Though the Mughals had captured Chittor, the capital of Mewar, in 1568, the larger part of the kingdom of Mewar was still held by Maharana Udai Singh. The coronation of his brave and heroic son Rana Pratap Singh (Maharana Pratap) took place on 3rd of March 1572 amidst depressive circumstances. Against such odds as the limited resources, discontented kinmen and the hostile attitude of his brother Shakti Singh, Maharana Pratap decided to stand upto Akbar.
On the other hand, Akbar was also worried about the recalcitrance of Mewar. To subdue the Rajput resurgence at all costs, he dispatched a huge royal army under the command of Prince Man Singh of Amber and Asaf Ali in April 1576. Man Singh started off from Mandal Garh towards Gogonda through Modi Nagar, and encamped facing the Haldighati between the Aravali hills and the Khamnaur village on the south bank of the river Beas.
When Maharana Pratap saw the approaching Mughal army, he assembled his armies on both sides of the narrow pass. The thickly forested hilly route was so narrow that two riders could barely pass through side by side. Maharana selected this strategically located spot to face the Mughal army. As compared with the size of the Mughal army the Maharana's army was a small one. But the Rajputs had courage and a patriotic zeal.
Moving forward from the Haldighati, the Rana launched a direct attack on the Mughal troops. The attack was so vehement that it made short work of the left and front side phalances of the Mughal army while the middle and the right side phalances were in disarray. The Rana did not had any additional troops to take advantage of the initial successes. Hence to bring about the quick defeat of the Mughal army Rana launched an attack with elephants.
All of a sudden a rumour spread that Mughal emperor Akbar was himself coming to the rescue of Man Singh. This instilled a sense of courage within the Mughal troops they surrounded the Maharana's army, at that time it seemed that Maharana himself would get killed. At this moment, the Naik of Jhala took the crown off the head of the Maharana and put it on his own so as to impersonate Maharana Pratap. The enemy mistook him as the Rana and killed him off.
Seizing an opportunity, the Rana took aim with his spear on Man Singh who was riding an elephant. The aim, however, missed and the spear pierced the body of the Mahout instead. Finding their General in danger the Mughal army encircled Rana.
The favourite horse of Rana 'Chetak' took his master out of the battlefield, but as it had sustained injuries it fell on the ground and died but not before rescuing his master. The loss of Chetak left Maharana a broken hearted man. Ultimately Man Singh won that day for the Mughals and Gogonda now passed on under the Mughal occupation.
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