>> Rajasthan Forts & Palaces
>> Chittaurgarh Fort
Chittaurgarh Fort is a living testimony to the bravery of the great
Rajput rulers who laid down their life fighting a superior enemy instead
of leading a life of submission. The fort is located on a hill that
dominates the modern township of Chittor. It is a fine example of
the Rajput style of architecture.
Standing tall in one of the oldest cities in Rajasthan, the Chittaurgarh
Fort perched on a 152-m-high rocky hill. The Chittaurgarh Fort epitomises
the doomed romantic ideal of Rajput chivalry. Chittaurgarh Fort is
a living testimony to the bravery of the great Rajput warriors who
sacrificed their lives fighting a superior enemy instead of leading
a life of submission.
The fort with its impressive location and colourful history is the
main source of attraction in Chittor town. Named after Chittrangad
Mauraya, the fort is a fine example of the Rajput style of architecture.
The Sisodia ruler Ajay Pal (1174-1177 AD) improvised the fort wall
built by the Gahlot king in the ninth century AD. The immense stretch
of the walls and the ruined palaces relate the saga of innumerable
sieges and heroism. The Chittaurgarh Fort witnessed three ferocious
sieges and each time her defenders, demonstrating true Rajputana pride,
fought valiantly against the enemies.
With the modern town of Chittor at the foot of the hill, imposing
Chittaurgarh Fort rises 150 m above the surrounding region and runs
to an approximate length of 3 km covering an area of 60 acres and
peripheral length of 13 km.
Not to be missed during your travel to Rajasthan, the legend of Chittaurgarh
Fort still lingers with the story of Queen Padmini and Ala-ud-din
Khilji, the ruler of Delhi, who was besotted with her beauty. According
to legend, it was because of the beautiful Padmini that Chittaurgarh
was sacked the first time. Ala-ud-din Khilji is said to have been
so carried away by Padmini's beauty that he attacked Chittor in order
to possess her. This led to the first bitter and bloody siege of the
Chittaurgarh Fort and the subsequent mass suicide.
The main places of interest within the precincts of the fort are the
two towers known as the Kirti Stambh (Tower of Fame)
and the Vijay Stambh (Tower of Victory). Besides these,
there are several temples, reservoirs, and palaces originating between
the 9th and 17th centuries AD. There is also a big complex of Jain
temples within the fort.
The Kirti Stambh is a seven-storied structure with a cramped stairway
of 54 steps. It is 30 feet at the base and narrows down to 15 feet
at the top and is adorned with Jain sculptures on the outside. It
is dated approximately around the 12th century AD. It is dedicated
to the first Jain tirthankara or spiritual teacher, Adinath, and has
an impressive five-feet-high statue of the saint.
However, the most imposing structure within the Chittaurgarh Fort
is the Vijay Stambh. This tower can even be seen from the town, which
is located below the fort. This exemplary piece of architecture stands
on a pedestal of 47 square feet and 10 feet high, while the tower
alone stands at a height of 122 feet and is 30 feet wide at the base.
There are 157 steps and the stairs are circular. It is believed that
the tower took 10 years to be completed. The tower was built around
the 15th century AD, by Rana Kumbha, one of the most powerful Mewar
kings. The tower was built to commemorate his victory over Mahmud
Khilji of Malwa. The entire structure is covered with sculptures of
Hindu deities and episodes from the two great Hindu epics, the Ramayana
and the Mahabharata, with names given below each piece of sculpture.
The Sammidheshwara Temple is near this tower. Gaumukh reservoir
and the palace of Queen Padmini are important spots to the south of
the Rana Kumbha Palace. According to legend, Ala-ud-din Khilji, the
Sultan of Delhi, was allowed to see the reflection of Queen Padmini
in this palace. A big water reservoir with water gushing out of a
rock shaped in the form of cows mouth called Gaumukh
is close to the opening of the cave where Rani Padmini and the other
women are believed to have performed jauhar. Other spots worth visiting
are the Bhimtal Tank, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Meera Temple, Kumbha
Shyam Temple, and Kalika Mata Temple dating back to the 8th century.