The ruling family of Wankaner (Gujarat) represents the senior branch of the ZALA clan of Rajputs, who ruled at Halvad. The junior branch retained possession of Dhrangadhra-Halvad, while the senior branch established themselves at Wadhwan and Wankaner. The separation between the two lines occurred when Kumar Shri Prithirajji, the eldest son of Maharana Chandrasinghji of Halvad, died as a hostage at Ahmadabad during his father's lifetime. He left three sons, of whom the eldest should have succeeded to his position as Heir Apparent. However, their paternal uncle, Askaranji seized control of the government during his father's old age. The three nephews fled in fear of their lives and took refuge with their maternal relations at Bhadli. Rajoji and Sartanji, the two younger sons, survived into adulthood and then entered the service of the Jam Sahib of Nawanagar. After distinguishing themselves and earning his support, they set out to recover their patrimony. In this, they were only partially successful, gaining control over Wadhwan, a traditional fief of the Halvad Heir Apparent, but failing to wrest control of Halvad itself. The youngest brother, Sartanji defeat the unruly Babrias and Maiyas and established his control over Wankaner, where he constructed a capital and establish a separate principality.
Sartanji's descendants continued to rule at Wankaner, but retained their ambition to recover Halvad. Consequently, a feud between the two branches of the ZALA clan continued for more than a century. His great grandson, Chandrasinhji I, briefly held Halvad after taking it from the Muslim jagirdar, who had been given that state in jagir in 1678. Unfortunately for him, the Imperial authorities settled their differences with the Halvad ruler and forced Chandrasinhji to give it up in 1680.
Bharoji [Bhavaji], grandson of Chandrasinhji I also briefly held Halvad during the middle of the eighteenth century, but had to let go of his prize. He was also responsible for subduing and controlling the Kathis and Kothis, and for constructing the defensive wall around Wankaner town. His descendants continued the feud for several decades more. The enmity ultimately reached preposterous proportions when the ZALAs went to war over a goat in 1805, during which hundreds were killed. Eventually, these conflicts terminated during the reign of Chandrasinhji II, by the Walker settlement of 1807-1808. Thereafter, the peace afforded by the settlement ensured that the ZALA rulers could concentrate on improving he lot of their subjects.
Wakhatsinhji, son and successor of Chandrasinhji II, did not reign very long but spent almost all three years of his reign on religious devotion and pilgrimages to holy places. It took the long and peaceful reign of his son, Banesinhji, for the reforms needed by a modern state to find implementation with any enthusiasm. He took the first steps towards reforming the administration, revenue collection and associated areas of government. He died in 1881, after a reign lasting nearly forty years and the first reign of his house to be peaceful.
Amarsinhji succeeded his father at the age of two and reigned for seventy-three years. During his early years, the state was placed under a Council of Administration and closely supervised by the British authorities. Wholesale reforms were introduced in almost all areas of government activity, with a good deal of attention being paid to improving agriculture, the introduction of educational and medical facilities. They were also careful to ensure that the young ruler received an entirely modern education. When he did take up the reigns of government in 1899, an entirely new sort of ruler had been born. Energetic, sporting, curious and devoted to his people, he spent his whole life at full gallop. He continued the reforms introduced under the regency, but often went far further than his guardians would have wished. Agriculture, industry, banking and finance, irrigation, public security, justice, state revenues, public works and building, representative government, sports, hunting, motor cars and aircraft, all occupied his inveterate attention. He even found time to go on active service during the Great War. His state being too small to provide a significant army, he joined the Kathiawar Motor Ambulance Corps, flooded it with recruits and then accompanied them overseas.
Despite Amarsinhji's close association and regard for the British, he did not neglect his relationships with the new democratic and nationalist forces. He was one of the first rulers in Western India to introduce responsible and representative government in the rural areas. He often financially supported Mahatma Gandhi and his movement, and often even gave refuge to participants in the freedom struggle. When the transfer of power came in 1947, Wankaner unreservedly opted for India, later merging with the other princely states in the region to form the Saurashtra Union in June 1948. The old Maharana died at the age of seventy-five in 1954, confident that he had done his duty before God and his people.
Maharana Pratapsinhji succeeded his father in the titular dignities enjoyed by his ancient house. Educated at Cheltenham and Cambridge, he succeeded too late to use his considerable talents in the betterment of his people. However, he has remained a potent force in his former realm and is greeted as father and mother wherever he goes. He celebraed his centenary at a large gathering in Wankaner in April 2007, and died barely a month later. His sons have taken up their positions in the modern India, each in their way conservators of all that is good in its heritage. The elder son and successor, Maharana Digvijaysinhji, enjoyed a succesful political career but is now largely concerned with cultural, architectural and related heritage concerns. His younger brother, Ranjitsinhji, in the field of nature conservation and the natural environment, a world expert on the Indian Blackbuck and tiger.
