ancient indian history


Maharaja Chhatrasaal Bundela.

Chhatrasaal, also known as Maharaja Chhatrasaal Bundela, was a prominent ruler and military leader from the Bundela Rajput dynasty during the 17th century in India. He is remembered for his valor, statesmanship, and contributions to the defense of Hindu kingdoms against the Mughal Empire.
Chhatrasaal was born in 1649 in Kachar village, tikamgarh, in present-day Madhya Pradesh, India. He was the son of the ruler of Orchha, and he succeeded his father as the king of Orchha in 1663.
He took his inspiration from his father, Champat Rai, who had rebelled against the foreign rule of the Mughal Empire. Young Chhatrasal was only 12 years old in the year 1661 when his beloved father was martyred (committed suicide when he was besieged by Aurangzeb’s Mughal army). After the death of Champat Rai, his wife i.e. Lal Kunwar committed sati to save her honour. He was also present in his father’s last battle against the Mughals and through these heroic campaigns, he mustered the courage to free Bundelkhand from Aurangzeb’s rule.

Initially, he joined the Mughals and on the recommendation of Raja Jai Singh, a famous Rajput king, he was recruited into Aurangzeb’s Mughal army to support Alamgir’s Deccan campaigns.
But serving foreign rule, which brought chaos and misery to Bundelkhand, was unacceptable to him. Furthermore, his father’s constant struggle against the mughals kept the flame of independent Bundelkhand alive in his heart.

During his reign, Chhatrasaal faced numerous challenges, particularly from the mighty Mughal Empire, which was continuously expanding its territories into various regions of India. In the face of these challenges, Chhatrasaal became an important ally and confidant of the Mughal prince Aurangzeb’s elder brother, Prince Dara Shikoh.

However, when the War of Succession broke out between the Mughal princes in 1658, Chhatrasaal sided with Aurangzeb’s forces against Dara Shikoh. Despite supporting Aurangzeb in the war, Chhatrasaal later became disillusioned with the Mughal ruler’s policies and military campaigns, especially those targeting Hindu kingdoms.
Chhatrasal raised the banner of revolt against the Mughals in Bundelkhand  with an army of just five horsemen and twenty five swordsmen, in 1671. Chhatrasal declared independence from Mughals  and was able to resist the Mughals until he was attacked by Muhammad Khan Bangash.
Chhatrasaal had decided to break away from Mughal influence and asserted his independence. He formed an alliance with many other Rajput rulers of the adjoining regions and successfully resisted Mughal forces in several battles. One of his most famous victories came in the Battle of Bilgram (also known as the Battle of Bahadurpur) in 1671, where he defeated the Mughal commander Shaista Khan & severally injured him.

After gaining independence from Mughal suzerainty, Chhatrasaal established his own kingdom, with its capital at Panna. He was not only a skilled military leader, but was also a patron of arts and culture. He supported poets, scholars, and artists, contributing to the development of literature and architecture in his kingdom.
Chhatrasaal’s legacy is celebrated in Indian folklore and history for his courage, strategic acumen, and efforts to preserve Hindu kingdoms against mughal expansion. His dynasty continued to rule over the region for several generations after him, and his contributions are still remembered with reverence in the Bundelkhand region of India.

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