Baghel Rajputs, who have given their name to Baghelkhand
or Rewah, the eastern part of Central India, are a
branch of the Chalukya or Solankhi clan, one of the
four Agnikulas or those born from the firepit on Mount
The chiefs of Rewah are Baghel Rajputs,
and the late Maharaja Raghuraj Singh has written a
traditional history of the sept in a book called the
. He derives their origin from
a child, having the form of a tiger (
was born to the Solankhi Raja of Gujarat at the intercession
of the famous saint Kabir.
One of the headquarters
of the Kabirpanthi sect are at Kawardha, which is
close to Rewah, and the ruling family are members
of the sect; hence probably the association of the
Prophet with their origin.
states that the founder of the clan was one
Anoka, a nephew of the Solankhi king of Gujarat, Kumarpal
He obtained a grant of the
village Vaghela, the tiger’s lair, about ten
miles from Anhilvada, the capital of the Solankhi
dynasty, and the Baghel clan takes its name from this
Subsequently the Baghels extended their
power over the whole of Gujarat, but in A.D. 1304
the last king, Karnadeva, was driven out by the Muhammadans,
and one of his most beautiful wives was captured and
sent to the emperor’s harem.
his daughter fled and hid themselves near Nasik, but
the daughter was subsequently also taken, while it
is not stated what became of Karnadeva.
Lal suggests that he fled towards Rewah, and that
he is the Karnadeva of the list of Rewah Rajas, who
married a daughter of the Gond-Rajput dynasty of Garha-Mandla.
At any rate the Baghel branch of the Solankhis
apparently migrated to Rewah from Gujarat and founded
that State about the fourteenth century, as in the
fifteenth they became prominent.
Captain Forsyth, the Baghels claim descent from a
tiger, and protect it when they can; and, probably,
as suggested by Mr. Crooke, the name is really
totemistic, or is derived from some ancestor of the
clan who obtained the name of the tiger as a title
or nickname, like the American Red Indians.
Baghels are found in the Hoshangabad District, and
in Mandla and Chhattisgarh which are close to Rewah.
Amarkantak, at the source of the Nerbudda, is the
sepulchre of the Maharajas of Rewah, and was ceded
to them with the Sohagpur tahsil of Mandla after the
Mutiny, in consideration of their loyalty and services
during that period.
clan is found in small numbers in the Hoshangabad
and Seoni Districts.
The name Bagri, Malcolm says,
is derived from that large tract of plain called
or ‘hedge of thorns,’ the
being surrounded by ridges of wooded hills on all
sides as if by a hedge.
plain country of the Bikaner State, and any Jat or
Rajput coming from this tract is called Bagri.
The Rajputs of Bikaner are Rathors, but they are not
numerous, and the great bulk of the people are Jats.
Hence it is probable that the Bagris of the Central
Provinces were originally Jats.
In Seoni they
say that they are Baghel Rajputs, but this claim is
unsupported by any tradition or evidence.
India the Bagris are professed robbers and thieves,
but these seem to be a separate group, a section of
the Badhak or Bawaria dacoits, and derived from the
aboriginal population of Central India.
of Seoni are respectable cultivators and own a number
They rank higher than the local
Panwars and wear the sacred thread, but will remove
dead cattle with their own hands.
They marry among
Bais are one of the thirty-six royal races.
Tod considered them a branch of the Surajvansi, but
according to their own account their eponymous ancestor
was Salivahana, the mythic son of a snake, who conquered
the great Raja Vikramaditya of Ujjain and fixed his
own era in A.D. 55.
This is the Saka era, and
Salivahana was the leader of the Saka nomads who invaded
Gujarat on two occasions, before and shortly after
the beginning of the Christian era.
It is suggested
in the article on Rajput that the Yadava lunar clan
are the representatives of these Sakas, and if this
were correct the Bais would be a branch of the lunar
The fact that they are snake-worshippers
is in favour of their connection with the Yadavas and
other clans, who are supposed to represent the Scythian
invaders of the first and subsequent centuries, and
had the legend of being descended from a snake.
The Bais, Mr. Crooke says, believe that no snake has
destroyed, or ever can destroy, one of the clan.
They seem to take no precautions against the bite
except hanging a vessel of water at the head of the
sufferer, with a small tube at the bottom, from which
the water is poured on his head as long as he can
The cobra is, in fact, the tribal god.
The name is derived by Mr. Crooke from the Sanskrit
Vaishya, one who occupies the soil.
hero of the Bais was Tilokchand, who is supposed to
have come from the Central Provinces.
about A.D. 1400, and was the premier Raja of Oudh.
He extended his dominions over all the tract known
as Baiswara, which comprises the bulk of the
Bareli and Unao Districts, and is the home of the
The descendants of Tilokchand form
a separate subdivision known as Tilokchandi Bais,
who rank higher than the ordinary Bais, and will not
eat with them.
The Bais Rajputs are found all
over the United Provinces.
In the Central Provinces
they have settled in small numbers in the northern
and eastern Districts.
small clan found principally in the Bilaspur District,
who derive their name from Baxar in Bengal.
were accustomed to send a litter, that is to say,
a girl of their clan, to the harem of each Mughal
Emperor, and this has degraded them.
widow-marriage, and do not wear the sacred thread.
It is probable that they marry among themselves, as
other Rajputs do not intermarry with them, and they
are no doubt an impure group with little pretension
to be Rajputs.
The name Baksaria is found in the
United Provinces as a territorial subcaste of several
Crooke states that this sept is a branch of the Yadavas,
and hence it is of the lunar race.
The sept is
famous on account of the exploits of the heroes Alha
and Udal who belonged to it, and who fought for the
Chandel kings of Mahoba and Khajuraha in their wars
against Prithwi Raj Chauhan, the king of Delhi.
The exploits of Alha and Udal form the theme of poems
still well known and popular in Bundelkhand, to which
the sept belongs.
The Banaphars have only a moderately
respectable rank among Rajputs.
important clan who take their name from the village
of Bhadawar near Ater, south of the Jumna.
are probably a branch of the Chauhans, being given
as such by Colonel Tod and Sir H.M.
Mr. Crooke remarks that the Chauhans are disposed
to deny this relationship, now that from motives of
convenience the two tribes have begun to intermarry.
If they are, as supposed, an offshoot of the Chauhans,
this is an instance of the subdivision of a large
clan leading to intermarriage between two sections,
which has probably occurred in other instances also.
This clan is returned from the Hoshangabad District.
clan belongs to the United Provinces and Oudh.
They do not appear in history before the time of Akbar,
and claim descent from a well-known Brahman saint
and a woman of the Surajvansi Rajputs whom he married.
The Bisens occupy a respectable position among Rajputs,
and intermarry with other good clans.
well-known clan of Rajputs of somewhat inferior position,
who have given their name to Bundelkhand, or the tract
comprised principally in the Districts of Saugor, Damoh,
Jhansi, Hamirpur and Banda, and the Panna, Orchha,
Datia and other States.
The Bundelas are held
to be derived from the Gaharwar or Gherwal Rajputs,
and there is some reason for supposing that these
latter were originally an aristocratic section of the
Bhar tribe with some infusion of Rajput blood.
But the Gaharwars now rank almost with the highest
According to tradition one of the Gaharwar
Rajas offered a sacrifice of his own head to the Vindhya-basini
Devi or the goddess of the Vindhya hills, and out
of the drops (
) of blood which fell on
the altar a boy was born.
He returned to Panna
and founded the clan which bears the name Bundela,
, a drop. It is probable that,
as suggested by Captain Luard, the name is really
a corruption of Vindhya or Vindhyela, a dweller in
the Vindhya hills, where, according to their own tradition,
the clan had its birth.
The Bundelas became prominent
in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, after the
fall of the Chandels.
“Orchha became the
chief of the numerous Bundela principalities; but its
founder drew upon himself everlasting infamy, by putting
to death the wise Abul Fazl, the historian and friend
of the magnanimous Akbar, and the encomiast and advocate
of the Hindu race.
From the period of Akbar the
Bundelas bore a distinguished part in all the grand
conflicts, to the very close of the monarchy.”
The Bundelas held the country up to
the Nerbudda in the Central Provinces, and, raiding
continually into the Gond territories south of the
Nerbudda on the pretence of protecting the sacred cow
used for ploughing, they destroyed
the castle on Chauragarh in Narsinghpur on a crest
of the Satpuras, and reduced the Nerbudda valley to
The most successful chieftain of the
tribe was Chhatarsal, the Raja of Panna, in the eighteenth
century, who was virtually ruler of all Bundelkhand;
his dominions extending from Banda in the north to
Jubbulpore in the south, and from Rewah in the east
to the Betwa River in the west.
