Located on the bank of river Berach and Gambhiri in the Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan, the fort Chittorgarh is the largest of all forts in India and Asia. The fort got its name after Chitrangada Mori, the Mauryan ruler and was constructed by the Mauryans during the 7th century. The most talked fort throughout the Indian history is situated at a height of 180 m above the sea level and covers an area of approximately 700 acres and extending to 3 kms length. This fort is a perfect symbol of pride, chivalry and values of the Rajputs and has the best-planned architecture that flaunts the glory of the Rajputs who once ruled it. The Fort of has a massive structure which is secured by numerous broad gateways and looks like a shape of a fish.
The fort was attacked 3 times and has seen immense courage, romance, sacrifice and determination of Rajput women and men. Allaudin Khilji attacked the fort in 1303 A.D. The coveted Queen of Chittaur, queen Padmini and other women of the court sacrificed their lives rather than to surrender to anybody. In 1535, the Fort was attacked second time by Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. The fort was attacked third and last time in 1567 by Mughal king Akbar to defeat the king Maharana Udai Singh and a jauhar – mass suicide was seen during every attack.
The “Pride of Rajasthan”, Chittorgarh fort is located on the hill. The fort is protected by a wall which is around 13 km in length and cover mountains on another side which makes the fort almost invincible. This massive fort can be accessed by seven huge gates namely the Hanuman Pol, Bhairon Pol, Paidal Pol, Ganesh Pol, Laxman Pol, Jorla Pol and the main Ram Pol. During early times, Pols served as the watch towers and are made up of strong iron spikes.
The fort has got a history which dates back to the Pandavas from Mahabharat. It is believed that one of the pandavas, Bhima built the fort. The fort includes 4 palace structures, 4 memorials, 19 main temples and 20 efficient water bodies. The fort has temples of Meera and Khumba Shyam and is related with Meera who was a mystic poetess committed to Lord Krishna. In addition to these, the Sammidheshwara Temple, Kalika Mata temple, Jain Temple, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Meerabai Temple and Kumbha Shyam Temple. These ancient temples have significant carvings and elaborated work of deities. The Adi Varah Temple, the Shringar Chauri Temple, the Vijay Stambh memorial are also present in the fort. The fort was constructed in two phases with two complete different construction styles. The first is based on pure Rajputana and the other under the influence of Sisodians. The hexagonal and octagonal towers joined with stone gateways provides a narrow path to the fort.
Some of the most important structures of the fort are as follows:
Water Fort : Chittorgarh fort is also known as Water Fort since the fort had around 84 water bodies but out of them, only 22 exist now. These water bodies include ponds, wells and step wells. The average depth of reservoir is about 2 m which means that these reservoirs can store around 4 billion lt water.
Tower of Victory or Vijay Stambha: The Vijay Stambha has been built to celebrate the victory of the king Rana Kumbha over the Sultan of Malwa, Mahmud Shah I Khalji. The Vijay Stambh was built around 10 years ago and is around 37.2 m high. The nine levelled structure can be accessed by circular steps which ends in a dome. The tower gives a spectacular view of chittor city from top.
Tower of Fame or Kirti Stambha: Kirti Stambha, built by Jijaji Rathod – a Bagherwal Jain merchant is 22 m high tower and is dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara, Adinath. The is decorated with the glorious figures of Tirthankaras and is with Jain sculptures from outside. The tower has 54 steps which led to the top of the tower.
This is a sacred place where a deep container is filled by a small spring coming from ‘cow mouth’. It is located at the boundary of the cliff and one can feed the fishes there.
Rana Kumbha Palace: The ruins of the oldest memorial in the Chittorgarh Fort, the Rana Kumbha palace can be found near the opening of the Vijaya Stamba. Suraj Pol provides access to palace’s courtyard and gives a sight of superbly embellished balconies. The famous poetess saint, Meera Bai also lived in same palace. Additionally, Queen Padmini devoted mass self-immolation with many other women in this palace.
Queen Padmini’s Palace: The palace is located near the south-most part of the Fort in a spectacular white stone structure. Allauddin Khilji was permitted to have a sight of Queen Padmini in this palace which later provoked him to conquer the Chittorgarh fort.
How to reach:
By Air – Nearest airport is in Udaipur city around 70 km from the fort.
By Train – Chittorgarh junction has direct rail links from almost all the major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Udaipur, etc.
By Road – The fort can be accessed by taking a bus or hiring a cab from Udaipur city.
The view of Vijay Stambh is illuminated during night and it looks mesmerizing. The heritage of Rajasthan is a must-visit sight and the glorious monuments of the fort are surely worth spending some time.
Photo by ramnath bhat
Photo by lensnmatter
Photo by thegoldenraven