The history of Chittor Fort in Chittorgarh, is closely intertwined that of Udaipur. The royal house of Mewar at Udaipur has descended from the lineage of Chittorgarh. The Fort has interesting conquests, battles and tales of valour to its heritage; it is an UNESCO world heritage site. We visited Chittor fort on our 8 day long family road trip thorugh Mewar region of Rajasthan this winter. It was definitely an interesting experience to visit this Fort.
The chittorgarh fort has an illustrious and long history, having been ruled under multiple dynasties. This ofcourse makes it a perfect candidate for many tales of valour. The Chittor Fort is located over a hill 180 m (590.6 ft) in height and spread over an area of 280 ha (691.9 acres) above the plains of the valley of Berach River. The fort precinct has several historical palaces, gates, temples and two prominent commemoration towers. The ascent to the fort passes through seven gateways built by the Mewar ruler Rana Kumbha (1433- 1468) of the Sisodia clan. These gates are called, from the base to the hill top, the Paidal Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ganesh Pol, Jorla Pol, Laxman Pol, and Ram Pol, the final and main gate.
I would not delve too much into the history part, which the reader can search up on the internet. Walk with us (me, husband and our toddler), as we visit the various monuments inside the fort.
The first monument we visited was Vijay Stambha, a monument I was completely fascinated with since school years. Visiting the Vijay Stambha was fulfilment of a cherished dream (read about my experience here). The visit done, our guide then took us to the Meerabai Temple.
The Meerabai temple is said to have been built by Rana Khumba and it is in an ornate Indo–Aryan architectural style. It is associated with the mystic saint-poet Mirabai (wife of Bhoj Raj, crown prince of Mewar), who was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna and dedicated her entire life to His worship. Since we were there in the morning at the temple, the priests were conducting morning rituals of prayers and it was nice to be there without any crowds and just us witnessing the rituals.
The guide also showed us a park, located in between the Vijay Stambha and Meerabai temple, which he said, originally used to be location of ‘Johar’ (death by sacrificial fire for honour of clan , in case there is any attack and imminent overtake of fort) by the royal ladies. He also told us that even till this date, family members of the royal lineage of Mewar come here once a year and conduct hawan puja (prayer ceremony) to respect the departed souls of the ladies who sacrificed their lives for ‘honour’.
We then walked over to the Gaumukh Sarovar, which is a reservoir from a spring feeding a tank from a carved cow’s mouth in the cliff. This pool was the main source of water at the fort during the numerous sieges.
The guide then took us to the Padmini Palace, built for Rani Padmini and source of many legends. Here the guide, while describing the beauty of Rani Padmini, narrated such a physical attribute that me and the husband burst out laughing; for the rest of our tour inside Padmini Palace, we just kept laughing over that description. I found the Padmini Palace very average actually, having seen the Vijay Stambha, Meera bai temple and Gaumukh sarovar.
The guide then suggested that we take a drive through on the periphery road inside the fort, which will enable us to appreciate its scale and we can get off any place we find interesting, so he could describe it. We agreed to the idea and took our car on the periphery road; this was quite interesting as we saw many monuments, broken down walk, structures, rugged features of the landscape etc. We could truly appreciate what the Chittor Fort could have been in its glory days.
The last monument inside Chittor Fort that we visited was Kirti Stambha, at the fag end of the Fort. Kirti Stambha (Tower of Fame) is a 22-metre-high (72 ft) tower built on a 30-foot (9.1 m) base with 15 feet (4.6 m) at the top; it is adorned with Jain sculptures on the outside.
We left our guide at the point where we picked him and then headed for Kisangarh, our last stop over before heading back to Delhi.
Chittor Fort is a beautiful heritage of Mewar region of Rajasthan. It is definitely recommended to visit the fort. My tip would be to visit here early in the morning when it opens to avoid crowds and enjoy the experience to the fullest.