The Sisodia Dynasty, popularly known as the “House of Mewar,” was one of the numerous Rajput clans that controlled the Kingdom of Mewar, afterward known as the Udaipur State under the British Raj.
The dynasty may be traced back to Rahapa, a son of Guhila monarch Ranasimha. After conquering the Tughluq sultans of Delhi, Hammir Singh, a descendant of this branch family of the Guhilas, re-established the Kingdom of Mewar.
The ruling Guhila dynasty had been ousted from Mewar during an assault by the Delhi sultanate around the turn of the 13th century.
After defeating the Tughluq forces, Hammir Singh, a cadet branch of the Guhila dynasty, re-established the dynasty, and captured present-day Rajasthan from Muslim forces of Delhi, becoming the first of his dynasty to use the royal title ‘Rana’ instead of ‘Rawal.’ As a result, he established the Sisodia clan.
History of Sisodia Dynasty
Except for the patricide Udai Singh I, Hammir Singh was succeeded by a series of great and brave monarchs such as Rana Khumba and Rana Raimal, Rana Sanga.
However, as a result of Rana Sanga’s loss to Babur at the Battle of Khanwa, the reputation of Mewar and many other Rajput kingdoms plummeted. His weak successors, Ratan Singh II, Vikramaditya Singh, and Vanvir Singh, ruled for a brief period.
Conflicts with the Mughals
For a long period, a succession of Mewar rulers—Udai Singh II, Maharana Pratap, and Amar Singh I—resisted the Mughals. After his resources were spent, Amar Singh was forced to surrender and become a vassal of the Mughals.
Several construction projects were undertaken by his successor, Karan Singh II. During the reign of Jagat Singh I, there was significant friction between him and Emperor Shah Jahan, but they reached an agreement and avoided war.
Raj Singh I was a powerful ruler who clashed regularly with Emperor Aurangzeb. His successor, Jai Singh, continued in the same fashion.
After Raj Singh I, the following two monarchs, Amar Singh II and Sangram Singh II, retained peace and prosperity in their kingdom, but they were followed by a long line of weak and unimportant successors.
During this time, Rajputana was dominated by Jaipur, followed by the Marathas. Bhim Singh of Mewar was forced to sign a pact with the British to accept their protection.
Sisodia Dynasty under British Raj
By 1818, the troops of Holkar, Scindia, and Tonk had plundered Mewar, impoverishing both the monarch and the population. Maharana Bhim Singh of Mewar requested the British for assistance as early as 1805, but the Treaty of 1803 with Scindia stopped the British from considering the request.
However, by 1817, the British were also eager to form alliances with Rajput princes, and the Treaty of Friendship, Alliances, and Unity was signed on 13 January 1818 between Mewar and the East India Company (on behalf of Britain).
The British Government pledged to defend Mewar’s territory in exchange for Mewar acknowledging British authority and agreeing to refrain from political connections with other states and paying one-fourth of its earnings as a tribute for five years, then three-eighth in infinity.
Shambhu Singh established new regulations and offices to improve administrative resources, organized temple administration, and income and implemented a new legal code for Mewar. Under his leadership, the military was reorganized, major prison reforms were implemented, and new road and railway buildings began.
Despite being formally uneducated, he placed a high value on education, expanding existing schools and establishing numerous new ones. Most importantly, he was the first to establish a school for girls, so promoting educational opportunities for all. He imposed harsh monetary fines on offenders and implemented particular steps to curb Sati pratha.
Thus with various reforms in public facilities and infrastructure, Shambhu Singh was considered a liberal and well-managed king of his times. But with his untimely death at the young age of 27 years, his dreams of the revival of his homeland to the ancient golden times were stalled. He left behind no heir and his cousin Sajjan Singh, who himself was a minor at the time of his death; succeeded him and went ahead in continuation with the reforms paved by his predecessor.
Bhupal Singh was the final monarch of the state of Udaipur. Singh was one of the first Indian princes to sign an Instrument of Accession to the nascent Dominion of India on 7 April 1949, following the independence and division of British India in 1947. Bhagwat Singh, his son, was the supposed monarch of Udaipur until 1971 when the Indian government revoked all royal titles.
Both of Bhagwat Singh’s sons, Mahendra Singh Mewar and Arvind Singh Mewar claim to be the present leader of the House of Mewar. The tension between the two branches of the family has persisted.
While Arvind Singh Mewar is mentioned in the worldwide press as the present head of the family, the local old aristocratic families of Udaipur recognize Mahendra Singh Mewar as the genuine leader.
List of Maharanas of Sisodia Dynasty
|Name of Maharana||Reign||Notes|
|Hammir Singh||1326–1364||Founder of the dynasty. Defeated Muhammad bin Tughluq in Battle of Singoli and took him hostage.|
|Kshetra Singh||1364–1382||Captured Ajmer from Turks , recaptured Mandalgarh, captured Jahazpur.|
|Lakha Singh||1382–1421||Jawar mines found during his rule. Defeated the sultan of Delhi.|
|Mokal Singh||1421-1433||Fought against Gujarat sultanate.|
|Rana Kumbha||1433–1468||Mewar became the strongest kingdom in North India.Defeated the Sultans of Nagaur, Gujarat and Malwa. Built multiple strong forts in Mewar.|
|Udai Singh I||1468–1473||Assassinated his father and was then defeated by his brother.|
|Rana Raimal||1473–1508||fought against Malwa sultanate.|
|Rana Sanga||1508–1527||Under his rule Mewar reached its pinnacle in power and prosperity.|
|Ratan Singh II||1528–1531||Defeated and killed by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat.|
|Vikramaditya Singh||1531–1536||Assassinated by his cousin Vanvir Singh.|
|Vanvir Singh||1536–1540||Usurper of the throne. Defeated and executed by his cousin Udai Singh II.|
|Udai Singh II||1540–1572||Fought against Mughals and was defeated in Siege of Chittorgarh.|
|Maharana Pratap||1572–1597||Notable for his military resistance against the Mughals.|
|Amar Singh I||1597–1620||Notable for his struggle against Mughals and eventual treaty with the Mughals in 1615.|
|Karan Singh II||1620–1628||Built Temples, forts and strengthened existing ones.|
|Jagat Singh I||1628–1652||Attempted to restore fort of Chittor but Shah Jahan blocked his attempt.|
|Raj Singh I||1652–1680||Fought against Mughals many times.Regained territory and increased the wealth of the kingdom. Fought against Aurangzeb. Eventually poisoned by Aurangzeb’s loyalists.|
|Jai Singh||1680–1698||Fought against Mughals and also helped neighboring kingdoms against Mughals.|
|Amar Singh II||1698–1710||Formed an alliance against the Mughals with Jaipur and Marwar.Capitalized over a Mughal empire.|
|Sangram Singh II||1710–1734||Defeated Ranbaz khan at the Battle of Bandanwara.|
|Jagat Singh II||1734–1751||Lost the Battle of Rajmahal, leading to the eventual demise of the kingdom.|
|Pratap Singh II||1751–1754|
|Raj Singh II||1754–1762|
|Ari Singh II||1762–1772|
|Hamir Singh II||1772–1778|
|Swarup Singh||1842-1861||Ruler during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.|
|Shambhu Singh||1861–1874||Focused on reform of education and social reform|
|Bhupal Singh||1930–1948||Signed the Instrument of Accession to India, dissolving his kingdom into the India.|
|Bhagwat Singh||1955–1984||Lost the Privy Purse.|