But he had to
call in the help of the Peshwa to repel an invasion
of the Mughal armies, and left a third of his territory
by will to the Marathas.
Chhatarsal left twenty-two
legitimate and thirty illegitimate sons, and their
descendants now hold several small Bundela States,
while the territories left to the Peshwa subsequently
The chiefs of Panna, Orchha, Datia,
Chhatarpur and numerous other small states in the Bundelkhand
agency are Bundela Rajputs. The Bundelas of
Saugor do not intermarry with the good Rajput clans,
but with an inferior group of Panwars and another
clan called Dhundhele, perhaps an offshoot of the Panwars,
who are also residents of Saugor.
as disclosed in a number of proverbial sayings and
stories current regarding them, somewhat resembles
that of the Scotch highlanders as depicted by Stevenson.
They are proud and penurious to the last degree, and
quick to resent the smallest slight.
or sportsmen, but are so impatient
of discipline that they have never found a vocation
by enlisting in the Indian Army.
are thus described in a doggerel verse:
Bundelas salute each other from miles apart, their
are cocked on the side of the head till
they touch the shoulders.
A Bundela would dive
into a well for the sake of a cowrie, but would fight
with the Sardars of Government.”
could go past a Bundela’s house riding on a
pony or holding up an umbrella; and all low-caste
persons who passed his house must salute it with the
Diwan ji ko Ram Ram
take their shoes off to pass by.
It is related
that a few years ago a Bundela was brought up before
the Assistant Commissioner, charged with assaulting
a tahsil process-server, and threatening him with
The Bundela, who was very poor and
wearing rags, was asked by the magistrate whether
he had threatened the man with his sword.
“Certainly not; the sword is for gentlemen like
you and me of equal position.
To him, if I had
wished to beat him I would have taken my shoe.”
Another story is that there was once a very overbearing
Tahsildar, who had a shoe 2 1/2 feet long with which
he used to collect the land revenue.
a Bundela malguzar appeared before him on some business.
The Tahsildar kept his seat.
The Bundela walked
quietly up to the table and said, “Will the
Sirkar step aside with me for a moment, as I have something
private to say.”
The Tahsildar got up and
walked aside with him, on which the Bundela said,
’That is sufficient, I only wished to tell you
that you should rise to receive me.’
the Bundelas are collected at a feast they sit with
their hands folded across their stomachs and their
eyes turned up, and remain impassive while food is
being put on their plates, and never say, ‘Enough,’
because they think that they would show themselves
to be feeble men if they refused to eat as much as
was put before them.
Much of the food is thus
ultimately wasted, and given to the sweepers, and
this leads to great extravagance at marriages and
other ceremonial occasions.
The Bundelas were
much feared and were not popular landlords, but they
are now losing their old characteristics and settling
down into respectable cultivators.
important clan of Rajputs, of which a small number
reside in the northern Districts of Saugor, Damoh and
Jubbulpore, and also in Chhattisgarh.
is derived by Mr. Crooke from the Sanskrit
The Chandel are not included in the
thirty-six royal races, and are supposed to have been
a section of one of the indigenous tribes which rose
Smith states that the
Chandels, like several other dynasties, first came
into history early in the ninth century, when Nannuka
Chandel about A.D. 831 overthrew a Parihar chieftain
and became lord of the southern parts of Jejakabhukti
Their chief towns were Mahoba
and Kalanjar in Bundelkhand, and they gradually advanced
northwards till the Jumna became the frontier between
their dominions and those of Kanauj.
with the Gujar-Parihar kings of Kanauj and the Kalachuris
of Chedi, who had their capital at Tewar in Jubbulpore,
and joined in resisting the incursions of the Muhammadans.
In A.D. 1182 Parmal, the Chandel king, was defeated
by Prithwi Raja, the Chauhan king of Delhi, after
the latter had abducted the Chandel’s daughter.
This was the war in which Alha and Udal, the famous
Banaphar heroes, fought for the Chandels, and it is
commemorated in the Chand-Raisa, a poem still well
known to the people of Bundelkhand.
In A.D. 1203
Kalanjar was taken by the Muhammadan Kutb-ud-Din Ibak,
and the importance of the Chandel rulers came to an
end, though they lingered on as purely local chiefs
until the sixteenth century.
The Chandel princes
were great builders, and beautified their chief towns,
Mahoba, Kalanjar and Khajuraho with many magnificent
temples and lovely lakes, formed by throwing massive
dams across the openings between the hills. Among
these were great irrigation works in the Hamirpur
District, the forts of Kalanjar and Ajaighar, and
the noble temples at Khajuraho and Mahoba. Even
now the ruins of old forts and temples in the Saugor
and Damoh Districts are attributed by the people to
the Chandels, though many were in fact probably constructed
by the Kalachuris of Chedi.
Mr. Smith derives the Chandels either
or Bhars, but inclines to the
view that they were
considerations tend, I venture to think, to favour
the hypothesis of their origin from the Bhars.
According to the best traditions, the
from the south, and practically did not penetrate
Though Saugor and Damoh contain
a fair number of
they have never been of
importance there, and this is almost their farthest
limit to the north-west.
The Gond States in the
Central Provinces did not come into existence for
several centuries after the commencement of the Chandel
dynasty, and while there are authentic records of
all these states, the
have no tradition
of their dominance in Bundelkhand.
have nowhere else built such temples as are attributed
to the Chandels at Khajuraho, whilst the Bhars were
“In Mirzapur traces of
the Bhars abound on all sides in the shape of old
tanks and village forts.
The bricks found in
the Bhar-dihs or forts are of enormous dimensions,
and frequently measure 19 by 11 inches, and are 2
1/4 inches thick.
In quality and size they are
similar to bricks often seen in ancient Buddhist buildings.
The old capital of the Bhars, five miles from Mirzapur,
is said to have had 150 temples.” Elliot
remarks that “common tradition assigns
to the Bhars the possession of the whole tract from
Gorakhpur to Bundelkhand and Saugor, and many old stone
forts, embankments and subterranean caverns in Gorakhpur,
Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Allahabad, which are
ascribed to them, would seem to indicate no inconsiderable
advance in civilisation.”
are few or no Bhars now in Bundelkhand, there are a
large number of Pasis in Allahabad which partly belongs
to it, and small numbers in Bundelkhand; and the Pasi
caste is mainly derived from the Bhars; while
a Gaharwar dynasty, which is held to be derived from
the Bhars, was dominant in Bundelkhand and Central
India before the rise of the Chandels.
to one legend, the ancestor of the Chandels was born
with the moon as a father from the daughter of the
high priest of the Gaharwar Raja Indrajit of Benares
or of Indrajit himself. As will be seen, the
Gaharwars were an aristocratic section of the Bhars.
Another legend states that the first Chandel was the
offspring of the moon by the daughter of a Brahman
Pandit of Kalanjar. In his
Notes on the Bhars
Mr. Smith argues that the
Bhars adopted the Jain religion, and also states that
several of the temples at Khajuraho and Mahoba, erected
in the eleventh century, are Jain.
presumably erected by the Chandels, but I have never
seen it suggested that the
or were capable of building Jain temples in the eleventh
Mr. Smith also states that Maniya
to whom a temple exists at Mahoba, was the tutelary
deity of the Chandels; and that the only other shrine
discovered by him in the Hamirpur
District was in a village reputed formerly to have
been held by the Bhars. Two instances of intercourse
between the Chandels and
are given, but
the second of them, that the Rani Durgavati of Mandla
was a Chandel princess, belongs to the sixteenth century,
and has no bearing on the origin of the Chandels.
The first instance, that of the Chandel Raja Kirat
Singh hunting at Maniagarh with the Gond Raja of Garha-Mandla,
cannot either be said to furnish any real evidence
in favour of a Gond origin for the Chandels; it maybe
doubted whether there was any Gond Raja of Garha-Mandla
till after the fall of the Kalachuri dynasty of Tewar,
which is quite close to Garha-Mandla, in the twelfth
century; and a reference so late as this would not
affect the question. Finally, the Chandels are
numerous in Mirzapur, which was formerly the chief
seat of the Bhars, while the
been either numerous or important in Mirzapur.
These considerations seem to point to the possibility
of the derivation of the Chandels from the Bhars rather
than from the
; and the point is perhaps
of some interest in view of the suggestion in the
article on Kol that the
did not arrive
in the Central Provinces for some centuries after the
rise of the Chandel dynasty of Khajuraho and Mahoba.
