Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past

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Fort has a glorious past. Hence  Chittorgarh is credited to be the largest fort in India. It is also located on the bank of river Berach and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also, this was the last piece of Rajasthan I was left to cover. I was absolutely over the moon when I figured out-I could perfectly fit a short visit to Chittorgarh. Therefore this Holi, which was luckily a long weekend, I packed my bags to cover the last trail of Rajasthan.

Chittorgarh Fort

On the 17th evening, post our Holi celebration in the office, we left for Chittorgarh Fort. It was approx 12 hrs drive (632.2 km); hence we started by 10 pm from Gurgaon. The weather was fantastic, with a breeze flowing through my hair. The roads were deserted since it was late at night. We decided to take two halts, one for tea and 30min another for the driver’s power nap. It was Purnima, I guess, as I saw the full-bloomed moon playing hide & seek. 

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Beautiful Night

It was early morning, probably 6 am; I saw the sun rising behind the Aravalli hills when I woke up. The golden halo on the head of the Aravalli looked so intriguing that I stopped my car to click some pictures and cherish the beautiful moment. It’s rare to see the such beautiful sunrise in Gurgaon. We were an hour’s drive away from Chittorgarh, so we decided on a pitstop for a cup of tea. 

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Sunrise on Aravalli

I was close to the fort’s entrance, and I could sense the onset of the summer season, the weather getting hot, and the bushes and trees starting to dry up and become barren. I stayed at the Rang Mahal Art Residency- a good-budget hotel with a rooftop cafe.

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Rang Mahal Art Residency

Upon arrival, we checked in & freshened up; it was around 9.30 am. We decided to take the trip to the fort post-lunch when the sun was a little down. As in the morning, people here play Holi with Gulal by visiting all temples in and around the fort. I watched the entire scene from my hotel’s balcony. 

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Holi celebration

Around 12.30 pm, we went to Gang0ar, a famous restaurant at the fort entrance, for lunch. We booked a cab that would take us around the fort for sightseeing. The lunch was superb, typical Rajasthani food with Kher-sangria, Gatta, papad ki sabzi & other pieces of bread. After a hearty lunch, though I needed a good sleep, the fort was waiting for us to be explored.

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past

Our driver acted as our unofficial tour guide, with tales of romance and bravery to share. Of course, none could be authenticated, but I had my encyclopedia -my mom to confirm his rumours, though. With a rich history, Chittorgarh gives a sense of being on ‘hallowed’ ground where many a mighty warrior once roamed—built 7th century by the Maurya rulers though there is no concrete evidence. But ever since then, it has been home to many different rulers since then. Chittorgarh was once the capital of Mewar, so every structure standing here bears testimony to its great heritage. Be it the imposing fort or the striking temples, the spectacular palaces and the monumental towers all have a story to tell. They are the standing testimony of a bygonebravery honour, valour, passion, loyalty and sacrifice.

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Entrance to Fort

The history of Chittorgarh is fascinating with tales of heroism, fortitude and romance, stories of death and destruction, battles and bloody siege. The captivating legends of queens and aristocratic women sacrificing their lives in Jauhar. These tales have been immortalised into ballads and folk songs over the years. Another reason Chittorgarh came into the limelight recently was when famed Rajput queen Padmini, also known as Rani Padmavati. Most legend has stated she was the most beautiful queen who lived in Chittorgarh during the 13th – 14th century.

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Ruins of Fort

Upon reaching, I bought my entry tickets & stood admiring the sheer size and grandeur of the fort. S Spreading across roughly 692 acres, a magnificent structure stands atop a 180-metre-high hill. It has been credited with being the largest fort in the country. I can’t stop being in awe of the place of its size and grandiosity. Hence been declared one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

Padan Pol

We first drove the entire area, where the driver confirmed the fort is recognised for its unique and well-perceived architecture. Moreover, it has 84 artificially made reservoirs around the defence. All pools were designed to hold sufficient water to meet the requirements for a fleet of 50,000 soldiers for four years. Such well-thought construction in medieval times illustrates a pure genius architect.

