The Screen

The Sun

Fans & Banners

The Royal Achievement

The National Achievement

Mewar Armed Forces


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The kingdom of Mewar was situated in what is now Rajasthan in Northern India. It was bestowed on Bappa Rawal in 734 A.D. by the great devotee of Lord Shiva (Shri Eklingji), Sage Harit Rashi of the Lakulish Cult.


As the armies of the Mughal emperor Akbar moved to occupy Mewar in 1568, the then ruler, Maharana Udai Singh, father of Rana Pratap Singh, retired to safety at Udaipur, in the foothills of the Aravalli Range. It was at Udaipur that Pratap supplanted his father as head of the Sesodia clan. Rana Pratap's son Amar Singh was resident at the time of his father's death in exile. Udaipur remained the capital of the state until it acceded unto the Union of India in 1947.

Immediately after Rana Pratap's death, the Sisodias became vassals of the Mughals, and served them faithfully for nearly two centuries. When the Mughal empire went into terminal decline in the 18th century, the Sisodias ventured a measure of autonomy, but were subdued by the Marathas, who exacted crippling tributes from them annually. To add to the woes of the land, the Sisodia rulers of this period dissipated much energy and resources in petty quarrels with their neighbours. As the relentless turmoil drained both the country and its ruling family; in the early decades of the 19th century, the Sisodia rulers repeatedly petitioned the British Raj for protection from their neighbours and from the Marathas. Finally, in 1818, Mewar entered into subsidiary alliance with the British and became a Princely state in the Rajputana Agency. This arrangement continued until the independence of India in 1947, when Mewar acceded unto the Union of India; it was later integrated into the Indian state of Rajasthan.




In the heraldry of Mewar the sun plays a major role as the emblem of the empire, the emblem of the kingdom and the emblem of the Maharana. In the 19th century the faced sun came to refer to the Hindu sun-god Surya from which the Royal House of Mewar, belonging to the Rajput Suryavanshi lineage, claimed its descent.


The screen


The picture in the head of this section shows the national emblem of the Mughal Empire consisting of a sun surrounded by twenty-four stars. This emblem was granted to the main vassals of the Empire. Such a screen is part of the royal insignia in the 12th century Sangrahani Sutra manuscript. [1] It is depicted on a miniature showing the Maharajas of Jodhpur and Jaipur and the Maharana of Mewar received by Emperor Shah Alam in 1708. It is carried on a pole by the ensigns of these rulers. [2]



Soon there were embellished versions of this emblem as we may see on this detail of  Maharana Sangram Singh on his Royal Mount, Jambudvipa” (1725 ca.) [3] On this miniature we can see that the screen consisted of black ostrich-feathers.


In the beginning of the 19th century this emblem evoluated by adding a face to the sun and by leaving out the stars. On a picture of 1851 an umbrella is added. A modern version shows the sun flamboyant.


The screen in 1802, 1851 and today


The Sun


Once the faced sun was introduced, it became the emblem of the Maharana. Its design evolutaed from a sun radiant or flamboyant charged with a simple head, to a sun charged with the head of the sun god Surya from which the Royal House traced its descent. As such, this head or face is symbolizing  each ruler of Mewar. It also distiguishes the Mewar sun from for example the sun of Jaipur and some other Indian Princely states.




Evolution of the Sun radiant of  Mewar, 1860 - ’90 ca.


The Fans and Banners


The faced sun was placed on the fans and standards. Of these two sets have been preserved. The oldest set consists of a sun-banner, a moon-banner and a fan.



Generally speaking the banners are the symbols of the ruler and of the state, the moon without the face implying that the ruler was not the head of state, and thus, that the government of Mewar was an autonomous body. This would be the case whenever the ruler was not able to govern and the state affairs were looked after by a regency. This would also be the case in a constitutional monarchy.


Another set consists of two fans and a sun-banner:




This set was still used in the interbellum.


The Royal Achievement


A quasi-achievement was in the audience hall (Mor Chowk or Peacock Hall) of the palace of Udaipur, itself built by Rana Karan Singhji (1620-’28). It showed the imperial emblem of the sun radiant, supported by female servants bearing a tray with offerings.

