Located in the scenic Thar Deserts of Rajasthan, Chittorgarh is a historic town that was once the seat of the proud and honorable rulers of the Sisodia dynasty of Mewar. The Chittorgarh Fort is famous not only for its wonderful architecture but also for the events that have taken place there. This Fort has been under siege by invaders such as the Mughals on more than one occasion, but the fierce Rajputs have always fought back unto their deaths. In fact, the tale of the beautiful Rani Padmini and the tradition of Johar also took place here.
Chittorgarh is accessible by road, rail as well as air transport. It lies on the path of the Golden Quadrilateral Road Project and the North South East West Corridor Expressways and is well connected by bus services to all major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad etc. The Chittorgarh Railway Junction is caters to timely trains that connect the city to all major cities of India. The nearest airport is in Udaipur, and is a 70 km drive away from Chittorgarh.
The best time to visit Chittorgarh is during the winter months of September to March. The weather is pleasant during the day. The city faces the harsh heat of the desert and should best be avoided during peak summer months.
1. Chittorgarh Fort
The largest Fort in India, Chittorgarh fort is a majestic structure located atop a 590 foot hill and sprawling across nearly 700 acres. The massive structure houses many smaller temple and fortifications within itself. The Chittorgarh Fort is famous for its legacy and the valor and bloodshed it has seen since it was built in the 7th century.
Chittorgarh Fort was ruled by the warrior Sisodia clan. It came under the notice of various invaders including Allauddin Khilji and Emperor Akbar. Each time, the Rajputs fought back bravely to protect their land, preferring death to dishonor. The tradition of Johar, followed by Rajput women and children to avoid being captured and mistreated by foreigners, took place twice here, led once by Rani Padmini and once by Rani Karnavati.
2. Vijay Stambh
Located within the Chittorgarh Fort, the Vijay Stambh is an imposing 122 feet tall structure that was built by the great Rana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over the ruler of Malmud and Gujarat, Mahmud Khilji in 1448. The temple is dedicated to the mythological tales and Gods of the Rajputs and also the legacy of the Rajput empire. Thus detailed inscriptions depicting the same can be found along the height of the tower. The tower is nine stories high and each story is marked by a balcony offering visitors breathtaking views.
3. Kirti Stambh
This tower is a Jain structure dedicated to Rishabha, the first Tirthankara of Jainism. It was built within the Chittorgarh Fort in the 12th century by the Jain merchant Biherwal Mahajan Sanaya of the Digambar sect. The tower is 22 metres high and consists of seven stories. The engravings on the tower speak of the legends, beliefs and customs of the Jains. The four corners of the tower feature five foot tall statues of Sir Adinathji.
4. Rana Kumbha’s Palace
Rana Kumbha’s Palace is perhaps the ost historically significant site with Chittorgarh. Built in the 14th century by the Maharana Kumbha, this Palace was to see many instances that would become famous in history, such as the birth of the great Maharana Udai Singh and his rescue by the maid Panna Dai. The Johar of Rani Padmini also took place at this Palace. The palace includes the royal stables, treasury and also a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
5. Rani Padmini’s Palace
Rani Padmini’s Palace is a standing tribute to the legacy of the beautiful and virtuous Rani Padmini, who sacrificed herself in a funeral pyre rather than be captured and forced to wed the invader, Allauddin Khilji. It was from here that Allauddin Khilji was first allowed a glimpse of Rani Padmini by means of a mirror reflection and was so consumed with desire for her that he led a war that destroyed all of Chittorgarh. The palace is a beautiful three storied structure, with archways and balconies and made in white stone.
6. Bassi Wildlife Sanctuary
A wildlife sanctuary located on the outskirts of Chittorgarh, close to the Bassi Fort, this sanctuary has much to offer in terms of flora and fauna. It spreads over 15,920 hectares and was built and declared a protected area in 1988. Wildlife here includes spotted deer, panther, crocodile, hyena etc.
Chittorgarh is a tribute to the warriors of India, who have fought selflessly to protect their motherland. It is a city that will leave one feeling the impact and meaning of war and the rich history of India.