The look of the pol

There are seven gates leading to the forts- where the main entrance is called Ram Pol. The rest are Padal pol, Lakshman pol, Jolla pol, Ganesh pol, Hanuman pol and Bhairon Pol. All are designed intelligently to prevent the enemy from entering or attacking the defence. But today, I got to see the ruins of a glorious past. The destruction over a woman was massive, though not all is ruined and torn down. Around 65 monuments are still standing, mainly palaces, temples, towers and cenotaphs, painting a compelling picture of the grandeur.

Places to see at Chittorgarh Fort. 

  • Kumbha Palace

We started with Kumbha Palace, constructed by Maharana Kumbha. He was known for his illustrious military career and patronisation of art, music, and architecture. It is also believed to be the birthplace of Maharana Udai Singh(founder of Udaipur city). Though Rana Kumbha is 

 Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Ruins of Kumbha Palace

The ruins of the majestic palace are hauntingly beautiful. It is thought that Udai’s nurse Panna Dai sacrificed her son Chandan to save him from his uncle Banbir in this palace. And took Maharana Udai Singh to Kumbhalgarh. I was in awe looking at the single walls that stood tall without support, and the windows framing the ruins were still erect. 

  • Meera Temple

Further, we moved to our next stop, Meera Temple. Since there are multiple Hindu & Jain temples, I assumed people would have been highly pious. But Meera Bai temple is famous among other known temples, such as Adbuth Nath Mandir, Kshemankari Mandir and Kumbh Sham Mandir. Meera Bai was a Rajput princess known for her fearless disregard for social and family conventions. And her devotion to Krishna and being persecuted by her in-laws for her religious faith. As per historians, there are three different oldest records, all from the 17th century and written within 150 years of Meera’s death.

Archiotect of Meera temple
Fort: Chittorgargh, the majestic heritage of past

Interestingly nothing is mentioned about her childhood or the circumstances of her marriage to Bhojraj. Neither does it say that the people who persecuted her were her in-laws or from a Rajput royal family. But Legends speaks about Meera’s unwilling marriage to Bhoj Raj and multiple assassination attempts on her. 

 Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Meera Temple

Other stories say that Mira Bai left the kingdom of Mewar and went on pilgrimages. Another tale says she lived in Dwarka or Vrindavan, where is she miraculously disappeared by merging into an idol of Krishna in 1547. Similarly, some stories state that Guru Ravidas was her guru (teacher), but there is no corroborating historical evidence. Even a tiny temple dedicated to Guru Ravidas with his footprints is present in the Meera Bai temple. This is quite interesting!

 Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
RaviDas temple carvings
  • Vijay Stambh

We had to walk down to the Vijay Stambh in the scorching heatA nine-storied tower made of red stone by Maharana Kumbha. The magnificent, tall, majestic Stambh with elaborate carvings was constructed in 1448. It was built to celebrate his triumph over Allaudin Khiji’s army. The entry to the top is now closed to prevent the structure from deteriorating.

 Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Vijay Stambh
  • Gau Mukh Kund

Rajasthan’s forts have exceptionally well planned, with ample water storage facilities. Similarly, it was noticed in Chittorgarh fort- I discovered a detailed water body’s presence, approximately 40% of the area is in the form of step wells (Baoli), reservoirs, lakes (Talab) and huge wells (Kund). 

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Samadhishvara Temple

Gau Mukh Kund is a tank that looks greenish, which sparkles once sun rays fall on it. The cow-shaped spout that feeds the lake gives its name Gau Muakh. It was the bathing pool for the queens. Interestingly a secret underground passageway connects the lake to the palaces.

Gau Mukh

Beside the Gau, Mukh is Samadhishvara Temple dedicated to Shiva, who is called. It was constructed in the 11th century and is also known as “Adbhut-Ji” or “Adbad-Ji”- a local name for the three-faced aspect of Shiva.

