Haldighati (????? ????) is a mountain pass in the Aravalli Range of Rajasthan in western India. It connects Rajsamand and Pali districts, 40 kilometres from Udaipur. The name is believed to have come from the turmeric-coloured soil (Turmeric is haldi in Hindi).
The mountain pass is historically significant as the location of the Battle of Haldighati, which took place in 1576 between Rana Pratap Singh of Mewar and Raja Man Singh of Amber, general of the Mughal emperor Akbar.
The battle between Rana Pratap and Akbar?s army under the leadership of Man Singh has been immortalized by a great classic poem by Shyam Narayan Panday. This poem entitled ?Haldighati? is must read for all lovers of Hindi poetry.
Excerpts from the great poem ?Haldighati? are available along with historical notes at www.geeta-kavita.com
Pratap was a son of Udai Singh II, who was the father of twenty-five sons. The male-line descendents of Udai Singh II bear the patronymic "Ranawat". In 1568, during the reign of Udai Singh II, Mewar was conquered by the Mughal emperor Akbar. The third Jauhar of Chittor transpired, with the ladies of the fort finding "safety from personal dishonour in the devouring element (fire)," while the remaining menfolk sallied forth to certain death in the battlefield.
Prior to this calamity, Udai Singh and his family had fled to the safety of the nearby hills. He later moved base to another location in the foothills of the Aravalli Range. This new base gradually became the city of Udaipur, named after him. Udai Singh wanted Jagmal, his favourite son, to succeed him. However, with the help of senior nobles, Pratap took over the responsibility of leadership in 1572. It was the beginning of a career of struggle and hardship.
Pratap retreated into the hilly wilderness of the Aravallis and continued his struggle. His one attempt at open confrontation having thus failed, Pratap resumed the tactics of guerilla warfare. Using the hills as his base, Pratap harassed the large and therefore awkward mughal forces in their encampments. He ensured that the mughal occupying force in Mewar never knew peace: Akbar despatched three more expeditions to ferret Pratap out of his mountainous hideouts, but they all failed. During this era, Pratap received much financial assistance from Bhamashah, a well-wisher. The Bhill
tribals of the Aravalli hills provided Pratap with their support during times of war and their expertise in living off the forests during times of peace. Thus the years passed. As James Tod writes: "There is not a pass in the alpine Aravalli that is not sanctified by some deed of the great freedom fighter, Maharana Pratap Singh; some brilliant victory or, more often, some glorious defeat." On one occasion, the Bhils saved the Rajput women and children in the nick of time by conveying them into the depths of the mines at Zawar. Later, Pratap relocated to Chavand in the mountainous southeastern area of Mewar. Still harassed by the mughals, the exiles survived in those ravines for many years by subsisted on wild berries and by hunting and fishing.