Rajasthan Tour - Rajasthan Tourism - Chittorgarh Tour

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Chittorgarh Tour (Rajasthan)

(3 Days / 2 Nights)

(to view the route of this tour on a Map please click here)

Day 01: Udaipur

Today arrival in Udaipur and transfer to the hotel.

Day 02: Udaipur - Chittorgarh - Udaipur (about 240 km)
Today morning proceed to Chittorgarh. Sightseeing of Chittorgarh - Chittorgarh Fort,
Kirti Stambha and Vijay Stambha. After sightseeing in Chittorgarh we proceed to Udaipur.

         Chittorgarh Fort         Chetak City Palace               Chittorgarh             Chittorgarh Fort

Day 03: Udaipur 

Today transfer to airport or railway station to reach next destination.
(End of Tour)

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Chittorgarh was the ancient capital of the Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar. Perhaps the most thrilling of India’s history is the of Mewar in which the quintessence of Rajput pride and valour finds expression. It was here that the flower of Rajput chivalry blossomed and men and women repeatedly gave up their lives preferring death to dishonor and surrender. The ruins of the great monuments at Chittor speak eloquently of the many grim and glorious deeds of heroism and sacrifice which have become almost a myth.

Chittorgarh is 631 km. (392 miles) from Delhi via Jaipur and Ajmer on the Western Railway and 447 km. (278 miles) from Khandwa on the Central Railway. It is 111 km. (69 miles) by rail from Udaipur. It is also connected by road with Udaipur (115 km. or 72 miles), Ajmer (188 km. or 117 miles) and Indore (302 km. or 188 miles).

Tradition ascribes the foundation of the fort of Chittor to Chitrang, the chief of the Mori Rajputs who ruled the place about the 7th century. He called it Chitrakot and a tank named after him is still to be found in the southern part of the fort. Bapa Rawal, the real founder of Mewar, ousted the Mori prince Man Singh from Chittor and established himself there in 734. Chittor remained the capital of the Sisodias till 1567, when Rana Udai Singh founded the city of
Udaipur. Among the many princes and rulers who sat on the throne of Chittor, the names of Maharana Kumbha, Maharana Sangram Singh and Maharana Pratap are famous for their matchless courage, bravery and patriotism in the cause of the honour und independence of Mewar.

The first sack of Chittorgarh took place in 1303 when Ala-ud-Din Khilji, the emperor of Delhi, at attacked the fort to gain possession of Padmini, the fair queen of Rawal Ratan Singh. By a clever ruse, the Rajputs, led by their two brave leaders, Gora and Badal, rescued the Rana who had been captured by Ala-ud-Din, and resisted the invaders. But, after a long siege, the fortress fell and the defenders, fighting valiantly, sacrificed their lives in accordance with Rajput tradition. This was preceded by the rite of Jauhar. In this rite Raiput women flung themselves into the flames before their men set out to make the supreme sacrifice for their motherland.

Ala-ud-Din left the city in charge of Maldeo, the chief of Jalore, from whom it was taken back by Rana Hamir, one of the wisest and most gallant of the princes of Mewar. Under Rana Kumbha, a great general and builder, Chittor regained her supremacy and glory. He strengthened the defences of the country by building a chain of forts, the chief among which was Kumbhalgarh. He defeated the Muslim kings of Malwa and Gujarat and to commemorate his victory over them, erected the Jai Stambha or Tower of Victory. A great lover of art and literature, he translated the Geet Govind of Jaidev and built many beautiful temples.

Maharana Sangram Singh, better known as Rana Sanga, was the hero of Rajput national revival and during his reign, Mewar reached the summit of its prosperity. The intrepid warrior was the victorious hero of no less than eighteen pitched battle before he fought against Babur, the first Mughul emperor of India. His valour and overpowering strength at first struck Babur’s army with terror and panic, but ultimately the Rajputs were defeated at the battle of Khanua on March 16, 1527. The Rana was wounded and died broken-hearted two years later.