The ruling family of Limbdi descends from Harapal Devji, of Patdi, common ancestor with the ruling family of Dhrangadhra. Manghuji, second (or nineteenth) son of Harapal Devji and Sakti Devi, received the chorasis of Jambu and Kundni. His grandson, Dhaval, married the daughter of Vaja Palaji of Veraval Patan and received seven villages in dowry. Sultan Qutb ud-din Aibak of Delhi drove him from Jambu in 1194, when he retired to Veraval Patan. His father-in-law assisted him to conquer forty-one villages along the coast, when he established his capital at Dhamlej. He returned to Jambu once the Muslims had left the area, but finding it laid waste, returned to Dhamlej, appointing a governor to administer that region. His son, Kaluji, established his capital at Kundni, where it remained for the next six generations. Soghaji re-established the capital at Jambu, but his son, Sarangji, moved to Jasdan. Thereafter the state capital alternated between Kundni, Jambu and Jasdan.
Maharana Shri Khetoji II, who reigned during the fifteenth century, incurred the enmity of both the Vaghela and Sarvaiya clans, and lost his life and property in battle with them. At he heart of the trouble lay a romantic tale chivalry, so often told by he Rajput bards. Khetoji once came across he marriage procession of the intended bride of Vaghela Godhba of Sardhar, the daughter of the Sarvaiya Rao of Bhadli. By chance, her eyes fell upon his long hair when he had cause to remove his turban, and she was smitten. She implored him to take her away, and he agreed to do so after consulting his advisers. Godhba, furious at this insult, invaded Kundni and met him in mortal combat, slew Khetoji and annexed Kundni and Jasdan. Sultan Mahmud Begada of Gujarat, stepped into the breech and annexed Jambu and Shiani to his own domains.
Khetoji left thirteen sons, the eldest of who suffered from physical disabilities, could not reassert the family honour and was debarred from ascend the gadi according to the traditions of the house. He abdicated his rights in favour of his next and younger brother. Bhanji Sahib headed the house in exile for a period but then voluntarily abdicated, along with his other brothers, in favour of the youngest and more able brother, Sangaji. The latter headed a band of 500 horsemen, who wandered about the countryside until they came upon Godhba at Jhobala. Aided by 8,000 loyal shepherds, they defeated and exacted vengeance upon the Vaghela. Sangaji settled at Dhanvaa until the Sultan heard of his deeds, took sympathy upon the family and restored Jambu and Shiani to him. Maharana Sangaji's line reigned over the state until the eighteenth century, when they shifted their capital to Limbdi.
Maharana Shri Harisinhji came under British protection because of the Treaty of Bassein with the Marathas in 1807. His great grandson, Maharana Jaswantsinhji succeeded as a minor in 1862. The first ruler of his line to receive a modern education, at which he excelled and then used his knowledge to very good effect. Great changes and reforms were instigated by him which brought about a transformation. He constructed irrigation works and improved agriculture, reformed the courts and built schools, endowed scholarships for gifted students and established municipal government. Not content with the knowledge he had gathered within India, he travelled abroad to the UK and Europe, to learn about the latest innovations and methods of administration, agriculture and health care. Returning to India, he redoubled his efforts to improve the lot of his people. His exertions were recognised with government sought his advice and council. The Governor of Bombay appointed him a member of the Bombay Legislative Council, one of the first princes to hold such a position. At his death in 1907, he left behind the best-administered state in Bombay and universally happy subjects.
Maharana Shri Daulatsinhji, a direct descendant of Khetoji I's eldest son, succeeded as the chosen heir of his kinsman, Jaswantsinhji. Although very distantly related to the late ruler, he had made a career for himself in neighbouring states, where he had proved himself an able administrator and soldier. He apprenticeship was fortuitous, for he proved to be an equally capable and distinguished ruler as his predecessor. Ho continued all his good works, especially in the fields of education and agriculture. Limbdi excelled in both fields, and her treasury showed the beneficial results of his policies. Despite he size and income of his state, he spared nothing in supporting the British cause during the Great War. He reigned successfully for thirty-three years, and died during the dark days of the Second World War in 1940. It would have saddened him to go at that time. Loyal to his King-Emperor in an almost fanatical way, he would have relished a second victory against the old foe.
