Saturday, 25 January 2014

The sword making factory

Prithviraj Chavan is one of the legendary rulers of India and his name is remembered even today for his heroism and chivalry.
While much has been written about the life and times of  this Hindu emperor and his legendary enemity with Jaichand, who ultimately had his revenge of  defeating Prithviraj Chavan by inviting Mahmud Ghori to attack India, not much is known about Hansi, the town in Haryana today which is very closely associated with him.
Legend has it that Hansi once had a company manufacturing swords and that the swords were exported to almost all countries of what is today known as the Middle East.
The sword manufacturing company was started by none other than  Prithviraj Chauhan himself. It goes without saying that the swords were so fine and so sharp that they were in great demand.
Prithviraj Chavan himself had in his possession many swords manufactured by this company. He also equipped his army with these swords.
Since the swords could not be made easily available, Prithviraj Chavan set up the manufacturing unit within the fort at Hansi. The fort survives to this day, though all traces of the sword manufacturing facility have all but disappeared.
The fort encompasses 30 acres and it is square in shape. It has  security posts in all the four corners of the fort. This fort was later strengthened by Emperor Drupad, son of Anangapal.
Emperor Dhrupad too established a sword manufacturing factory in this fort and, hence, it came to be known as Asigarh.
In the ancient and medieval period, Asirgarh became an important military centre and 80 forts across the area were controlled from here. During the period of Firoz Shan Tuglaq, an underground tunnel was constructed connecting the present Hansi to Hisar.
The gate of  the fort is carved with figures of gods. Besides, paintings of Gods, Goddesses and birds can also be seen on the walls of the fort. The entry gate of this fort was built by George Thomas, an Irish soldier.
The ancient statues of  Mahavira and Gautama Buddha are placed in front of the fort . These statues are priceless.
The Barsi (South) Gate in the centre of the bazaar of Hansi was constructed in 1304 by Alauddin Khilji.
Hansi has five gates of entry – Delhi Gate (East), Hisar Gate (West), Gosain Gate (North-west), Barsi Gate (South) and Umra Gate (South west). The altitude of the town increases after entry from any of the gates.
The Sikhs captured Hansi in 1778, and established a Sikh State for some time until the Marathas captured it.
Locals say that the town was founded by Hansivati also known as Ambavati, who was the daughter of Prithviraj Chauhan. Some others say it was founded by King Anangpal Vihangpal Tomar for his guru Hansakar and this was sometime in 957 AD.
In 1192, after the defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan by Mohammed Gauri, the Hindu rule at Hansi ended. This was the time when non-Muslims were not permitted to settle down here. It was only during the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Shahajan, that Hindus were permitted to come back to Hansi.

In 1705, the Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, came to Hansi and inspired the Hindus to revolt. In 1707, the Sikh leader, Banda Bahadur, attacked Hansi andmeted out punishment to the Muslims. Hansi then came under the Marathas in 1736. The Marathas lost it to the Afghans after the third Battle of Panipat in 1761.

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