On paper, Chittorgarh is only the former capital of the mighty kingdom of Mewar, only to be plundered by invaders and looted for its vast enclave and the enormous riches hidden inside. But if you read into the folklore of the city as told by the poets and the bards, you will see a song of indomitable courage, bravery and sacrifice being sung throughout the history of Chittorgarh.
Lying on the shores of Berach River, the city is obviously named after the fort it houses. The historic Chittorgarh Fort and its legend have lent inspiration to many tales of the time then and now. Standing atop a 180m high hill, and spreading for an area of 700 acres, the Chittorgarh Fort is the main attraction of the city and also the reason behind the city’s significance.
Over the course of time, the fort has seen numerous violent battles and endless bloodshed. But three particular occasions turned out to be quite fatal for the city’s honour that the Rajput so took pride in. The first of the tumultuous battles were fought between the-then ruler RanaRatan Singh and Sultan AlauddinKhilji. Various legends, albeit unreliable, say that the 8-month long siege of 1303 was done by the Sultan to obtain Queen Padmavati, with whose beauty he was obsessed.
The Jauhar that Padmavati and all the womenfolk of Chittorgarh performed went down to history as one of the most tragic acts of heroism. The second attack was done by Bahadur Shah in 1533-35 and the third one was by Mughal Emperor Akbar who was successful in defeating RanaUdai Singh and took over the fort. It came back to the Rajput clan later under Jahangir’s rule.
Chittorgarh Fort is said to be one of the largest forts of India. Rani Padmini Palace has also been made legendary by the tales of the yore. The legend says that Khilji saw the reflection of the queen in the lotus pool of this palace, which eventually led to the great siege and battle. The two columns, Vijay Stambh or the Victory Tower and KirtiStambh or the Tower of Fame are stunning pieces of architecture.
Chittorgarh has a plethora of temples one can explore, including the six Jain temples within the walls of the fort.