Historians have immortalised the brave horse, Chetak of Maharana Pratap in the pages of history books through poems, folktales and local stories. Let’s read about his antics on the battle field and his dedication to his master whom he did not leave till his last breath.
Here’s a story of a legendary king and his battles. But it’s also a story about a horse…beautiful, spirited, intelligent and loyal. History claims that Maharana Pratap Singh was one of the 10 strongest warriors ever born in India. The Battle of Haldi Ghati in June 1576 saw his forces decisively outnumbered by the Mughal army led by Man Singh. Mounted on his favourite horse Chetak, Maharana Pratap charged towards the commander of the Mughal army and made a frontal attack on Man Singh’s elephant. Once near, Chetak reared high in the air and planted his hooves on the forehead of the elephant. This was a turning point in the battle. In the general chaos that followed, Chetak received a fatal wound on one of his legs. An elephant’s tusk tore through his rear legs and crippled it. But he would not give up. With his wounded king on the saddle, Chetak made his way back to safety on his three good legs. People do not remember the defeat of Maharana Pratap, but the courage and valour of his men and his horse. Chetak was exhausted but laboured on, carrying his master, about 2 miles from the site of the battle near a small stream. It was here, while trying to leap across the stream that Chetak collapsed.
The Maharana erected a small monument for his loyal companion at the place where he fell and till date we pay a tribute to this brave warrior and his brave horse, Chetak.
According to historians, Chetak a small horse had a certain blue tinge and hence in the local folklores, Maharana Pratap is often referred as the ‘Rider of the Blue Horse’. In fact, many claim that the horse had a well defined personality, almost like his master himself. When it came to traits and behavior, Chetak was no less than his proud owner and thus a unique emotional bond existed between the two. Till date ballads, songs, poems are dedicated to honour this brave and valiant horse and immortalize him in the pages of history.