District : Chittaurgarh Region Mewar
Location : SE Rajasthan. 38 km from Madhya Pradesh Border
Popular For : Forts and Palaces
Best Time To Visit : October March
Padmini's Palace in Chittorgarh - Amidst Isolation
|To See :||Chittaurgarh Fort, Rana Kumbha's Palace, Zenana Mahal, Gaumukh Kund, Rani Padmini Palace.|
|World Famous For :||Colossal Chittaurgarh Fort.|
|Don't Miss :||Rani Padmini Palace set on a Pond, The Menal's Waterfall roars during Rainy Season.|
|Palace Suites :||Jag Mandir Darshan, Aravalli Darshan and Sajjan Niwas are the real Luxury Showcases.|
|Must Visit :||Visit to the Kalika Mata Temple dedicated to Sun God.|
|Time Spend :||Tourist can plan a trip from Udaipur to Chittaurgarh - 3 hours drive. Spend minimum one day, if interested in various tales of love and war.|
|Getting Around :||Nagri (18 km NE), Bassi (25 km NE), Menal (78 km NE).|
|To shop :||Painted Wooden Toys - Bassi Village, Miniature Kavad - Altar, Gold - Silver Jewelry, Bandhini Textiles, Hand Embroidered Shoes.|
|Getting There :||Air Nearest
Airport - Dabok Airport in Udaipur.
Rail Chittaugarh Station linked to Delhi by Nizamuddin - Udaipur Express. Mewar Express links Jaipur.
Road 11 hrs from Delhi, 7 hrs - Jaipur, 21/2 hrs - Udaipur.
From Jaipur - NH-8 to Kishengarh via Dudu; NH-8 A to Naisirabad; NH-79 to Chittaurgarh via Bandanwara and Bhilwara.
|Inside Tip :||To feel the existence of beautidul Rani Padmavati, stroll down the marble gallery of Padmini Palace, also watch the reflection of yours on the crystal clear water of the Pond inside the Palace.|
|Important Distances :||113 km NE of Udaipur, 330 km SW of Jaipur, 588 km SW of Delhi.|
|Where to Eat :||Castle Bijaipur -General Rajasthani food, Bassi Fort Palace Paranthas and Vegetable Food, Pratap Palace dal-baati-choorma, Hotel Meera Indian and Mughal Meals, Hotel Padmini Pure Vegetarians.|
|Staying Options :||Bassi Fort Palace, Castle Bijapur, Hotel Pratap Palace, Hotel Padamini, RTDC's Panna.|
Facts are stranger than fictions. You might never have heard about a king who burns an entire kingdom just to have a beauty by his side or hundreds of fine-cheeked Rajputs, donned in saffron robes of martyrdom, charging to their deaths or about a virgin lady who sang her nights out for Lord Krishna. These footages, if edited to make an epic film, will rock the Hollywood. Visit Chittaurgarh town in Rajasthan, where fantasies come to life, where real characters incarnate to breath their life out, but bow before a foreign power. Indeed, this elfin district owns more tales of valour and sacrifice than any other in Rajasthan's - perhaps even India's - glorious history.
The history of Chittaurgarh is, ironically, all about saffron and ash. Three times in its long history Chittaur was sacked by a stronger enemy, and on each occasion, historians got ample stuff to bedeck their history books.
The most famous heroine in the annals of Mewar is, probably, the comely
Padmini, a contemporary poet's vivid imagination, quite possibly to supply
a romantic reason for Ala-ud-Din's savage conquest of Chittor in 1303. The
legendary Rani Padmavati (commonly known as Padmini) - archetype of all
beautiful women - a dark-skinned maiden, her incredible beauty was soon
acclaimed throughout India. When Delhi Sultan, Ala-ud-din Khilji heard
about Padmini, he decided to breeze her for his harem. At the time, the
massive Islamic takeover of Hindu India was under way and Padmini, he
thought, was a good enough reason to attack Chittorgarh. The Rajputs,
however, held the fort and after eight months of impasse Ala-ud-Din
offered to lift the restrain on the condition that he, be allowed to have
a glimpse of Padmini. Rajputs had a strict rule about purdah, and no
outside males were allowed to gaze directly upon their women. However,
rather gullibly, the Rawal agreed and Khilji was taken to the Rana's
palace through a long winding passageway. The beautiful appeared on the
steps of a pavilion in the middle of a lotus pool just across from the
palace. The Sultan saw her through a complex arrangement of mirrors,
mesmerised by a reflection of the radiance that later turned beauty into
Afterwards, the Rana escorted Khilji back to the main gates, whereupon the former was captured - and Khilji demanded that Padmini be turned over to him, this time unconditionally. No one was more appalled by this thought than Padmini, who craftily agreed to his ransom, adding that she would be accompanied by seven hundred personal friends and maids. The following morning a processions of palanquins, officially carrying the queen and her handmaidens but informally filled up with armed Rajput soldiers disguised as women - no sooner had they reached the Muslim's camps than they leaped out and freed Rana Ratan Singh. Frustrated, the Sultan regrouped, returned, killed 30,000 men and stormed the fort. Finally realising further resistance would be futile, Padmini led all of the fort's women and children to an underground chamber, where the door was sealed behind them, and a large pyre was lit. Intrepidly, they committed the ultimate sacrifice of 'jauhar' - self immolation on the hands of fire - rather than suffer disgrace at the hands of the enemy. The victorious Sultan rode in to take Padmini only to discover the beautiful, resourceful queen Padmini had cheated him one last time.
