About Chittaurgarh Fort
Chittaurgarh Fort, located in the state of Rajasthan
was initially built between the 5th and the 8th century by the Mori
Rajput ruler, Chitrangad. At that point of time it was named
Chitrakot. Later, Sisodia Rajput ruler, Ajai Pal Chauhan made some
modifications in it.
The history of Chittaurgarh Fort is laced with the heroic deeds of the valorous Rajput nobles and sacrifices of the beautiful queens. The fort has witnessed atleast three bloody battles since the time it was built. The first battle was waged by the Sultan of Delhi, Ala-ud-din Khilji in the 14th century after he had a glimpse of the beautiful wife of Ratan Singh in a water tank. He was so besotted by the beauty of Rani Padmini that he attacked Chittaurgarh in order to posses her. The Rajputs fought the evil intention of the powerful ruler with all their might and laid down thousands of lives so as to protect the dignity of the queen as well as the kingdom. Rani Padmini, along with numerous other ladies of royal households committed mass suicide or Jauhar to escape dishonour at the hands of Ala-ud-din Khilji and his nobles.
The second time the fort was attacked in 1535 by Sultan Bahdaur Shah of Gujarat. During this attack, Sikramjeet was the ruler of the Chittaurgarh. Bahadur Shah's army plundered the fort and forced the women and children to commit jauhar once again. Rana Udai Singh, who later founded the town of Udaipur, was still a young child then. He was transported secretly to a safe place till the time the situation stabilized. Later, he occupied the throne of Chittaurgarh but only for a brief period.
The third attack came from none other than the great Mughal ruler Akbar in 1567 and Udai Singh was left with little option. He fled from Chittaurgarh which fell into the hands of the Mughals.
Today, Chittaurgarh fort is faced with little danger from enemies as it is an integral part of India. However, its history attracts countless number of visitors who love to hear the courageous deeds of its earlier occupants.
Inside the Fort
Built on a 180 metre high hill, the Chittaurgarh fort
occupies 280 hectares and soars up to a height of 150 m. The
peripheral length of the gate is 13 km and it is accessed by many
gates. The prominent ones are Padam Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol
and Ram Pol.
Close to the Bhairon Pol, a cenotaph narrates the bravery of Jaimal and Kala. Both these young men died defending Chittaurgarh fiercely after Rana Udai Singh left it at the mercy of Akbar. A memorial at Ram Pol tells yet another tale of courage and sacrifice, this time of Phatta. Phatta was merely sixteen years old and just married when he marched down the battle field to protect his place from the invaders. He died in the battle and next day the women folk of his household committed jauhar.
The Vijay Stambh stands as a reminder of Maharana Kumbha's win over the Muslim rulers of Malawai and Gujarat in the year 1440. The tower is a nine storeyed structure with a height of 37 m. The sculptures that enhance the beauty of the tower are mainly derived from the two great Hindu epic, Mahabharat and Ramayana.
The Kirti Stambh is dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara, Adinath. Figures of Jain Pantheon increase the awesome appearance of the tower.
The palaces of the fort are as interesting as the towers. The Rani Padmini palace is the place where Ratan Singh showed the reflection of his beautiful wife, Padmini, to Ala-ud-din Khilji. The destruction that followed forced the rani to sacrifice her own life.
The Kumbha's palace is believed to be the same place where Rani Padmini, along with other women of the royal household, burnt herself alive to fail the sinister plan of Ala-ud-din Khilji. The palace is supposed to have underground cellars, the exact place of jauhar. The palace has an elephant as well as a horse stable along with a temple dedicated to Shiva.
Jaimal and Patta palaces remind the visitors of the great courage and determination of the young Rajputs in face of foreign invasion.
Opposite the Kumbha's palace is the 15th century Jain temple, Shantinath. The temple presents a remarkable mixture with its richly carved square adorned with Islamic dome.
The Fateh Prakash Palace Museum is a repository of Rajasthani weapons, sculptures, artifacts and folk arts. A good glimpse into the lives of early Rajputs.
The Meerabai Temple is dedicated to the young widow, Meera, who immersed herself in the worship of Lord Krishna. The temple is constructed in the Indo Aryan style. The Kumbha Shyam Temple , located in the same courtyard, is slightly bigger in size and dedicated to Varah.
The Kalika Mata Temple, near the Padmini's palace, was originally dedicated to Lord Surya in the 8th century, however, later it was converted into a Kali temple.