Chittorgarh Fort is one of the hill forts which have been recently inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We have also rated it earlier as one of the top ten forts in India.
Chittorgarh Travel Facts:
Location: At a distance of 112km from Udaipur, on a high hill near the Gambheri River in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan
Built by: Various Maurya rulers and Sisodiya clan of Rajputs
Built in: 7th century A.D
Highlights: Numerous palaces and towers inside the fort
How to reach: One can easily reach Chittorgarh Fort either by taking regular buses or by hiring Taxis from Udaipur city. Chittor is 318 Km from Jaipur.
Best Time to Visit: November - February
Entry Fee: INR 5 for Indian and INR 100 or $2 for Foreigners
|Chittorgarh: Hill Forts of Rajasthan|
This first hill fort of Rajasthan is believed to be erected by Mauryan rulers during the 7th century AD. It is also believed that the fort is named after the Mauryan ruler Chitrangada Mori, as inscribed on the coins found belonging to that period.
However, in today’s time Chittorgarh is quintessential of the romance, chivalry and valor of the Rajput rulers of Sisodia clans in Mewar and their kinsmen who held sway between the 7th and 16th centuries.
History and Anecdotes
Chittorgarh as we know it was built during the reign on founder of Sisodia Clan ruler Bappa Rawal in 734 AD.
The first ever historical mention of this hill fort in Rajasthan could be found in India’s grandest epic Mahabharata. As per the story Bhima, who was the strongest wrestler among Pandava with strength of 100 Elephants, struck a powerful blow to the land.
The massive blow of his fist resulted in water springing sprouting up to form a large reservoir. That pool is now called Bhimlat kundn after the legendary warrior. As per the legend this also resulted in construction of the fort.
Yet another legendary story associated with Chittorgarh fort is Rani Padmini. According to the legends Queen Padmini was an astounding beauty. Such was the attractiveness that stories about her poise and charisma floated to places far and wide.
When the then Sultan of Delhi Alauddin Khilji heard of the captivating charm of queen Padmini, he went to Chittorgarh to witness her beauty himself. He deceitfully told Rana Ratan Singh, husband of Padmini , his desire to behold the legendary beauty of the queen which the Rana couldn’t refuse out of politeness.
When the Sultan actually witnessed the unrivalled beauty of Padmini he lusted to take her into his harem. When Ratan Singh went to farewell the Sultan to gate he was deceitfully captured and the queen was delivered the message that Ratan Singh will only be realeased if she submits to his authority.
Queen had her own plans and she sent Rajput warriors in veils under the pretense of her train and had the Rana released. But the Rana and his entourage were chased and killed before they could enter the fort. It led to a war between the Muslim forces and Rana Ratan Singh's army, in which major parts of the Chittorgarh Fort were destroyed and many lives were lost.
Finally when the defeat was all but certain, the Rajput warriors donned their saffron robe and rode out to their death whereas the ladies led by Rani Padmini preferred to perform Jauhar (self immolation in pyre) rather than being physically abused by the lustful invaders.
Some Interesting facts about Chittorgarh Fort
- Chittorgarh Fort happens to be the largest fort in India.
- Chittorgarh Fort complex has a total of 65 medieval structures which includes4 palace complexes, 19 temples, 4 war memorials or the stambhs and 22 water bodies.
- Once upon a time this fort had 84 water bodies which could provide 50,000 soldiers with water supply for 4 years out of which only 22 remains till date.
- Chittorgarh Fort extends across 700 and is built above a hillock 300 feet in height.
- Entrance to this massive hill fort is through seven colossal gates, which are named Bhairon Pol, Lakshman Pol, Padan Pol, Hanuman Pol, Jorla Pol, Ganesh Pol and the formidable final gate named Ram Pol.
- Each of these gates have been built as massive stone structures and have sheltered ramparts for defense.
- You could see a cenotaph or "Chattri" near Bhairon Pol which was erected to honor the chivalry of Jaimal and his cousin Kala.
- As per the legends when Jaimal got seriously injured Kala carried him into battle on his shoulders where both died fighting valiantly against the Mughal army of Akbar.
- Yet another war memorial is located at Rampol which was erected to commemorate the exemplary courage of Phatta.
- Phatta of Kelwa was only 15 years old and had just lost his father in battle. He was sent into the battle by his mother who herself picked up a sword and died fighting against the enemy to free her son from any affection towards home
- Some of the major attractions inside Chittorgarh fort include the two towers known as the 'Kirti Stambh' (Tower of Fame) and the 'Vijay Stambh' (Tower of Victory).
- Other things to do inside Chittorgarh Fort are visiting several temples, water reservoirs, and palaces which were constructed between the 9th and 17th centuries.
- Vijay Stambh or the Victory Tower was erected during the reign of Rana Kumbha to memorialize his victory over Mahmud Shah I, the ruler of Malwa, in 1440.
- Vijay Stambh rises to the height of 37.2 meters (122 ft) over a 47 square feet (4.4 m2) base spanning across 9 stories.
- You could get panoramic view of the city of Chittor by climbing up to the 8th floor of Vijay Stambh which could be accessed through circular staircase numbering 157 in total.
- Kirti Stambh or the Tower of Fame is yet another massive structure rising up to a height of 22 meter and spans over 6 storey which could be climbed up through 57 steps.
- Built in the style of Solanki architecture by Bagherwal Jain merchant Jijaji Rathod, Kirti Stambh is dedicated to the first tirthankar Adinath.
- The sculpture of Adinath, the first Jain tirthankar is located on the second floor of the Kirti Stambh.
- Chittorgarh Fort has witnessed 3 sieges and 2 acts of jauhars by the ladies of the Sisodia Rajput court.
- The first one to attack the then considered impregnable hill fort of Chittorgarh was Allaudin Khilji.
- Alaudin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi sacked Chittorgarh in 1303 which legends tell us was due to his passionate desire to possess Rani Padmini.
- Chittorgarh Fort was sacked second time by Bahadur Shah in 1535 and later by Akbar in 1567.
- Jauhar or the self immolation in fire was first performed by Rani Padmini in 1433 AD when Alaudin Khilji defeted the forces of Rana Ratan Singh.
- It was performed yet again by Rani Karnavati in 1535 AD and it is said that 13,000 Rajput ladies participated in the act even as 3000 Rajput warriors rode out to their certain death .
- Chittor is adjacent to the ancient city of Madhyamika. The Jain inscriptions at Mathura from the Kushana period (1-3rd cent) mention a "Majjhimilla" branch of the "Kottiya" gana, indicating that it was a major Jain center.
- The famous Acharya Haribhadra Suri (6th cent) was born in Chittor and wrote "Dhurtopakhyana" there.
- The Padmini palace, residence of legendary beauty Rani Padmini is another major attraction inside Chittorgarh Fort.
- Yet another interesting place to visit inside Chittorgarh Fort is Meerabai Temple associated with the renowned mystical poet and saint Mirabai.
- Gaumukh Pool which is fed by the spring from the mouth of a carved cow is another major place to visit in the fort. It used to be the main source of water for the fort’s resident during military seizes.
- Teej is one of the major festivals in Chittorgarh which is celebrated with great enthusiasm and in the month of July or August.
- Gangaur festival is celebrated in the month of March or April each year and is another renowned festival in the city. Married women and young girls take part in the festival.
- The fort and the city of Chittorgarh host the biggest Rajput festival called the "Jauhar Mela" ( February - March)which takes place every year on the anniversary of one of the Rani Padmini’s jauhar.
If you are traveling to Rajasthan, you'd also want to check out the beginners guide to traveling in Rajasthan.