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shalini_md Chittaurgarh - A travel report by Shalini
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Chittaurgarh,  India - flag India -  Råjasthån
2356 readers

shalini_md's travel reports

Tales of valour and pride - Chittaurgarh

  13 votes
Chittaur brings up images of bravery and sacrifice to most Indians who have heard stories of Maharana Pratap and his beloved horse Chetak, of Rani Padmini who chose to die for her honour, of an unconquered land and people who frustrated even mighty Akbar.


Rana Kumbha Palace
Rana Kumbha Palace
We were on a 5 day trip to Udaipur in February this year (that's another long trip report coming up)Chittaur is at a distance of approx. 120 kms from Udaipur and can be easily covered as a day-trip from Udaipur.So, we set out on a pleasant february morning from our RTDC hotel in Udaipur in a cab arranged from the hotel itself.The 3 hour drive was pleasant with good road conditions throughout.

Reaching Chittaur, we headed straight for Chittaurgarh, the fort. Chittaurgarh is approached by crossing 7 large gates.According to our guide, this was because they symbolise the seven horses pulling the Sun God's chariot as per Hindu mythology and the rajput rulers of Mewar considered to be descendents of the Sun.Chittaurgarh is considered to be originally built by Maurya dynasty in 7th century AD. Then around 743AD, Bappa Rawal, the founder of Mewar made it his capital. It remained the capital of Mewar for a very long period of 830 years.Chittaurgarh had been attacked several times and has seen several bloody battles.It clearly shows the battle scars. Much of the fort is in ruins with sudden suprises of relatively well preserved temples and other monuments.

Now, to talk of the tales and legends that brought me here in the first place.To say that Chittaur has had an interesting past is an understatement.It holds the distinction of being witness to the ultimate Rajput ritual of jauhar not once but thrice.Jauhar refers to the ritual where the Rajput women and children committed self-immolation by jumping into a fire when their army was facing certain defeat. They did not want to be taken alive by the marauding enemies and face humiliation at their hands. So,they chose death to save their honour. Initially, it sounded too shocking to me and gave me a bad feeling. But then, when I place myself in their position and think of the consequences of being taken alive as prisoners, well.. I can only thank God for each peaceful happy day of my life.

Favourite spots:
Fort Walls
Fort Walls
The first time was in 1303 AD when Chittaur was attacked by Allaudin Khilji. According to legend,the queen of Chittaur Rani Padmini, was very beautiful. Allaudin Khilji wanted a glimpse of the legendary beauty and a compromise was reached whereby he was shown a glimpse of her face though a mirror.This itself would have been a difficult agreement to reach as Rajputs also practised Purdah system. Anyway, apparently, Allaudin Khilji was not satified with just a glimpse and attacked Chittaur to win her.The tale has a tragic end with the queen choosing to commit jauhar along with the other ladies and the menfolk fighting to death.

The second was in 1535 when Chittaur was attacked by the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah. The end result was again the same.. no one taken alive.Nearly 32000 men died fighting till their last breath and women and children commited jauhar led by Rani Karnavati.Her infant son Udai Singh was smuggled out and he later founded Udaipur as a new capital.

What's really great:
View of the ruins from far
View of the ruins from far
The third time was in 1568, when Chittaur came under attack from Emperor Akbar's army. After this, Chittaurgarh was not inhabited again.

Chittaur is a MUST visit destination if you are into history. For me, it was a long cherised desire to visit Chittaur and immerse myself in the history of the place.It is one of those places whose charm lies in its interesting past.And so this trip report has ended up sounding like a history lesson :-)

Sights:
Vijay Sthamb
Vijay Sthamb
1. Tower of Victory (Vijay Sthamb) :
This was built in 1440 AD by Maharana Kumbha, to commemorate his victory over Mohammad Khilji.This is a 9 storied structure with lots of intricate carving all over. You can climb the 157 steps to go to the top of the tower and enjoy the view of whole of Chittaurgarh. We climbed till the fourth or fifth story and then gave up.Our guide told us that after the victory of Emperor Akbar's army he had ordered that all the statues in the temples and other monuments in the fort have their noses cut off.(Cutting off the nose being a sign of insult and humiliation) This was because he was so frustrated because of the adamant and unrelenting Chittaur, when most of the other Rajput rulers had accepted his supremacy.This was surprising for me as our vision of Emperor Akbar was that of a benevolent ruler. It only goes to show that for a king, finally what matters most is the quest for power and supremacy.

