Udai Singh II was the Maharana of Mewar and the founder of the city of Udaipur. He was the 12th ruler of the Mewar Dynasty. He was the fourth son of Rana Sanga and Rani Karnavati, a princess of Bundi.
Udai Singh II was born in Chittor on 2 August 1522. He was the fourth son of Rani Karnawati and Maharana Sangram Singh who was popularly known as Rana Sanga. After the death of his father Rana Sanga, Ratan Singh II was crowned King. In 1531, Ratan Singh was assassinated.
He was succeeded by his brother Maharana Vikramaditya Singh. During the reign of Vikramaditya, when the Muzaffarid Sultan of Gujarat Bahadur Shah sacked Chittor in 1535, Udai Singh was sent to Bundi for safety.
In 1537, Banbir killed Vikramaditya and seized the throne. He tried to kill Udai Singh, but Udai’s nurse Panna Dai sacrificed her son Chandan to save him from his uncle Banbir and took him to Kumbhalgarh. She did not ask for anything in return either. She started living in Bundi and did not allow Udai Singh to come and meet her. He lived secretly in Kumbhalgarh for two years, disguised as a nephew of the governor Asha Shah Depura (Maheshwari).
In 1540, Udai Singh was crowned in Kumbhalgarh by the nobles of Mewar.
Udaipur – Capital City of Maharan Udai Singh
The city of lakes – ‘Udaipur’ – was named after its founder, made it his capital even before Chittor was sacked by Akbar. When the Mughals attacked Chittor, the then capital of Mewar, Maharana Udai Singh II, and the royal family had already left for Gogunda, making it a temporary capital until Udai Singh II shifted to Udaipur and made it the new capital of Mewar.
After the decline of the Mughals, the Rajput kings recaptured most of Mewar but failed to win over Chittor. Therefore, Udaipur which had been safer from the Mughal influence because of its mountainous terrain remained the capital of Mewar till it became a part of the Union of India in 1948.
Family of Udai Singh II
His eldest son Maharana Pratap was born in 1540 to his first wife, Maharani Jaywantabai Songra (daughter of Akhe Raj Songra of Jalore). He had 24 sons.
His second wife, Sajjabai Solankini gave birth to his son Shakti Singh, Sagar Singh, and Vikram Dev. Dheerbai Bhattiyani was his favorite wife and was the mother of his son Jagmal Singh. His fourth wife was Rani Veerbai Jhaala.
Reign of Udai Singh II
In 1544, Udai Singh surrendered Chittor to Sher Shah Suri on the terms that Sher Shah does not harm the people of Mewar.
In 1557, he was defeated by Maldeo Rathore at the Battle of Harmada and lost Merta to him.
In 1562, Udai gave shelter to Baz Bahadur, the last ruler of the Malwa Sultanate, whose kingdom had been annexed into the Mughal Empire.
In September 1567, his son Shakti Singh came to him from Dhaulpur and told him of Akbar’s plan to capture Chittor. According to Kaviraj Shyamaldas, Udai Singh called a council of war.
The nobles told him to take refuge along with the princes in the hills, leaving a garrison at Chittor. On 23 October 1567, Akbar formed his camp near Chittor. Udai Singh retired to Gogunda leaving Chittor in the hands of his loyal chieftains Rao Jaimal and Patta.
Akbar captured Chittor after a four-month-long siege on 23 February 1568. The siege ended in a harsh sacking of the city, leaving Chittor’s garrison and 25-40,000 civilians dead. With Chittor lost to the Mughals, Udai would later shift his capital to Udaipur.
He died in 1572 in Gogunda. Before his death, Jagmal tried to seize the throne but the nobles of Mewar prevented Jagmal from succeeding and placed Maharana Pratap Singh on the throne on 1 March 1572.
Death and Succession
Maharana Udai Singh II died on 28th February 1572 in Gogunda. Before his death, his eldest son Maharana Pratap’s claim to the throne was contested by his younger brother Jagmal.
Shakti Singh, the second son of Udai Singh was out of the question as during the lifetime of his father he had left Chittor angrily and accepted a subsistence allowance from Akbar. However in the end, with the support of some nobles, Maharana Pratap was installed on the throne of Mewar at Gogunda as Rana on 28th February 1572. This was the age when Mewar witnessed a pronounced increase in royal power & prestige.
>>> Read about Rana Raimal of Mewar