After Mewar had resigned from the Mughal Empire in 1818, this emblem was defaced by painting the sun-disc black. This, at least, can be seen on this picture of Bhim Singh receiving Charles Metcalfe in the Mor Chowk  in 1826. [4]

Somewhat later, maybe by Sajjan Singh,  the emblem was repainted. It shows a sun radiant now, charged with the head of the sun god Surya in full color. This version can be seen on a picture of Fateh Singh receiving a British diplomat in 1890. It seems to have been the model after which the achievement of 1877 was designed by Robert Taylor. For the occasion the female servants were replaced by a Bhil and a Rajput warrior.

When the Durbar Hall was begun and decorated in 1909 the sun and servants were redesigned again. The number of servants was augmented to four and the trays in their hands were replaced by morchals and chaoris. The rays of the sun were made of mirrors and the head of Surya was made of gold. Above the head there is an umbrella and two hovering angels.


Bhim  Singh receiving Charles Metcalfe, 1826 (detail).


Fateh Singh receiving a diplomat, 1890 (detail)

Sajjan Singh



Maharana Sajjan Singh was granted an achievement western style in 1877:



Arms: Gules, a sun in splendour Or charged with a kings-head proper.

Crest: On a helmet guardant, lambrequined Gules and Or, a sword erect.

Supporters: A Bhil and a Rajput warrior attired for forlorn hope proper.


(Taylor 1877/1902 n° 65)



í   Bhils are a tribal group in Central India. In feudal and colonial times, many Bhils were employed by the ruling Rajputs in various capacities, e.g. as Shikaris because of their knowledge of the terrain. Many had even become warriors in armies. They were in the Mewar army of Rana Pratap Singh (1572-’96) at the battle of Haldighati (1576), and were experts in guerilla warfare which the Mughals had so much trouble handling. Today, there is a  Mewar Bhil Corps.


í  The Rajput warriors enjoyed a reputation as valuable soldiers for centuries. From them several lineages sprang up which played a major role in Rajputana. The Rajput warrior in this achievement has the sun radiant as a crest on his helmet, referring to the Suryavanshi lineage, claiming descent from Surya, the solar deity. The House of Mewar belonged to this lineage.



Fateh Singh



Soon after its adoption in 1877 the achievement was changed to fit better Hindu culture:



Arms: Or, a sun in splendour Or, charged with a kings head proper.

Crest: A linga and yoni and a sword erect proper.

Supporters: A Bhil and a Rajput warrior attired for forlorn hope proper.

Compartment: A grassy ground.



í  The Linga and Yoni is one of the most common objects of worship in Hinduism, wether in the temple or in the household cult. It consists of the erect male organ Linga, rising from the female counterpart Yoni, as the base.


The National Achievement


The national achievement dates from the reign of Maharana Shambhu Singhji (1861-‘74).




Arms: A landscape showing fort Chittorgarh, proper.

Crest: The sun radiant charged with the head of Surja proper.

Supporters: A Bhil and a Rajput warrior attired for forlorn hope proper.

Motto: JO DRDH RAKHE DHARMA KAU TIHI RAKHE KUTAR. (The Almighty protects those who stand steadfast in upholding righteousness)




The national achievement above the entrance of the Durbar Hall in Udaipur and a goldcoin of Udaipur (1928) showing the seal of  Mewar.




National Flag and Royal Ensign as displayed nowadays in the Durbar Hall of Udaipur


Mewar Armed Force


The “Procession to Eklinghi” miniature (detail)


Relatively much is known about the heraldry of the Mewar Armed Force.


The armed force of Mewar is said to trace its origin back to 1303.

A picture of “Maharana Bhim Singh of Mewar in Procession to Eklingji” dated 1802 shows some ensigns of this armed force. [5]


In the first place there is the war ensign consisting of a red rectangular triangular cloth (not shown on the detail).


The ensigns of the infantry and of the cavalry are triangular, the first red, charged with  a yellow kutar, the second of three piles orange, red and orange, the red pile also charged with a yellow kutar.


