Chittorgarh Fort is the largest and the grandest of all the forts that can be found in India. It is located at Chittor in the state of Rajasthan. Formerly, this fort was known as Chittor and served as the capital of Mewar for around 834 years, as per the historical records.
Similar to other forts found in Rajasthan, this fort is also built over a hill, which overlooks the valley evacuated by the Berach River. This fort is of magnificent beauty has inspired many tourists, poets and writers.
This fort clearly displays the bravery, courage and sacrifice of the Mewar rulers from Sisodia. Not only the royal family, but the residents and workers of the Mewar kingdom also considered death as a better option rather than surrendering to enemies. Such was their chivalry.
The fort once boasted 85 water bodies. Today, only 22 are left. This fort was ruled by various dynasties over the period of time. Today, this place is one of the major tourist attractions nearby Udaipur.
History of the Fort
This Chittorgarh fort was built in the 7th century AD by the Mauryans and the name was derived from the Maurayan Ruler, Chitrangada Mori. There are some records to show that this fort was gifted to Bappa Rawal, the founder of Sisodia dynasty, as dowry gift. Hence, this place came under the rule of Sisodia dynasty.
This fort faced three important battles for control. In 1303, Ala-ud-din Khilji captured the fort. Then, in 1535, Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, besieged the fort. The final attack by the Mughal Emperor Akbar left the fort looted in 1568. As a result, the fort got abandoned completely in 1568.
In the year 1616, this fort was returned to the Rajput’s by Jahangir. But it was renovated only in 1905, under the British rule.
Structure of the Fort
This fort is designed in a shape of a fish. The way to approach this fort is in a zigzag manner and one has to trek more than 1km to reach the fort. In between, one has to cross bridge made of up limestone.
The fort complex has various structures, which include 4 palaces and 19 temples. The construction of this massive structure can be divided into two parts. The fort with its main entrance was constructed in the 7th century and rest of the defense structure of this fort was established in the 15th century.
The fort has been constructed with seven gates namely Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ganesh Pol, Jodla Pol, Laxman Pol and Ram pol. All the gates are built with huge stone structures for defense purpose. The doors have pointed arches to fend off the elephants and cannon shots. Each gate has a statue of the rulers who lost their life while battling the enemies. Few of the statues were erected on the orders of Akbar to salute the sacrifice of the rulers of the fort. Jodla Pol is a distinct gate, where two gates are joined together.
Tower of Victory
Vijay Stambha was known as the tower of victory and it was also called as the symbol of Chittor. This was built by Rana Kumbha for celebrating his victory over Khalji. It took ten years to complete this structure and this structure has nine stories with a narrow circular staircase to reach the 8th floor. A great view of the nearby plains can be witnessed from the 8th floor. A dome was later added to this structure. This structure is open to public and gives a breathtaking view of the Chittor town.
This is smaller than the tower of victory and has Jain sculptures on the outside of this tower. This tower is called as tower of fame and is dedicated to Lord Adinath, the 1st Jain Tirthankar. A narrow staircase leads to the top of the tower. Apart from the towers, this fort complex has many palaces also.
Rana Kumbha Palace
This was constructed in 15th century and was home to the poetess Rani Meera. The entrance for this palace is from Badi Pol. The palace was built of Hindu architecture and is now in ruins. The other famous palaces include Fateh Prakash Palace and Rani Padmini’s Palace.
There are 3 temples inside the fort namely Meerabai Temple, Kalika Mata Temple and Tulja Bhavani Temple. Local devotees come in large number to seek blessings from Lord in these temples.