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 cow’s 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.