Kumbhakarna – popularly known as Rana Kumbha was the undefeated king of Mewar from 1433-1468 CE. He was born on Makar Sankranti to Maharana Mokal and Sobhagya Devi. He was only 13 when he ascended the throne of Mewar , after his father was assassinated by his own relatives in a palace conspiracy. He was assisted by Ranmal Rathore in his early years of rule. He was a powerful king about 8 ft. tall and a towering personality who kept the Hindu flag flying high with pride.
A GLIMPSE INTO THE GLORIOUS BATTLES FOUGHT..
In 1442 Mahmud Khilji launched a series of wars against Mewar. He was defeated by the mighty Rana Kumbha in a battle fought in Mandalgarh. In 1443 while Khilji was camping after conquering Macchindargarh, Pangarh and Chaumuha, Rana Kumbha attacked him and forced him to retreat. Mahmud retreated only to come back in 1446 again but he had to face another defeat on the banks of Banas river.Khilji was shattered and could never muster the courage to attack the Mewar king for the coming decade.
In order to commemorate his resounding victory over Khilji ,Rana Kumbha erected the famous ” Vijay Stambha” – a nine storey, 37 meter high victory tower, which was completed in 1448 AD.
Rana Kumbha was joined by the rulers of Malwa and Gujarat and by Muhammad Shah ( ruler of Delhi) in his victory over Khilji.He was conferred the title of “Hindu Suratrana”, becoming the first Hindu ruler to be given such a title.
RANA KUMBHA – THE WAR STRATEGEIST..
Rana Kumbha had assisted Shams Khan to ascend his throne of Nagaur after the death of latter’ s father. However Shams Khan allied with Ahmad Shah against Rana Kumbha. This angered the Rana who then captured Nagaur along with Kasili, Khandela and Shakambari.
Meanwhile Qutubuddin along with Khilji captured Abu, it was Rana Kumbha’s might and quick thinking that their advances to Kumbhalmer and Chttor were timely stalled. While the Rana was winning battles against the combined forces of Khilji ,…Rao Jodha ,son of Ranmal Rathore attacked Mandore. Rana Kumbha held his fort and bravely defeated all his enemies in the multi pronged attacks. Mewar soon became a vast kingdom under the capable hands of Rana Sangha. By 1439 CE, the borders of the kingdom were extended to Gagron in the east, to Nagaur in the west and from Pokhran in the north, right up to Gujarat in the south.
Rana Kumbha was not only a fierce warrior and a great Hindu patriot king , he is accredited to have constructed the marvelous Kumbhalgarh fort. The magnificent Fort has its wall extending upto 36 kms and along with many forests it has 360 temples in its periphery.
Maharana Kumbha was a great visionary. He secured the boundaries of Mewar by erecting Achalgarh and Vasantgarh forts in Abu, guarding the boundaries of Mewar. He undertook massive construction as well. Out of 82 forts in Mewar 32 were constructed by Rana Kumbha alone. He employed the “shilpacharyas” of Mandan and Jaita…for the reinforcement of the Chittorgarh fort by constructing 7 successive entrance gates to the fort.
Rana Kumbha is one of the most multi faceted and efficient ruler Indian soil has seen. He was a polymath , well versed in Vedas,Upnashishads,and Smritis. He was a great patron of Vayyakaran and patronized many Sanskrit and Jain scholars.
A scholar ,he was was a proficient Veena player and was a composer of many literary masterpieces like ” Sangeetraj Sood Prabandh” ..”Rasik Priya”- a commentary on Geet Govinda in Mewar dialect….” Chandi Shatak” etc.
Maharana Kumbha retired in his Kumbhalgarh fort and unfortunately in a patricide he was assassinated by his own son Udai Singh 1 in 1468 CE, who wanted to crown himself as the king. Udai Singh was thereafter called a murderer by other Rajput kings.