If you happened to travel to Ahmedabad side on NH-8, there is a sleepy village named Parsad. One may pass through Parsad in vehicle with great speed on smooth NH-8. However, if one happened to stay in Parsad for a while, it may be noticed that the famous historical town Chavand, which happened to be third capital of Maharana Pratap Singh is just nearby.
To go to Chavand, just abandon NH-8 and take a left turn, through the serpentine road of Aravali hills passing through some tribal hamlets you can reach to Chavand, which is just 12 kilometers from Parsad. The town Chavand falls under Sarada tehsil. Of late, we have noticed that there has been public demand to give district hood to Sarada. Sarada and Chavand are twin villages as they are very close to each other having a distant of just 3 to 4 kilometers. Alternately, one can travel to Chavand through Banswara road and pass through scenic Kewde-Ki-Nal. Through this route Chavand is 57 Kilometers from Udaipur City.
Chavand is a historical village and was the third capital of Mewar under the reign of legendary Maharana Pratap. After the battle of Haldighati in the year 1576, Rana Pratap retired into hills of Aravali in order to continue his endeavors to reorganize his army and fight the mighty Mughals. In his efforts to consolidate his position, Maharana Pratap won this belt from the Rathores and established his new capital at Chavand or say Chawand in the year 1585.
Maharana Pratap built a temple of Chamunda Devi in this village. The temple exists today in perfect condition and Chamunda Devi is worshiped as a local deity. He believed to have built about 16 or so hideouts within the radius of 10 km around his capital to camouflage his arsenal and army. These hideouts had many secret palaces, armory, temples and buildings for his soldiers, which included Bhils.
During a hunting venture, he died on 29 January 1597 on a lake site near Chavand. A beautiful cenotaph is built in the mid of lake by Maharana Bhupal Singh and the same is now under the control of Rajasthan Tourism. I have visited this site, which is a natural lake called Khejad some 8 years ago and at that time it was in shambles.
However, I was delighted to see this time that this monument has received required attention and today it is simply awesome. With the monsoon kind to the area, the lake is full of water and the approach road which passes over the lake gives a panoramic view par excellence and in the middle of the lake is a garden island housing the beautiful cenotaph of Rana Pratap, where the last rights of this great warrior and Rana of Mewar were performed.
The Cenotaph site provides basic facts on the contemporary history and a board displayed at the entry gate vividly describes the names of heroes who were instrumental and had played a valiant role in the battle of Haldighati for Maharana Pratap in fighting against mighty Mughal forces led by Raja Mansingh of Jaipur.
From the Lake Khejad, if one drives two kilometers towards Chavand, there is the ancient Chavand Palace on top of a hill. The palace had a three storied building originally, but as on date only some ruins are left.
Alas, the very capital and palace from where Maharana Pratap planned his strategies, administered and executed his valiant expeditions is in total shambles. The superb expedition that Rana Pratap under took before making Chavand as his third capital was the victory of Diwer in 1582, where, due to Prataps guerrilla warfare tactics, the Mughals were surprised with an unexpected and swift attack, in which the Mughal chieftains were defeated and were made to abandoned all their posts around Diwer. However, as a fitting tribute to this great ruler of Mewar, a memorial is built on the adjoining hill and it is similar to the one constructed at Mewa-Ka-Mathara near Diwer. This monument is really a pilgrimage for every visitor and taught us as to how in all adversities, a formidable and committed ruler has safe guarded the interests and honour of motherland till he breathed his last.
Chavand is a perfect destination for a weekend outings from Udaipur.
Reader’s contribution: Mahendra K Kothari, Superintendent of Central Excise & Customs (Retired)