The Kheechi Chauhans ::
The Chauhans are believed to have originated as products of
a Agnikund on Mount Abu, as an outcome of Sage Vasistha's oblations
poured into it. Chauhan was created to fight demonic forces.
The Chauhans inhabited a major portion of Marwar and Ajmer area of
Rajasthan. Bardic accounts speak of the Chauhan king of Ajmer, Dula
Rai being slain by his foes, and his younger brother Manik Rai fleeing,
and ultimately taking possession of the land near lake Sambhar, through
the assistance of Goddess Sakambhari. Bardic accounts, and stone inscriptions
of that era (around 600 A.D) agree to the point that Chauhans and
Kheechis descended from Manik Rai, the first progenitor of Sambhaira
Manik Rai, was assigned by his father a stretch of land which he would
cover starting from Sambhar to the west in the direction of Bhadana
and Jayal in Nagaur district. The origination of the name "Kheechi"
has two theories. One theory suggests that, when Manik Rao was covering
the distance from Sambhar to Jayal on camel back, he met a tribe of
people crossing the desert. On demanding for food, they brought him
"Kheechri" to eat. On narrating the incident, Manik Rao's father exclaimed
"So your branch will be called "Kheechi" and the land stands
granted to you". Another theory says, that the term "Kheechi" was
derived from "Kheech" - a special food eaten by people in the territory
of Jayal - Nagaur. The territory of Nagaur - Jayal - Bhadana came
to be known as Kheechiwada with Jayal as its headquarters.
The Kheechis extended their territory from Kheechiwada, through Ranthambore,
Malwa and entered the Champaner Pavagadh territory through Jhabua
(present day Madhya Pradesh). The Chauhan states of Trimbak Bhup,
Gangadas and Patai Rawal extended from Godhara to Rajpipla. The Kheechi
Chauhans under the leadership of Palandeo, came to the eastern parts
of Gujarat and won Champaner from the Bhils settled in the foothills
Ramdeo, son of Hamir occupied the country around Pavagadh, and came
to be known as Pavaicha Kheechi. Future kings ruled the land around
Champaner - Pavagadh. Around 1400 A.D. Palandev started the construction
of the Pavagadh fort.
One of the most famous kings of the Kheechi Chauhan dynasty of Champaner
was Patai Rawal. It was during his reign that Champaner was a force
to reckon with in the central region of Gujarat. The Champaner fort
was a formidable bastion under the aegis of Patai Rawal. Sultan Mahmud
Begda of Ahmedabad, had his eyes for quite some time on this fortification,
and wanted to make this his domain. Sultan Begda invaded Champaner
twice - first during 1475 A.D. and then in 1483-84 A.D. when he laid
siege of the famous fort.
This siege lasted for 20 months. During this period the Sultan built
a mosque in this area and name the place as Mahmudabad. The Rajputs
of Champaner put up a brave fight against the Muslims. However, with
the help of his allies, Begda finally penetrated the fortification
of Champaner. The Rajput women prepared for Jauhar and the Rajput
warriors put on kesariya clothes and descended on the muslim army.
As though the curse of Kalika Mata was coming true, Patai Rawal's
clan perished in this bloodbath.
The two sons of Patai Rawal, Prithviraj and Dungarsingh sought refuge
in Hamph on the banks of the river Narmada. Thereafter they took control
of two regions - Mohan and Baria, and divided the territory mutually
Chhota Udepur State:
Prithviraj, the elder son of Rai Singh, the predeceased crown prince
of Patai Rawal was the first ancestor of the Maharawals of Chhota
Udepur. Hi s seat of authority was Mohan before it shifted to Chhota
Udepur. Rawal Rai Singh III built the fort of Chhota Udepur in 1813.
Prithviraj II who was under the obligation to pay tribute to the Gaekwads
of Baroda, made an agreement with the British in 1822 for protection
after the Third Maratha War. He was followed by Maharawal Jeet Singh
who bravely resisted Tantia Tope during the Mutiny of 1857. In lieu
of these services, Chhota Udepur state was awarded a permanent 9 gun
salute as well as was awarded with the "Memoria Manet". Maharawal
Jeetsinghji breathed his last in 1881. He was followed by Maharawal
Motisinghji (1881 - 95) who had a peaceful reign. He made the opium
settlement with the British in 1890, where by he was allowed succession
The reign of Maharawal Fateh Singhji (1895 - 1923) is regarded as
the "Golden Age" of Chhota Udepur. He attended daily at the State
offices when in Chhota Udepur and he personally monitored and supervised
work of each department, while the documents passing through the Huzur
office were submitted to him for orders. As his son Maharawal Natwar
Singhji reported on the occasion of the unveiling ceremony of Fateh
Singhji's statue by the political agent, "By simplicity of life and
personal labors for the good of his subjects, my father, Maharawal
Fateh Singhji set a shining example. By striving for their welfare,
he had won the hearts of all his subjects who enjoyed during his rule,
continuous peace and prosperity which is manifested from the below
The population of the state increased from 64,000 to 1,25,000.
The revenue of the state increased from Rs. 2.5 lacs to Rs.10.5
He was the maker of modern Chhota Udepur. It was during his time that
several pucca buildings in the town and on the railway station were
built. Many state buildings, Durbar Hall, Old Palace, Princes Villa,
Gymkhana, several Guest Houses, Secretariat Building and Bunglow,
State Hospital, State Girls' School, Electric Power House were built
in his time. It was in his times that the Bodeli - Chhota Udepur railways
were constructed and Water Works were constructed. Survey and settlement
was introduced in almost all villages of the state.
Maharawal Natwar Singhji acceded to the throne in 1923 A.D. His reign
is known for the various charitable and philanthropic activities under
taken. State grants and gratuitous relief was given to travelers at
Chhota Udepur, Hamph, Jambugam, Kanwas.
He was succeeded on his death in Lisbon by Maharaja Virendra Singhji
Chauhan. It was during his reign that the merger of Chhota Udepur
in the Bombay state took place in 1948 A.D.