In 1535, it was Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujrat. Once again Jauhar was led by Rani Karanavati, a Bundi princess. Her infant son, Udai Singh was smuggled out of Chittaur to Bundi who survived to inherit the throne of the citadel. He learnt from his traumatic childhood that discretion is preferred to chivalry. And only 33 years later, in 1568, the finishing touch was added by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Every time the fort was defended heroically, but every time the odds were overwhelming. Every time the women performed 'jauhar', and every time the fort gates flung open to let the orange-robed warriors, rode out to their deaths.
Chittaurgarh Fort - The Fort That Opened Its Doors
Today, the fort of Chittaurgarh in Rajasthan is a virtually deserted ruin, ransacked and then destroyed, before nature could take its toll. But impressive relics of its epoch still stand to conjure up the romance of an era long past, that makes this fort an important tourist attraction. The battles fought in and around this strategic bastion were so unbelievable, that they now sound like myths rather than legends. According to legends, Bhima, one of the Pandava heroes of Mahabharata, is credited with the fort's original construction. Walk on the zigzag ascent which passes through 7 gateways, some with recognisably Gujrati elements. The memorable tour begins with the Rana Kumbha's Palace, one of the most evocative alcoves and a placard of Rajasthani architecture. Just beside the entrance, one can see where the Rana sat to watch the sun rise and pray to Surya, with the euphonic tunes of the musicians seated in the 'chhatri' nearby.
Continuing south, you come to the Zenana Mahal, built beside a large lotus pool with a pavilion in its centre. The bronze gates of this palace were carried off by Akbar and can now be seen in the fort at Agra. You can even pop into the rani's toilet - with touching authenticity and exquisitely carved ceilings, it still smells the royal aura of the Rajput queens. Ask a guide, who will point you the stairway to the long underground passageway, no longer accessible, through which Padmini and other royal ladies went for the sacred 'jauhar'. See if you can catch a whiff of that romantic heroism in the choked air.
Drive up the fort's eastern side for your last visual treat. Amidst the patch of custard-apple trees is the nine-storey high tower you saw from afar, the famous Vijay Stambh. Built by Rana Kumbha to mark his 1437 victory, the Victory Tower is embellished from head to toe with Hindu deities, and inscriptions of Allah's name in Arabic on the third and eighth floors.
Travel to Chittorgarh and see where religion and love criss-crossed each other's track, creating a unsolvable matrix of devotion and faith. Visit the place where love climbed to higher stairs, when a mortal cohort left her alone in the middle of the highway of life. Visit the place where Mirabai spent much of her time as the widow of the young Sisodia prince Bhojraj and chucked herself into Krishna Bhakti. Because she picked up singing bhajans too soon and said no to 'purdah', her in-laws tried repeatedly to poison her. The temple where the holy lady worshipped Lord Krishna all her life, is a memorial one and not an actual haunt of Mirabai's.
Mirabai's Temple , Chittorgarh
Chittorgarh tourism will let you wander through the slender lanes of Sadar Bazaar to get an overview of indigenous Rajasthani crafts, painted wooden toys of Bassi Village. Enter Bassi's cheerful main bazaar and blend yourself with the colourful ambiance of the old quarter. Don't forget to meet Parvati (Gauri) - a craftsman favourite and a visitor's delight - especially when painted in an impressive avatar with radiant choli and churidar. Besides there are handicrafts articles of Pratapgarh, printed fabric of Akola and leather mojri of Gangrar, displayed in an wide array at Gandhi Chowk or Station Circle. Visit the Rana Sanga market and get a few 'kavadhs', a particular type of miniature altar painted with scenes from epics and hinged so that it can be folded up like a book.
Drive over 40 km south of Chittaur to visit the rustic 16th century palace of Bijaipur - Castle Bijaipur, a bard's romantic fantasy. The rooms are bedecked with antique furniture and display niches and original stone 'jharokhas' (windows), making it hard to go outdoors. Tourists can engage themselves in yoga and meditation, or just kick back the afternoons with a good book. Ask the friendly owners and they will arrange for jeep safaris to places of interest near Bijaipur, such as the Bhil tribal village or the wild greens nearby, known as 'thanderiberi'. Enjoy relaxation without work at this leisure paradise. On the Bundi-Chittorgarh highway, stop at 48 km from Bundi at Menal, a complex of Shiva temples built during the Gupta period. Look for the splendid waterfall, formed after a good monsoon, nearby. In the forests of bamboo and dry deciduous vegetation, an hour drive from Chittaurgarh, the forested Sitamata Sanctuary provides rich pastures for a variety of deer that includes the chousingha and blackbuck.
Chittorgarh fort tour is one of the most favored options of tourists. To enjoy, travellers can fly upto Maharana Pratap (Dabok) Airport at Udaipur and then can drive the rest 113 km upto Chittaurgarh. Udaipur is well connected with Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Mumbai by daily flights. If somebody wants to have a good view of the Indian culture, get into the Chetak Express from Sarai Rohilla in Delhi. Otherwise enjoy cool breaks at Nasirabad and Bundi, while driving from Jaipur or Delhi. One can drive along NH8 and then change the track at Ajmer, taking the NH79, from where Chittaur is 4 hrs away. Tourists can hire private taxis for a whole day, to visit nearby places. However, auto-rickshaws are preffered for local commutation.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Chittorgarh
The True Placard of Rajput Chivalry
The Fort of Fortune
The Love Story of Hatred
Bow To Thy Sacred Love
Ride A Horse
Rajasthan & The Taj
Wildlife Safari Tour
Mahal - White Wonder
Delhi - Eternal Capital
Sikri - City of Victory
- Out of The World
Madhya Pradesh -
Centre of Attraction