Chittor Fort often reminds us of the gallant Rajput Ranas who preferred sacrificing their life fighting with the dominant foes than surrendering in front of them. No wonder, the fort of Chittor epitomizes the essence of homage to the courage, nationalism and sacrifice demonstrated by the Sisodia rulers of Mewar particularly during the medieval times i.e. from 7th to 16th century.
Here we share everything related to the fort starting from the History
History of Chittorgarh Fort
Built in 7th century AD by various Mauryan rulers, Chittorgarh Fort is said to have been the capital of the Sisodia and Gahlot kings who ruled Mewar between the 8th and the 16th century. The Chittor Fort was named after Chittrangad Maurya.
Chittor fort was attacked thrice and each time it was safeguarded by the Rajput warriors. It was attacked for the first time in the year 1303 by Allaudin Khilji who had a desire of wanting Rani Padmini. Next, it was attacked in 1535 by Gujarat’s Sultan Bahadur Shah. The fort was attacked again for the last time – The year was 1567 when the third Mughal Emperor Akbar decided to pressurize Maharana Udai Singh by the siege of Chittorgarh. All these three attacks saw saka and jauhar committed by both the men and the women folks. They preferred death over surrender.
Salient Features of Chittorgarh Fort
Area wise, Chittor Fort is the largest fort of India. It is also one of the grandest forts of Rajasthan. The gigantic fort lies at a distance of 112 km from Udaipur and is positioned on an elevated hill of 180m near the Gambheri River in Chittorgarh. It extends 3 km in length and 13 km in peripheral length, covering a total area of 700 acres. The fort has a colossal structure with various well-designed palaces inside, along with huge towers and splendid cenotaphs.
This huge fort is accessible through 7 huge gates (called as Pols) – Ram Pol, Lakshman Pol, Padal Pol, Jorla Pol, Ganesh Pol, Bhairon Pol (in memory of Bhairondas Solanki) and Hanuman Pol. These are made up of strong iron spikes and acted as a watch tower during the earlier days. To enter Chittorgarh Fort, you’ll have to walk through these seven giant pols (gateways). However, to enter the fort, the main gate is Surya pol or Sun Gate.
The first gate is the ‘Ram Pol’ dedicated to Lord Rama. The area also has a Ram temple in its vicinity. When you climb further, you’ll come across 2 cenotaphs near Padal Pol. These two cenotaphs are devoted to Jaimal and Pata, who were executed by Mughal Emeror Akbar in the famous siege of Chittorgarh in 1567.
The Various Palaces In the Fort
Apart from these 7 huge Pols or gates, the Chittor Fort had/has many palaces inside. The Rani Padmini Palace exhibits the marvels of Rajput architecture. It is the same palace where Rattan Singh’s beautiful queen once resided before she committed Jauhar after Alauddin Khilji laid his evil eye on her and the fort. It also has a Rana Kumbha Palace – A Palace with underground cellars. It was Rana Khumba palace where Rani Padmini committed Jauhar along with other ladies and children of Chittor.
Temples in the Fort
The Fort of Chittor has many temples in the premises including Jain Temple, Ganesha Temple, Kalika Mata temple, Sammidheshwara Temple, Meerabai Temple (or Krishna Temple), Kumbha Shyam Temple and Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. Being ancient, the temples have remarkable work and intricate carvings on it.
The fort also boasts of Gaumukh reservoir and Bhimtal Tank. Gaumukh reservoir is a massive water tank that receives water from a Cow’s mouth shaped rock. In the waters of this same reservoir, Khilji was permitted to observe the mirror image of Rani Padmini that eventually became the cause of the battle.
Chittor fort has two towers, Vijay Stambh and Kirti Stambh that depict the glorious past of Rajputs. Kirti Stambh or the Tower of Fame was built in 12th century dedicated to the first Jain thinker Adinath ji. It is a 7 storey structure with the height of 22 m.
Vijay Stambh or ‘the tower of victory’ is the most notable structure of the Chittor Fort. It was built by Maharana Kumbha to memorialize his triumph over Mohammed Khilji in the 15th century. It is a 9 torey huge tower that extends to the height of 122 feet and has a width of 47 sq ft at the base.