The Chandels may have simply been a local branch of
the Gaharwars, who obtained a territorial designation
from Chanderi, or in some other manner, as has continually
happened in the case of other clans.
were probably derived from the Bhars.
now rank as a good Rajput clan, and intermarry with
the other leading clans.
. - The
Chauhan was the last of the Agnikula or fire-born
clans, According to the legend:
seated on the lotus prepared incantations; again he
called the gods to aid; and as he poured forth the
libation a figure arose, lofty in stature, of elevated
front, hair like jet, eyes rolling, breast expanded,
fierce, terrific, clad in armour with quiver filled,
a bow in one hand and a brand in the other, quadriform
(Chaturanga), whence his name was given as Chauhan.”
This account makes the Chauhan the most important
of the fire-born clans, and Colonel Tod says that he
was the most valiant of the Agnikulas, and it may
be asserted not of them only but of the whole Rajput
race; and though the swords of the Rahtors would be
ready to contest the point, impartial decision must
assign to the Chauhan the van in the long career of
arms. General Cunningham shows that even so
late as the time of Prithwi Raj in the twelfth century
the Chauhans had no claim to be sprung from fire, but
were content to be considered descendants of a Brahman
sage Bhrigu. Like the other Agnikula clans the
Chauhans are now considered to have sprung from the
Gurjara or White Hun invaders of the fifth and sixth
centuries, but I do not know whether this is held to
be definitely proved in their case.
Ajmer in Rajputana appear to have been the first home
of the clan, and inscriptions record a long line of
thirty-nine kings as reigning there from Anhul, the
first created Chauhan.
The last but one of them,
Vigraha Raja or Bisal
, in the middle of the
twelfth century extended the ancestral dominions considerably,
and conquered Delhi from a chief of the Tomara clan.
At this time the Chauhans, according to their own
bards, held the line of the Nerbudda from Garha-Mandla
to Maheshwar and also Asirgarh, while their dominions
extended north to Hissar and south to the Aravalli
hills. The nephew of Bisal
Raj, the most famous Chauhan hero, who ruled at Sambhar,
Ajmer and Delhi.
His first exploit was the abduction
of the daughter of Jaichand, the Gaharwar Raja of
Kanauj, in about A.D. 1175.
The king of Kanauj
had claimed the title of universal sovereign and determined
to celebrate the Ashwa-Medha or horse-sacrifice, at
which all the offices should be performed by vassal
Prithwi Raj alone declined to attend as
a subordinate, and Jaichand therefore made a wooden
image of him and set it up at the gate in the part
But when his daughter after the
tournament took the garland of flowers to bestow it
on the chief whom she chose for her husband, she passed
by all the assembled nobles and threw the garland on
the neck of the wooden image.
At this moment
Prithwi Raj dashed in with a few companions, and catching
her up, escaped with her from her father’s court.
Afterwards, in 1182, Prithwi Raj defeated the
Chandel Raja Parmal and captured Mahoba.
Prithwi Raj was the head of a confederacy of Hindu
princes in combating the invasion of Muhammad Ghori.
He repelled the Muhammadans at Tarain about two miles
north of Delhi, but in the following year was completely
defeated and killed at Thaneswar, and soon afterwards
Delhi and Ajmer fell to the Muhammadans.
Chauhan kingdom was broken up, but scattered parts
of it remained, and about A.D. 1307 Asirgarh in Nimar,
which continued to be held by the Chauhans, was taken
by Ala-ud-Din Khilji and the whole garrison put to
the sword except one boy.
This boy, Raisi Chauhan,
escaped to Rajputana, and according to the bardic
chronicle his descendants formed the Hara branch of
the Chauhans and conquered from the Minas the tract
known as Haravati, from which they perhaps took their
name. This is now comprised in the Kotah and
Bundi states, ruled by Hara chiefs.
offshoot from the Chauhans are the Khichi clan, who
belong to the Sind-Sagar Doab; and the Nikumbh and
Bhadauria clans are also derived from them.
Chauhans are numerous in the Punjab and United Provinces
and rank as one of the highest Rajput clans.
In the Central Provinces they are found principally
in the Narsinghpur and Hoshangabad Districts, and
also in Mandla.
The Chauhan Rajputs of Mandla
marry among themselves, with other Chauhans of Mandla,
Seoni and Balaghat They have exogamous sections with
names apparently derived from villages like an ordinary
The remarriage of widows is forbidden,
but those widows who desire to do so go and live with
a man and are put out of caste.
is said not to happen frequently.
hair is not shaved, but her glass bangles are broken,
she is dressed in white, made to sleep on the ground,
and can wear no ornaments.
Owing to the renown
of the clan their name has been adopted by numerous
classes of inferior Rajputs and low Hindu castes who
have no right to it.
Thus in the Punjab a large
subcaste of Chamars call themselves Chauhan, and in
the Bilaspur District a low caste of village watchmen
go by this name.
These latter may be descendants
of the illegitimate offspring of Chauhan Rajputs by
. - In
the Central Provinces this term has the meaning of
one of illegitimate descent, and it is often used by
the Kirars, who are probably of mixed descent from
In northern India, however, the Dhakars
are a clan of Rajputs, who claim Surajvansi origin;
but this is not generally admitted.
states that some are said to be emigrants from the
banks of the Nerbudda; but the main body say they
came from Ajmer in the sixteenth century.
were notorious in the eighteenth century for their
lawlessness, and gave the imperial Mughal officers
much trouble in the neighbourhood of Agra, rendering
the communications between that city and Etawah insecure.
In the Mutiny they broke out again, and are generally
a turbulent, ill-conducted sept, always ready for
petty acts of violence and cattle-stealing.
are, however, recognised as Rajputs of good position
and intermarry with the best clans.
In the Central Provinces the Dhakars
are found principally in Hoshangabad, and it is doubtful
if they are proper Rajputs.
Rajput, Gaharwar, Gherwal
. - This
is an old clan.
Smith states that
they had been dominant in Central India about Nowgong
and Chhatarpur before the Parihars in the eighth century.
The Parihar kings were subsequently overthrown by
the Chandels of Mahoba.
In their practice of
building embankments and constructing lakes the Chandels
were imitators of the Gaharwars, who are credited with
the formation of some of the most charming lakes in
Bundelkhand. And in A.D. 1090 a Raja of the
Gaharwar clan called Chandradeva seized Kanauj (on
the Ganges north-west of Lucknow), and established
his authority certainly over Benares and Ajodhia,
and perhaps over the Delhi territory.
grandson of Chandradeva, enjoyed a long reign, which
included the years A.D. 1114 and 1154.
land grants and widely distributed coins prove that
he succeeded to a large extent in restoring the glories
of Kanauj, and in making himself a power of considerable
The grandson of Govindachandra was
Jayachandra, renowned in the popular Hindu poems and
tales of northern India as Raja Jaichand, whose daughter
was carried off by the gallant
Prithwi Raj of Ajmer.
Kanauj was finally captured
and destroyed by Shihab-ud-Din in 1193, when Jaichand
retired towards Benares but was overtaken and slain.
His grandson, Mr. Crooke says, afterwards
fled to Kantit in the Mirzapur District and, overcoming
the Bhar Raja of that place, founded the family of
the Gaharwar Rajas of Kantit Bijaypur, which was recently
still in existence.
All the other Gaharwars trace
their lineage to Benares or Bijaypur.
of the Gaharwars in Kantit and in a large tract of
country lying contiguous to it were the Bhars, an
indigenous race of great enterprise, who, though not
highly civilised, were far removed from barbarism.
According to Sherring they have left numerous evidences
of their energy and skill in earthworks, forts, dams
and the like. Similarly Elliot says of the Bhars:
“Common tradition assigns to them the possession
of the whole tract from Gorakhpur to Bundelkhand and
Saugor, and the large pargana of Bhadoi or Bhardai
in Benares is called after their name.
stone forts, embankments and subterranean caverns
in Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Allahabad,
which are ascribed to them, would seem to indicate
no inconsiderable advance in civilisation.”
Colonel Tod says of the Gaharwars:
Gherwal Rajput is scarcely known to his brethren in
Rajasthan, who will not admit his contaminated blood
to mix with theirs, though as a brave warrior he is
entitled to their fellowship.” It is thus
curious that the Gaharwars, who are one of the oldest
clans to appear in authentic history, if they ruled
Central India in the eighth century before the Parihars,
should be considered to be of very impure origin.
