The birthplace of perhaps one of the greatest warrior clans of India, Chittorgarh, was home to the now much celebrated Rajputana Clan. It was here in this serene hill town that the glorious history, legendary kings and stories of valor of the Rajputs came into origin. Chittorgarh is a hill city located in the easternmost part of the state of Rajasthan and was the birth place of the famous Mewar Kingdom. The State of Kings Rajasthan has many places within its boundaries which for decades now has been enchanting travelers, lovers of history and culture but the story and beauty of Chittorgarh is perhaps second to none in India leave alone Rajasthan.
Chittorgarh epitomizes the very essence, romance and glory of being a Rajput, the city which stood firm against all adversity and which saw its residents choose death before worldly comforts is a testimony to the kind of loyalty, respect and admiration the Rajput Kings deserved from their followers. The story of this city is drenched in blood with many epic battles being fought for its gigantic and magnificent fort which led to the sacrifice of thousands of men, women and children. Chittorgarh was under the rule of the Solanki Dynasty when Bappa Rawal the legendary founder of the Sisodia Dynasty got it as dowry for marrying the last Solanki princess.
The main attraction of this hill side ancient city of Chittor is its gigantic and monumental fort which was built by the founding father of the city, Bappa Rawal, supposedly in the ninth century A.D, since then Chittorgarh fort acted as the center of power of the Mewar Kingdom which stretched from Gujarat to Ajmer till the 16th century when Mughal Emperor Akbar seized the fort from the Mewar Rulers in a glorious and bloody battle. Chittorgarh Fort is the representative of the might, power, resolve, resilience and glory of the Rajputana clan which ruled over most parts of Western India and was perhaps one of the hotly contested seats of power in the Indian sub-continent with many famous battles being fought in front of its massive gates.
The stories of valor and legendary warriors that emerged out of these battles are still sung by the bards of Rajasthan and no story is better representative of the sacrifices and bravery of the people of this city than that of the time when the Delhi Sultan Ala-ud-din-Khilji attacked the Mewar Kingdom in a bid to possess the beautiful and famous Queen of Chittor Rani Padmini. The battle which saw the sacrifice of thousands of soldiers in the battle field and the committing of suicide by children and womenfolk of the fort by jumping into fire after the loss to the Sultan of Delhi is etched deep in the walls and streets of this medieval city. The Chittorgarh Fort has the honor of being the largest fort in the country surpassing the great forts of Agra and Delhi in the process. Atop a 180 meter high hill the fort is spread across some 240 hectares and presents an awe-inspiring sight from distance. The road leading to the fort is a treat in itself with a kilometer long zig-zag shape which takes one through the seven imposing gates of the fort with the first one being the Sun Gate and the last one being the Rampol or the Gate of Ram. The insides of the fort are now in ruins.
Under the rule of Rana Khumbha arguably one of the greatest Rajputana warriors, the town of Chittorgarh became a sprawling center of trade and arts where one could find artists from all over the country exhibiting their craft and arts. This display of art and architectural brilliance is available in other monuments of great significance which are located in and around the main fort of the city. Among the many famous monuments in the city Vijay Stambh stands out in particular, the huge monolith was constructed by Maharana Kumbha after his victories over the Muslim rulers of Malwa and Gujarat in 1440. The 40 meter high tower is full of carvings and sculptures on its outer walls and is a glorious piece of architecture.
Another famous monument in the city is the Palace of Queen Padmini which is built in the middle of a lake making it virtually inaccessible to enemies in times of raids. The palace housed the beautiful and witty Queen Padmini the wife of Rawal Ratan Singh. The other attractions of the city include Rana Kumbha’s Palace, Kirti Stambh and Kalika Mata Temple which was originally a sun temple built at the time the fort was built. Chittorgarh is an amazing place to be if you want to go back in time and try to relive the times in which respect, bravery, truth, honesty and independence was ranked above pleasures and power. Rajputs are considered to be the most respected and valiant of all warrior clans in India and their pride is preserved in the grounds, streets and fort of Chittorgarh.