History of JodhpurThe district of Jodhpur, was for long known as the ancient kingdom of Marwar, which literally translates to ‘The Land of Death’. It was the largest kingdom of the Rajputana, and the third largest kingdom in India after the Indian Kingdoms of Kashmir and Hyderabad.
As chronicled by the Gazetteers, the original inhabitants of Jodhpur were the Abhiras or the Ahirs, and later the Aryans invaded and spread through the region. After that the Gurjara-Pratihara Empire made Jodhpur a part of their, kingdom till about 1100 C.E. Jodhpur came into existence as we know it today, under the Rathore clan.
According to the Rathore tradition, the warrior clan, traces its origins to the Hindu God Rama, the hero of the great epic, Ramayana, and hence they belong to the clan of the Sun or the Suryavansha, which is one of the branches of the Kshatriyas or the warrior caste of the Hindus. It is chronicled that in the year 470 A.D. Nayal Pal, the Rathore chief conquered the kingdom of Kannauj which was near present day Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, and made it their capital. The Rathores were finally driven out of the homeland Kannauj, which had been their capital for almost seven centuries by the Afghans, led by Mohammad Ghori in 1193 and they had to take shelter in the city of Pali, which is quite close to Jodhpur.
The chief of the then Rathore clan, Rathore Siahaji married into the local royal household, and hence fortified their presence in the region. After ousting the Pratiharas from the city of Mandore, the Rathores made it their capital, and hence the capital of the Marwar Empire.
However by the year 1459, the need for a stronghold, that was secure and fortified was felt quite strongly by them, and hence Jodhpur was established by Rao Jodha, and it is after him that the city takes its name. Since Jodhpur was strategically located between Delhi and Gujarat, the trade route flourished, and Jodhpur saw major revenues pouring in with silk, opium, copper, sandals, coffee and date palm being their major exports.
Being a major kingdom of North India, Jodhpur was directly influenced by the historical standings of the dynasties that ruled the nation since its inception. Many rulers of Jodhpur, were made lieutenants under the Mughal Empire. Raja Surender, conquered Gujarat and much of the Deccan region for Akbar, and it was Raja Gaj Singh, who quelled the rebellion of Prince Khurram against his father Jahangir. It was under the Mughal rule that Jodhpur flourished as a kingdom and traded with several parts of Central Asia.
Under the rule of Maharaja Jaswant Singh, the relations between the Mughals and the Rajputana soured, after the Maharaja backed the wrong son, in the war of succession for the Mughal throne. As a result of this, the kingdoms of Jodhpur, Jaipur and Udaipur, formed a triple alliance, and were able to break apart the Mughal Yoke. A direct result of this was the marriage between the princes of Jodhpur and the princesses of Udaipur, under the condition that the children born to the princesses of Udaipur, would be the heir to the Jodhpur Throne. This pact, resulted in a lot of jealousy and opposition, which weakened the kingdom, because of almost a century of turmoil, and eventually Jodhpur came under the influence of the Marathas and then in 1818, the British.
Jodhpur’s fortunes finally did a turn around with the advent of Sir Pratap Singh as the ruler in the 1870’s, who was truly a remarkable man. The son of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, he was the ruler of the kingdom of Idar, whence he abdicated to become the Regent of Jodhpur, a position that he held for almost fifty years. Touted as the epitome of Rajput valor and chivalry, he was respected by the various British Sovereigns and was intimate friends with them. He laid down the foundation of the modern day Jodhpur, which was them built upon by Maharaja Umaid Singh, who gave Jodhpur the fabulous Umaid Palace, the last palace of India.
Not only was Jodhpur the largest of the Indian States it can be called the most progressive. After India gained Independence in the year 1947, Jodhpur joined the Indian Republic, with great persuasion by Sardar Vallab Bhai Patel, under Maharaja Hanwant Singh. Finally in the year 1956, it was made a part of the state of Rajasthan under the State Reorganization Act.
Rulers of Jodhpur:
- Rao Jodha (1438-1488)
- Rao Satal (1488-1491)
- Rao Suja (1491-1515)
- Rao Ganga (1515)
- Rao Ganga (II) (1515-1531)
- Maldeo (1531-1583)
- Raja Udaya Singh (1583-1594)
- Raja Sura Singh (1594-1619)
- Raja Gajsingh (1619-1637)
- Raja Jaswant Singh (1637-1680)
- Raja Ajit Singh (1680-1724)
- Maharaja Abhi Singh (1724-1749)
- Maharaja Rama Singh (1749-1750)
- Maharaja Bakht Singh (1750-1752)
- Maharaja Bijej Singh (1752 -1792)
- Maharaja Bhim Singh (1792-1803)
- Maharaja Man Singh (1803-1817)
- Maharaja Chatter Singh (1817-1818)
- Maharaja Man Singh (1818-1843)
- Maharaja Takht Singh (1843-1873)
- Maharaja Jaswant Singh (1873-1895)
- Maharaja Sardar Singh (1895-98-1911)
- Sir Pratap Singh as the Regent (1895-98, 1911-1916 and 1918-1922)
- Maharaja Sumer Singh (1911-16-1918)
- Maharaja Umaid Singh (1918-1947)
- Maharaja Hanwant Singh (1947-1952)
- Maharaja Gaj Singh II (1952 -)