The story of Chittorgarh is a saga of valor, tenacity and sacrifice. Chittorgarh (also Chittaurgarh) was sacked three times and its defenders had to make the supreme sacrifice. The Fort of Chittorgarh is a treasure trove of history and offers to the traveler an insight into the life of the Great Rajput rulers, who laid down their lives fighting a superior enemy instead of leading a life of submission under them.
Chittorgarh is situated 150 miles southwest of Jaipur, the great fort of Chittorgarh stands atop a 500-foot high hill rising sharply from the surrounding plain. Today largely a deserted ruin, this fort perhaps more than any other symbolizes the honour and valor of the people of Rajasthan. Attacked repeatedly by invaders, three times it suffered the supreme sacrifies of the lives of all of its inhabitants. Despite the passage of centuries, the fierce struggles at Chittor are the subject of epic tales still told and songs still sung.
Chittorgarh became the first capital of the royal house of Mewar, descended from the sun, in the early thirteenth century. In 1303 the fort was attacked by Alaudding Khilji, the sultan of Delhi, reputed to be interested in claiming the beautiful Rajput princess as his own. If that was his goal, it was not to be realized, because as defeat became certain, Padmini and all the other women of the fort voluntarily committed themselves to the flames in ritual suicide. Their menfolk donned saffron robes and fought to their deaths. Today, massive fort walls, huge gateways, palaces, temples and towers bear mute witness to Chittorgarh's turbulent past.
History Of Chittorgarh
The origin of Chittorgarh can be traced to the seventh century. Earlier it was known as Chitrakut, after a local Rajput chieftain named Chitrang. It remained the capital of the local Sisodia clan of Rajputs from the eighth to the 16th century. The history of this town is written in blood and sacrifice. Muslim rulers sacked it three times in the medieval period. The first was by Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi in 1303. Khilji laid siege of this hill fort to capture the beautiful Padmini, the queen of Chittorgarh. When the situation worsened, Bhim Singh, the ruler of Chittorgarh, led his men donned with saffron robes of sacrifice, and rode out of the fort to certain death. Inside the fort, women, including Padmini and the children, committed mass suicide or jauhar by immolating themselves on a huge pyre, rather than losing their honor at the hands of the enemy. In the middle of the 15th century, Chittorgarh gained eminence when the legendary Rajput ruler, Rana Kumbha, ruled it. He built the Vijay Stambh (Victory Tower) to commemorate his victory over Mahmud Khilji, the ruler of Malwa, in 1440. Chittorgarh was sacked again in 1535 by Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat. The jauhar that followed the siege saw the death of 13,000 women and 32,000 Rajput soldiers. The third and final siege took place in 1568 at the hands of the great Mughal emperor Akbar. Jaimal and Kalla, two Rajput generals, valiantly defended the fort but with their death and deteriorating situation, jauhar was performed. However, Maharana Udai Singh II, the ruler of Chittorgarh, fled to Udaipur and re-established his rule. The Mughal emperor Jahangir returned Chittorgarh to its rulers in 1616.
Chittorgarh is located in the southern part of the state of Rajasthan, in the northwestern part of India. It is located beside a high hill near the Gambheri River. It is 112 km from Udaipur and 182 km from Ajmer. The climate of Chittorgarh is arid. Summers are quite hot (April-June) and winters are cool (October-February). It experiences scant rainfall between June and August.
Attaractions ( Chittorgarh)
According to legend, Bhim, one of the Pandava heroes of the ' Mahabharata ', is credited with the fort's original construction. All of Chittor's attractions are within the fort. The main gate on the eastern side of the fort is known as the Surajpol. From the western end of the fort, there are fine views over the town and across the surrounding country-side, as well as a less-than charming view of an enormous cement factory.
Vijay Stambh(Victory Tower)
It was built in 1440 AD. by Maharaja Kumbha, a powerful ruler of Mewar, to commemorate his victory over the Muslim rulers of Malwa and Gujarat. It is 37 metre high structure with nine storeys, covered with exquisite sculptures of Hindu deities.
Built beside a large pool with a pavilion in its centre. Legend relates that, as Padmini sat in this pavilion, Alaud-din was permitted to see her reflection in a mirror in the palace. The bronze gates in this pavilion were carried off by Akbar and can now be seen in the fort at Agra.
Kirti Stambh(Tower of Fame)
Chittor's other famous tower, the 22 metres high 'Kirti Stambha', or 'Tower of Fame', is older and smaller than the 'Tower of Victory'. Built by wealthy Jain merchant, it is dedicated to Adinathji, the first Jain tirthankar. A narrow stairway leads through the seven storeys to the top.
Meera & Kumbha Shyam Temple
Close to the Fateh Prakash Palace is the 'Meera temple', built during the reign of Rana Kumbha in the ornate Indo-Aryan style and associated with the mystic-poetess Meerabai. The larger temple which is in this same compound is the Kumbha Shyam temple, or temple of Varah.
Kalika Mata Mandir
A temple of mother Goddess Kali Who is the symbol of power. Originally it was built as a Sun temple in the 8th century and later was converted into Kalika Temple in 14th century AD.
Nearby Places ( Chittorgarh)
Bassi Wildlife Sanctuary
50 sq. kms sanctuary near Bassi, supports a population of panthers, wild boars, antelopes, mongoose and migratory birds. Prior permission has to be obtained from the district forest officer, Chittorgarh before visiting the sanctuary.
One of the oldest towns in Rajasthan, Nagri is 17 kms north of Chittorgarh. Hindu and Biddhist remains from the Mauryan to the Gupta periods have been found here.
A castle said to have been built by Rao Shakti Singh, the youngest brother Maharana Pratap Singh. Now it has been converted into a hotel. Sanwariyaji Temple Situated on Chittor - Udaipur road. It is modern temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and is an important pilgrimage spot for Hindus.
Bhainsrodgarh, Wildelife Sanctuary
Situated in the lush green region of the bhainsrodgarh. This sanctuary is well known for its valuable archaelogical.
Deogarh (125 km)
A 16th century fort situated near Pratapgarh. It is famous for its palaces and jain temples.
The best time to visit Chittorgarh is in winters.
By Bus : Chittorgarh is on the main bus and train routes. By road, it's 182 kms from Ajmer, 158 kms from Bundi and 112 kms from Udaipur. There are frequent connections to these places.
By Train : Chittorgarh has train links with Ahmedabad, Ajmer, Udaipur, Jaipur, Kota and Delhi.
STD Code : 01472 (Chittorgarh)