Geography of Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort is located in the southern part of Rajasthan, which is 233 km from Ajmer, midway between Delhi and Mumbai on the National Highway 8 in the road network of Golden Quadrilateral.
History of Chittorgarh Fort
What is remarkable about Chittorgarh Fort is the fact that thrice it has faced a siege and each time the city was lost. The main reason behind this was the war strategy of the Rajputs. They always left the secure walls of their fort to launch an attack. Every time they did this, it proved fatal for Chittor. The never-ending trouble for Chittorgarh Fort started with Alauddin Khilji and the final blow to its foundation was provided by Akbar. The most famous tale involving this fort is that of Queen Padmini. Enamored by her beauty and intelligence, Alauddin Khilji attacked Chittorgarh. Finally to avoid dishonor, Padmini along with 30,000 women performed ‘Jauhar’, an act of mass suicide.
Entrances of Chittorgarh Fort
There are various entrances to the fort. But the most prominent ones are Hanuman Pol, Padam Pol, Ram Pol and Bhairon Pol. Near the Bhairon Pol, a chhatri is dedicated to two young Rajput warriors, Jaimal and Kala. These two fighters fought till the end to defend Chittorgarh from Akbar while the king Rana Udai Singh abandoned it. Another monument at Ram Pol narrates the bravery of Phatta. Merely 16 years of age and newly married, he went to the battlefield undeterred to protect his place from invaders. He died fighting bravely and the women in his family committed ‘Jauhar’.
Buildings inside Chittorgarh Fort
Along with its palaces, there are several other structures inside the fort complex, which attract the tourists to it. The most prominent structures are Vijay Stambha, Kirti Stambha, Rana Kumbha Palace, Fateh Prakash Palace, Gaumukh Reservoir, Padmini’s Palace, Shringar Chauri Temple, Meerabai Temple etc. Some of the structures have been detailed below:
Vijay Stambha: Vijay Stambha or Jaya Stambha, called the symbol of Chittor, was erected by Rana Kumbha between 1458 and 1468 to commemorate his victory over Mahmud Shah I Khalji, the Sultan of Malwa. This tower is 37.2 meters in height, which has been erected on a 47 square feet base in nine stories accessed through a narrow circular staircase of 157 steps. The dome, which was a later addition, was damaged by lightning and repaired during the 19th century. The Stamba is now illuminated during the evenings and gives a beautiful view of Chittor from the top of it.
Kirti Stambha: Kirti Stambha is a 22 meter high tower, which was built on a 30 feet base. It is adorned with Jain sculptures on the outside and is older and smaller than the Vijay Stambha. This tower was built by a Bagherwal Jain merchant Jijaji Rathod. It is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankar. In the lowest floor of the tower, various figures of the Tirthankars of the Jain pantheon are seen in special niches.
Padmini Palace: This palace belongs to the famous queen of Chittorgarh. Named after her, it has been a witness to the great show of strength and bravery. It is the same place where Ala-ud-din Khilji caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror in the presence of Ratan Singh.
Rana Kumbha Palace: The oldest palace, Rana Kumbha Palace is located near the entrance gate of Vijay Stambha. The palace houses elephant and horse stables and a temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The founder of Udaipur, Maharana Udai Singh was born in this palace. The remarkable feature of this palace is its splendid series of canopied balconies. Entry to the palace is through Suraj Pol, which leads to a courtyard. Rani Meera, the famous poet saint, also lived in this palace. In this palace Rani Padmini is said to have consigned herself to the funeral pyre in one of the underground cellars, as an act of ‘Jauhar’ along with many other women.
Shringar Chauri Temple: The visitors are likely to come across a 15th century Jain Temple known as Shringar Chauri Temple. The most striking feature of this temple is its architecture. It has been built with Mughal dome. Monuments like these reflect the artistic taste of the Rajputs.
Meerabai Temple: Meerabai Temple belonged to the young widow who worshipped Lord Krishna. In Indian culture Meerabai is considered as one of the greatest devotees of Lord Krishna for whom the world began and ended with the God. The temple has been built in an Indo-Aryan style.
Other Buildings of Chittorgarh Fort
Apart from the above mentioned towers, palaces and temples, there are some other structures inside the fort, which are equally important and popular among the tourists. For example, Fateh Prakash Palace Museum was the place for keeping Rajasthani weapons, sculptures, artifacts and folk arts. Next is Kalika Mata Temple, which is initially dedicated to Lord Surya and then to goddess Kali. It is a prominent religious monument of this fort. Besides these, the Gomukh Kund and the palaces of Jaimal and Patta are also located within the fort complex.
Visiting Information to Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh can be reached by all modes of transportation. Chittorgarh Railway Station and Udaipur Airport (Dabok Airport) are the closest to this monument. This place is also well connected to all parts of India by road; and the fort can be reached via NH 8.