Chetak Horse of Maharana Pratap who changed Indian history!

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Last Updated on January 8, 2022 by asoulwindow

Who is Chetak horse?

Chetak horse played a crucial role in the battle of Haldighati by helping Maharana Pratap reach safe haven, before succumbing to his own injuries.  The battle of Haldighati was fought between Mughal invader Akbar and the Braveheart of Mewar, Maharana Pratap.

Chetak horse of Maharana Pratap is one of the most well-known animals of the world. Chetak Horse had played a very important role in Haldighati battle by rescuing Maharana Pratap in the nick of time. This story about Chetak horse has been a part of folklore since hundreds of years.

Chetak Horse is also fondly known as Maharana Pratap ka Chetak.  Maharana Pratap and Chetak Horse will always be remembered in the annals of history!

Why Chetak horse is famous

All Indians have grown up hearing about Maharana Pratap, if not in biased and outdated school textbooks then from our elders. Chetak, the faithful horse of Maharana Pratap who saved his life during Battle of Haldighati on 18th June 1576 will always be remembered.

In fact, show me an Indian who has not heard of Chetak and Maharana Pratap and I will show you a live dinosaur.

I fell silent when I visited the Chetak memorial near the Maharana Pratap Museum and Badshah Bagh after crossing Haldighati pass. No wonder, Chetak always finds a way in ballads, novels, non-fiction, manuscripts and even movies.

It is the only animals I can think of who commands such popularity and reverence. Chetak is a legend! It is no wonder that the popular Chetak scooter was named after him. Many shops, businesses and restaurants are also named after him.

It is rare that some one finds visit to the memorial of an animal poignant. Memorials made in honor of animals is even rarer. I have never heard of any other famous war animal (or otherwise), let alone their memorial. As they say, the horse chose his master, or rather his name in history!

Chetak Chabutra or Chetak Samadhi

Also known as the Chetak memorial or Chetak Smarak, it is located very close to the Maharana Pratap Museum and Badshah Bagh in Haldighati. As per some accounts, it was constructed on the same spot where the stallion passed away. I was the only one present when I visited here. There are many big and small Chattris built in the campus. I even saw a dilapidated Hindu temple which needed (and deserved) better maintenance.

Some ancient stone idols of Hindu deities were placed on platforms. It was heartening to see someone had placed fresh marigold flowers, before we arrived, indicating regular upkeep of the old monument. I liked the fact that it was a heavily shaded, silent and peaceful area. Birds chirping was the only sound I could hear. Chetak Samadhi is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India or ASI.

A government stone plaque mentioned the below lines on Chetak,

Chetak Chabutra

Here fell dead on June 21, 1576, Chetak-the daring and devoted horse of Maharana Pratap. In spite of being badly wounded Chetak saved his master in his critical hour by carrying him from Rakta-Talai to the other end of Haldighati by jumping across the nearby stream. To cherish the loyalty and sacrifice of Chetak, this memorial was raised.

Moss laden structures, the paint of which was peeling, were in various stages of decay. Historical monuments in this area screamed of Government apathy and lack of interest in celebrating one of India’s greatest warriors. What a shame!

Historical Mention of Chetak

Mention of Chetak is found in the historical records from 17th century onwards. Around this time, the contribution of Chetak in Maharana Pratap’s life was being acknowledged in the court poems of Mewar. The anglicized version of Chetak’s name was Cetak and Chytuc. He was referred to as Cetak in Khummana-Raso, the ballad from 18th century.

The famous book Annals and Antiquities of Rajast’han or the Central and Western Rajpoot States of India by James Tod also mentions Chetak in 1829. There are few parallels of Maharana Pratap and chetak story in world history!

Which king horse name is Chetak?

Chetak was the personal horse of Maharana Pratap, the king of 16th century Mewar. The horse was more than just a war animal for the valiant Rajput king. Chetak was very dear to Maharana.

In an unfortunate incident his death, while serving in Haldighati war filled the heart of Maharana with unsurmountable grief.

