The State of Mewar was founded in 568 AD, and the origins of the Mewar Dynasty trace back from the Sun God (Surya). The institution of the ‘Maharana’ came into existence in the 6th century and in the 8th century, Harit Rishi the Guru (Spiritual Leader) of one of the founder fathers of the House of Mewar, Bapa Rawal, laid down cardinal rules for the governance of the state. The Guru was an extremely wise man, and his vision was that of a state governed by a custodian answerable to God's laws.
Thus was born the concept of "kingship" as "trusteeship". Which means the ruler will administrate the State of Mewar as a 'Diwan' (prime minister) and not as a 'King'. Thanks to this succeeding heads of the family of Mewar have always fulfilled the sacred position as trustee of Shree Eklingnath ji, a manifestation of Lord Shiva who is regarded as the Eternal Ruler of Mewar.
Interestingly, the House of Mewar represents the longest serving, unbroken custodianship in the world. A custodianship that transcends all boundaries of kingship, democracy and everything in between. Another interesting fact is that the heads of most Princely States of India were called Maharajas(meaning great kings). But the rulers of few states like Mewar/Udaipur are addressed as Maharana, which basically has the samemeaning but is just a means of distinguishing the Maharana’s superiority over other rulers.
In the 21st century ‘The House of Mewar’ is represented
by its 76th Custodian, H.H Maharana Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar. In 1947, with India's
Independence from British rule, the office of the Custodian necessitated reinventions.
In1984, the mantle of 76th Custodian devolved upon Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of
Udaipur. The original status of Custodian, as provided in the Constitution of India,
ceased to exist. The challenge, therefore, for Shriji Arvind Singh
was to bring the different identities of inheritance under one umbrella. And he did this by creatingEternal Mewar which provides the vision for the 21st century. Now Eternal Mewar covers all the activities of the House of Mewar and it has also emerged as a unique heritage brand exemplifying hospitality, cultural preservation, philanthropy, education, andsports and spirituality amongst other things.
Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur India is a multifaceted personality – from being an aviator to an hotelier- and he isrespected for his strategic thinking, business acumen and ethical conduct. He can be credited for turning Udaipur into one of the most desireddestinations on theglobal tourist map. Shriji (as he is reverentially and traditionally addressed) is also one of the pioneers of heritage tourism in India having founded the HRH Group of hotels in 1989. The first heritage property converted into a hotel by his family was ‘The Lake Palace in 1963’ followed by ‘Shikarbadi’ in 1976 and ‘Shiv Niwas Palace in 1982’. Nine properties are now under the flagship of HRH Group of Hotels.
Shriji has also been very supportive of historical research, art and painting, music
and dance, education and journalism and he has been honouring the finest contributors
in these fields through the Maharana Mewar Charitable Foundation
Awards. Shriji has not just been responsible for the restoration of palaces and
monuments, but also cars,
lakes, photographs, paintings, hand-written historical accounts, traditional events and functions, etc.
On June 5th 2012, Shriji became the first man from India to represent an Awardee of the WT Award for “Contribution to Universal Culture” at the United Nations. He is also the only Maharana or Maharaja participating in the special ‘Maharaja Class’ at the Pebble Beach Concourse.
The first Maharana Mewar Foundation Annual Awards is held.
The Palace Band whose history can be traced back to (1861-74 AD) is revived.
Historic Resort Hotels (HRH) Pvt. Ltd. is instituted.
Time-honoured traditions dating to 17th century if not earlier in the shape of Regal Festivals like Holika Dahan, Ashwa Poojan, and Kartik Poornima are revived.
Crystal Gallery opens in Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur with the world's largest private collection of crystal furniture and objects.
The first solar powered boat is built. It is now used commercially at Gajner Lake, Gajner Palace, (near Bikaner).
The Palace Vintage & Classic Car Collection opens to public.
The first prototypes of Mewar’s solar powered vehicles are designed and tested during a series of international rallies in Rajasthan.
A collection of Flora Danica porcelain is exhibited at The Gallery Restaurant, Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur.
India's first privately financed and produced Son et Lumiere The Mewar Sound and Light Show is shown at The City Palace Complex in English and Hindi.
Eurosolar awarded Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation the European Solar Prize 2005 in the category 'One world co-operation' for the development of solar projects in India.
The first Museum to carry out a Photogrammetry survey for a Conservation Master plan of The City Palace Complex, Udaipur.
Mewar Sabha Shiromani is a forum developed to unite the people and friends of Mewar spread globally.
An Audio Tour Guide is launched to enhance the experience of visitors to The City Palace Museum and Crystal Gallery.
Two over 100 years old heritage motor launches (Ford 17+1 seater) and (Chrysler 24+1 seater) are restored to meet today's stringent environmental standards and are now propelling in Lake Pichola, Udaipur.
Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation pioneers a complete explosive detection plan in the entire Palace premises under a risk management plan.
Installation of the statue of Maharana Pratap at Udaipur airport.The Statue is seen as a fitting tribute to the spirit of Mewar and its valour and it depicts the undefeated eternal values of Mewar.
Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation supports the Ecological Restoration of Ahar River and Ecological Improvement of Udai Sagar Lake through Bio Techniques.
Tripoliya, is 'The Triple Arched' Gate built with white marble in A.D. 1711 and it stands at the northern end of The City Palace Complex. Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar took the initiative of installing three massive wooden gates at Tripoliya as a way of completing his obligations to his forefathers.
A Joint Co-operation Programme (JCP) was signed between Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation, UNESCO India Office, New Delhi; Udaipur Municipal Council; The City of Strasbourg (Municipalite de Strasbourg), France and Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur for three years 2011-2013 to strengthen Udaipur's knowledge base, develop a framework and undertake activities to preserve its heritage and develop international collaboration and partnerships for heritage-based projects in Udaipur. A signing ceremony was held at The City of Strasbourg, France on the 2nd October 2011.
The coat of arms of Mewar includes a sword, Shiv-ling (representation of Lord Shiva) a sun on the shield, a Rajput warrior and a Bhil tribal on either side of the shield with the motto of the State underneath the shield.
The sword is an emblem of power which the Maharanas of Mewar used in their abiding aspirations to keep India free from foreign dominance. The horse and ox represent loyalty and devotion. The dagger (Katar) is the emblem of independence and red is the colour of royalty. The Shiv-ling is there as the Maharanas of Mewar are worshippers of Lord Shiva in his avatar of Shri Eklingji. The Sun is representative of the lineage of the royal family of Mewar and the Rajput and Bhil are there because many soldiers in the Mewar army were from these two clans. The motto: Jo drirha rakhe dharma koun tihin rakhe katar means “The Almighty protects those who stand steadfast in upholding righteousness”.