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Lord Shiva
  • Rani Padmini Mahal

A three-storied structure surrounded by a lake is situated in the southern part of the Chittorgarh Fort. It was constructed on the lake to beat the heat of Rajasthan. And it kept the Mahal calm. It was built for Rani Padmini, also known as Padmavati, a legendary 13th–14th century.  My driver confirmed that this Mahal, Alauddin Khilji, was permitted to witness a mirror image of Rani Padmavati.

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Padmini Mahal

A beautiful princess of the Sinhalese kingdom married Raja Ratan Singh, the ruler of Mewar. Because of her striking beauty, Rani Padmini was the subject of several folk tales of the region. The Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi is credited with the most famous piece on her. His poem romanticised the legendary queen, giving her a mystical aura.

Ruins of Padmini Mahal

A parrot tells Chittor’s king Ratansen of Padmavati and her beauty. On the other hand, Raghav Chetan, a banished Brahmin courtier, talks to Alauddin Khalji about the magnificent Padmavati. One ballad led to marriage, and another war ended with Padmavat committing Jauhar.

  • Kirti Stambha: 

A 22-meter-high tower built by a Jain merchant Jeeja Bhagerwala. It is also known as Tower Fame – dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara – God Adinath. I took a picture from outside and drove towards Kalika temple.

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Kriti Stambh
  • Kalika Mata Temple 

It is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali and was constructed by Maharana Pratap when he ascended the throne. Built-in Pratihara style of architecture with pillars carved in a serpentine manner, a polished floor, and different sculptures. The temple stands on an elevated platform as a significant part of the temple was destroyed by Khilji’s army and has to be rebuilt.

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Kalika Mata Temple

It is believed that the presiding deity of this temple was worshipped by Maharana and his army generals for victory in battle. However, the prayers aren’t carried anymore at Kalika Mata Temple but can be visited. 

 We spent less time for pictures in rest places, as we had to return to Kumbha palace for sunset. 

  • Sathis Deori Temple

A sacred site for the Jain, dedicated to the Tirthankaras and other Jain religious figurines. It is a group of temples constructed in the 11th century and houses twenty-seven temples. 

Sathis De0rio temple
  • Tulja Bhawani Temple

Goddess Tulja, an incarnation of Goddess Durga. An ancient shrine has enchanting architecture dedicated to Goddess Tulja. 

Tulja Bhavani Temple
  • Jain Temple

The history of the Jain religion is ancient, as its origin can be traced back to the third or fourth BC. And encouragement from the Rajput rulers paved the way for Jainism’s growth here. One can find many temples within Chittorgarh’s precincts with spectacular art and structural design manifestations.

Jain temple
  • Fateh Prakash Mahal

This splendid building used to be the residence of 19Maharana Pratap. Converted into a museum in 1968, the traditional Rajasthani style of architecture with rich interiors embellished with expensive furniture never disappoints tourists. 

Fateh Prakash Mahal

We finally returned to Kumbha palace to witness a beautiful sunset. I sat with both legs dangling over the edge of this world heritage site. I looked at the sun that moved further to the horizon—often disappearing and reappearing behind the clouds before they vanished. In total satisfaction, I gazed out at the unique pink and blue streams of skylights, which provided a perfect ending to my exciting day.

Sunset from Kumbha Palace

We did some local shopping in the evening and spent at the rooftop cafe. I sat sipping my coffee & watching out the twinkling city lights. I was mesmerised looking at the ruins that were majestic once upon a time. I had an early dinner since we had to start early for Mount Abu.

Fort: Chittorgargh the magestic heritage of past
Evening City Lights

How to Reach

By Air: 

The nearest airport is Udaipur, approximately 110 km away from the city. At the airport, hire taxis or opt for bus services from Udaipur to reach Chittorgarh.

By Rail:

The Chittorgarh Junction is 6 km from the Chittorgarh Fort, while Chanderiya Railway Station is 11 km from the fort. You need to hire private cabs or take a shared taxi from the station to reach the city.

By Road:

Chittorgarh is well-connected via road to Jaipur, Udaipur, Delhi and Jaisalmer. Buses, private cabs, and shared taxis ply from these places. However, you can either book a private cab or a shared taxi. One can drive to Mount Abu too.



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