hilltop fortress of Chittorgarh epitomizes the whole romantic, doomed
ideal of Rajput chivalry. Three times in its long history, Chittor was
sacked by a stronger enemy and, on each occasion, the end carne in
textbook Rajput fashion as jauhar was declared in the face of impossible
odds. The men donned the saffron robes of martyrdom and rode out from
the fort to certain death, while the women and children immolated
themselves on a huge funeral pyre. Honour was always more important than
death. Despite the forts impressive locations and colourful
history, Chittor is well and truly off the main tourist circuit and sees
surprisingly few visitors. Its well worth the detour.
first defeat occurred in 1303 when Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Pathan King of
Delhi, besieged the fort in order to capture the beautiful Padmini, wife
of the Ranas uncle, Bhim Singh. When defeat was inevitable the
Rajput noblewomen, including Padmini, committed sati and Bhim Singh led
the orange-clad nobleman out to their deaths. In 1535 it was Bahadur
Shah, the sultan of Gujarat, who besieged the fort and, once again, the
medieval dictates of chivalry determined the outcome. This time, the
carnage was immense. It is said that 13,000 Rajput women and 32,000
Rajput warriors died following the declaration of jauhar.
final sack of Chittor came just 33 years later, in 1568, when the Mughal
emperor, Akbar, took the town. Once again, the fort was defended
heroically but, once again, the odds were overwhelming and the women
performed sati, the fort gates were flung open and 8000 orange-robbed
warriors rode out to their deaths. On this occasion, Maharana Udai Singh
fled to Udaipur where he re-established his capital. In 1616, Jehangir
returned Chittor to the Rajputs but there was no attempt at
- Chittorgarh Fort
The Chittorgarh Fort is a massive
structure perched on a hill spread over an area of 280-hectare.
Among the monuments housed within the fort are Rana Kumbha Palace,
Fateh Prakash Palace, Tower of Victory and Padmini's Palace.
- Sita Mata Sanctuary
The jungle of Sita Mata is spread
across over Aravalli ranges and Malwa plateau. Three rivers flow
through the forest that adds to its attraction. A variety of animals
that can be spotted here include leopard, hyena, jackal, fox,
porcupine, sambar, wild boar, four-horned antelope and countless
- Kirti Stambh
Adherents of the Jainism travel to
Rajasthan in large number as the state is noted for being home to
some of the finest Jaina structures. One of them is Kirti Stambh.
Dedicated to Adinath, the 1st Jaina Tirthankar, the Kirti Stambh was
built in the 12th century A.D by a wealthy Jain merchant. The tower
is adorned by the naked figures of the Digambars.
- Victory Tower
Located within the premises of Rana
Kumbha Palace, Victory Tower commemorates the victory of Rana Kumbha
over Mahmud Khilji. This 37-m, 9-storied tower has a number of
balconies at each story, offering a splendid view of the monuments
located within the fort.
- Rana Kumbha Palace
This 15th century Palace of Rana
Kumbha is a classic specimen of Rajput architecture. It was built by
Rana Kumbha during whose reign Mewar prospered and scaled new
- Kumbha Shyam Temple
Built during the region of Rana
Kumbha the temple is a fine example in the Indo-Aryan style. The
shrine is famous for housing an image of Varaha, the boar
incarnation of Vishnu.
- Kalika Mata Temple
Dedicated to the mother Goddess
Kali the temple has beautiful carvings. The carvings include the
famous scenes of the churning of the ocean by the gods and demons.
There is an image of Surya guarding the main entrance to the temple.
- Meerabai Temple
Built in north Indian style with a
delicate curved tower the temple is dedicated to Meerabai, the
famous Jodhpur princess and mystic poetess.
- Gaumukh Kund
The Gaumukh Kund is a deep tank and
considered to be a holy place. Located in the tranquil surroundings,
this spot offers spectacular views across the plains.
- Padmini's Palace
Padmini's Palace is built beside the
lotus pool with a historical pavilion that changed the course of
history of Chittor. Ala-ud Ala-ud-din -din's obsession with her
beauty led to the bloody battle in 130. Padmini committed jauhar to
disgrace. A travel to Rajasthan will acquaint you with the highly
cherished notion that death is preferable to dishonor.