34. THE DEFENCE OF JAGANNATH RAI (JAGADISH) TEMPLE, UDAIPUR
The above sketch portrays a famous incident in the history of Mewar which had come out in open support of the Rathors of Marwar, then fighting for the very survival of their State (Jodhpur) which Aurangzeb had resumed with darkest of intentions. War was on and the Maharana and his people evacuated Udaipur and withdrew to the mountains and valleys of Mewar.
In front of the Maharana’s palace was the grand Temple of Jagannath Rai, which was “one of the rarest buildings of the age.” It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh at a cost of several lakhs of rupees. The pratishtha ceremony of the Temple was held on the 13th May 1652. It was a Vishnu Panchayatan Temple in which, the Temples of Siva, Ganapati, Surya and Devi were in the four directions and the main Temple of Vishnu in the centre. Ruhillah Khan and Yakka Taz Khan were sent to demolish it. Saqi Musta’ad Khan writes in Maasir-i-‘Alamgiri, “Twenty machator Rajputs were sitting in the Temple vowed to give up their lives; first one of them came out to fight, killed some and was then himself slain, then came out another and so on, until every one of the twenty perished, after killing a large number of the imperialists.” After the last brave Rajput had fallen, the Muslim troops entered the Temple and the hewers broke the image.