In preparation of watching Bahubali 2, my household was watching Bahubali – The Beginning as revision. I went and watched Bahubali 2 in Telugu even though I don’t understand the language completely because a lot of the meaning and emotions get lost in translation in the dubbed versions. The one thing that struck me was how many scenes from Bahubali had similarities from the folklore we heard at Kumbhalgarh. Ofcourse the stories of Kumbhalgarh, Chittor and Maharana Pratap Singh are different no doubt but certain scenes evok familiarity.
The stories surrounding Kumbhalgarh fort is a genius in architecture and warfare. The scene where Bhalladeva’s son walks headless after his head is chopped off by Shivdu is one such scene. The genesis of Kumbhalgarh fort has a story of a saint whose head was chopped off and his headless body kept walking on till it reached a point and there his samadhi was made. In this day and age these stories seem horrific but they lived in different times.
The scene in Bahubali with his foot on an elephant is another such scene as the battle story of Maharana Pratap includes the legend of how his horse Chetak stood with its forelegs on the elephant as Maharana Pratap killed the invading enemy. Maharana Pratap was known for his brilliance in warfare and not just using brute force or the might of the army.
In Bahubali 2 (*spoiler alert) Bahubali goes and lives in exile and his subjects follow him. Similarly in Maharana Pratap’s story he lives in exile leaving his kingdom till he gets back his kingdom, in both stories the reasons are different and Maharana Pratap is history and folklore and Bahubali is brilliant fiction but I can’t stop but see parallels. Maharana Pratap had tribal soldiers in his army as he went to war against the invading forces much like Mahendra Bahubali has tribal chiefs on his side and uses guerrilla warfare tactics in the second part.
Kumbhalgarh fort similarly has seen its fair share of trials and conquests, the fort is hidden in the Aravali mountains and can not be seen by an approaching party, unless one is a mere 5 kms from the fort. The fort also boasts of the second longest wall in the world which still embraces the fort and holds strong even after its inhabitants have long left. However there are two small hamlets still inside the fort where villagers stay. The fort also has 100’s of temples inside the complex.
The fort has also stories revolving around how a prince was bought to the fort when his life was in danger and he grew up inside the fort training to avenge the wrong. Kumbhalgarh and Chittor is full of such amazing plot lines, twists, treacheries and fates that changed the lives of the people in Mewar in modern day Rajasthan. I got goose bumps in watching the epic that S.S Rajamouli and team have captured on screen and to think that there were actual people and kingdoms who lived through similar experiences and extraordinary lives in Indian history is just amazing.
Pics Credit : Photos of Kumbhalghar Fort credits Traveling Noodles and Razor Rasu. Photos of Bahubali are from screenshots and movie posters.