Chittorgarh is the legendary site of three mass suicides of Rajput women in 1303, 1535 and 1568. Chittorgarh epitomizes courage and self-respect of the valiant defenders in the Hindu resistance against the Mughal invaders. Located in the southern part of Rajasthan, it is 112 km from Udaipur and 182 km from Ajmer.
Chittorgarh was sacked thrice in its history. The first time was by Alauddin Khilji in 1303. According to legend, he was so enamoured by Rani Padmini’s beauty. That he attacked the town in the hope of capturing her however when it was clear Chittorgarh. Could not be defended she immolated herself in the Rajput tradition of Jauhar. Along with the other women in the fort, while the men went out to fight in a last desperate battle. Chittorgarh was attacked again in 1533 A.D. by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat.
Once again Jauhar took place, led by Rani Karnavati, while her infant son Udai Singh was concealed and rescued. He grew to occupy the throne of Chittorgarh but fled when the town was attacked again in 1567. By the Mughal Emperor Akbar and his army. His flight resulted in the creation of the town of Udaipur and Chittorgarh was left abandoned. Today the city stands as a proud reminder of the heroism and sacrifice of the Rajputs of Rajasthan India.
History of Chittorgarh
The history of Chittorgarh, which is one of the oldest cities of Rajasthan dates back to the 8th century. It was given as a dowry gift to Bappa Rawal, the founder of the Sisodia Dynasty when he married. The last Solanki princess somewhere in the 8th century. Spread over a 7-mile long hill, the city of Chittorgarh was ruled by the descendants of Bappa Rawal. Till somewhere around the 16th century.
Chittorgarh was always a fiercely contested seat of power due to its strategic location. In fact, Chittorgarh’s history is fraught with some of the bloodiest battles of all times. It was sacked a number of times, the most famous attack being the one launched by Alauddin Khilji. The sultan of Delhi who was enamoured by its then queen Padmini’s beauty. The tale of this brave queen who sacrificed her life to escape dishonour is still sung. About by the local musicians of Rajasthan. In fact, the history of Chittorgarh is replete with the tales of its gallant. Warriors for whom honour triumphed over everything.
After Khilji’s attack, Bahadur Shah attacked Chittorgarh in 1535 AD followed by the third one by Akbar in 1568. The last attack was the final straw and Chittorgarh never recovered from this attack. In fact, the city was never inhabited after that. Right now, this ghost town still reverberates with the tales of its past glory. And the sacrifices made by its people.
Tourist Destination Chittorgarh
Chittorgarh Fort: The Chittorgarh Fort is a massive structure perched on a hill spread over an area of 280-hectares. Among the monuments housed within the fort is Rana Kumbha’s Palace. Fateh Prakash Palace, Tower of Victory and Rani Padmini’s Palace.
Tower of Victory-Vijay Stambh: Vijay Stambh – this 9-storyed ‘tower of Victory’ was built by Maharana Kumbha in 1440.AD to commemorate his victory over Mohammed Khilji of Malwa. You can have a beautiful top angle view of the whole town. The tower gets illuminated in the evening, which cast a spell. A piece de resistance, the tower is a must-see on any itinerary in a journey to Rajasthan.
Kirti Stambh: Adherents of Jainism travel to Rajasthan in large numbers. As the state is noted for being home to some of the finest Jain structures. One of them is the Kirti Stambh, which you can see when you travel to Chittorgarh. Dedicated to Adinath, the 1st Jaina Tirthankar, the Kirti Stambh was built. In the 12th century A.D by a wealthy Jain merchant. The tower is adorned by carved images of the Digambar saints.
Rana Kumbha Palace:
This 15th century Palace of Rana Kumbha is a classic specimen of Rajput architecture. It was built by Rana Kumbha during whose reign Mewar prospered and scaled new heights.
Kumbha Shyam Temple: Built during the reign of Rana Kumbha, the temple is a fine example in the Indo-Aryan style. The shrine is famous for housing an image of Varaha, the boar incarnation of Vishnu.
Kalika Mata Temple: Dedicated to the Mother Goddess Kali, the temple has beautiful carvings. The carvings include the famous scenes of the churning of the ocean by the gods and demons. There is an image of Surya guarding the main entrance to the temple.
Meerabai Temple: Built-in north Indian style with a delicately curved. Tower the temple is dedicated to Meerabai, the famous Jodhpur princess and mystic poetess.
Gaumukh Kund: The Gaumukh Kund is a deep tank and considered to be a holy place. Located in the tranquil surroundings, this spot offers spectacular views across the plains.
Padmini’s Palace: Padmini’s Palace is built beside the lotus pool. With a historical pavilion that changed the course of the history of Chittor. Ala-ud Ala-ud-din Khilji’s obsession with her beauty led to the bloody battle in 1303 A.D. Padmini committed Jauhar, immolating herself in a pyre to avoid capture by the invader. Travel to Rajasthan will acquaint you with the highly cherished notion that death is preferable to dishonour.
Shopping in Chittorgarh
Chittorgarh has always been known for its valiant people and their strong commitment to the ideal of honour. Right now, this city of the brave is not only one of the most popular tourist destinations in Rajasthan. But is also a great place to indulge in some shopping. In fact, shopping in Chittorgarh is all about fun and learning.
As you go shopping in Chittorgarh, you will see a splash of colours everywhere. Everything, ranging from exquisitely coloured fabrics and wooden toys to ethnic jewellery vies for your attention. Chittorgarh is famous for its beautiful Thewa jewellery. Which is made of gold designs embedded in the glass. Colourful leather jootis (slip-on shoes) are another speciality of Chittorgarh.
While shopping in Chittorgarh, don’t forget to get hold of some Akola. Printed fabrics that are very popular with visitors to Chittorgarh. The wooden painted toys that come from nearby places can also serve as ideal gifts for your friends back home. Thus, it can be safely assumed that shopping in Chittorgarh. Would be a pleasant experience you would cherish forever.
How to Reach Chittorgarh
Road: Good networks of roads connect Chittorgarh to some of the major cities in India like Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Jodhpur. Bus and taxi services are easily available in Chittorgarh.
Rail: Regular trains connect Chittorgarh to some important cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur.
Air: The nearest airport is at Udaipur, which is 112 km away. The airport has frequent flights to Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai and Lucknow.
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