MahaRao Shaikha (1433–1488) was a Rajput chieftain belonging to the Kachwaha clan of Amar/Jaipur. He ruled over Amar(Jaipur). The Shekhawati gets its name from him, comprising the districts of Sikar and Jhunjhunu in the present-day Indian state of Rajasthan.
Maharao Shaikha was born in B.S.1490, (A.D.1433), son of Rao Mokal Amar(Jaipur) and Rani Nirwan (Khetri). Rao Mokal was a chieftain who held the estate of Nan in fief from the ruler of Amar(Jaipur). Mokal and Nirwan were much troubled as they had no son for several years. They heard about the miraculous powers of the Shaikh Burhan, a Muslim mendicant. They decided to pay the man a visit. After they received the blessings of the Shaikh, a son was born to the couple. In honour of the mendicant, the couple named their son Shaikha.
As the Ruler
At the age of 12 year he succeeded his father in V.S.1502, A.D 1445.He was granted the title of MAHARAO by Raja Udaikaran ruler of Amar(Jaipur). The first act of his valour was his sudden attack on Napa (Sankhala Rajput) at Nagarchal, Saiwar, Multhan etc. when he was only 16 years old. From V.S.1530 to 1534, (A.D. 1473 to 1477) with the help of Panni Pathans, Rao Shekha conquered Dadri from Nop Singh Jatu and Bhiwani from Other Jatu Rajputs, Hansi from Ikhtar Khan and Hisar from Heda Khan Kaimkhanis. Thus he extended his territory and became powerful.
Establishment of Amarsar as capital
In V.S.1506, (A.D.1449) Shekha founded Amarsar other sources mention that it was founded in V.S.1517, (A.D.1460). In Amarsar Shekha built the temple of Bhagwan Jagdish and in V.S.1534, (A.D.1477), he built here the SHIKHARGARH FORT.
Conflict with Gaurs
Kolraj Gaur was ruling at Ghatwa under his commands tank was being excavated at Jhotari village and he had made a rule that any one passing that way should remove a quantity of earth from the tank. A Rajput person of Kachawa clan was returning home with his bride, the Rajput obeyed the rule and removed the earth but the Gaurs insisted that his wife should do the same.His widow went to Amarsar and placed a handful of dust before Shekha and told him the fame of the Kachawas would be tarnished if they did not take revenge upon the Gaurs. There upon, in V.S.1535, (A.D.1478) and Shekha invaded Ghatwa the battle took place at the same talab (tank), which ended with his demise because of injuries in the final battle.
Battle of Ghatwa
The Gaur Rajputs fought about 12 battles with Shekha. In the last battle, they met near Ghatwa on the “Khontiya” tank and fought fiercely. Rao Ridmal of Maroth wounded Shekha with his arrows . Nawalraj, a son of Kolraj, killed Kunwar Durga and Kunwar Puranmal, sons of Shekha.Rao Shaikha was severely wounded and before his end, he nominated Raimal as his successor. Shekha expired peacefully at Ralawata on Baisakh Sudi 3 (Akha Teej), V.S.1545, (A.D.1488), His chattri (cenotaph) was built there.Maharao Shaikha fought 52 battles in his life. He is the founder and ancestor of the Shekhawat sub-clan of Jaipur’s Kachwaha Dynasty.
Rao Shaikha, born September 24, 1433, had five Ranis (Queens), who are referred to by their maiden names (surnames), and had issue, 12 sons (8 survived) and 3 daughters.
(a) He married firstly, Taankan-ji Ganga Kumari, daughter of Nagvanshi ‘Keelhan Taank’ of Nagar-gadh, she established the Kalyanji temple facing entry of Amarsar Fort around 1516-17 V.S.
(b) married secondly, Tanwar- I, daughter of Rao Gahirmal Tanwar of Dokna
(c) married thirdly, Tanwar – II, daughter of Pichiyan Tanwar of Bayal (Ganwri)
(d) married fourthly, Gaur, daughter of Jadam Gaur of Jhunthar
(e) married fifthly, Chauhan, daughter of Rao Raja Syobrahma Chauhan of Chaubara or Chobara (Mewat, now Alwar)
Rao Shekha had 12 sons and 3 daughters.