Accommodations:
Kirti Sthamb
Kirti Sthamb
Hotel Kajri,
Shastri Circle
Udaipur , India.
Phone :- 0294-2410501

We did not halt at Chittaur.Instead, we stayed at Udaipur and visited Chittaur as a day trip.

The hotel rooms were priced reasonably.Not very luxurious, but clean and well maintained. It is run by the RTDC(Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation). So it is very reliable and safe. And the staff is most willing to help you out. We had arranged the cab for our trip to Chittaur from the hotel itself.

Food was ok. The hotel serves only Indian menu for lunch/dinner. This was perfect for us. But if you are not too keen on Indian food, watch out.

Hangouts:
If you want to do some local shopping, you can visit one of the state govt. cooperatives. Things you can buy : Rajaais(quilts), bedsheets with the famous block print work, dress materials with embroidery or the tie-and-die(bandhini) work, or some small souvenirs/jewellery pieces.I liked the small model of the Victory Tower made in whitemetal.

Restaurants:
Hmm too bad I don't recall the name of the restaurant in Chittaur from where we had our lunch. The food was good.. simple Indian thali. One thing you should check out when you are in Rajasthan is the "Dal Bhaati and Choorma". It is a speciality of this region. But you need not necessarily like it (atleast I din't ).

Other recommendations:
Meerabai Temple
Meerabai Temple
2. Tower of fame (Kirti Sthamb) :
This 7-storied structure was built in 12th century by a wealthy Jain merchant. It is dedicated to Adinathji, the first Jain Teerthankar. There is also a Jain temple adjoining this.

3. Rana Kumbha Palace :
This is one of the biggest monuments in the Chittaurgarh complex. Most of it is now in ruins though. It has the cellars where it is rumoured that Rani Padmini and other women commited jauhar. The gates to the cellar were closed. Not that I was too keen on entering the cellar anyway.

4. Rani Padmini Palace :
This palace is built beside a lake. It is here that Rani Padmini used to spend her summers.

5. Meerabai Temple :
This is where Meerabai, wife of prince Bhojraj, used to worship Lord Krishna.Today, Meerabai's name is synonymous with utmost devotion to Lord Krishna and she is glorified as a saint.She was also a great poet and the subject of her poems was always Lord Krishna. To this day, these poems are sung as bhajans.

Published on Sunday May 20th, 2007


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Tue, Jun 12 2007 - 04:47 AM rating by adisidh

Hi Shalini
Nice report. Please keep posting.

subodh

Wed, May 30 2007 - 05:55 AM rating by akhila

Hi Shalini,
Nice report, but could have been made better if history was substituted with more personal experiences. 4 stars.
Please keep your reports coming.

Tue, May 29 2007 - 04:11 AM rating by downundergal

Great first effort, with a really solid explanation of the history. This report would be a pearler with a little more practical info geared to travellers. Nice photo of the fort wall.

Sat, May 26 2007 - 07:07 PM rating by eirekay

Shalini, I had read these stories before touring Rajasthan last year but you retell them so vividly. This is a wonderful report, especially being your first. I wish I had a chance to go to Chittaur - I make a note for my next visit to India!

Eire

Fri, May 25 2007 - 06:24 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

very very nice report from you ,keep it up.

Wed, May 23 2007 - 07:50 AM rating by davidx

I found this report really interesting and it's one of the best first reports I've seen. Don't keep us waiting too long for the other one you mention, please.

Tue, May 22 2007 - 07:57 AM rating by marianne

Nice lesson in history. Maybe you can add some practical information in case people like to visit. Nice photos and beautiful blue skies.

Mon, May 21 2007 - 06:06 PM rating by rangutan

Interesting places. A bit more info for travellers about the way of life there and the facilities would make this report quite special [3.7]

Mon, May 21 2007 - 01:15 PM rating by frenchfrog

Very nice report, thanks for the local history lesson.

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