In the land of forts, the name which shines the most, which draws most attention owing to its title of being ‘The Largest fort in Asia’, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and above all a true symbol of pride, honour, will and courage – Chittorgarh Fort
After a bustling couple of days in Udaipur, what attracted me 120 kms away from it were not the great monuments or historic art cultures, it was the stories- the real stories of real wars. It was a two hours long bus ride from the bus station at Udaipur, which brought me to the very place which had seen the most deadly and courageous actions human beings are capable of.
I can speak a thousand reasons to visit this place and why one would simply be inspired to visit this place, but I will keep it short to discuss about my personal experience and the precincts still surviving inside the fort. To maintain continuity, I will brief my readers about its history too.
The fort is situated on a large hill surrounding the present day town of Chittorgarh. There are vast plains of land surrounding the hill, hence making its natural architecture unique.
There is no single theory about the founders of this fort. Legends turn back to a Mauryan Ruler and local tribes to claim about its construction. Although everyone can agree to the fact that, the glory of which it boasts has been brought by Bappa Rawal in 7th CE, followed by Rana Hammir, Rana Kumbha and Rana Sanga. To clear some distorted facts about its history, Rana Pratap should not be associated with this fort. The fort had been captured by Akbar before Rana Pratap became the ruler of Mewar. He spent most of his life in the Jungles under the vow to fight the Mughals and protect his motherland.
WHY CHITTORGARH ?
I knew there wasn’t much of mountains, lakes or valleys for me in this part of the world. Nevertheless, the reason I chose to wander here was above all the one could think of. It was about the pride knowing one’s own glorious history. It was about the inspiration from the tales of its wounds. It was about the precincts inside the fort still surviving with their scars to show how brave and big were our ancestors and how small we have become.
Legendary Rani Padmini is said to have committed Jauhar inside this very fort. I wish all could feel the situation of hundreds of women self-immolating themselves, thrice in its history, just because they preferred death to probable assault. Thousands of Rajput warriors have waged through its gates almost certain about their death. I could see the vast plains of land around, where it all had happened. It is true, I was overpowered by my emotions, when I saw just those barren lands. It seems illogical but some things are meant to defy logic and practicality.
The famous sunset scene, from ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ was shot here. Knowing this fact, I made sure not to miss the sun set from this part of the world.
If you cannot find your reasons in these, I am afraid the place has never been for you.
The entry road to the Chittorgarh Fort is winding and elevated. It comprises of several gates, known as ‘poles’. The fort is in the shape of a ship and consists of 65 historically built structures. Most of them are ruined now.
Chittorgarh Fort is dotted with some of the significant temples, palaces, monuments, waterbodies and commemorative towers. Only 20 waterbodies remain from once a figure of 88. The two towers capture the attraction of the major fortifications.
A large perimeter wall of 13 kms and vast area along with a difficult terrain, made it difficult for me to trek the fort on foot. I had to hire an auto to cover the entire fort as is the general practice. It took me almost 3 hours to visit all the precincts, I will be talking about.
- JAIN TEMPLE
- KIRTI STAMBHA
- PADMINI PALACE
- GAUMUKH RESERVOIR
- MIRABAI TEMPLE
- RANA KUMBHA PALACE
- Vijay Stambha 2. Kirti Stambha 3.Jain temple 4. Ruins of Palace 5.Kumbha Palace
I would advice to hire a guide, to know the full stories associated with each monument. The stories, I can assure, would be equally thrilling to hear.
Some of them I came to know about were in the famous Mira Bai temple, where she consumed poison which turned into nectar. Also were the stories from the Jauhar Sites and Battlegrounds.
There is also a small light show after sunset near the main entry. One could enjoy the same event after the not-to-be missed sunset itself.
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