This Thursday, the famous battle of Haldighati came to life, with Rajsamand organising the colourful festival of horses. Better known as ‘Haldighati Horse fair’, the festival honours the chivalrous deeds of Maharana Pratap Singh’s horse Chetak.
This year’s Haldighati Horse Fair was embellished with thrilling equestrian performances that attracted the youths and the elderly alike. About 25 horses of Marwari breed participated in various competitions like horse show, long jumps and races. Each year, the natives from Chittorgarh, Rajsamand and Udaipur districts participate in this ostentatious fair to recollect the chivalrous tales of King Maharana Pratap’s legendary horse Chetak.
Not only was Chetak the fastest animal in the King’s army, but he sacrificed his own life to save Pratap in the classic battle of Haldighati. He was famous as the horse who galloped with a wind speed.
Chetak’s Sacrifice Empowered Maharana to Fight the Mughals with Great Valour
On June 18, 1576, a fierce battle was being fought between the army of Mewar and the Mughals. Maharana Pratap, the head of Mewar army, was surrounded by the Mughal army on all sides. In an attempt to escape from the battlefield, Pratap attacked Man Singh, who was perched on the elephant-top. While doing so, Chetak sustained a deep cut on his feet. Despite that, the brave horse dashed away from the battlefield and took the king to a safe location.
While crossing a 22-feet stream, the horse lost his strength and died. Thus, as a tribute to Maharana’s beloved horse, every year the district administration organises the horse fair in Rajsamand. The natives kept up with the traditions for several years however, a decade back, it was discontinued, seeing the disinterest of the organisers and the patronage.
Cash prizes were distributed to the owners of winning horses. Kelwa’s ‘Raj Nagina’ of Marwar breed won the ‘Best Horse’ award.
This year, the Rajsamand district collector Archana Singh put in special efforts to revive the lost glory of this regional fair. More than 100 horses of different species participated in the fair. Among them were Kathiawari and Arabian horses that were brought here to parade at the three day fair. The fair date coincides with the Maharana’s death anniversary.
Earlier, governor Kalyan Singh announced a 20-feet tall, life-size idol of Chetak to be installed on the hilltop to match the heroic deeds of Pratap.
Thus, the efforts of district administration restored the lost glory of the festival.