CHAWAND was the capital of Maharana Pratap

  • On the 484th birth anniversary of Veer Shiromani Maharana Pratap on Vikram Samvat 2081 - Jyeshtha Shukla Tritiya on Sunday, June 9 2024 we tell about the history, arts, culture, significance and water filtration system of Chawand, his capital.

After winning the battle of Dewair in 1582 CE, Maharana Pratap I (r. 1572 - 1597 CE), 54th Custodian of the House of Mewar, following the policy of his father Maharana Udai Singh II propounded the idea of ​​building a new and safer capital in mountainous region. So, he established his capital city at Chawand in 1585 CE. 


Maharana Pratap gained control of the Chappan area including Chawand and this place had a very important role in the history of Mewar region.


The landscape around Chawand made it an ideal location to set up a fortified capital. It is about 60 kms southeast of Udaipur and surrounded by the Aravalli hills on all sides, creating a secure environment (Shyamal Das 1986: 158). The town itself is situated thirteen kms east of a village called Parsad i.e. on the left bank of the Gargal River.


Maharana Pratap built his fort at the center of the hill. From this fort, one could see far into the distance, helping to keep watch. The remains of Maharana Pratap's fort still exist today, including parts of the strong fortification wall that encircled the hillock it was built on. Inside the fort area, there are ruins of the palace like structures where the Maharana and his nobles likely lived.

Chawand is an archaeological treasure trove that provides a window into the life, times and legendary resistance of Maharana Pratap against the Mughal forces. Chawand played a vital role in the development of Mewar, after the Mughal struggle.

Why was the location of Chawand important?

It was situated on the main trade route of Gujarat. Soon, it became a centre of merchant activities. Apart from this, Chawand was a safer place; it was also possible to take control over Zawar or its nearby mining area that is why Maharana Pratap chose Chawand as his capital.



Archaeological excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India have uncovered the remains of several rooms that were likely residential quarters. Most of these rooms are rectangular or square in shape. Some rooms have partially open walls still standing. In total, five different room remains have been identified, with sizes ranging from about 2.3 meters x 3.2 meters up to 5.2 meters x 3.2 meters. The door widths vary from 1 meter to 2.65 meters wide. The ceiling heights that remain are around 2.5 meters high, and the walls are about 0.6 meters thick (Kharakwal 2019:135).


The ruins provided a glimpse into how the royal family and their nobles may have lived - likely in modest yet functional quarters within the secure confines of the fortified hillock. Just outside the south-eastern corner of the fort's fortification wall, there are remains of what may have been a two-story building complex. These included rectangular and square shaped rooms. Some of the room walls still have thick plaster coatings made from a mixture of lime and brick powder. Pieces of glazed ceramic pottery wares in colors like green, turquoise and shiny glazes were also found here (Kharakwal 2019:135). 


In the area surrounding the fort, there are scattered remains of modest house dwellings. These likely belonged to the common people living around the royal palace. The remains show small rooms, open courtyards, and signs that the roofs were thatched using bamboo and grass, as evidenced by grass pieces found in the brick walls.

Ancient Water Filtration System

One remarkable discovery at Chawand is the remains of an ancient water purification system located in the south-eastern corner of the fort. Here, archaeologists found a rectangular structure with 26 interconnected pits of various rectangular and square shapes. These pits were lined at the bottom with holes connecting them all.


It appears that water was made to flow through this series of pits, likely using sand and coal layers to filter and purify it before collecting in a larger final pit. This pioneering water treatment system shows the advanced civil engineering and filtration skills that existed then. It highlights how the builders planned and implemented civic utilities like clean drinking water supply.


How was Water Supply managed?

Chawand had other water sources that made it an ideal location. To the west was a lake called Kataval. Maharana Pratap himself had commissioned the construction of an impressive step-well near the fort. This well had three sets of stairs leading down to the water body. Additionally, the Gargal River’s seasonal streams flowed through this region from the west towards the south-east direction. This allowed the land around Chawand to be fertile for cultivation of crops like rice, wheat, maize, and fruits like mangoes. 


