The Chittorgarh Fort holds a great place in the Indian history. Its palaces, broken walls show the heroism of innumerable sieges. This fort is located in the Chittorgarh, Rajasthan. It is a seven mile fort with a number of palaces. This amazing fort is spread in a large area and located at a great height. It is the largest fort in India in terms of area.
Chittorgarh was one of the furiously contested seats of power in India. It was fortified many times but, the legendary founder of the Sisodia dynasty-Bappa Rawal finally received the Chittor in the middle of the eighth century. This seat was the part of the last Solanki princess’s dowry. In 1330, Allauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi fascinated by tales of the exquisite beauty of Padmini who was the Rani of Chittor. After this, he wanted to verify himself about the tales. So, he went Chittor with his army. His armies surrounded the Chittor and the sultan sent a message to Rana Ratan Singh, Padmini’s husband, to say that he would leave the city with his army only if he could able to meet his famous beautiful queen. So, at last Rana Ratan Singh compromised with the sultan to save his empire. He sent a message to the Sultan that if you came unarmed into the fort, only then you would be able to take a reflection of the Rani of Chittorgarh. After this, the Sultan decided accordingly to go up the hill and have a glimpse reflection of the beautiful Padmini standing by a lotus pool. After that Khilji decided to conquer the fort to win Rani Padmini in the battle. Many warriors of both the sides died during the battle. Rana Ratan Singh saved himself and did not want to surrender, due to all that, khilji decided to attack Rani Padmini directly. After hearing this, Rani Padmini and other women of the fort decided to perform Jauhar (self immolation of women and subsequent march of men to the battlefield to end their life with respect) to avoid capture and dishonor at the hands of Muslim invaders. So, this was the famous story behind the famous fort and the beautiful rani’s end. Thus, the fort represents the epitome of tribute to the nationalism, courage, sacrifice exhibited by the Mewar rulers of Sisodia and their kinsmen, women and children.
Many other battles were taking place to conquer the fort but this was the important one in terms of sacrifice. The huge fort has many things inside it to visit. To reach the fort, one has to pass through the seven huge gates (Pol) namely, Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Jorla Pol, Ganesh Pol, Laxman Pol and the last one is Ram Pol.
Popular places to see and visit in the fort are:-
Tower of Victory (Vijay Stambh) – It was built in 1440 AD by the famous ruler Maharana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mohammed Khilji. It is a nine storey tower, adorned mostly by the sculptures of Hindu deities. Around 157 narrow steps are there that leads to the terrace of the tower.
Tower of Fame (Kirti Stambh) – This tower is dedicated to Adinathji, the first Jain Teerthankar and adorned with the naked figures of the Digambers.
Gaumukh Reservoir – This reservoir is basically a deep tank filled by a spring coming from a “cow mouth”, located at the edge of the cliff.
Rana Kumbha Palace – This place is totally ruined now and is most famous as the Rani Padmini and other women committed Jauhar there. In spite of the ruined building, it is of great historical and architectural interest.
Padmini Palace – This palace is also famous there as Rani Padmini lived here. It is a distinct feminine structure that overlooks a beautiful pool. This is the palace which is responsible for the battle between Allauddin Khilji and Rana Ratan Singh.
Meera Temple – Also known as Meerabai Temple, it was also built by the Maharana Kumbha in 1449. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna.
Kalika Mata Temple – This temple is also located inside the fort and simply dedicated to Goddess Kali. It was built originally as Surya or Sun Temple and after that converted to Kali temple.
Fateh Prakash Palace (Government Museum) – This palace or museum was built up by the Maharana Fateh Singh and so the name of the museum is. It is a huge palace with all modern amenities. There is a big sculpture of Lord Ganesha, a fountain and many frescoes. Now, the palace becomes a museum and has a rich collection of sculptures from temples and buildings in the Chittorgarh fort. Today, it is managed by the government of India.
So, Chittorgarh fort has many places to visit and each has its own past behind it. If anyone visits this place then, one should also visit Udaipur to know the whole past and the history behind the city’s battles and the Maharaja’s & Rani’s sacrifices towards their beloved ones.