Chetak was a very aggressive horse much like his master and only Maharana was able to control him. Maharana’s love for Chetak was reciprocated by him.

Where is Chetak statue?

You can see an equestrian statue of Chetak (wearing an elephant mask) at Maharana Pratap Museum in Haldighati. It is a massive statue which brings alive the blood curdling memories of battle of Haldighati. The other impressive statues of the noble stallion Chetak are at Moti Magri and Chetak Circle in Udaipur.

I have written many blogs on the major attractions of Rajasthan and places associated with Chetak Horse of Maharana Pratap on A Soul Window, the No.1 travel blog of India. Several online portals have also celebrated A Soul Window as the Top Travel Blog of India.

How did Chetak save Maharana Pratap?

During the battle of Haldighati, Maharana Pratap fought bravely in an unfair war that tilted towards the shrewd Mughal army. He still fought with all his might and came crashing down on the Mughals initially.

As the war progressed, the Mughals unleashed their surplus army, making the war one sided. After being unfairly outnumbered by Mughals, Chetak horse helped Maharana Pratap escape while sacrificing his own life.

Chetak’s role in Haldighati war

Maharana Pratap had covered the face of Chetak with an elephant mask, complete with a fake tusk and trunk. This was done not to confuse human opponents but to confuse the elephants in the Mughal Army. The depiction of Chetak in this form is very popular and shown frequently in books and paintings etc. The armour also protected Chetak from the attacking army.

How was Chetak injured?

During the battle, one of the legs of Chetak, the horse of Rana Pratap, was pierced by the tusk of an elephant from the Mughal army. This injured Chetak badly.

What happened was while Chetak, with his elephant mask, jumped on the exceptionally huge elephant, he stuck his hooves on to the trunk of the elephant so that Maharana Pratap could accurately target his opponent Man Singh. However, instead of killing Man Singh, Maharana ended up attacking the mahout.

During this chaos, the sharp tusk of the elephant tore apart one of the legs of the Chetak horse. Though he was badly crippled, he leveled up his courage with that of Maharana Pratap and still continued to fight with three legs until he passed away, leaving behind Maharana Pratap in tears.

Maharana Pratap and Chetak story shall never be forgotten by posterity!

How did Chetak horse die?

Maharana started to realize it is a lost battle and planned an escape with the help of Jhala Maan Singh, his faithful army man. Chetak carried the King comfortable on a saddle and galloped on 3 legs till his King reached a safe place. However, he succumbed to his wounds and collapsed. Though Chetak didn’t survive, his stories always will echo in the annals of medieval Indian history.

Where did Chetak horse die?

Chetak breathed his last in Rajsamand in the village of Balicha in the year 1576. Rajsamand is located near Haldighati and Udaipur.

When did Chetak horse die?

Chetak breathed for the last time on 8th June 1576 after the Haldighati battle.

How long did Chetak jump?

How much did Chetak jump? Well, many sources conclude that Chetak, the brave horse of Rana Pratap, jumped from a 25 feet deep trough in order to protect his King.

What was the breed of Chetak?

In 16th century Mewar, the breeds of horses owned by Royal Families in West India included Kathiawadi horse, Sindhi horse and Marwari horse. Chetak was a visually stunning and sturdy Marwari horse. His curly and curved ears pointed towards each other, providing him a graceful appearance.

Chetak horse breed was an exclusive one. The Marwari breed of horse was founded by the Rathores of Marwar (Erstwhile Maru Pradesh). The business of breeding Marwari horse flourished in those times, owing to the physical beauty, agility and intelligence of the stallions.

Some Marwari horse breeders still claim that they breed stallions which belong to the genes of Chetak.

What were the distinct qualities of Maharana Pratap’s horse Chetak?

Chetak, the wonder horse was a rare beauty! Much like other Marwari horses, bright eyes, high forehead and long face were some of the striking features of Maharana Pratap’s horse Chetak. Chetak was often chronicled as the horse with a peacock neck. This is why he was also known as Mayura Greeva.