And as they are subsequently found in Mirzapur, a
backward forest tract which is also the home of the
Bhars, and both the Gaharwars and Bhars have a reputation
as builders of tanks and forts, it seems likely that
the Gaharwars were really, as suggested by Mr. V.A.
Smith, the aristocratic branch of the Bhars, probably
with a considerable mixture of Rajput blood.
states that the Bhars formerly occupied the whole of
Azamgarh, the pargana of Bara in Allahabad and Khariagarh
in the Kanauj tract.
This widespread dominance
corresponds with what has been already stated as regards
the Gaharwars, who, according to Mr. V.A.
ruled in Central India, Kanauj, Oudh, Benares and
And the name Gaharwar, according to
Dr. Hoernle, is connected with the Sanskrit root
and has the sense of ‘dwellers in caves or deep
jungle.’ The origin of the Gaharwars is
of interest in the Central Provinces, because it is
from them that the Bundela clan of Saugor and Bundelkhand
is probably descended.
The Gaharwars, Mr. Crooke states,
now hold a high rank among Rajput
give daughters to the Baghel, Chandel and Bisen, and
take brides of the Bais, Gautam, Chauhan, Parihar
and other clans.
The Gaharwars are found in small
numbers in the Central Provinces, chiefly in the Chhattisgarh
Districts and Feudatory States.
Rajput, Gaur, Chamar Gaur
. - Colonel
Tod remarks of this tribe:
“The Gaur tribe
was once respected in Rajasthan, though it never there
attained to any considerable eminence.
kings of Bengal were of this race, and gave their
name to the capital, Lakhnauti.”
in Bengal, and the kingdom of which it was the capital,
were known as Ganda, and it has been conjectured that
the Gaur Brahmans and Rajputs were named after it.
Elliot and Mr. Crooke, however, point
out that the home of the Gaur Brahmans and Rajputs
and a cultivating caste, the Gaur Tagas, is in the
centre and west of the United Provinces, far removed
from Bengal; the Gaur Brahmans now reside principally
in the Meerut Division, and between them and Bengal
is the home of the Kanaujia Brahmans.
Cunningham suggests that the country comprised in
the present Gonda District round the old town of Sravasti,
was formerly known as
, and was hence the
origin of the caste name. The derivation from
Gaur in Bengal is perhaps, however, more probable,
as the name was best known in connection with this
The Gaur Rajputs do not make much figure
“Repeated mention of them is
found in the wars of Prithwi Raj as leaders of considerable
renown, one of whom founded a small state in the centre
This survived through seven centuries
of Mogul domination, till it at length fell a prey
indirectly to the successes of the British over the
Marathas, when Sindhia in 1809 annihilated the power
of the Gaur and took possession of his capital, Supur.”
In the United Provinces the Gaur Rajputs
are divided into three groups, the Bahman, or Brahman,
the Bhat, and the Chamar Gaur.
Of these the Chamar
Gaur, curiously enough appear to rank the highest,
which is accounted for by the following story:
When trouble fell upon the Gaur family, one of their
ladies, far advanced in pregnancy, took refuge in
a Chamar’s house, and was so grateful to him
for his disinterested protection that she promised
to call her child by his name.
The Bhats and
Brahmans, to whom the others fled, do not appear to
have shown a like chivalry, and hence, strange as
it may appear, the subdivisions called after their
name rank below the Chamar Gaur. The names of
the subsepts indicate that this clan of Rajputs is
probably of mixed origin.
If the Brahman subsept
is descended from Brahmans, it would be only one of
several probable cases of Rajput clans originating
from this caste.
As regards the Bhat subcaste,
the Charans or Bhats of Rajputana are admittedly Rajputs,
and there is therefore nothing curious in finding
a Bhat subsection in a Rajput clan.
real origin of the Chamar
was is difficult
The Chamar Gaur is now a separate
clan, and its members intermarry with the other Gaur
Rajputs, affording an instance of the subdivision of
In the Central Provinces the greater number
of the persons returned as Gaur Rajputs really belong
to a group known as Gorai, who are considered to be
the descendants of widows or kept women in the Gaur
clan, and marry among themselves.
really therefore be considered a separate caste, and
not members of the Rajput caste proper.
United Provinces the
rank with the good
In the Central Provinces the Gaur
and Chamar-Gaur clans are returned from most Districts
of the Jubbulpore and Nerbudda divisions, and also
in considerable numbers from Bhandara.
Rajput, Haihaya, Haihaivansi, Kalaehuri
. - This
well-known historical clan of the Central Provinces
is not included among the thirty-six royal races,
and Colonel Tod gives no information about them.
The name Haihaya is stated to be a corruption of Ahihaya,
which means snake-horse, the legend being that the
first ancestor of the clan was the issue of a snake
and a mare.
Haihaivansi signifies descendants
of the horse.
Colonel Tod states that the first
capital of the
or lunar race was at Mahesvati
on the Nerbudda, still existing as Maheshwar, and
was founded by Sahasra Arjuna of the Haihaya tribe.
This Arjuna of the thousand arms was one of the
Pandava brothers, and it may be noted that the Ratanpur
Haihaivansis still have a story of their first ancestor
stealing a horse from Arjuna, and a consequent visit
of Arjuna and Krishna to Ratanpur for its recovery.
Since the Haihayas also claim descent from a snake
and are of the lunar race, it seems not unlikely that
they may have belonged to one of the Scythian or Tartar
tribes, the Sakas or Yueh-chi, who invaded India shortly
after the commencement of the Christian era, as it
has been conjectured that the other lunar Rajput clans
worshipping or claiming descent from a snake originated
from these tribes.
The Haihaivansis or Kalachuris
became dominant in the Nerbudda valley about the sixth
century, their earliest inscription being dated A.D.
Their capital was moved to Tripura or Tewar
near Jubbulpore about A.D. 900, and from here they
appear to have governed an extensive territory for
about 300 years, and were frequently engaged in war
with the adjoining kingdoms, the Chandels of Mahoba,
the Panwars of Malwa, and the Chalukyas of the south.
One king, Gangeyadeva, appears even to have aspired
to become the paramount power in northern India, and
his sovereignty was recognised in distant Tirhut.
Gangeyadeva was fond of residing at the foot of the
holy fig-tree of Prayaga (Allahabad), and eventually
found salvation there with his hundred wives.
From about A.D. 1100 the power of the Kalachuri or
Haihaya princes began to decline, and their last inscription
is dated A.D. 1196.
It is probable that they
were subverted by the Gond kings of Garha-Mandla, the
first of whom, Jadurai, appears to have been in the
service of the Kalachuri king, and subsequently with
the aid of a dismissed minister to have supplanted
his former-master. The kingdom of the Kalachuri
or Haihaya kings was known as Chedi, and, according
to Mr. V.A.
Smith, corresponded more or less
roughly to the present area of the Central Provinces.
In about the tenth century a member
of the reigning family of Tripura was appointed viceroy
of some territories in Chhattisgarh, and two or three
generations afterwards his family became practically
independent of the parent house, and established their
own capital at Ratanpur in Bilaspur District (A.D.
This state was known as Dakshin or southern
During the twelfth century its importance
rapidly increased, partly no doubt on the ruins of
the Jubbulpore kingdom, until the influence of the
Ratanpur princes, Ratnadeva II. and Prithwideva II.,
may be said to have extended from Amarkantak to beyond
the Godavari, and from the confines of Berar in the
west to the boundaries of Orissa in the east.
The Ratanpur kingdom of Chedi or Dakshin Kosala was
the only one of the Rajput states in the Central Provinces
which escaped subversion by the
, and it
enjoyed a comparatively tranquil existence till A.D.
1740, when Ratanpur fell to the Marathas almost without
striking a blow.
“The only surviving representative
of the Haihayas of Ratanpur,” Mr. Wills states,
“is a quite simple-minded Rajput who lives
at Bargaon in Raipur District.
the junior or Raipur branch of the family, and holds
five villages which were given him revenue-free by
the Marathas for his maintenance.
of Senduras claims descent from the Ratanpur family,
but his pretensions are doubtful.
He enjoys no
privileges such as those of the Bargaon Thakur, to
whom presents are still made when he visits the chiefs
who were once subordinate to his ancient house.”
In the Ballia District of the United Provinces
are some Hayobans Rajputs who claim descent from the
Chandra Got, a cadet of this
house, is said to have migrated northwards in A.D.