Maharana Shri Digvijaysinhji succeeded his father for just about a year before dying in 1941 and leaving his throne to his son Chatrashailyasinhji, barely a year old at that time. The government appointed a regency council to conduct the administration during his minority. He never received his full ruling powers as the transfer of power intervened when he was six years old, and Limbdi acceded to the Dominion of India in 1947. It joined the other states of the region to form the United State of Kathiawad (Saurashtra) in the following year. The Maharana became a successful businessman and hotelier. He has retained an interest in motor cars and angling throughout his life.
WADHWAN, SURENDRANAGAR (GUJARAT)
RESENT RULER: HH Sahib Shri CHAITANYADEVSINHJI SURENDRASINHJI,Wadhwan since 1985. born 1945, married 20th November 1971,
Kunveri Baiji Shri Kalpana Devi Sahib of Dharampur [HH Kalpana Devi Sahib of Wadhwan], daughter of Yuvraj Saheb Narhar Devji Rana of Dharampur, and his wife, Rajkumari Indira Devi of Gondal. and has issue, one son and one daughter. Rajkumari Maheshwari Devi Jhala, born 8th September 1972, unmarried.
Yuvraj Sahib Siddharth Sinhji Chaitanyadevsinhji Jhala, born 13th April 1977, married 23rd November 2005, Yuvrani Karnieka Kumari, born 27th April 1979, daughter of Rajasaheb Digvijay Singhji of Raghogarh, and his wife, Rani Saheb Asha Kumari, and has issue. Tikka Saheb Prabhavoday Sinhji Jhala, born 5th August 2008.
The Jahalawar family, owe their fortune largely to Zalim Singh, a collateral descendant of the JHALA rulers of Wadhwan, in Gujarat. His ancestor, Bhavsinghji, left his native land to seek his fame and fortune. His fourth son, Madho Singh, took employment at Kotah, receiving lands and appointments after he had married his sister to the ruler. At his death in 1758, his younger grandson succeeded to his lands and offices.
JHALA ZALIM SINGH
A talented and courageous man, Zalim Singh JHALA carved out a distinguished career for himself serving the Kotah Rajas. He quickly rose to the supreme office in the land, becoming Diwan and virtual ruler of the state. On the death of his patron in 1764, his successor was unwilling to leave matters of state entirely in the hands of his minister. The contest for power eventually resulted in military conflict and Zalim was forced to flee to Mewar. Not content to idle away his time, he assumed the role of kingmaker, successfully intriguing and doing battle for his favourite. His efforts did not go unrecognised, for he received high titles and the estate of Chiturkhaira.
The death of Zalim's brother-in-law, Maharaja Guman Singh of Kotah, brought him back to Kotah as guardian to his minor nephew. Although appointed Diwan, thereafter he ruled as virtual regent of the kingdom. He negotiated the Kotah Treaty with the HEIC in 1817, as if he was actual ruler, but was careful to ensure an entrenched position for himself and his successors as hereditary mikados of the state. At his death in 1824, he left behind a strong and prosperous state, the centre of trade in the region.
Zalim's son, Raj Rana Madho Singh, who succeeded him as Diwan and virtual regent, ruled for a decade and died in 1834. He left his office, titles and lands to his only surviving son, Raj Rana Madan Singh.
The continuation of the dual system of government came under increasing strain, Friction and disagreements engulfed the Kotah Royal Family, the state nobles and the British. After many contests and conflicts, the British decided to end the stalemate by separating Kotah into two states. The new state of Jahalawar came into being in 1838, with Madan Singh as independent ruler and Maharaj Rana. He died in 1845, leaving his new state to his only legitimate child, Maharaj Rana Prithviraj Singh, who consolidated his inheritance by building towns and villages, and constructing public buildings. He died without leaving a legitimate male heir in 1875.
Kunwar Shri Vakhatsinghji succeeded as Zalim Singh II, having been adopted by his predecessor, two years before his death. A young prince surrounded by those who catered to his every childish whim and will, he grew up into a bigot and racist. Had he managed to be a good administrator or reformer, his petulant attitude to Europeans may have been forgiven, but his government descended into near chaos within a few years of receiving full ruling powers. After three years, he was suspended for by the British authorities, which then set up a Council of Administration. They deposed him nine years later, on the grounds of mental instability and maladministration, the state abolished and its territories restored to the Kotah Durbar.
In 1899 the Government of India created a new state from the Chaumahala, Patan and the southern portions of Suket tahsils. The childless Zalim II refusing to adopt a successor, they selected Bhawani Singhji, a distant descendant of Zalim Singh I as ruler of the new Jahalawar. Their choice could not have settled on a better ruler. Cultured and refined, with an enquiring mind that embraced scholarship and learning throughout his life, he improved the lot of his subjects profoundly. Schools and educational institutions were established throughout the state for boys and girls. Agricultural improvements and development of the state infrastructure, prison reform, and even light scale industrial development did not escape his interest. His cultural interests and pursuits were never neglected either, for he amassed a fine library, built an opera house, and established societies and associations to spread interest in literature, music and the arts. He died on board ship near Aden in 1929, leaving an only son.