Chetak had a lean and agile body. He was a very active and brave horse. Once while climbing a 10 feet wall, Chetak faced injury on his leg. However, he healed soon. Chetak had a slender body and broad chest, much like that of a desert bred stallion.

What is the color of Maharana Pratap Horse Chetak?

As per the local folklore, Chetak had a blue shiny coat. No wonder, Maharana was often referred to as ‘Rider of the blue horse’. Other accounts mention that Chetak had beautiful blue expressive eyes and was therefore known as blue horse or Neela Ghoda.

What was the height of Chetak?

Chetak was not very tall as perceived by many. Chetak’s height was between 14.2 and 15.2 hands.

What was the weight of Chetak?

Chetak was a well-built horse and its weight was way more than the normal horses.

Chetak horse speed 

Chetak horse was an active fast running horse. Due to his high speed and agility, Chetak Horse was able to serve in Battle of Haldighati and rescue Maharana Pratap.

Was Chetak horse male or female?

Chetak Horse was a male horse.

Chetak Horse Family: Maharana Pratap horse

Here are some unknown facts about Chetak Horse. Did you know that Chetak horse also had brothers named Natak Atak as well? The stallions were equally qualified for battles and wars. While the training of Atak was going on in the riverside and hilly terrains, he ended up with a serious wound on the leg.  

Who gifted Chetak horse?

No one gifted Chetak horse. It was bought by Maharana Pratap along with above mentioned sibling horses Natak and Atak. While Natak was gifted to his brother Shakti Singh, Atak due to his injury was convalesce at an animal shelter.

Horse fair

Some 25 years ago, the Chetak Horse Society had initiated a Horse fair after the famous Maharana Pratap horse. Even now, every now and then, a horse fair is celebrated in this region by district administration. The festival aims to bring back the past glory. During the 3 days long horse fair, people can expect to see horses of best breeds such as Kathiawadi, Marwari and Arabian.

Haldighati Chetak poem

Below is the poem on Chetak horse called ‘Chetak ki Veerta’ written by Shyam Pandey.

“रण बीच चौकड़ी भर-भर कर 

चेतक बन गया निराला था

राणाप्रताप के घोड़े से 

पड़ गया हवा का पाला था 

जो तनिक हवा से बाग हिली 

लेकर सवार उड़ जाता था 

राणा की पुतली फिरी नहीं 

तब तक चेतक मुड़ जाता था 

गिरता न कभी चेतक तन पर 

राणाप्रताप का कोड़ा था 

वह दौड़ रहा अरिमस्तक पर 

वह आसमान का घोड़ा था 

था यहीं रहा अब यहाँ नहीं 

वह वहीं रहा था यहाँ नहीं 

थी जगह न कोई जहाँ नहीं 

किस अरिमस्तक पर कहाँ नहीं 

निर्भीक गया वह ढालों में 

सरपट दौडा करबालों में 

फँस गया शत्रु की चालों में 

बढ़ते नद-सा वह लहर गया 

फिर गया गया फिर ठहर गया 

विकराल वज्रमय बादल-सा 

अरि की सेना पर घहर गया 

भाला गिर गया गिरा निसंग 

हय टापों से खन गया अंग 

बैरी समाज रह गया दंग 

घोड़े का ऐसा देख रंग”

UPSC Exam

Questions on Chetak horse of Maharana Pratap are commonly asked in competitive exams such as UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam for for IAS, IFS, PCS. Here I have answered every possible Frequently asked question on Maharana Pratap and Chetak story.

Conclusion

Chetak horse, the most famous animal will always be remembered for his obedience and love for his King Maharana Pratap. With sharp features, elegant gait and a shiny coat, Chetak was a visually stunning horse.

By saving the life of Maharana Pratap during Battle of Haldighati Chetak reserved his places in the annals of the history of not only Mewar but all of India. The poems written on the Chetak horse speaks volume on his valour, loyalty and never give up attitude!

Hope you enjoyed reading this detailed Maharana Pratap Chetak story. Stories on Maharana Pratap and chetak will be remembered for several generations to come.

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