Located on a high hill on the west of Chetak Magri between Khamnore and Balicha village on the border of Udaipur and Rajsamand district is the splendid Maharana Pratap Museum. It covers an area of about 15000 sq. meters and is about 40 km from Udaipur. Situated near Chetak Smarak built in the memory of Pratap’s faithful steed Chetak, the area used to be deserted. Impelled by a stray remark that this place near Haldighati where the famous battle between Maharana Pratap and Raja Man Singh was fought deserved a museum. Mohan Shrimali who belongs to Balicha village took up the stupendous task of building a museum to showcase the life and achievements of legend Maharana Pratap. In this project, Shrimali got the support and guidance of the great freedom fighter and member of the constituent assembly, Balwant Singh Mehta. He resighted from his well-paid govt. job sold his parental farmland and pucca house and took a loan to complete his dream two crore project in 12 years. The museum was inaugurated by the erstwhile governor of Rajasthan Anshuman Singh on 19th January 2003 in the presence of other dignitaries.
The museum displays in the form of attractive models, pictures are tableau of the royal emblem of Mewar, the sacrifice of Panna Dhai, Mahara Pratap discussing his strategies with his ministers and chiefs, Pratap’s union with his horse Chetak, scenes of Pratap’s life in the jungle, eating bread made of grass, the vow taken by Gadia Lohars not to live in houses, scenes of Chittorgarh and other events related to Pratap’s life. The models some of which are made from fiber are operated by electricity and become lively by the accompanying music, sound and light effects. Also highlighted are those persons who were associated with the battle of Haldighati. Mansingh Jhala, Hakim Khan Soori, Ramshah Tanwar, Shalivahan Tansror, Pratap Singh Tanwar, Bhilu Rana Punja, Veer Pradhan Bhamashah, Veer Purohit Jagannath, Kalyan Podiyar, Mansingh Sajjawat (Delwarora), Tarachand Kavedia, Rana Sangha Chundawat, Bheemsingh Dodia, Ramdas Rathore, Mansingh Sonagora (Pali), Mahasahani Jagannath, Purohit Gopinath Rawal, Krishnadas Chundawat, Mehta Jaimalla, Barkat Jaisa Sauda, Barkat Kesav Sonda, Bhawani Singh Tanwar, Mehta Ratanchand Charan, Roma Sandhu, etc.
Also on display are portraits of Meera Bai and Maharanas of Mewar dynasty including Maharana Kumbha Singh, Maharana Sangram Singh, Maharana Amar Singh and Maharana Udai Singh. Objects that are associated with our ancient culture such as Rahat that was used to draw water from wells Kolhu to extract oil, Chadas, Telki, Ghani, Rath, Bullock cart, Agriculture implements, musical instruments, dresses, utensils, locks, etc. are also there in the museum. Also on display are the traditional lifestyles of different castes and several kinds of weapons. There is also a huge library to which 6000 books have been added recently that is a treasure house of knowledge, especially for researchers. Films are screened in the 50 sealed theatre where it is proposed to double the capacity. Light and sound show is another attraction. Also showcased are rural industries and handicraft products such as the attractive Molela Terracotta items. A small artificial Lake also attracts the visitors.
Balicha area is famous for Cheti Gulab that flowers only once in a year in the month of Chaitra. It is said that the species was brought here by the army of Akbar and that is why the area is called Shahi Bagh. Not only is the process of making Gulab Sharbat, Gulab Jal and Gulkund displayed in the museum but villages have been trained to make a living out of it.
No wonder the museum has not only been visited by big personalities such as President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, Central Ministers like Jaipal Reddy, CP Joshi, Hansraj Bhardwaj, and several governors and Chief Justices of India but also highly praised by them. The number of visitors has now shot up to lakhs.
For his commendable efforts, Mohan Shrimali has been honored at national and state level by several government organizations.
To know about Pratap’s journey to Haldighati – click here.
To know about Haldighati battle- click here.