur.

In February 1562, Hira Kunwar, daughter of Bharmal (1547-1573), Raja of Amber, was wed to the Mughal emperor Akbar at a grand ceremony held at the town of Sambhar, the son born through this marriage being none other than the next Mughal emperor Jahangir. This pragmatic alliance created a major shift in the balance of power within the Indian subcontinent and ushered a period of harmonious co-operation between the Rajputs and the Mughals. However, details of the marriage between Akbar and Hira Kunwar (some call her Jodhabai) remains a disputed subject.

The Kachwahas provided the Mughals some of their most distinguished generals. Raja Bhagwant Das (1575-1589) brought with him the secret of artillery production from Lahore (where he and his son Man Singh remained for many years as governor) to Amber in 1584, soon cannons began to be made at the foundry in Jaigarh Fort (including the world's largest cannon on wheels, the Jaivana[6]), much to the infuriation of the Mughals who kept the secret to themselves ever since they used it in the epic battles, against the Lodhis and the Rajputs.

In 1589, Bhagwant Das was succeeded by Raja Man Singh I (1589-1614) (Akbar's Commander-in-Chief), who did much to further the establishment of Mughal rule over present Afganistan, Kabul,and Rajputana in the west to Orissa and Cooch Behar in the east. From Kashmir in the north to southernmost parts of the Deccan, and also served them in various other capacities, notably as governor of Kabul and Bengal. Man Singh’s monumental fortress in Kabul, was used as headquarters by subsequent Mughal governors. Man Singh was a devotee of Krishna, he got constructed a temple of Krishna at Vrindavan and at Amber now known as "Kanak Vrindawan"(Golden Vrindawan) and many other temples at various places including Varanasi and Prayag (Allahabad). He used to listen to religious lectures of Goswami Tulsidas, the author of "Ramcharit Manas" the famous Hindu sacred book also known as Ramayan in popular language. He also brought with him the ancient cult of Kali worship together with the famous idol of Shila Devi from Jessore in present Bangladesh to Amber.

Till date, there is a holiday in Jaipur district when special offerings are paid to this Goddess on sixth day of "Navratras". Two other idols "Hanuman" and "Sanga" were also brought by Raja Man Singh I. The popular saying of Jaipurites is "Sanganer ko Sango Babo Jaipur ko Hanuman, Amer ki Shila Devi lyayo Raja Man" (The idols of Sanga at Sanganer, Hanuman at Jaipur (at Chandpole gate) and Shiladevi of Amber were brought by Raja Man Singh"). As governor of Bengal, Raja Man Singh made Rohtas, his ancestral domain in Bihar, his headquarters[7]; he rebuilt the fort and also built a new palace there.

The Jaivana, cast in 1720 is the largest cannon in Asia and largest wheel mounted cannon in the world

Jai Singh I (1622-1667), commonly known by the title 'Mirza Raja' conferred to him by (his cousin) Shah Jehan, was one of the most prominent Mughal generals during the reigns of Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb. An accomplished statesman, scholar and diplomat and a premier noble of the empire, he forced Shivaji to sign Treaty of Purandar (1665). Interestingly, despite the fact that it was Jai Singh I who succeeded in bringing Shivaji to Aurangzeb, his son and successor Raja Ramsingh I (1667-1688) earned the lasting displeasure of Aurangzeb, who suspected him of complicity in the escape of Shivaji from Agra. Mirza Raja Jaisingh died in Vidhrbha, it has been suspected that his secretary poisoned him on the instructions of the emperor. As soon as Ram Singh I, ascended the throne of Amber in 1667, Aurangzeb sent him to fight on the remote and unhealthy border of Assam, where he fought battles for many years known as the Ahom-Mughal conflicts. Having survived this post, he was sent to govern the north-western Khyber frontier where he died, at Kohat in April 1688. He was succeeded by his Grandson, Raja Bishan Singh (1689-1699), whom remained for a time the governor of Mathura. Bishan Singh suffered a fatal shot by Afghan insurgents while quelling a revolt in Kabul in 1699.

Sawai Jai Singh II (1700-1743), a grandson of his namesake Mirza Raja Jai Singh I, was known to be supremely talented - politically, intellectually and on the battle field. He founded the city of Jaipur in November 1727. Towards the end of the 18th century, the Jats of Bharatpur and the chief of Alwar (also a Kachwaha) each declared themselves independent from the Maharaja of Jaipur and annexed the eastern portion of Jaipur's territory. This period is generally characterized by internal power-struggles and constant military conflicts with the Marathas, Jats, other Rajput states, as well as the British and the Pindaris (Jaipur's former mercenary allies). Yet enough wealth remained with the clan for continuous patronage of fine forts/temples/palaces, the employment of Sanskrit, Urdu and Hindi scholars/artists as well as the continuity of lavish courtly traditions.

[edit] Formation of Jaipur state and modernity

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II found the city of Jaipur and constructed a palace for Royal family. Shown here is the Chandramahal , a part of Jaipur City Palace built by him.

Through the disintegration of the Mughal Empire, as various forces competed for power in India, a treaty was initially made between Maharaja Sawai Jagat Singh (1803-1818) and the British in 1803 but was abolished shortly afterwards. Another treaty of alliance was signed in the last year of Sawai Jagat Singh's reign in 1818. In 1835, there was a serious disturbance in the city, after which the British government intervened; under the rule of Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II (1835-1881) the state gradually become well-governed and increasingly prosperous. Sawai Ram Singh's devotion to Shaivism earned him the nickname of 'Rishi Raj' or the Sage-King while his reign was known to his people as 'Ram rajye ek lahar' - 'a wave of the rule of Rama'(Tillotson). Under his rule, Jaipur state underwent a significant period of modernization. Jaipur got electricity and modern water supply schemes at that time. The first theatre or cinema known as "Ram Prakash" came into existence. He was extraordinary careful towards cleanliness of Jaipur. Jaipur was called Paris of India at that time. He personally inspected and did his best for the well being and modernization of his state. He also built many famous structures in Jaipur including Ramgarh Bandh, Ramniwas Bagh, Rambagh Palace, many colleges were founded during his time.

Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II (1881-1922), G.C.S.I., G.C.V.O., was born in 1861, he was adopted through the traditional system by Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II from the thikana of Isarda, he succeeded the throne in 1882 and was distinguished for his enlightened administration. He visited England at the time of King Edward VII's coronation in 1902. It was he who started and endowed with a donation of 15 lakhs, afterwards increased to 20 lakhs, of rupees the Indian Peoples Famine Fund. The Jaipur imperial service transport corps saw service in the Chitral and Tirah campaigns.

The last ruling Maharaja of Jaipur was Sawai Man Singh II (SMS) (1922-1949), his reign spanned the period of utmost turbulence and radical transformation experienced throughout the world, as well as in India as it tumbled its way into modernity. Through his vision of a modernized Jaipur state, it was under his rule that numerous reforms were introduced in order to pave the way for a peaceful unification into the Indian Union for the benefit of his beloved subjects. In 1948, shortly after India's independence, SMS acceded the state of Jaipur to the Government of India, he then became the first Rajpramukh of Rajasthan.

Sawai Man Singh II passed away in 1970 while playing polo in England, he was succeeded by his eldest son, Sawai Bhawani Singh of Jaipur, who in Democratic India reigns as current head of the Kachhawas{mos_sb_discuss:#enter_forum_id#}

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