Two infantry units have rectangular ensigns, the first red, charged with a golden sword per fess, a sun radiant, a crescent-and-star and two stars, within a green bordure, the second orange with the same charges and bordure.


Behind these infantry ensigns a banner is displayed, consisting of a white forked triangular flag charged with a red Hanuman, a crescent-and-star and a sun radiant. This may be the Royal banner. [6]




This picture is the more interesting as it shows the intricate and precious headdresses of the Mewar generals. Also, the uniforms of the Mewar army are visible.


After Mewar had entered into alliance with the British new ensigns were designed for the infantry and the cavalry. They do not differ very much from the examples given on the picture of 1802.




These modern reconstructions of the ensigns show an orange triangular flag charged with a faced sun and a kutar. This flag is called the “royal standard”.

And a red triangular flag charged with a kutar between a sun and a crescent. This flag is called the standard of Mewar State. [7]

Indeed, the faced sun should be the royal emblem and the sun and the crescent the symbols of the Mewar kingdom and the state. This would mean, taking the flags on the Procession to Eklingi picture into account, that, in the time of the protectorate, the cavalry was his majesty’s own armed force and that the infantry was the army of the kingdom, paid by the government. [8]

The ensigns of the two infantry units from this time remain to be discovered.



Also, it is said, the royal banners introduced in 1874 were red with a faced sun, the first on a forked flag the second on a flag of two triangles.  These we can compare with the war ensign and the royal standard on the Procession to Eklingi picture. It implies that the kingdom and its institutions all had become royal as had been the case in Great Britain itself for many centuries.

These flags are the predecessors of the flags in the preceding section.



Modern Times


Emblem of the Mewar Army, Udaipur.


In modern times the kutar as a symbol of the armed force was replaced by two swords in saltire in combination with the royal emblem. This probably was borrowed from the British army which had, after long deliberations, adopted  two swords in saltire and the royal crest as its emblem in 1938.


Arms of the Supreme Commander of Mewar:

Gules, a sun radiant charged with two swords in saltire and the head of Surya, Or.


In the Mewar Armed Force we meet again the two infantry- and the single cavalry units.


In the interbellum (1939) the Udaipur (Mewar) State Forces consisted of one squadron of Lancers and two battalions of Infantry. They were the:


      Mewar Lancers

      Mewar Bhupal Infantry (named after Bhupal Singh (1930-’55))

      Mewar Sajjan Infantry (named after Sajjan Singh (1874-’84))

      Mewar Bhupal Training Company


and were all stationed in Udaipur.


The 1st Mewar Infantry, tracing its origin to 1303, was first affiliated to the Rajputana Rifles and came over to the Grenadiers in 1953 as the 9th Battalion (Mewar).



The arms of the Mewar  Supreme Commander on the grill of  his Rolls Royce

and ensigns of Mewar armed units hanging in Durbar Hall, Udaipur.


Other ensigns in the Durbar Hall of Udaipur show the Armed Force emblem on a red cloth. Still others have the outlines of the national achievement on a red background.



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© Hubert de Vries 2010.01.28. Updated 2012-04-26



[1] ) Sangrahani Sutra manuscript. Rajasthan, 18th century Ink and watercolour on paper. Victoria and Albert Museum. Fol’s IS 35:441971, IS 35:451971. The Sangrahani Sutra is an illustrated cosmological text written in Sanskrit in the 12th century.

[2] ) Equestrian portraits of Maharaja Ajit Singh of Jodhpur, Maharana Amar Singh of Mewar and Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur at the occasion of the audience of 1708. Udaipur, about 1720. Collection Habighorst, Germany.

[3] ) Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art.

[4] ) Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation. A reproduction of this picture in: Maharaja. The splendour of India’s Royal Courts. V&A Muer seum, 2009. P. 66

[5] ) Ibid. Pp. 100-101

[6] ) Reconstructions of these flags by Roberto Bresci

[7] ) As on internet without any other comment.

[8] ) This hypothesis can easily be confirmed or rejected by a Mewar historian.