By the time, we reached Chittorgarh station from Jaipur it was around 11 PM and outside the station was almost deserted. Only a handful of auto’s and some street vendors shutting shop. We were hungry and we had to also reach our hotel, which we had booked online. I first called up the hotel and was informed that they were waiting for us to arrive, we were also informed that there were no restaurants or food joints open at that time of the day near the hotel so we better have our dinner and then arrive at the hotel.
Chittorgarh being a small town shuts down early and by that time only a handful of shops were open so we had less choice when it came to selecting an eatery. The one, which looked bit descent, had just one option. Sev (bhujiya) and tomato curry and daal, which were served with hot puris. Let us not get in to taste part as that would be another blog in itself.
At night, tourists are in a trap so when choosing an auto to drop us from the station to the hotel we were first quoted Rs. 300 and then the bargaining started. Finally, it was frozen to Rs. 100, which by the way during the daytime was Rs. 40 only.
It was just a 3-kilometer ride and within minutes, we reached the hotel. It was a basic budget hotel with dirty bed sheets and an equally unmentionable state of the attached toilet. On request, the hotel boy changed the bedsheets, which were still questionable in terms of cleanliness. It was a very cold January night and we somehow managed to sleep.
Next morning we woke up to the sounds of the National anthem and we realized that it was 26th of January (Republic Day). Without even thinking, we set out for a quick round of breakfast wearing just shorts and hoodies. The moment we stepped outside, we felt the cold air hit us hard when we checked the local weather on our mobile it was at 2 degree Celsius. We somehow managed to grab a glass of hot tea so that we could have enough warmth to walk back to our hotel room.
It was finally time to head towards Chittorgarh Fort and our hotel was just a kilometer away from the fort thus an Rs. 100 ride took us to the top of the fort. Whenever you decide to travel, remember to recheck with the auto driver if you would be dropped at the base of the hill or right up to the top as the walk to the top from the base of the hill is a long and steep walk.
On the way you would pass through some of the stone gates throng the side, this fort has around 7 gates thus if you are really enthusiastic then do check them out individually.
Once you reach the top you would have to purchase an entry ticket. Keep in mind that you will be randomly asked to produce the ticket at the various sections of the hill fort thus do not skip the ticket part. In addition, you need to purchase a ticket for photography (non-commercial).
History of Chittorgarh Fort
It no uses for me to go into the details as it is readily available on the internet so what I am going to do is just paint a timeline in front of you to get an overall feel.
- Originally built by Maurya ruler Chitrangada Maurya.
- Captured by Bappa Rawal (Guhila ruler) in 728 CE or 734 CE
- Conquered by Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji in 1303 from Guhila king Ratnasimha
- Fort handed over to Khizr Khan who was the son of Alauddin Khalji after his death
- Khizr Khan’s rule lasted till 1311 AD
- Sonigra chief Maldeva ruled for the next 7 years
- Hammir Singh took control from Maldeva
- Hammir Singh reigned till his death in 1364
- Ketra Singh succeeded Hammir Singh
- Lakha Singh succeeded Ketra Singh in 1382
- Rana Kumbha (grandson of Lakha Singh) came to power in 1433 AD
- Rana Udaysimha (Uday Singh I) assassinated Rana Kumbha in 1468
- Rana Raimal (brother of Rana Udaysimha) took over the throne in 1473
- Sangram Singh the youngest son of Rana Raimal took over the throne after his death in 1509
- Bahadur Shah (Sultan of Gujarat) took over the fort in 1535
- Akbar lay siege to the fort in 1567
- Treaty between Jahangir and Amar Singh I in the year 1616
- Karan Singh II took over the throne after the death of his father Amar Singh I in 1620
- Jagat Singh I took over the throne after the death of his father Karan Singh II in 1628
- Raj Singh I took over the throne after the death of his father Jagat Singh in 1652
- Jai Singh took over after Raj Singh I in 1680
- Amar Singh II took over after Jai Singh in 1698
- Sangram Singh II came to the throne in 1710
- Jagat Singh II came to the throne in 1734
- Pratap Singh II came to the throne in 1751
- Raj Singh II came to the Mewar throne in 1754
- Ari Singh II in 1762
- Hamir Singh II in 1772
- Bhim Singh came in 1778
- Jawan Singh in 1828
- Shambhu Singh came to the throne (princely state of Udaipur) in 1861
- Sajjan Singh (adopted son) 1874
- Fateh Singh of Udaipur and Mewar 1884
- Maharana Bhupal Singh 1930 – 1948
- Instrument of Accession to the new Dominion of India – 1948
How to Reach?
People usually do a day trio to Chittorgarh from either Udaipur or from Jodhpur. However, you can also stay at Chittorgarh itself but then you staying options are limited. It takes around 15 to 20 minutes by auto from the railway station. Usually for sure the auto driver will want to give you a total guided experience of the fort by offering you to drive to the different sites you can take this option if you don’t want to walk as the fort is well spread and would be around 5 – 6 kilometers of walking in order to completely cover the fort.
Since we were traveling in winter, thus, the sun was pleasant and we decided to walk around.
We took around almost a full day to travel around the fort, however; most tourists finish up by 2 – 3 hours. An Auto would charge around Rs. 400 to Rs. 500 for the entire trip.
Honestly speaking you do not need a guide as it’s well marked and the large structures can easily be seen from a distance.
There is an RTDC hotel serving tea, coffee, and snacks within the fort complex near Vijay Stambh apart from this there are several street vendors also offering snacks. Do carry sufficient drinking water with you, as it is a steep walk at some places thus making you thirsty often.