850 and settled in the Saran District on the
Ganges, where he waged successful war with the aboriginal
Subsequently one of his descendants violated
a Brahman woman called Maheni of the house of his
Purohit or family priest, who burnt herself to death,
and is still locally worshipped.
After this tragedy
the Hayobans Rajputs left Saran and settled in Ballia.
Colonel Tod states that, “A small branch of
these ancient Haihayas yet exist in the country of
the Nerbudda, near the very top of the valley, at
Sohagpur in Baghelkhand, aware of their ancient lineage,
and, though few in number, are still celebrated for
their valour.” This Sohagpur must apparently
be the Sohagpur tahsil of Rewah, ceded from Mandla
after the Mutiny.
Rajput, Huna, Hoon
. - This
clan retains the name and memory of the Hun barbarian
hordes, who invaded India at or near the epoch of their
incursions into Europe.
It is practically extinct;
but in his
Colonel Tod records
the discovery of a few families of Hunas in Baroda
“At a small village opposite Ometa
I discovered a few huts of Huns, still existing under
the ancient name of Hoon, by which they are known
to Hindu history.
There are said to be three
or four families of them at the village of Trisavi,
from Baroda, and although neither
feature nor complexion indicate much relation to the
Tartar-visaged Hun, we may ascribe the change to climate
and admixture of blood, as there is little doubt that
they are descended from these invaders, who established
a sovereignty on the Indus in the second and sixth
centuries of the Christian era, and became so incorporated
with the Rajput population as to obtain a place among
the thirty-six royal races of India, together with
the Gete, the Kathi, and other tribes of the Sacae
from Central Asia, whose descendants still occupy
the land of the sun-worshipping Saura or Chaura, no
doubt one of the same race.”
Rajput, Kachhwaha, Cutchwaha
celebrated clan of Rajputs included among the thirty-six
royal races, to which the Maharajas of the important
states of Amber or Jaipur and Alwar belong.
are of the solar race and claim descent from Kash,
the second son of the great king Rama of Ajodhia,
the incarnation of Vishnu.
Their original seat,
according to tradition, was Rohtas on the Son river,
and another of their famous progenitors was Raja Nal,
who migrated from Rohtas and founded Narwar.
The town of Damoh in the Central Provinces is supposed
to be named after Damyanti, Raja Nal’s wife.
According to General Cunningham the name Kachhwaha
is an abbreviation of Kachhaha-ghata or tortoise-killer.
The earliest appearance of the Kachhwaha Rajputs in
authentic history is in the tenth century, when a
chief of the clan captured Gwalior from the Parihar-Gujar
kings of Kanauj and established himself there.
His dynasty had an independent existence till A.D.
1128, when it became tributary to the Chandel kings
of Mahoba. The last prince of Gwalior was Tejkaran,
or the bridegroom prince, and
he received from his father-in-law the district of
Daora in the present Jaipur State, where he settled.
In 1150 one of his successors wrested Amber from the
Minas and made it his capital.
The Amber State
from the first acknowledged the supremacy of the Mughal
emperors, and the chief of the period gave his daughter
in marriage to Akbar.
This chief’s son,
Bhagwan Das, is said to have saved Akbar’s life
at the battle of Sarnal.
Bhagwan Das gave a daughter
to Jahangir, and his adopted son, Man Singh, the next
chief, was one of the most conspicuous of the Mughal
Generals, and at different periods was governor of
Kabul, Bengal, Bihar and the Deccan.
chief of note, Jai Singh I., appears in all the wars
of Aurangzeb in the Deccan.
He was commander
of 6000 horse, and captured Sivaji, the celebrated
founder of the Maratha power.
The present city
of Jaipur was founded by a subsequent chief, Jai Singh
II., in 1728.
During the Mutiny the Maharaja of
Jaipur placed all his military power at the disposal
of the Political Agent, and in every way assisted
the British Government.
At the Durbar of 1877
his salute was raised to 21 guns.
of the largest states in Rajputana, has an area of
nearly 16,000 square miles, and a population of 2
1/2 million persons.
The Alwar State was founded
about 1776 by Pratap Singh, a descendant of a prince
of the Jaipur house, who had separated from it three
It has an area of 3000 square
miles and a population of nearly a million.
In Colonel Tod’s time the Kachhwaha chiefs in
memory of their descent from Rama, the incarnation
of the sun, celebrated with great solemnity the annual
feast of the sun.
On this occasion a stately car
called the chariot of the sun was brought from Rama’s
temple, and the Maharaja ascending into it perambulated
The images of Rama and Siva were
carried with the army both in Alwar and Jaipur.
The banner of Amber was always called the
or five-coloured flag, and is frequently mentioned
in the traditions of the Rajput bards.
does not seem to be stated what the five colours were.
Some of the finest soldiers in the old Sepoy army
were Kachhwaha Rajputs.
The Kachhwahas are fairly
numerous in the United Provinces and rank with the
highest Rajput clans. In the Central Provinces
they are found principally in the Saugor, Hoshangabad
and Nimar Districts.
. - This
clan are considered to be the descendants of the Tak
or Takshac, which is one of the thirty-six royal races,
and was considered by Colonel Tod to be of Scythian
The Takshac were also snake-worshippers.
“Naga and Takshac are synonymous
in Sanskrit for the snake, and the Takshac is the celebrated
Nagvansa of the early heroic history of India.
The Mahabharat describes in its usual allegorical
style the war between the
and the Takshacs of the north.
Parikhita, a prince
on the Pandu side, was assassinated by the Takshac,
and his son and successor, Janamejaya, avenged his
death and made a bonfire of 20,000 snakes.”
This allegory is supposed to have represented the
warfare of the Aryan races against the Sakas or Scythians.
The Tak or Takshac would be one of the clans held
to be derived from the earlier invading tribes from
Central Asia, and of the lunar race.
The Tak are
scarcely known in authentic history, but the poet
Chand mentions the Tak from Aser or Asirgarh as one
of the princes who assembled at the summons of Prithwi
Raj of Delhi to fight against the Muhammadans.
In another place he is called Chatto the Tak.
Nothing more is known of the Tak clan unless the cultivating
Taga caste of northern India is derived from them.
But the Nagvansi clan of Rajputs, who profess to be
descended from them, is fairly numerous.
of the Nagvansis, however, are probably in reality
descended from landholders of the indigenous tribes
who have adopted the name of this clan, when they
wished to claim rank as Rajputs.
The change is
rendered more easy by the fact that many of these
tribes have legends of their own, showing the descent
of their ruling families from snakes, the snake and
tiger, owing to their deadly character, being the
two animals most commonly worshipped.
landholding section of the Kols or Mundas of Chota
Nagpur have a long legend of their descent from
a princess who married a snake in human form, and
hence call themselves Nagvansi Rajputs; and Dr. Buchanan
states that the Nagvansi clan of Gorakhpur is similarly
derived from the Chero tribe. In the Central
Provinces the Nagvansi Rajputs number about 400 persons,
nearly all of whom are found in the Chhattisgarh Districts
and Feudatory States, and are probably descendants
of Kol or Munda landholding families.
. - The
Nikumbh is given as one of the thirty-six royal races,
but it is also the name of a branch of the Chauhans,
and it seems that, as suggested by Sherring,
it may be an offshoot from the great Chauhan clan.
The Nikumbh are said to have been given the title
of Sirnet by an emperor of Delhi, because they would
not bow their heads on entering his presence, and
when he fixed a sword at the door some of them allowed
their necks to be cut through by the sword rather
than bend the head.
The term Sirnet is supposed
to mean headless.
A Chauhan column with an inscription
of Raja Bisal
was erected at Nigumbode, a
place of pilgrimage on the Jumna, a few miles below
Delhi, and it seems a possible conjecture that the
Nikumbhs may have obtained their name from this place.
Mr. Crooke, however, takes the Nikumbh to be
a separate clan.
The foundation of most of the
old forts and cities in Alwar and northern Jaipur is
ascribed to them, and two of their inscriptions of
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries have been discovered
In northern India some of them are
now known as Raghuvansi. They are chiefly found
in the Hoshangabad and Nimar Districts, and may be
connected with the Raghuvansi or Raghwi caste of these
. - This
term means a foot-soldier, and is returned from the
It belongs to a class of men
formerly maintained as a militia by zamindars and
landholders for the purpose of collecting their revenue
and maintaining order.
They were probably employed
in much the same manner in the Central Provinces as
in Bengal, where Buchanan thus describes them:
“In order to protect the money of landowners
and convey it from place to place, and also, as it
is alleged, to enforce orders, two kinds of guards
One body called Burkandaz, commanded
by Duffadars and Jemadars, seems to be a more recent
establishment The other called Paik, commanded by
, are the remains of the militia
of the Bengal kingdom.
