Genral Information - Chittorgarh
The story of Chittorgarh is a saga of valor, tenacity and sacrifice. Chittorgarh (also Chittaurgarh) was sacked three times and its defenders had to make the supreme sacrifice. The Fort of Chittorgarh is a treasure trove of history and offers to the traveler an insight into the life of the Great Rajput rulers, who laid down their lives fighting a superior enemy instead of leading a life of submission under them.
The origin of Chittorgarh can be traced to the seventh century. Earlier it was known as Chitrakut, after a local Rajput chieftain named Chitrang. It remained the capital of the local Sisodia clan of Rajputs from the eighth to the 16th century. The history of this town is written in blood and sacrifice. Muslim rulers sacked it three times in the medieval period. The first was by Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi in 1303. Khilji laid siege of this hill fort to capture the beautiful Padmini, the queen of Chittorgarh. When the situation worsened, Bhim Singh, the ruler of Chittorgarh, led his men donned with saffron robes of sacrifice, and rode out of the fort to certain death. Inside the fort, women, including Padmini and the children, committed mass suicide or jauhar by immolating themselves on a huge pyre, rather than losing their honor at the hands of the enemy. In the middle of the 15th century, Chittorgarh gained eminence when the legendary Rajput ruler, Rana Kumbha, ruled it. He built the Vijay Stambh (Victory Tower) to commemorate his victory over Mahmud Khilji, the ruler of Malwa, in 1440. Chittorgarh was sacked again in 1535 by Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat. The jauhar that followed the siege saw the death of 13,000 women and 32,000 Rajput soldiers. The third and final siege took place in 1568 at the hands of the great Mughal emperor Akbar. Jaimal and Kalla, two Rajput generals, valiantly defended the fort but with their death and deteriorating situation, jauhar was performed. However, Maharana Udai Singh II, the ruler of Chittorgarh, fled to Udaipur and re-established his rule. The Mughal emperor Jahangir returned Chittorgarh to its rulers in 1616.
Place To See :
Most of Chittorgarh's magnificent monuments - palaces, temples and towers - are situated in Chittorgarh Fort, which can be accessed through a 1km-long ascent that leads through seven gateways to reach the main gate, called Rampol. Jaimal and Kalla, the heroes of the 1568 siege by Akbar, are honoured by two chhatries (cenotaphs) between the second and third gates. The other main gate of the fort is on its eastern side and is Surajpol. The Rana Kumbha Palace is considered to be one of the most impressive palaces in the fort. It is believed that the palace has underground basements where Rani Padmini and other women performed jauhar. A part of the Fateh Prakash Palace was converted into the Government Museum in 1968. Vijay Stambha, or Tower of Victory, is a nine-storey, 121ft-high structure which was built by Maharana Kumbha in 1440AD to commemorate his victory over Mohammed Khilji. The tower is adorned by sculptures of Hindu deities. Built by a wealthy Jain merchant in the 12th century, Kirti Stambh, a seven-storeyed, 72ft-high tower, is dedicated to Adinathji, the first Jain teerthankar. Padmini's Palace is built close to the lotus pond where Ala-ud-din Khilji apparently saw a reflection of Rani Padmini in his mirror, so enamouring him that he attacked the fort in a bid to capture her. A good example of Rajput architecture, the Meera Bai Temple was built during the rule of Maharana Kumbha and was later given to Meera Bai, the legendary devotee of Lord Krishna.
How Get There :
By Air Accomodation :
Chittorgarh is connected by air through Dabok Airport, also known as Maharana Pratap Airport in Udaipur, and is 90 km away from the city centre. Taxi charges about Rs 1500 from Dabok airport to Chittorgarh. This airport connects to Jaipur and Delhi. Nearest International airport is New Delhi, which is well connected to most of the major foreign cities. New Delhi airport is nearly 583 km away from Chittorgarh.
Frequent bus services are available from Chittorgarh to all major cities in the state and neighboring states. Many tourist buses provide services between Chittorgarh and Jaipur (325 km), Indore (325 km) and Ajmer (185 km).
Chittorgarh railway station is well connected to all major cities in India including Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Udaipur and Delhi.
Accommodation in Chittorgarh is scant and restricted to low- and middle-level budget. Most of the hotels are near the railway station.
Shopping for genuine Rajasthani artifacts is popular with visitors to Chittorgarh. Look for metal ware, fabrics, thewa jewellery (gold designs embedded in glass), colourful leather jutis and Akola fabrics. These are available at Sadar Bazaar, Rana Sanga Market, New Cloth Market, Fort Road Market, Gandhi Chowk and Station Circle. Sculptures and wooden painted toys from Bassi village are also sought after.
October-November is vibrant with festivities of Deepvali and Dusserah.
February-March is attractive with great colorful festivities of Holi celebrations