Bappa was the son Nagadit of the Guhila house of Kanaksen. Local Bhils grew tired of the rule of Nagadit and rebelled against him. Bhils killed Guhila ruler of Kanaksen, Nagadit along most of his relative in the battle. Soon house of Kanaksen was on the verge of extinction.
The Bappa Rawal’s mother was favourite wife of the Nagadit. She was not in Ballabhiputra at the time of the battle. His mother was visiting the shrine of Ambabhavani to gain thereby a blessing for the soon to be born child. She had already set out on her return journey when news reached her of the calamity which had befallen the city. Stricken with grief, she sought refuge in a mountain cave, and was there delivered of a son.
Returning once more to her home, she confided the child to the care of a Brahmini named Kamalavati and having charged her to bring up the young prince as a Brahmin, and to marry him to a Rajput princess. Later she mounted the funeral pyre and joined her lord. Bappa was concealed in the hills overlooking Nagda, not ten miles distant from the site of Udaipur, the future home of his kingdom.
Kamalavati loved the child, and reared him along with her own son. She called him Goha, that is ” cave-born,” and hence people called his descendants as Gohilotes, softened in later times to Gehlotes. The child was a source of perpetual uneasiness to Kamalavati, and at the age of eleven had become totally unmanageable.
Rise of Bappa Rawal
He spent his days in the forests in company with the Bhils, whose habits pleased his daring nature far better than those of the Brahmins. So completely did he win the hearts of these wild people by his strength and his courage, that they determined to make him prince of Idar. A young Bhil, cutting his finger, applied the blood as the tika of sovereignty to his forehead.
At this time, prince of the Pramara race known as Mori ruled Chitor. Bappa Rawal’s mother had been a Pramara princess. Therefore he anticipated a favourable reception at the hands of the Mori and he was not disappointed.
Pramara prince welcomed Bappa Rawal with every sign of friendliness and respect. The Pramara ruler conferred suitable estate upon him, and enrolled amongst the military class. The numerous nobility surrounded Mori capital Chitor, holding estates for the tenure of military service.
The king of Chitor was impressed with Bappa Rawal martial prowess and raised his status. Nobility keenly resented rise of Bappa Rawal and displayed hostilities towards him.
War with Arabs
It was in the year 713 CE that Muhammad bin Kasim, the general of the caliph, Walid, conquered Sind. His general Emir Junaid planned to conquer Rajasthan. So, when foreign foe threatened Kingdom of Chitor, the Mori summons his nobles. However, hostile nobles disobeyed the royal summons and taunt their king to call his favourite Bappa Rawal to fight invader. Mori ruler withdrew the land grant to hostile nobles.
Bappa readily undertook the conduct of war, and the “hostile nobles,” though dispossessed of their lands, joined him, for they were ashamed to hold aloof from the fight.
Gauging at the seriousness of the situation as well as the power of the arab forces, pratihara king, Nagabhata made pact with Jaysimha Varman of the Rashtrakuta Empire. The two Dynasties of joined the already fighting Hindu Gurjar Mewar Kingdom, under Bappa Rawal, at the border of Rajasthan. The Rajput forces fought bravely and managed to kill the Arab leader Emir Junaid during the war. Following their defeat the remnants of the Arab army fled to the other bank of the River Indus.
Ruler of Chitor
Bappa Rawal not only inflicted a crushing defeat on the enemy, but by his courage and military skill won the respect and admiration of the hostile nobles. At the close of the campaign, however, the hostile nobles refused either to enter Chittor or to yield allegiance to the Mori King.
The king sent Ambassadors to treat with them. But they relied that they have eaten the salt of the prince and they would forbear their vengeance for twelve months. At the expiration of this period they attacked Chittor, carried the city by assault. Later they invited Bappa to become their chief.
The gratitude of the Gehlote melted away before the temptation of a crown. He took Chittor from the Mori, and became himself the mor (crown) of the land.”
He lived a long life, and to have been the father of no less than two hundred and twenty-five children.
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