Maharaj Rana Rajendra Singh was imbued with many of the same interests and qualities as his father. He had been carefully educated, and when he ascended the throne, continued his father with great enthusiasm. He had a certain interest in military affairs and enjoyed sports of all kinds, including big-game hunting, shooting, fishing, squash, badminton, croquet, cricket, and motoring. A crack shot, who once killed three tigers in five minutes, he later became a keen conservationist who exchanged his guns for a camera. His literary and scholarly interests were no less keenly held, for he composed poetry and authored several books in Urdu and Hindi. His early death in 1943 left the throne yet again to an only son.
Maharaj Rana Harishchandra succeeded his father at the age of twenty-two. He had much to live up to, but little time. Within four years of his succession, the Indian sub-continent gained its independence and the princely states of Rajasthan merged with democratic India. He did so willingly and enthusiastically, joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1950 and serving at Rome and Rangoon, before returning to India in 1954. He later entered politics, serving as an elected member of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly in the 1960's, briefly serving as a state cabinet minister. He opposed and defeated the Indian National Congress in 1967, but failed to unseat them as their central government allies imposed presidential rule, then bribed enough of the poorer MLAs to whittle away the majority. He died at the height of the crisis in 1967.
Maharaj Rana Indrajit Singh inherited the gadi at the age of twenty-three, but eschewed his father's political role. For a time, he served in the Indian army, then devoted himself to raising his family and managing his properties. The principal private palace was turned into a hotel serving visitors to the fort and its treasures. He died in New Delhi in 2004, leaving the gadi to his elder son, Maharaj Rana Shri Chandrajit Singh.
Jahalawar is the land of Jhala's – a clan of brave Chauhan Rajput warriors. It has a valiant and the unexplored treasures of history in this region are a great attraction for the adventure and scholar of history.
Jahalawar region was formed as a separate principality from Kota by the descendants of Zalim Singh in 1838 A.D. It was linked with the rulers of Kota from 1801-1838 A.D.
Places to Visit in Jahalawar
Suryamandir in Jahalawar
The city of Jahalawar was formerly called Brij Nagar. It houses the City Palace and Rang Mahal and a number of interesting havelis. It is also better known as a temple town because of Jhalraptan in its suburbs. Many of these temples date back several centuries.
Havelis in Jahalawar
Shri Chatra Bhavan
The walled town has few important havelis like the Chatra Bhavan, Jhala Haveli and Bohron Ki Haveli. Shri Chatra Bhavan belonged to the Chatra Sal Singh Jhala from the royal family of Jhalas. Unlike, most Rajput havelis found in Rajasthan, this is a single court haveli with kitchen located on the first floor.
The remnants of kitchen such as the ‘okhli’ for making ‘masala’ (spices) are still evident on the first floor. A well is located in the annexe area at back of the haveli.
Another haveli belonging to the family of ZALA Rajputs is the ZALA Haveli. They served as aides to the ruler and were known as saath khazis. The haveli was built in 1840 A.D.
For sometime the haveli was occupied by Fauz Bakshi (a Muslim Commander) who made a masjid there. The family had moved from Kota to Jhlrapatan and finally to Jahalawar. Their kul devi shrine (Bishat Mata) is located in Jhalrapatan.
Gagron Fort, Jahalawar, The Hadoti Region, Rajasthan, India
The Gagron Fort, 12 km from Jahalawar was founded in the 7th century and fully completed in the 14th century. It is called a Jala Durg (protected by water) because the Fort is surrounded by waters of the Ahu and Kali Sindh rivers on three sides. On the fourth side there used to be a deep moat completing its defenses. The Fort is now in ruins.
Mughal Emperor Akbar, captured Gagron in 1561 AD and the Mughals held it until 1715 AD when it was gifted back to Bhim Singh, one of the descendants of the ruling ZALA Rajputs. This was possible only after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 AD.
ZALA MAAN SINGH
ZALA Maansinh is an outstanding dazzling example of extraordinary valour, bravery and sacrifice who shrouded with the glory of struggle for freedom. In the battle of Haldi Ghati in 1576, ZALA Maan decorated himself with the Crown and the royal emblem from Pratap and started fighting valiantly.
ZALA Maan has set a unique example of bravery and courage by sacrificing his life to save the life of Pratap for his country.
ZALA Maan belongs to BariSadri, which also have ZALA Maan circle and bus stand on his name.