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A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil

Now Kurnavati had bound Hamayoun


the Emperor Mahmoud, Hamir entered Chitor in triumph, and once again the standard of the Sun floated over its blood-stained rocks. The Emperor Mahmoud himself was led captive into Chitor, and kept prisoner there for three months until he regained his liberty by surrendering Ajmere, Rinthumbore, Nagore, and Sooe Sopoor, with fifty lacs of rupees and a hundred elephants. By this victory Hamir became the sole Hindu prince of power in India; and the ancestors of the present lords of Marwar and Jaipur brought their levies and paid homage, together with the chiefs of Boondi, Abu, and Gwalior.

Then ensued for Chitor a period of splendid prosperity, during which rose many noble buildings, amongst the ruins of which the great Tower of Victory still soars supreme. This splendid monument[3] was raised to commemorate the victory gained by Koombho over Mahmoud, King of Malwa, and the Prince of Guzzerat, who in A.D. 1440 had formed a league against Chitor. The Rana met them at the head of 100,000 troops and 1400 elephants, and overthrew them, and the commemorative tower was begun in 1451 and finished in ten years.

The State of Mewar reached the zenith of her glory in 1509, when 80,000 horse, seven rajas of the highest rank, nine raos, and 104 chiefs bearing titles of rawul or sawut, with 500 elephants, followed Rana Sanga of Chitor into the field.

The Mogul Baber, who captured Delhi in 1527,

was yet unwilling to face the ordeal of battle with the warlike Rajputs, but in the following year Sanga marched against him at the head of the princes of Rajast'han. A terrible battle ensued, which long inclined in favour of the Rajputs, until, through the treachery of a Tuar chief, they were defeated, and the star of Mewar began to decline, although so severe had been the struggle that Baber dared not follow up his victory.

In 1533 Chitor suffered her second "saka" at the hands of Buhadoor or Bajazet, Sultan of Guzzerat, who, after a grim struggle, obtained a footing at the "Beeka" rock, and, springing a mine there, blew up 45 cubits of rampart and killed the Prince of the Haras, with five hundred of his kin. Then the Queen-Mother, Jowahir Bae, clad in armour, headed a sally, and was slain before the eyes of all.

The entrance to the city being forced, the heir of the Sesodias, the infant Oodi Singh, son of Sanga, was placed in safety, while Bagh-ji, Prince of Deola, assuming royalty, prepared to die, for Chitor could only be retained by the Rajput princes while guarded by royalty.

The horrible Johur was decreed, and 13,000 women, headed by Kurnavati, the mother of Oodi Singh,[4] marched to death and honour through the "Gau Mukh," or entrance to the subterranean tomb; while the city gates were thrown open, and the defenders sallied forth. "Every clan lost its chief," and 32,000 Rajputs were slain during the siege and storm.

Now Kurnavati had bound Hamayoun, the son of Baber, to her cause by a curious ceremony: she having sent him the Rakhi (bracelet), and he having bestowed on her the Katchli (corselet), he was bound, in consequence of this bond, to assist the lady in any time of need. Too late to save Chitor, he retook it, and restored Bikramajit to the throne; but the guardian goddess had turned her face from the doomed city, and its final fall was at hand. The Emperor Akbar, having laid almost all India at his feet, determined to bring the proud princes of Rajputana into subjection. He attacked Chitor, but was foiled by the masculine courage of the Rana's concubine queen.

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