Sisodiya Rajputs (Suryavanshi)
Valla / Balla /Ghalot (Ghelot/Guhilot)
24 saca or branches. Solar. The raja of Udaipur is a Grahilot.
Sub divisions: Sisodia, Gohil, Chundawat, Ranawat, Shaktawat, Sarangdevot, Sangawat, Chandrawat, Kshemawat, Suhawat, Ahariya
Gahlot / Sisodia (Sisodiya, Sesodia The Gahlot or Sisodia is generally admitted to be the premier Rajput clan. Their chief is described by the bards as “The Suryavansi Rana, of Royal race, Lord of Chitor, the ornament of the royal races”. Sisodia, are rulers of Mewar Along with Shekawat, Rathore, Bhati, Sisodia, Chauhan, Devra, Guhil, etc. they are the royal rulers of Rajastan.
The Sesodias claim descent from the sun, through Lav, oldest son of the divine Rama of Ajodhia. In token of their ancestry the royal banner of Mewar consisted of a golden sun on a crimson field. Law is suppoed to have founded Lahore. His descendants migrated to Saurashtra or Kathiawar , where they settled at Vidurbha or Balabhi, the capital of the Valabhi dynasty. The last king of Valabhi was Siladitya, who was killed by an invasion of barbarians (the town was sacked by the son of Nushirwan of Persia in AD 524). The Rajput queen escaped general destruction and gave birth to a son Goho or Gohaditya.Siladitya’s posthumous son, Gohaditya, ruled in Idar and the hilly country in the south-west of Mewar. From him this clan took the name of Gohelot or Gahlot. The family were also connected with the ruling princes of Valabhi.
According to their bards they are descendant from the Aryan Kshatryas of Ajodhia, who migrated to Surat and established the Valabhi kingdom. Variations of his name are Goha, Gohaditya, Guha, Guhdatt, Guhadatta, and Guhila. He ruled from Idar near the Mewar-Gujarat border. Guhil’s origins are not recorded but at least Colonel James TOD in his ANNALS AND ANTIQUITIES OF RAJASTHAN may have been close to the facts when he wrote that Guhil is said to have belonged to the Gurjara stock, kinsmen or allies of the Huns who entered India about the 6th century AD. They once ruled Oudh. Sila AD 646 was the 5th in descent from Guhadatta who may therefor be placed in the first part of the sixth century. Bappa Rawal the 6th in line from Guhaditya and he had his capital at Nagda, a few miles to the north of Udaipur city. A tradition states that Bappa was the son of Grahadata. He succeeded in propitiating the god Siva.
One day the king of Chitor died and left no heir to his throne. It was decided that whoever would be garlanded by a certain elephant would be placed on the throne. Bapa was present on the occasion and the elephant put the garland round his neck not only once, but thrice. Bapa was thus seated on the throne and the Sesodia clan was formed. According to tradition Bapa went to Chitor, then held by the Mori or Pramara rajputs, to seek his fortune, and was appointed to lead the Chitor forces against the Muhamadans on their first invasion of India. After defeating and expelling them he ousted the Mori ruler and established himself at Chitor, which has since been the capital of the Sesodias. Under the Sisodias palaces, temples, two fine towers, the Kirti Stambh and Jaya Stambh rose within its walls, quite apart from the more prosaic homes of the general populace.
The name Sesodia is really derived from Sesoda, the residence of a subsequent chief Rahup, who captured Mundore and wsa the first to bear the title of Rana of Mewar. Similarly Aharia is another local name from Ahar, a place in Mewar, which was given to the clan. They were also known as Raghuvansi or of the race of king Raghu, the ancestor of Rama From the 14th centuy the chronicles of the Sesodias contain many instances of rajput courage and devotion. Chitor was sacked 3 times before the capital was removed to Udaipur, first by Ala-ud-din Khilji in 1303, next by Bahadur Shah, the Muhamaddan king of Gujarat in 1534, and lastly by Akbar in 1567.
These events were known as Saka or massacres of the clan. On each occasion the women performed Johar or general immolation by fire, while the men saiiled forth, clad in saffron-coloured robes, to die sword in hand against the foe. At the first sack the goddess of the clan appeared in a dream to the Rana and demanded the lives of 12 of its chiefs as a condition for its preservation. His 11 sons were in turn crowned as chief, each ruling for 3 days, while on the 4th he sallied out and fell in battle. Lastly the Rana devoted himself in order that his favourite son Ajeysi might be spared and might perpetuate the clan. At the second scak 32000 were slain, and at the third 30000. Finally Aurangzeb destroyed the temples at Chitor, and only its ruins remain. Udaipur city was founded in 1559.
The Sesodias resisted the Muhamaddans for long, and several times defeated them. Udai Singh, the founder of Udaipur, abandoned his city and fled to the hills, where he caused his on territory to be laid waste, with the object of impeding the imperial forces. Of this period it is recorded that the Ranas were from father to son in outlawry against the emperor, and that sovereign had carried away the doors of the gate of Chitor and had set them up in Delhi. Fifty-two rajas and chiefs had perished in the struggle, and the Rana in his trouble lay at nights on a counterpane spread on the ground, and neither slept in his bed nor shaved his hair; and if he perchance broke his fast, had nothing better with which to satisfy it than beans baked in an earthen pot. For this reason it is that certain practices are to this day observed at Udaipur. A counterpane is spread below the rana’s bed, and his head remains unshaven and baked beans are laid daily upon his plate (Forbes, Rasmala p.400).
In 1614 Rana Singh, recognising that further opposition was hopeless, made his submission to the emperor on the condition that he should never have to present himself in person but might send his 2 sons in his place. This stipulation being accepted, the heir-apparent Karan Singh proceeded to Ajmer where he was magnanimously treated by Jahangir and shortly afterwards the imperial trops were withdrawn from Chitor. It is the oride of the Udaipur house that is never gave a daughter in marriage to nay of the Musalman emperors, and for many years ceased to intermarry with other Rajput families who had formed such alliances. But Amar Singh II (1698-1710) made a league with the Maharajas of Jodhpur and Jaipur for mutual protection against the Musalmans; and it was one of the conditions of the compact that the latter chiefs should regain the privilege of marriage with the Udaipur family which had been suspended since they had given daughters in marriage to the emperors. But the Rana unfortunaly added a proviso that the son of an Udaipur princess should succeed to the Jodhpur or Jaipur States in preference to any elder son by another mother.
The quarrels to which this stipulation gave rise led to the conquest of the country by the Marathas, at whose hands Mewar suffered more cruel devastation than it had ever been subjected to by the Musalmans. Ruinous war also ensued between Jodhpur and Jaipur for the hand of the famous Udaipur princess Kishen Kumari at the time when Rajputana was being devastated by the Marathas and Pindaris; and the quarrel was only settled by the voluntary death of the object of contention, who, after the kinsman sent to slay her had recoiled before her young beauty and innocence, willingly drank the draught of opium four times administered before the final result could be produced. (Tod, Rajastan p.398; the death of the princess was mainly the work of Amir Khan Pindari who brought pressure on the Rana to consent to it in order to save his state).