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COURTESY- deogarhmahal.com

As soon as you glimpse the Deogarh Mahal, you can see that its rulers must have been major players in the aristocracy of Mewar - their magnificent fort a fitting stronghold for one of the sixteen "umraos" - the most senior feudal barons attending on the Maharana of Udaipur. But you might not necessarily guess that the Rawats of Deogarh (a local title equivalent to "Raja") once ruled over the fourth largest feudal estate or "jagir" in all of Rajasthan. At its most extensive, their territory comprised of some 210 villages, with one of their defensive forts as far as 100 kms away. Yet there is little ostentation and even less gold to be found in their palace. Like most of the Mewar nobility, they spent too much time fighting to have much to spare for amassing great wealth.

Deogarh's relationship with Udaipur had its ups and downs but it was probably closer than most because it was by family ties of distant cousinship. Indeed, if the Rawats' ancestor, Prince Chunda had had a less sense of pride, the throne of Mewar might even have been theirs...