Area : 2.8 km (1.1 sq miles).
Location : Chittorgarh Town, Rajasthan, INDIA.
Designated : in 2013 (37th session of the World Heritage Committee).
Located : Stands on a hill 180 m (590.6 ft) high. Situated on the bank of Berach River.
The Fort complex comprises 65 historic built structures, among them 4 palace complexes, 19 main temples, 4 memorials and 20 functional water bodies. These are divided in 2 major construction phases.
The first hill fort with one main entrance was established in 5th century and successively fortified until 12th century and the remains are mostly visible on the western edges of the plateau.
The second and more significant defence structure was constructed in 15th century during the reign of the Sisodia Rajputs, when the royal entrance was relocated and fortified with seven gates, and the medieval fortification wall was built on an earlier wall construction from 13th century.
These gates are (from the base to the hill top):
1. The Paidal Pol
2. Bhairon Pol
3. Hanuman Pol
4. Ganesh Pol
5. Jorla Pol
6. Laxman Pol
7. Ram Pol the final and main gate.
The Chittorgarh Fort located in the southern part of Rajasthan, 233 km (144.9 miles) from Ajmer, midway between Delhi and Mumbai on the National Highway 8 (INDIA). The Chittorgarh Fort is roughly in the shape of a fish, has a circumference of 13 km (8.1 miles) with a maximum length of 5 km (3.1 miles) and covers an area of 700 acres. The Fort is approached through a zig zag and difficult ascent of more than 1 km (0.6 mile) from the plains, after crossing over a bridge made of limestone. The Chittorgarh Fort had 84 water reservoirs within its campus in the part, which could hold enough water to meet the needs of 50,000 soldiers of the kingdom for 4 consecutive years. There are 7 gates so high that enemies could not see or attach inside the fort, by even standing on a elephant or a camel.
The Chittorgarh Fort – Garh means Fort, was originally called Chitrakut and said to have been built by the local Maurya Rulers (not to be confused with the imperial Mauryans).
The fort is surrounded by a perimeter wall 13 km (8.1 miles) long, beyond which a 45 degree hill slope makes it almost inaccessible to enemies. The ascent to the fort passes through seven gateways built by the Mewar ruler Rana Kumbha (1433-1468) of the Sisodia clan.
The fortified citadel was ravaged three times when women and children committed ‘Jauhar’ immolating themselves on a huge funeral pyre while the men folk donned in saffron robes of martyrdom rode out to face certain death.
Alauddin Khilji was the first to sack Chittaurgarh in 1303 A.D. Legend has it that Alauddin Khilji was so much besotted by the regal beauty of Padmini and was overpowered by a desire to possess her. But the noble queen preferred death to dishonour and committed ‘Jauhar’. The victim was Chittaur.
In 1533 A.D. during the rule of Bikramjeet, came the second attack from Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat and once again the jaguar was led by Rani Karmawati.
Third time, Mughal Emperor Akbar invaded Chittaur, Udai Singh fled to establish a new capital, Udaipur; a truly beautiful lake city. He left behind two 16 year old heroes, Jaimal of Bednore and Patta of Kelwa. These two young men in their prime displayed the Rajput chivalry before being consumed by the jaguar flames. Immediately afterwards Akbar razed the fort to the ground. Chittaur was never inhabited again.
PRIME SITES IN THE CHITTAURGARH FORT
The fort has many magnificent monuments – all fine example of the Rajput architecture.
Vijay Stambh (Victory Tower)
This 37.2 mtr (122 ft) high the Vijay Stambh has 9 stories accessed through a narrow 157 circular stairs. The Victory Tower (Vijay Stambh) is called the symbol of Chittaurgarh, was erected by Rana Kumbha between 1458 – 1468 to commemorate his victory over the Muslim rulers of Malwa in 1440 A.D.
Kirti Stampbh (Tower of Fame)
This 22 metre high tower was built by a Jain merchant Jeeja Bhagerwala during the reign of Rawal Kumar Singh (c. 1179 – 1191) for the glory of Jainism. Kirti Stambh is older than Vijay Stambh.
Rana Kumbha’s Palace
The oldest monument, Rana Kumbha Palace (in ruins), located at the entrance gate near the Vijay Stambha. The palace included elephant and horse stables and a temple of Lord Shiva. Maharana Udai Singh was born here, who founded Udaipur. The popular folklore linked to his birth is that his maid Panna Dai saved him (Maharana Udai Singh) by substituting her son in his place as a decoy, which resulted in her son getting killed by Banbir. The Rana Kumbha Palace is built with plastered stone. The remarkable feature of the palace is its splendid series of canopied balconies. Palace entry is through Suraj Pol which leads into a courtyard. The famous poet saint, Rani Meera also lived in this palace. This was also the Palace where Rani Padmini, consigned herself to the funeral pyre in one of the underground cellars, as an act of JAUHAR along with many other royal ladies.
Rani Padmini’s Palace
Rani Padmini’s Palace is from which Alauddin Khilji was allowed to see a reflection of the Rani Padmini (also known as Padmawati) in a mirror at such an angle that even if he turns back he could not see the room. Khilji was warned by the Rani’s husband Rawal Ratan Singh that if he turned back they would cut his neck.
Kumbha Shyam Temple
This temple was built in 1448 AD by Maharana Kumbha. The top of temple was made of solid stone with cutting design on it. This temple located just in front of main entrance gate of Meera Temple.
Kalika Mata Temple
An 8th century Hindu Temple within the Chittorgarh Fort. It predates Maharana Pratap and has thousands of visitors every day. The goddess Bhadrakai worshipped at this temple, clan goddess of Panwar clan.
Fateh Prakash Palace
This Palace is located near Rana Kumba Palace, built by Rana Fateh Singh, the precincts have modern houses and a small museum.
The temple where Meerabai worshipped Lord Krishna, built in north Indian style on a raised plinth with a conical roof and beautiful inner sanctum.
A spring feeds this tank from a carved cow’s mouth in the cliff. This pool was the main source of water at the fort during the numerous sieges.