Chittorgarh Fort. Castle in India, Asia

Chittorgarh Fort

Castle in India, Asia

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Chittorgarh Fort

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The historic state of Rajasthan on the western flank of India is often identified as the ‘Land of Kings’. The presence of the inhospitable Thar Desert and various historical forts, palaces, and temples across the state has given Rajasthan an important cultural platform in the country. The Kingdom of Rajasthan was mainly controlled by the Rajputs (Wikipedia Article), who were born warriors. However, during the Muslim aggression in the country, Rajasthan had to witness many bloody wars and innumerable decay of human lives. Even the majestic Chittorgarh Fort was not spared during these times, as it had repeatedly fallen prey to the clutches of these foreign aggression.
The ruin of the Chittorgarh Fort still stands, erect atop a hill, and is now considered an important tourist zone. Every year, thousands of travelers from all across the world visit Rajasthan to catch a glimpse of this picturesque fort along with other historical attractions present in the state. The historical importance led to the fort being enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The official language of Chittorgarh is Hindi and the regional tongue is Marwari language (Wikipedia
	Article). However, English is widely known and understood by the local people. You will also find tourist guides in Chittor city, who are conversant with European languages, like German and French.

 - Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort. . Photo by ganuullu

History

Chittorgarh Fort is one of the most important royal architectural creations in Rajasthan. According to the history, Chittorgarh Fort was constructed in the 7th century by a Mauryan ruler named Chitraganda Mori. Further evidence also indicates that Chittorgarh Fort served as the capital of Mewar for a long time. Nevertheless, from the 12th century onward, Chittorgarh had to face the Muslim aggression in the country. Sources reveal that the first attack was made by Alauddin Khilji]in the year 1303 when he beleaguered the fort, followed by another attack in the year 1535, when Bahadur Shah of Gujarat pounced again to capture this landmark. Lastly, just after a few years, in 1568, the great Mughal emperor, Akbar, attacked and successfully captured this invincible fort.
During all the battles that took place in Chittorgarh, the Rajput women were stern enough not to subjugate under the hands of the Muslim oppressors. In order to escape from dishonor, the Rajput women, along with the queen, immolated themselves in group by committing an act called ‘Jauhar (Wikipedia Article)’.

Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan - Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan - Chittorgarh Fort. Photo by menq.am

Chittorgarh Fort Tour Guide

The vastness of the fort may often put you in confusion. If you are visiting the fort, it is better to do some spadework, which will help you to explore thoroughly. Following are the details to some of the major interior sections of the fort.

Main Gateways (Pols)

The main gate of the fort, Suraj Pol (Sun Gate) was built in the year 1459. The gate was built out of a single stone. Suraj Pol is crowned by two little pavilions and the roof is supported by a corbelled arch. A temple of Lord Ganesha and the Zenana (a housing chamber only meant for women) are also located by the side of the Pol. According to the historical records, here a Rajput Prince named Bagh Singh was murdered by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat in 1535.

Tower of Victory,
	Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India - Chittorgarh Fort
Tower of Victory, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India - Chittorgarh Fort. Photo by east med wanderer

The Tower of Victory

The Tower of Victory which is the city symbol of Chittor, is also known as the ‘Vijay Stambha’. This tower was erected by Rana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mahmud Khilji of Malwa in 1440. The tower was built in between 1458 and 1468 ADE. This tower comprises of nine exquisitely carved storeys and is 37 meter in height. One can also climb the 157 narrow stairs to reach its eighth floor, from where one can get a wonderful view of the surrounding areas. Hindu sculptural architectural forms adorn the outside of this building.

Rana Kumbha Palace

This magnificent palace inside the fort was built in plastered stone during 1433-1468. The major attractions of this palace are the water reservoir, the subterranean chamber of Rani Padmini where the act of Jauhar (Wikipedia Article) was committed and a series of canopied balcony which surrounds this edifice.

Fateh Prakash Palace Museum

The Fateh Prakash museum inside the fort was built in 1968 to showcase the valuable antique collection of the royal family of Chittorgarh. The collection includes a vast number of sculptures, coins, wooden items, and various weapons that were once in use by the royal family.