This agricultural abundance is considered one of the main reasons why strategically, Maharana chose to make Chawand his capital after being displaced from capital centers like Chittorgarh and Kumbalgarh by Mughal forces.

Shree Chamunda Mata Temple

Inside the fort, in the north-west side, there is a temple of Shree Chamunda Mata (Shyamal Das 1986: 158). This temple is built on a high platform in the Rekhadeval architecture style. The temple faces north and includes a Garbhagrah, Mandap (Pavilion) and Pravesh Dwar (Entrance Gate).

Maharana Pratap Memorial

Maharana Pratap memorial has been developed by The Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan, in the south direction of the fort at Chawand. A statue of Maharana Pratap was installed along with his associates Rana Punja, Hakim Khan Sur, Jhala Maan and Bhamashah.

Center of Arts and Culture

Chawand was a seat of learning and scholars were patronized by Maharana Pratap. Later on, Maharana Amar Singh I also continued the legacy of his father and Chawand was developed into an educational and cultural center of Mewar during his reign carrying on till the 18th century.


Under the patronage of Maharana Pratap Sinhasan Battisi, Jyotishsar, Shrimad Bhagwat Dashamskandha etc Sanskrit literature was composed by various scholars at Chawand (Bhatnagar 1989: 90). A new style of painting developed in Mewar, called Chawand Painting Style. Nisaradi was the artist who illustrated the famous Ragamala miniature painting series in 1605 CE (Paliwal 1998: 66-67).


Maharana Pratap Samadhi

From 1572 CE to 1597 CE, Maharana Pratap ruled for 25 years of which he spent twelve years in Chawand. His cremation was performed on the banks of the Gargal River at Badoli village near Chawand. An eight ornate stone pillars cenotaph was constructed at the cremation site by Maharana Amar Singh I, which remains a sacred place of homage for people, in and around that area, till date. In 1937 Maharana Bhupal Singh renovated the cenotaph.

Maharaj Kumar Sahib Dr. Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar visited Chawand and paid tribute to Veer Shiromani Maharana Pratap with reverence and faith at Nirvana Sthali Chawand on his 426th death anniversary on 1st February 2023. Dr. Mewar addressed the gathering and said that Maharana Pratap is synonymous with bravery, sacrifice, and self- respect. He called upon the future and young generation of the country to follow the ideal life values of Maharana Pratap with the faith with which they believe in Maharana Pratap and spread the pious thought of patriotism to the masses.

Dr. Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar paying tribute to Veer Shiromani Maharana Pratap at Nirvana Sthali Chawand.

Though the fort and structures are now in ruins, they stand as a testament to spirit of sovereignty of Maharana Pratap who despite being massively outmatched found ideal conditions in the hills, forests and natural defenses around Chawand and fought, against the Mughals for over two decades, in the guerilla warfare way.


The Archaeological Survey of India's ongoing excavation and restoration efforts are finally bringing Chawand's historic significance into the light.


So while modern India rediscovers its medieval heritage, the forgotten heroic legacy of Maharana Pratap's resistance will be resurrected from history to inspire new generations. The romantic ruins of his capital at Chawand will forever remain hallowed grounds - silent sentinels that saw this legendary leader's quest for freedom from Mughal occupation reach its ultimate culmination.

It all started at Kumbhalgarh Fort where Maharana Pratap was born.



1. Maharana Mewar Research Institute, Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, The City Palace, Udaipur.

2. Devilal Paliwal, 1998| Maharana Pratap Mahan, Rajasthani Granthagar: Jodhpur.

3. J.S. Kharakwal, 2019| Archaeological Exploration of Chawand. Shodh Patrika 70: Udaipur.

4. Rajendra Bhatnagar 1989| Maharana ki Nayi Rajadhani Chawand or Uska Sanskritik Mahtva, Maharana Pratap and His Times, Maharana Pratap Smarak Samiti: Udaipur.

5. Shyamal Das, 1986| Veer Vinod, Motilal Banarasidas: Delhi.


Authored by Ms. Swati Jain, Research Officer, Maharana Mewar Research Institute, Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, The City Palace, Udaipur 313 001, Rajasthan.

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