Both seem to have constituted
the foot-soldiers whose number makes such a formidable
appearance in the Ain-i-Akbari.
establishments seem to have been formed when the Government
collected rent immediately from the farmer and cultivator,
and when the same persons managed not only the collections
but the police and a great part of the judicial department.
This vast number of armed men, more especially the
latter, formed the infantry of the Mughal Government,
and were continued under the zamindars, who were anxious
to have as many armed men as possible to support them
in their depredations.
And these establishments
formed no charge, as they lived on lands which the
zamindar did not bring to account.”
Paiks are thus a small caste formed from military
service like the Khandaits or swordsmen of Orissa,
and are no doubt recruited from all sections of the
They have no claim to be considered
. - This
clan was one of the four Agnikulas or fire-born.
Their founder was the first to issue from the fire-fountain,
but he had not a warrior’s mien.
placed him as guardian of the gate, and hence his
of which Parihar is supposed
to be a corruption .
Like the Chauhans and
Solankis the Parihar clan is held to have originated
from the Gurjara or Gujar invaders who came with the
white Huns in the fifth and sixth centuries, and they
were one of the first of the Gujar Rajput clans to
emerge into prominence.
They were dominant in
Bundelkhand before the Chandels, their last chieftain
having been overthrown by a Chandel prince in A.D.
A Parihar-Gujar chieftain, whose capital
was at Bhinmal in Rajputana, conquered the king of
Kanauj, the ruler of what remained of the dominions
of the great Harsha Vardhana, and established himself
there about A.D. 816 .
Kanauj was then held
by Gujar-Parihar kings till about 1090, when it was
seized by Chandradeva of the Gaharwar Rajput clan.
The Parihar rulers were thus subverted by the Gaharwars
and Chandels, both of whom are thought to be derived
from the Bhars or other aboriginal tribes, and these
events appear to have been in the nature of a rising
of the aristocratic section of the indigenous residents
against the Gujar rulers, by whom they had been conquered
and perhaps taught the trade of arms.
period the Parihars are of little importance.
They appear to have retired to Rajputana, as Colonel
Tod states that Mundore, five miles north of Jodhpur,
was their headquarters until it was taken by the Rahtors.
The walls of the ruined fortress of Mundore are built
of enormous square masses of stone without cement,
and attest both its antiquity and its former strength
The Parihars are scattered over Rajputana,
and a colony of them on the Chambal was characterised
as the most notorious body of thieves in the annals
of Thug history .
Similarly in Etawah they
are said to be a peculiarly lawless and desperate
The Parihar Rajputs rank with
the leading clans and intermarry with them.
the Central Provinces they are found principally in
Saugor, Damoh and Jubbulpore.
Rajput, Rathor, Rathaur.
Rathor of Jodhpur or Marwar is one of the most famous
clans of Rajputs, and that which is most widely dominant
at the present time, including as it does the Rajas
of Jodhpur, Bikaner, Ratlam, Kishengarh and Idar,
as well as several smaller states.
of the Rathor clan is uncertain.
states that they claim to be of the solar race, but
by the bards of the race are denied this honour; and
though descended from Kash, the second son of Rama,
are held to be the offspring of one of his progeny,
Kashyap, by the daughter of a Dait (Titan).
view was formerly held that the dynasty which wrested
Kanauj from the descendants of Harsha Vardhana, and
held it from A.D. 810 to 1090, until subverted by
the Gaharwars, were Rathors, but proof has now been
obtained that they were really Parihar-Gujars.
Mr. Smith suggests that after the destruction of Kanauj
by the Muhammadans under Shihab-ud-Din Ghori in A.D.
1193 the Gaharwar clan, whose kings had conquered it
in 1090 and reigned there for a century, migrated
to the deserts of Marwar in Rajputana, where they
settled and became known as Rathors. It has
also been generally held that the Rashtrakuta dynasty
of Nasik and Malkhed in the Deccan which reigned from
A.D. 753 to 973, and built the Kailasa temples at
Ellora were Rathors, but Mr. Smith states that there
is no evidence of any social connection between the
Rashtrakutas and Rathors. At any rate Siahji,
the grandson or nephew of Jai Chand, the last king
of Kanauj, who had been drowned in the Ganges while
attempting to escape, accomplished with about 200
followers - the wreck of his vassalage - the
pilgrimage to Dwarka in Gujarat.
He then sought
in the sands and deserts of Rajputana a second line
of defence against the advancing wave of Muhammadan
invasion, and planted the standard of the Rathors among
the sandhills of the Luni in 1212.
was not the first settlement of the Rathors in Rajputana,
for an inscription, dated A.D. 997, among the ruins
of the ancient city of Hathundi or Hastikundi, near
Bali in Jodhpur State, tells of five Rathor Rajas
who ruled there early in the tenth century, and this
fact shows that the name Rathor is really much older
than the date of the fall of Kanauj.
In 1381 Siahji’s tenth successor,
Rao Chonda, took Mundore from a Parihar chief, and
made his possession secure by marrying the latter’s
A subsequent chief, Rao Jodha, laid
the foundation of Jodhpur in 1459, and transferred
thither the seat of government.
The site of Jodhpur
was selected on a peak known as Joda-gir, or the hill
of strife, four miles distant from Mundore on a crest
of the range overlooking the expanse of the desert
plains of Marwar.
The position for the new city
was chosen at the bidding of a forest ascetic, and
was excellently adapted for defence, but had no good
water-supply. Joda had fourteen sons, of whom
the sixth, Bika, was the founder of the Bikaner state.
Raja Sur Singh (1595-1620) was one of Akbar’s
greatest generals, and the emperor Jahangir buckled
the sword on to his son Gaj Singh with his own hands.
Gaj Singh, the next Raja (1620-1635), was appointed
viceroy of the Deccan, as was his successor, Jaswant
Singh, under Aurangzeb.
The Mughal Emperors, Colonel
Tod remarks, were indebted for half their conquests
to the Lakh Tulwar Rahtoran, the hundred thousand
swords which the Rathors boasted that they could muster.
On another occasion, when Jahangir successfully
appealed to the Rajputs for support against his rebel
son Khusru, he was so pleased with the zeal of the
Rathor prince, Raja Gaj Singh, that he not only took
the latter’s hand, but kissed it, perhaps
an unprecedented honour.
But the constant absence
from his home on service in distant parts of the empire
was so distasteful to Raja Sur Singh that, when dying
in the Deccan, he ordered a pillar to be erected on
his grave containing his curse upon any of his race
who should cross the Nerbudda.
The pomp of imperial
greatness or the sunshine of court favour was as nothing
with the Rathor chiefs, Colonel Tod says, when weighed
against the exercise of their influence within their
own cherished patrimony.
The simple fare of the
desert was dearer to the Rathor than all the luxuries
of the imperial banquet, which he turned from in disgust
to the recollection of the green pulse of Mundore,
or his favourite
or maize porridge, the
prime dish of the Rathor. The Rathor princes
have been not less ready in placing themselves and
the forces of their States at the disposal of the
British Government, and the latest and perhaps most
brilliant example of their loyalty occurred during
1914, when the veteran Sir Partap Singh of Idar insisted
on proceeding to the front against Germany, though
over seventy years of age, and was accompanied by his
nephew, a boy of sixteen.
The Ratlam State was founded by Ratan
Singh, a grandson of Raja Udai Singh of Jodhpur, who
was born about 1618, and obtained it as a grant for
good service against the Usbegs at Kandahar and the
Persians in Khorasan about 1651-52.
was founded by Kishan Singh, a son of the same Raja
Udai Singh, who obtained a grant of territory from
Akbar about 1611.
Idar State in Gujarat has, according
to its traditions, been held by Rathor princes from
a very early period.
Jodhpur State is the largest
in Rajputana, with an area of 35,000 square miles,
and a population of two million.
is entitled to a salute of twenty-one guns.
great part of the State is a sandy desert, and its
older name of Marwar is, according to Colonel Tod,
a corruption of Marusthan, or the region of death.
In the Central Provinces the Rathor Rajputs number
about 6000 persons, and are found mainly in the Saugor,
Jubbulpore, Narsinghpur and Hoshangabad Districts.
The census statistics include about 5000 persons enumerated
in Mandla and Bilaspur, nearly all of whom are really
Rajput, Sesodia, Gahlot, Aharia
. - The
Gahlot or Sesodia is generally admitted to be the
premier Rajput clan.
