Chittorgarh Fort is the one of the largest forts in India and has a lot of history associated with it. The history of the fort predates to 7th Century and was ruled by the Mewar Kingdom. There are numerous stories you can hear from the locals when you visit Chittorgarh Fort. The fort has had history where the rulers, soldiers, women, children and common men considered death as a better option than dishonor with respect to surrendering in front of the invaders!
Entrance of Chittorgarh Fort
The fort in the present form is mostly ruined. While some portion of the fort and few temples has been preserved, most other parts of the fort is completely ruined. Only small portion of the fort is visited by most visitors, and the rest of the fort bears a deserted look, where barely a few visitors are seen. Nevertheless, the fort and the stories that are revealed while visiting the fort will remind of many stories which you would have read/studied and forgotten during your schooling days!
Ruins of Maharana Kumbha’s Palace
Ruins of Maharana Kumbha’s Palace
More ruins of the fort
Chittorgarh Fort has numerous temples, some are closed while many are still active and can be visited. The most well-preserved of all is the Kumbhaswamy Temple. This temple is dedicated to Varaha Avatar of Lord Vishnu. The temple has carvings almost everywhere. A path goes around the inner sanctum where visitors can do “pradakshina”: that is, go around the temple to seek the blessings of the lord. While going around the temple, you can also observe the work carved on the walls of the temple.
You can find a small temple dedicated to Mira Bai next to the Kumbhaswamy Temple, where idols of Krishna and Mira Bai can be seen. The temple plays few bhajans of Mira Bai throughout the day.
Mira Bai Temple
If you walk a little further from the temples, you can see a huge tower called “Vijay Stambh” which translates to Victory Tower. This tower was built by Maharana Kumbha to celebrate and commemorate the victory over Mahmud Shah I Khalji, the Sultan of Malwa, during the 15th century. The beautiful tower was built over a period of 10 years. The tower stands tall at over 120 ft and has 9 floors. Each of the floors are accessible through a narrow circular steps that winds through a central chamber. Each floor has an opening on all four sides, and provides awesome view of the surroundings. You can get a bird’s eye view of modern Chittor from the 8th floor. The tower is built with a mixture of red sand stone and white marble and has inscriptions of God, Goddesses, weapons, instruments and so on.
A little ahead of Vijay Stambh is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, called Samadhishwara Temple. It is believed that this temple is built during the 11th century. The idol in this temple is different then most other Shiva temples that are seen elsewhere. Instead of Shiva Linga, you can see an idol of three-headed Lord Shiva!
Lord Shiva at Samadhishwara Temple
From the Samdhishwara Temple, a long staircase descends down to Gomukh Kund. A perennial underground stream of crystal clear water flows out of a small natural cave that resembles a cow’s head into a tank or pond. Gomukh literally translates to cow’s face, and hence the name. The water is considered to be sacred.
Closer look of Gomukh Kund
Doesn’t it resemble a swimming pool at the top of a residential tower?
Water from “Gomukh”
Chittorgarh Fort is also home to Rani Padmini Palace. This palace has immense historical significance. Rani Padmini was wife of King Ratan Singh who was brave and noble warrior-king. Apart from being a ruler, he was also a patron of the arts. His court has several musicians, dancers and so on. One of the musicians, Raghav Chetan, had some magical powers. During one of his acts, he was caught red-handed in his dirty act of arousing evil spirits. King Ratan Singh banished Raghav Chetan from his kingdom after humiliating him in public. In order to seek revenge against the king, he decided to tell Alaudin Khilji – the Sultan of Delhi – about the immense beauty of Rani Padmini, so that Alaudin Khilji would attack Chittor. And he was successful in convincing Khilji to take a glimpse of Rani Padmini. However, on reaching Chittor, Khilji found the fort to be heavily defended, but he did not want to miss an opportunity to see Rani Padmini. Khilji then sent a word to Ratan Singh that he looked upon Padmini as his sister and wanted to meet her. While Ratan Singh agreed to that request, Rani Padmini consented to allow Alauddin to see her only in a mirror. An arrangement was done so that Rani Padmini would be seated in a strategic position in her palace, and her reflection would fall into the water surrounded by her palace. A mirror would be strategically placed on the hall where Khilji would be allowed to get a glimpse of Rani Padmini through double reflection, first in water, and next in the mirror!!
Rani Padmini Palace / Jal Mahal
Mirror that was used to show the reflection of Rani Padmini
Rani Padmini Palace
Entrance to the hall where Khilji was allowed to see Rani Padmini in the mirror
The rest of the fort are rarely visited by anyone. It bears a deserted look. A road takes you around the fort and is about 12 km to complete one round inside the fort. Depending on your interest levels, there are numerous other things to be seen. Some of the guides proudly share all the stories of the Chittorgarh Fort, whereas for others, it is business-as-usual! They want to wind up early to find some other customer 🙂 If you are really interested in knowing more about the fort, it is good to tell the guide in advance, so that he is keen to spend enough time explaining things.
One of the many entries to the fort (now abandoned)
Where to stay?
|Distance (in km)
|Jodhpur / Indore