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Chandravardai Of Ajmer – 12th century poet of Rajasthan

Chandravardai (1148 – 91 AD) was the 12th century poet of Rajasthan. He was a great friend of the last Hindu king of Delhi, Prithviraj Chauhan (1159 – 93), and the chief poet of his court.

Family of Chandravardai belonged to Punjab and the Chauhan family of Ajmer (Rajasthan) was their patron. His father’s name was Rao Ven. He himself was a devotee of Goddess Jalapa. The title of ‘Bardai’ alludes of his being considered the boon of this goddess.

He was married twice, first to Kamala and then to Gauri. Of this four sons, Jalla was considered to best.

It is said that when Shahabuddin Ghori captured Prithviraj Chauhan and took him to Ghazni, Chandravardai went retrieve his friend and king, and asked his son Jalla to complete the epic Prithviraj Raso for him, should he fail to return.

Literary Works of Chandravardai

Chandravardai’s fame as a poet of the genre virakavya – a kind of epic balad – remains unsurpassed.

Prithviraj Raso is considered to be the first major biographical epic poem in Hindi and Rajasthani literature. It is partly historical, partly legendary and was written in the Rajasthani dialect of Dingal, then the favored language for inspirational poetry.

The purpose of this composition was to immortalize Prithviraj. This masterpiece inspires loyalty, honesty and commitment to the national cause.

SourceEncyclopaedia of Indian Literature (1990) Amaresh Datta, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi
Bharatiya Sanskriti Kosh (1968) by Pundit Mahadev Shastri Joshi. Bharatiya Sanskriti Kosh Mandal (Pune)
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume III published by IHRF page 48