Their chief is described
by the bards as “The Suryavansi Rana, of royal
race, Lord of Chitor, the ornament of the thirty-six
The Sesodias claim descent
from the sun, through Loh, the eldest son of the divine
Rama of Ajodhia.
In token of their ancestry the
royal banner of Mewar consisted of a golden sun on
a crimson field.
Loh is supposed to have founded
His descendants migrated to Saurashtra
or Kathiawar, where they settled at Vidurbha or Balabhi,
the capital of the Valabhi dynasty.
king of Valabhi was Siladitya, who was killed by an
invasion of barbarians, and his posthumous son, Gohaditya,
ruled in Idar and the hilly country in the south-west
From him the clan took its name of
Gohelot or Gahlot.
however, from a detailed examination of the inscriptions
relating to the Sesodias, arrives at the conclusion
that the founders of the line were Nagar Brahmans
from Vadnagar in Gujarat, the first of the line being
one Guhadatta, from which the clan takes its name
of Gahlot The family were also connected with
the ruling princes of Valabhi.
thinks that the Valabhi princes, and also the Nagar
Brahmans, belonged to the Maitraka tribe, who, like
the Gujars, were allied to the Huns, and entered India
in the fifth or sixth century.
account really agrees quite closely with the traditions
of the Sesodia bards themselves, except that he considers
Guhadatta to have been a Nagar Brahman of Valabhi,
and descended from the Maitrakas, a race allied to
the Huns, while the bards say that he was a descendant
of the Aryan Kshatriyas of Ajodhia, who migrated to
Surat and established the Valabhi kingdom.
earliest prince of the Gahlot dynasty for whom a date
has been obtained is
, A.D. 646, and he was
fifth in descent from Guhadatta, who may therefore
be placed in the first part of the sixth century.
Bapa, the founder of the Gahlot clan in Mewar, was,
according to tradition, sixth in descent from Gohaditya,
and he had his capital at Nagda, a few miles to the
north of Udaipur city. A tradition quoted by
Mr. Bhandarkar states that Bapa was the son of Grahadata.
He succeeded in propitiating the god Siva.
day the king of Chitor died and left no heir to his
It was decided that whoever would be
garlanded by a certain elephant would be placed on
Bapa was present on the occasion,
and the elephant put the garland round his neck not
only once, but thrice.
Bapa was thus seated on
One day he was suffering from some
A physician mixed a certain medicine
in alcoholic liquor and applied it to his eyes, which
were speedily cured.
Bapa afterwards inquired
what the medicine was, and learnt the truth.
He trembled like a reed and said, “I am a Brahman,
and you have given me medicine mixed in liquor.
I have lost my caste,” So saying he drank molten
), and forthwith died, and hence
arose the family name Sesodia. This story, current
in Rajputana, supports Mr. Bhandarkar’s view
of the Brahman origin of the clan.
to tradition Bapa went to Chitor, then held by the
Mori or Pramara Rajputs, to seek his fortune, and
was appointed to lead the Chitor forces against the
Muhammadans on their first invasion of India.
After defeating and expelling them he ousted the Mori
ruler and established himself at Chitor, which has
since been the capital of the Sesodias.
Sesodia is really derived from Sesoda, the residence
of a subsequent chief Rahup, who captured Mundore
and was the first to bear the title of Rana of Mewar.
Similarly Aharia is another local name from Ahar, a
place in Mewar, which was given to the clan.
were also known as Raghuvansi, or of the race of king
Raghu, the ancestor of the divine Rama.
of the Central Provinces, an impure caste of Rajput
origin, are treated in a separate article, but it is
not known whether they were derived from the Sesodias.
From the fourteenth century the chronicles of the
Sesodias contain many instances of Rajput courage
Chitor was sacked three times before
the capital was removed to Udaipur, first by Ala-ul-Din
Khilji in 1303, next by Bahadur Shah, the Muhammadan
king of Gujarat in 1534, and lastly by Akbar in 1567.
These events were known as Saka or massacres of the
On each occasion the women of the garrison
performed the Johar or general immolation by fire,
while the men sallied forth, clad in their saffron-coloured
robes and inspired by
, to die sword in
hand against the foe.
At the first sack the goddess
of the clan appeared in a dream to the Rana and demanded
the lives of twelve of its chiefs as a condition of
His eleven sons were in their
turn crowned as chief, each ruling for three days,
while on the fourth he sallied out and fell in battle.
Lastly, the Rana devoted himself in order that
his favourite son Ajeysi might be spared and might
perpetuate the clan.
At the second sack 32,000
were slain, and at the third 30,000.
Aurangzeb destroyed the temples and idols at Chitor,
and only its ruins remain.
Udaipur city was founded
The Sesodias resisted the Muhammadans
for long, and several times defeated them.
Singh, the founder of Udaipur, abandoned his capital
and fled to the hills, whence he caused his own territory
to be laid waste, with the object of impeding the imperial
Of this period it is recorded that the
were from father to son in outlawry against
the emperor, and that sovereign had carried away the
doors of the gate of Chitor, and had set them up in
and chiefs had perished
in the struggle, and the Rana in his trouble lay at
nights on a counterpane spread on the ground, and
neither slept in his bed nor shaved his hair; and if
he perchance broke his fast, had nothing better with
which to satisfy it than beans baked in an earthen
For this reason it is that certain practices
are to this day observed at Udaipur.
is spread below the Rana’s bed, and his head
remains unshaven and baked beans are daily laid upon
his plate. A custom of perhaps somewhat similar
origin is that in this clan man and wife take food
together, and the wife does not wait till her husband
It is said that the Sesodia Rajputs
are the only caste in India among whom this rule prevails,
and it may have been due to the fact that they had
to eat together in haste when occasion offered during
this period of guerilla warfare.
In 1614 Rana Amar Singh, recognising
that further opposition was hopeless, made his submission
to the emperor, on the condition that he should never
have to present himself in person but might send his
two sons in his place.
This stipulation being
accepted, the heir-apparent Karan Singh proceeded
to Ajmer where he was magnanimously treated by Jahangir
and shortly afterwards the imperial troops were withdrawn
It is the pride of the Udaipur house
that it never gave a daughter in marriage to any of
the Musalman emperors, and for many years ceased to
intermarry with other Rajput families who had formed
But Amar Singh II. (1698-1710)
made a league with the Maharajas of Jodhpur and Jaipur
for mutual protection against the Muhammadans; and
it was one of the conditions of the compact that the
latter chiefs should regain the privilege of marriage
with the Udaipur family which had been suspended since
they had given daughters in marriage to the emperors.
But the Rana unfortunately added a proviso that the
son of an Udaipur princess should succeed to the Jodhpur
or Jaipur States in preference to any elder son by
The quarrels to which this stipulation
gave rise led to the conquest of the country by the
Marathas, at whose hands Mewar suffered more cruel
devastation than it had ever been subjected to by
Ruinous war also ensued between
Jodhpur and Jaipur for the hand of the famous Udaipur
princess Kishen Kumari at the time when Rajputana
was being devastated by the Marathas and Pindaris;
and the quarrel was only settled by the voluntary death
of the object of contention, who, after the kinsman
sent to slay her had recoiled before her young beauty
and innocence, willingly drank the draught of opium
four times administered before the fatal result could
The Maharana of Udaipur is entitled
to a salute of nineteen guns.
The Udaipur State
has an area of nearly 13,000 square miles and a population
of about a million persons.
Besides Udaipur three
minor states, Partabgarh, Dungarpur and Banswara, are
held by members of the Sesodia clan.
In the Central
Provinces the Sesodias numbered nearly 2000 persons
in 1911, being mainly found in the districts of the
Rajput, Solankhi, Solanki, Chalukya.
clan was one of the Agnikula or fire-born, and are
hence considered to have probably been Gurjaras or
Their original name is said to have been
Chaluka, because they were formed in the palm (
of the hand.
They were not much known in Rajputana,
but were very prominent in the Deccan.
were generally called Chalukya, though in northern
India the name Solankhi is more common.
as A.D. 350 Pulakesin I. made himself master of the
town of Vatapi, the modern Badami In the Bijapur District,
and founded a dynasty, which developed into the most
powerful kingdom south of the Nerbudda, and lasted
for two centuries, when it was overthrown by the Rashtrakutas
Pulakesin II. of this Chalukya dynasty
successfully resisted an inroad of the great emperor
Harsha Vardhana of Kanauj, who aspired to the conquest
of the whole of India.
