Chittorgarh, The Fort City Of India
Chittorgarh is a city in the State of Rajasthan in India and is famous for its historical and cultural importance. This beautiful city has seen constant battles and skirmishes between the Mughals and the Rajputs in the past and many monuments are silent witnesses to the power struggle, death, and destruction that the political upheavals brought with them. The city was home to the famous and brave ruler Maharana Pratap who defied Akbars rule and never considered him the king or sultan of India. Maharana Pratap is still considered to be one of the best rulers of Rajasthan who fought long battles with the Mughal rulers and never bowed to them.
How To Reach
The closest airport is Dabok in Udaipur which is located fifty miles from Chittorgarh and Udaipur is connected to most of the major cities in India. Another way to reach Chittorgarh is by using railroad and the city is connected to all the other major cities in Rajasthan as well as Delhi. The Chetak Express from Delhi is one of the best ways to reach this city and there are other trains such as the 9769 express from Khandwa to Ajmer that goes via Chittorgarh. Traveling by bus is also possible but not advisable as you may get cramped for space and it lakes a lot of time from Delhi to reach this city using roadways. However the city is connected by road to other closer cities such as Ajmer, Jaipur, and Mount Abu.
Places to visit
There are numerous places to visit in the city and one of the most famous tourist attractions is the Chittorgarh Fort. This fort has seen several battles where Mughals tried time and again to capture it but were met by the Kamikaze type bravery of Rajputs, who clad in saffron, went to their certain deaths in the battlefield and the royal women and children self immolated themselves in order to preserve their dignity rather than fall prey to the unspeakable cruelty of Islamic invaders.
The fort is located on a hundred and eighty meter hill and is believed to be constructed in 7th century A.D by the Mauryans. The fort was also used by many Rajput rulers including Maharana Pratap as a citadel due to its strategic location and strength. The citadel is one of the largest in India and is sprawled across 700 acres. It is adorned with many towers, gateways, temples and other places of interest that have fascinated and attracted tourists and historians alike for a long time. The fort has 7 gates (gate is called ‘Pol’ by the locals), namely the Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ganesh Pol, Jodla Pol, Laxman Pol and the main gate of Ram Pol. The fort also had 84 water bodies that collected graywater (rain water) for use; however now the numbers have dwindled down to 22.
The Vijay Stambha
The Vijay Stambha or the Tower of victory was built by Rana Kumbha who won against the Mughal invader Mahmud Khilji. The tower is a nine story affair and stands around thirty nine meters tall. The fort is made up of marble as well as sandstone and has many carvings and designs that depict various Hindu gods and goddesses. There is a narrow stairway leading till the eighth floor of the structure and a stunning view of the city can be enjoyed from here. The tower took around ten years to build and stands on a dais that is ten feet in height.
The Kirti Stambha
The Kirti Stambha is dedicated to Jain gods and stands for The Tower of Fame; the structure is 22 meters high and is 30 feet wide at the base and fifteen at the top. This tower was built by a Jain merchant out of religious beliefs in the 12th century A.D. The fact that it is still intact with its cramped stairway of 54 steps goes a long way in estimating the skill of architects in that era.
Rana Kumbha’s Palace
This place is in the near vicinity of the Vijay Stambha and it was here that the great king Udai Singh was saved by a governess who knew the plot to kill the king when he was a toddler. Folklore has it that she replaced Udai Singh with her own infant who was later murdered. Udai Singh on the other hand survived, and went on to establish the famous city of Udaipur. This is also the place where Rani Padmini committed Jauhar (self immolation) to escape the atrocities of Mughal invaders.
Kalika Mata temple
There are many temples in the fort but the one that is most famous is the Kalika Mata temple dedicated to goddess Kalika. Originally built in the 8th century A.D, the temple was dedicated to the worship of sun god. However it was converted to a temple of Kali in the fourteenth century and still remains so.
Rani Padmini’s Palace
ani Padmini’s palace was witness to one of the historical events that changed the course of the Mughal and the Rajput history. This is the place where Khilji saw Padmini’s reflection and started lusting after her and waged a war in order to possess her but all in vain as she committed Jauhar or self immolation even before he could reach the fort.
Chittorgarh has many bazaars that sell various items including metalwork, fabrics, Thewa jewelry, leather shoes and handmade toys. Thewa jewelry is made up of golden designs that are later embedded in glass. Some of the best places to shop around are Sadar Bazaar, Rana Sanga Market, New Cloth Market, Fort Road Market, Gandhi Chowk, and Station Circle. The Akola printed fabrics that are made from vegetable dyes is one of the major draws and is available only in certain parts of India.
Some of the famous hotels in Chittorgarh include the Bassi Hotel [Ph: +91-1472-225321, 225606, +91 9414111080] or Bassi fort that has been converted from a fort to a heritage hotel. Another heritage hotel is Castle Bijaipur [Ph: 91-22-24042211] which has three types of accommodations available from budget to royal suits. Some of the budget hotels include Hotel Padmini [Ph: +91 1472 241712], Hotel Pratap Palace [Ph: 91-22-24042211], and Hotel Panna [Ph: +91 1472 241238]. There are many other choices for hotels and further low-priced hotels can also be located easily in the city by asking your way around.