Maharana Pratap I was the 54th ruler in the line of the Sisodiya dynasty of the Mewar Empire. Born in 1540 in Kumbhalgarh,
, he was the son of Maharana Udai Singh II and Queen Jeevant Kanwar, and the grandson of Rana Sanga, also known as Sangram Singh. (Rana Sanga went famous in history as the king who received eighty wounds in a battle, and in spite of them, continued fighting).
When Rana was 27, the capital of the kingdom, Chittor, was attacked by the Mughal emperor
Akbar. The King decided to give up Chittor against the wish of the Prince. The royal family moved to Gogunda, a town in the Udaipur District of Rajastan, and set up a temporary government there. The King passed away in 1572, and Prince Pratap ascended the throne.
Chittor was still under the control of Akbar. Emperor Akbar tried to make peace with Rana Pratap in the hope of keeping him under control. But Rana was not willing to surrender the sovereignty of Mewar. When all peace efforts failed, Akbar laid siege to Mewar in 1573.
Rana changed his capital to Kumbhalgarh. The Bill tribe of Aravali ranges added to his strength. The Mewar army raided Mughal trade caravans going from
Surat and defended the important Haldighati Pass, the only way to Udaipur from the North. In 1576, there was a fierce battle between Maharana Pratap and the Mughal army. Rana was captured by Mughal soldiers. His brother Sakta Singh, who had crossed the floors to Mughal side, saved his life. Chetak, Pratapís famous and loyal horse scrificed his life in his attempt to save the master.
In the course of time the Mewar kingdom weakened. Rana even wrote to Akbar negotiating peace. On seeing this letter, Prithiraj, a famous Rajput poet at the court of Akbar, wrote a letter to Maharana Prathap asking him to reverse his decision to surrender. The poet urged Rana to fight for the cause of Hindustan. This letter changed the mind of Pratap and he continued to defend Mewar with unprecedented vigor.
Maharana spent his later years in relative peace. He was seriously injured in a hunting accident in January 1597. On 29th of January, the hero of Mewar who had relentlessly fought for his nation and people, passed away.