The Rashtrakuta kings
governed for two centuries, and in A.D. 973 Taila
or Tailapa II., a scion of the old Chalukya stock,
restored the family of his ancestors to its former
glory, and founded the dynasty known as that of the
Chalukyas of Kalyan, which lasted like that which
it superseded for nearly two centuries and a quarter,
up to about A.D. 1190.
In the tenth century apparently
another branch of the clan migrated from Rajputana
into Gujarat and established a new dynasty there,
owing to which Gujarat, which had formerly been known
, obtained its present name .
The principal king of this line was Sidh Raj Solankhi,
who is well known to tradition.
From these Chalukya
or Solankhi rulers the Baghel clan arose, which afterwards
migrated to Rewah.
The Solankhis are found in
the United Provinces, and a small number are returned
from the Central Provinces, belonging mainly to Hoshangabad
Rajput, Somvansi, Chandravansi.
two are returned as separate
, though both
names mean ‘Descendants of the moon.’
Colonel Tod considers Surajvansi and Somvansi, or
the descendants of the sun and moon as the first two
of the thirty-six royal clans, from which all the
others were evolved.
But he gives no account of
them, nor does it appear that they were regularly
recognised clans in Rajputana.
It is probable
that both Somvansi and Chandravansi, as well as Surajvansi
and perhaps Nagvansi (Descendants of the snake) have
served as convenient designations for Rajputs of illegitimate
birth, or for landholding sections of the cultivating
castes and indigenous tribes when they aspired to
Thus the Surajvansis, and Somvansis
of different parts of the country might be quite different
sets of people.
There seems some reason for supposing
that the Somvansis of the United Provinces as described
by Mr. Crooke are derived from the Bhar tribe;
in the Central Provinces a number of Somvansis and
Chandravansis are returned from the Feudatory States,
and are probably landholders who originally belonged
to one of the forest tribes residing in them.
I have heard the name Somvansi applied to a boy who
belonged to the Baghel clan of Rajputs, but he was
of inferior status on account of his mother being
a remarried widow, or something of the kind.
Surajvansi (Descendants of the Sun) is recorded as
the first of the thirty-six royal clans, but Colonel
Tod gives no account of it, and it does not seem to
be known to history as a separate clan.
mentions an early tradition that the Surajvansis migrated
from Ajodhia to Gujarat in A.D. 224, but this is scarcely
likely to be authentic in view, of the late dates now
assigned for the origin of the important Rajput clans.
Surajvansi should properly be a generic term denoting
any Rajput belonging to a clan of the solar race,
and it seems likely that it may at different times
have been adopted by Rajputs who were no longer recognised
in their own clan, or by families of the cultivating
castes or indigenous tribes who aspired to become
Thus Mr. Crooke notes that a large section
of the Soiris (Savaras or Saonrs) have entirely abandoned
their own tribal name and call themselves Surajvansi
Rajputs; and the same thing has probably happened
in other cases.
In the Central Provinces the
Surajvansis belong mainly to Hoshangabad, and here
they form a separate caste, marrying among themselves
and not with other Rajput clans.
Hence they would
not be recognised as proper Rajputs, and are probably
a promoted group of some cultivating caste.
Rajput, Tomara, Tuar, Turtwar
. - This
clan is an ancient one, supposed by Colonel Tod to
be derived from the Yadavas or lunar race.
name is said to come from
The Tomara clan was considered to be a very ancient
one, and the great king Vikramaditya, whose reign
was the Hindu Golden Age, was held to have been sprung
These traditions are, however, now discredited,
as well as that of Delhi having been built by a Tomara
king, Anang Pal I., in A.D. 733.
Smith states that Delhi was founded in 993-994, and
Anangapala, a Tomara king, built the Red Fort about
In 1052 he removed the celebrated iron
pillar, on which the eulogy of Chandragupta Vikramaditya
is incised, from its original position, probably at
Mathura, and set it up in Delhi as an adjunct to a
group of temples from which the Muhammadans afterwards
constructed the great mosque. This act apparently
led to the tradition that Vikramaditya had been a
Tomara, and also to a much longer historical antiquity
being ascribed to the clan than it really possessed.
The Tomara rule at Delhi only lasted about 150 years,
and in the middle of the twelfth century the town
was taken by Bisal
, the Chauhan chieftain
of Ajmer, whose successor, Prithwi Raj, reigned at
Delhi, but was defeated and killed by the Muhammadans
in A.D. 1192.
Subsequently, perhaps in the reign
of Ala-ud-Din Khilji, a Tomara dynasty established
itself at Gwalior, and one of their kings, Dungara
Singh (1425-1454), had executed the celebrated rock-sculptures
of Gwalior. In 1518 Gwalior was taken by the
Muhammadans, and the last Tomara king reduced to the
status of an ordinary jagirdar.
The Tomara clan
is numerous in the Punjab country near Delhi, where
it still possesses high rank, but in the United Provinces
it is not so much esteemed. No ruling chief
now belongs to this clan.
In the Central Provinces
the Tomaras or Tunwars belong principally to the Hoshangabad
District The zamindars of Bilaspur, who were originally
of the Tawar subcaste of the Kawar tribe, now also
claim to be Tomara Rajputs on the strength of the
similarity of the name.
Rajput; Yadu, Yadava, Yadu-Bhatti,
- The Yadus are a well-known
Colonel Tod says that the Yadu
was the most illustrious of all the tribes of Ind,
and became the patronymic of the descendants of Buddha,
progenitor of the lunar (
is not clear, even according to legendary tradition,
what, if any, connection the Yadus had with Buddha,
but Krishna is held to have been a prince of this
tribe and founded Dwarka in Gujarat with them, in
which locality he is afterwards supposed to have been
Colonel Tod states that the Yadu after
the death of Krishna, and their expulsion from Dwarka
and Delhi, the last stronghold of their power, retired
by Multan across the Indus, founded Ghazni in Afghanistan,
and peopled these countries even to Samarcand.
Again driven back on the Indus they obtained possession
of the Punjab and founded Salbhanpur.
expelled they retired across the Sutlej and Gara into
the Indian deserts, where they founded Tannote, Derawal
and Jaisalmer, the last in A.D. 1157.
It has been
suggested in the main article on Rajput that the Yadus
might have been the Sakas, who invaded India in the
second century A.D.
This is only a speculation.
At a later date a Yadava kingdom existed in the Deccan,
with its capital at Deogiri or Daulatabad and its
territory lying between that place and Nasik.
Mr. Smith states that these Yadava kings were descendants
of feudatory nobles of the Chalukya kingdom, which
embraced parts of western India and also Gujarat.
The Yadu clan can scarcely, however, be a more recent
one than the Chalukya, as in that case it would not
probably have been credited with having had Krishna
as its member.
The Yadava dynasty only lasted
from A.D. 1150 to 1318, when the last prince of the
line, Harapala, stirred up a revolt against the Muhammadans
to whom the king, his father-in-law, had submitted,
and being defeated, was flayed alive and decapitated.
It is noticeable that the Yadu-Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer
claim descent from Salivahana, who founded the Saka
era in A.D. 78, and it is believed that this era belonged
to the Saka dynasty of Gujarat, where, according to
the tradition given above, the Yadus also settled.
This point is not important, but so far as it goes
would favour the identification of the Sakas with the
The Bhatti branch of the Yadus claim
descent from Bhati, the grandson of Salivahana.
They have no legend of having come from Gujarat, but
they had the title of Rawal, which is used in Gujarat,
and also by the Sesodia clan who came from there.
The Bhattis are said to have arrived in Jaisalmer
about the middle of the eighth century, Jaisalmer city
being founded much later in A.D. 1183.
State, the third in Rajputana, has an area of 16,000
square miles, most of which is desert, and a population
of about 100,000 persons.
The chief has the title
of Maharawal and receives a salute of fifteen guns.
The Jareja Rajputs of Sind and Cutch are another branch
of the Yadus who have largely intermarried with Muhammadans.
They now claim descent from Jamshid, the Persian hero,
and on this account, Colonel Tod states, the title
of their rulers is Jam.
They were formerly much
addicted to female infanticide.
The name Yadu
has in other parts of India been corrupted into Jadon,
and the class of Jadon Rajputs is fairly numerous
in the United Provinces, and in some places is said
to have become a caste, its members marrying among
This is also the case in the Central
Provinces, where they are known as Jadum, and have
been treated under that name in a separate article.
The small State of Karauli in Rajputana is held by
a Jadon chief.