Rana Kumbha Palace Ruins, Chittorgarh
Rana Kumbha Palace Ruins, Chittorgarh. Photo by esther.park

Kunwar Pade ka Mahal

This section was once the residence of the Princes of Chittorgarh. One of the major attractions here is the S-shaped arch built in line with the architectural style of the Rajputs. Blue tiles were used to decorate the interior of the palace. It would also be worthwhile to check out the Ogee arch.

Rani Padmini’s Palace
Inside the fort was the residence of Rani Padmini. It is a three story palace, built entirely with white stone. This palace is also delimited by water bodies on all sides.

The Palaces of Jaimal and Patta
These two palaces are located at the end of the fort. Both the palaces are too large and there is not much of architectural supremacy. These palaces were built in a very simple fashion, yet they look quite attractive.

Temples in the Chittorgarh Fort
On the western side of the Chittorgarh Fort lies the Tulja Bhavani Temple. This temple was built in honor of Goddess Tulja and was held sacred by the scribes of Chittorgarh. Near the temple, there is an open courtyard and also a cannon foundry where you can still see some old cannons that were used during war.

Besides the aforesaid major interiors of the fort, the other places of Chittorgarh which you should visit are Naulakha Bhanadar, Shrinagar Chaori Jain Temple, Meera Bai Temple, Kalika Mata Temple, Kumbha Shyam Temple, Brahma Temple, Maha Sati, Gaumukh, Tower of Fame and Mohair Margi.

 - Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort. . Photo by Vinod Sreedhar

How to Reach the Fort

Chittorgarh Fort is situated in one of the most prominent location in Chittorgarh. It is around 2 kilometers from the bus stand and the railway station of Chittorgarh district. In order to enter the fort, you need to cross the seven gates to finally reach the main gateway called Ram Pol. You will also find two cenotaphs (Chattris) lying between the second and third gate. As per the historical records indicate, these two cenotaphs were used to honor two major Rajput general - Jaimull and Kulla, as they fought valiantly against the Mughal army led by Akbar in 1568. The final gate is the Suraj Pol and is used to enter the premises of the fort.

The fort can be reached by taxi and auto, which you can hire from the Chittorgarh public bus stand. It takes around half an hour to cross the seven gates and reach the central point that lead to the fort. The minimum fare entry to the fort for a foreigner is ₨ 100 ($1.60).
If you are a bit adventurous, you can also hire a bicycle to explore the fort. But always be sure not to get lost inside.

How to Reach Chittor

Chittorgarh has a strong road network. There are frequent luxury bus services to this township from other parts of Rajasthan. Also you can avail of luxury bus services from other major cities in India like Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Delhi to reach this place. The Rajasthan State Transport Department also operates premium bus services named Silver Line, Grey Line and Pink Line which are most comfortable for travelling through this land.
Chittorgarh is also well connected via rail with other major cities in and around Rajasthan. Direct train is available from cities like Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Ajmer, Jaipur, Kota and Udaipur for reaching this city.
The nearest airport is the Udaipur Airport, located around 70 kilometers from the fort. There are frequent air services from Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad to this airport.

Where to Stay

Owing to the frequency of tourists in Chittorgarh, there are a number of budget hotels in the city. If you are looking for added luxury, you can also try the heritage hotels like Welcome Heritage Bassi Fort Palace, Fort Begu which lies midway between Chittorgarh and Kota, and others. Most of these hotels have dining facilities available. However, if you are looking to taste traditional Rajasthani food, you can try out at Hotel Castle Bijaipur.

Best Time to Visit

As Chittorgarh is a part of the great Indian Thar desert, the best time to visit Chittorgarh is during September-March. The weather at this time remains cool compared to other times of the year.

Souvenirs

In order to buy some local handicraft you can check out the Rana Sanga Market, New Cloth Market, Gandhi Chowk, Fort Road, Station Circle and Sardar Bazaar. The local handicrafts include colorful fabrics, Thewa jewelry, handmade toys and leather shoes.

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Author: SubhasishMitra. Last updated: Aug 13, 2014

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