There was another siege of Chittor in 1534 in the reign of Vikramaditya, by Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat. In spite of valiant resistance, in which the queen-mother Jawahir Bai herself headed a sally, the valiant Rajputs, who were outnumbered, lost. But before the fort fell, Rajput ladies, led by Rani Karnavati, the widow of Rana Sanga, performed jauhar in which many thousands perished in flames.

Not many years later, the fort of Chittor was sacked for the third and last time by Akbar in 1567. The brave followers of Udai Singh, notably Jaimal of Bednor and Patta of Kelwa, offered stubborn opposition to the imperial forces for four months till Jaimal was killed by a musket shot fired by Akbar himself. Patta also died later. Javhar was performed and the Rajputs fought desperately till they perished to a man. The heroic defense of the fort by Jaimal and Patta so greatly impressed Akbar that he erected two noble statues of them on elephants which were placed on either side of the main gate of his palace at Agra.
After the death of Udai Singh, Mewar found a great leader and patriot in his son, the illustrious Maharana Pratap, who offered uncompromising resistance to Akbar, the Great Mughul. With very meager resources, without a capital and a big army, he opposed the organised might of Akbar who was then “immeasurably the richest monarch on the face of the earth.” In 1576, Pratap met the imperial forces at the historic pass of Haldighati, the Thermopylae of Mewar, where a furious battle was fought. He escaped with his faithful horse, Chaitak, to the hills. Undaunted by adversity, he carried on a ceaseless struggle from his mountain hide-out and before his death in 1597, he was able to recover most of his strongholds, except Chittor. “Had Mewar,” observes Tod, “possessed her Thucydides or her Xenophon, neither the ware of the Peloponnesus nor the retreat of the ‘the thousand’ would have yielded more diversified incidents for the historic muse than the deeds of this brilliant reign.”

The Fort of Chittorgarh
The fort of Chittor crowns a rocky hill which stands 152 m. (500 ft.) above the surrounding plains. It extends three-and-a-half miles from north to south and has a breadth of half a mile, diminidhing towards the southern extremity. The fort covers an area of 279 hectares (690 acres) and is surrounded by a strong crenellated wall which follows the contours of the precipitous edge of the tableland. Its base, with a circumference of about 13 km. (8 miles), is fringed with woods, while the summit is covered with extensive ruins comprising temples, towers, places and tanks dating from the 9th to the 17th centuries.

The fort is ascended by a steep spiral road. This mile-long road winds up from the town at the foot of the hill on the west side. At seven strategic points on the road are imposing pols or gateways containing rooms for the guards. Immediately outside Padal Pol, the first gateway leading from the town, is the memorial platform where Bagh Singh, the great grandson of Maharana Mikul, was Killed during the sack of Chittor by Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat in 1535. The two chhatris between Bhairon Pol and Hanuman Pol–the second and the third gates-mark the spot where Jaimal and his kinsman Kalla heroically gave up their lives during the thirs siege. A chhatri near the main gate, commemorates the place where the 16-years-old Patta fought the enemy and fell. The main gate, called Ram Pol, is an imposing entrance built of large, finely dressed stones embellished with decorative designs. Facing it is a fine hall for the guard, with richly sculptured pillars. It commands not only the entrance from the rear but also the approach at the head of the path. Outside the gate are some inscriptions dated 1482 and 1641.

The principal monuments in the fort are the two towers, one called Kirti Stambhu or the Tower of Fame, and the other Jaya Stambha or the Tower of Victory. The Kirti Stambha, near the eastern rampart of the fort, is the older of the two. An elegant structure, it was built by a Jain merchant named Jija in the twelfth century, although an inscription of 895 is said to have been found near its base. It is dedicated to Adinath, the first of the twenty-four Jain Tirthankaras. Twenty-three metres (75 ft.) in height and 9m. (30 ft.) in diameter at the base and 4 m. (15 ft.) at the top, the tower consists of five storeys with a narrow winding staircase in the interior. From the base to the summit, the tower is covered with sculptured ornamental designs and nude figures of the Tirthankaras which distinguish it as a monument of the Digambar sect of the Jains. The Jain temple, close to the tower, is built mostly of fragments of older buildings and is covered with figures of gods and goddesses and floral designs.

The Jaya Stambha was erected by Rana Kumbha between 1458-1468, to commemorate his victory over Mahmud Khilji of Malwa in 1440. The basement is 14 m. (47 ft.) square and 3 m. (10 ft.) high. The tower itself has nine storeys connected by a staircase. The two upper storeys are porn and more ornamental than those below. The tower is 9 m. (30 ft.) wide at the base, and 37 m. (122 ft.) in height. Sculptures of Hindu divinities cover the entire surface, but this
mass of decoration has been kept so subdued that it does not interfere with the outline of the tower.

The palace is named after Rana Kumbha. Mostly in ruins, it is a simple and attractive building typical of Rajput civil architecture. It is entered through the Badi Pol and Tripolia. Among the numerous structures within its enclosure are the elephant shed, the hall of audience, the balcony for offering prayers to the Sun, the heir apparent’s palace and the Siva temple. Recent excavations have revealed the existence of huge underground cellars with vaulted roofs, over which the palace is built. It is believed that the first jauhar was performed in one of these subterranean chambers.

The palace of Rani padmini is a large building overlooking a tank, in the middle of which is another pavilion, said to be Padmini’s island-retreat. Ala-ud-Din Khilji is said to have beheld the fair queen in a mirror in this palace. The palace of Rawal Ratan Singh, husband of Padmini, and the houses of Patta and Jaimal are almost in ruins.

There are several temples amid the extensive ruins of the fort and these are notable both from the architectural and historical points of view. Srinagar Chauri is a small, lavishly carved Jain temple, dedicated to Shantinath, the sixteenth Jain Tirthankar. An inscription dated 1448 ascribes its construction to Velka, the son of the treasurer of Rana Kumbha. The graceful carvings on its outer walls consisting of gods, goddesses, animals and dancing figures make it one the most attractive monuments. In the Siva temple of Jantashankar, the carved figures are intact in the ceiling of the corbelled dome. Its outer walls are also decorated with sculptures. The group of Jain temples known as Sat-Bees-Deora of “27 shrines’ are profusely sculptures and adorned with images. The temple of Samiddheshware Mahadeva was built by Raja Bhoj of Malwa and later repaired by Rana Mokal in 1428. Its walls are adorned with sculptures in the classical style. Of the three inscriptions in the temple, the oldest is dates 1150 and refers to Kumarpal, the Chalukya king of Gujarat, who visited Chittor after his victory over Arnoraj, the Chauhan ruler of Ajmer. Originally dedicated to the Sun-god, the temple of Kali is one of the oldest in the fort and dates back to the 8th century. Though mutilated by vandalism and the ravages of time, some exquisite carvings and sculptures still exist on the walls of its pradakshinapath and mandap.

To the north of the Jaya Stambha rises the temple of Kumbha Shyam dedicated to Varah, the boar incarnation of Vishnu. It was built by Rana Kumbha in 1448. In front of the temple is a large image of Garuda–the mythical bird–under a canopy supported on pillars. Near it stands a bigger and more famous temple associated with Mira Bai, the celebrated devotee and saint-poetess of Indai. Built in the Indo-Aryan style of temple architecture, it has a soaring shitkhar which is solid and unbroken in outline. The mandap is covered with a pyramidal roof placed diagonally and rises in steps. Its special feature, however, is a colonnaded procession path (pradakshinapath) around the sanctum (garbhagriha) with small pavilions at the four corners. Near it stands a smaller temple associated with Mira Bai. It consists of a sanctum and an open pavilion and its facade has lovely sculptures.

Mira Bai was the daughter of Rao Ratan Singh of Merta. She was married to Kunwar Bhoj Raj, the eldest son and heir-apparent of the renowned Maharana Sangram Singh of Chittor. Ever since her childhood, Mira had been a great devotee of Lord Krishna, but when she became a widow, after seven years of her marriage, all her intense love and devotion was poured out for her deity. The devotional songs and lyrics of Mira Bai are sung even today and are extremely popular.

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