What to See?
Chittorgarh fort is in shape of a fish atop a hill (180 meters) with Berach River on one side. Unlike some of the other forts in this region, Chittorgarh Fort had an abundance of a water body, which were around 84 however now only 22 of them are visible. The ones that still exist today have clean water stored in a good volume.
Chittorgarh became famous or rather infamous when the movie Padmavath was about to release as the main subject line of the movie revolved around the siege of Alauddin Khalji on the fort and then the queen Padmini of the fort. Historians are divided on this thus will not go deep into this.
Whether true or not the movie has suddenly made this place very popular amongst tourists and people come to Chittorgarh Fort just to see the palace of Queen Padmini but in reality, this place has a lot more to offer. Chittorgarh was for many years the capital of Mewar but with multiple attacks from invaders, the Rajputs decided to shift the capital to Udaipur instead. However, this hillfort remains forever a symbol of pride for the Mewar rulers.
Fort Gates (Pol)
There are seven gates in the fort Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Jorla Pol, Ganesh Pol, Laxman Pol, and Ram Pol. When you are climbing to the top of the fort from the city, you will cross several of these.
Rana Kumbha Palace
As you enter on the right hand, you will find the ruined palace of Rana Kumbha. Even though this place is named after Rana Kumbha it was not originally built by him but what he did was to expand it in a grander way. The palace can be approached from Badi Pol and Tripolia Pol. The gates lead into open space to the south of the palace and to Darikhana. A small doorway on the back of the Darikhana gives access to main apartments, the Surya Gokhra, Zanana Mahal, Kanwar Pade Ka Mahal, other residential structures and open courts. Built of dressed stones, the exterior walls have decorations include sculptured bands serving as stringcourse and large flower head bosses.
The inscription on the pillar near the western door of the temple mentions that Velaka, the son of Kola the treasurer of Maharana Kumbha built this temple and dedicated to Santinatha in 1448 AD and that Jina Sagara Suri consecrated it
There are two bazars within 50 meters from the Rana Kumbha Palace, which are Moti Bazar and Nagina Bazar. As the name suggests one would have been dealing with pearls and the other with precious stones.
Shiva temple built by Maharana Udai Singh.
Bhamashah was the minister of Maharana Pratap, during the battle of Haldighati Bhamashah and his brother Tarachand financed Maharana in his battle against the Mughals. This was his residence surrounded by a lush garden.
Water Tanks (Baoli)
There are several water bodies at Chittorgarh Fort and amongst all, I found this very well maintained. This is located right opposite (lane) to that of Pataleshwar Temple.
Ratan Singh Palace
Ratan Singh Palace is attributed to Rana Ratan Singh II (AD 1528 – 1531). Located along the Rataneshwar Talab it is rectangular on plan and enclosed by a high wall. The main entrance is facing east through a lofty arch crowned with two pillared chhatris. The palace comprises of courtyards surrounded by rooms, towers, deorhis etc. Darikhana (audience hall) with a fine balcony overlooking the reservoir is on the eastern part of the second story. A temple known as Rataneshwar Mahadeva is on the north of the main gateway, which comprises of a garbhagriha, an antrala, and a mandapa. The exterior of the temple is beautifully carved.
Fateh Prakash Palace
This is clearly the odd man out since this building is very different from the rest and the newest. It was built by Rana Fateh Singh (1849 – 1930) as his palace but at the moment this palace has been converted to the government museum. To enter this place you have to purchase a separate entry ticket at the gate. The museum contains artifacts from the Mewar rule of Chittorgarh and its surroundings.
Sat Bis Deori Jain Temple
This group of twenty-seven Jain temples locally known as Sat-Bis Deori built within a compound wall in 1448 AD. This temple complex stands on a high jagati and consists of a shrine with three mandapas facing west, a miniature shrine to it’s north and south and a corridor of cell shrines surrounding the central shrine and its courtyard. The central shrine has a sanctum, vestibule, mandapa, sabha-mandapa, trika-mandapa, and mukha-mandapa. The exterior part of the jangha is adorned with sculptures of gods, goddesses, and apsaras. Close to the group on the east is a pair of shrines facing east.
Kirti Stambh & Digamber Jain Adinath Temple
This is located right behind Fateh Prakash Palace but to reach this place you need to walk around the Sat Bis Deori Jain Temple. This place can be easily located as you can clearly see the Kirti Stambh from a distance.
Dedicated to Adinatha, the first Jaina Tirthankara, this elegant Stambha was built by Shresthi Jija and Punyasing of Bagherwal clan in AD 1301. This six storied tower (24.5 meters high) stands on a square platform. A central staircase winds up a square shaft through six stories to a small pavilion of elegant design, the roof of which rests on twelve columns. Large standing images of Tirthankara are placed in four niches on the lowest story. Hundreds of small figures are carved on the upper stories. Standing next to the tower is 14th-century Jain temple. Raised on high jagati, it comprises of a sanctum and a mandapa. Its walls are beautifully carved.
On the Eastern section of the hillfort, you will find these beautiful walls with gun turrets. You will get a fantastic 180-degree view of the villages below from here.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
This is a Shiva temple, even though it’s not that old but this place has some interesting Chattris (memorials) right opposite of the temple gates.
Kumbha Shyam Temple & Meera Temple
Originally dedicated to Varaha this temple was renovated by Maharana Kumbha in 1433 AD. Raised on high plinth it comprises of the sanctum, a mandapa, a portico, and an open pradakshinapath. The sanctum appears to be original and shows bold podium moldings decorated with sculptured niches on the projections. The roof of the mandapa is in the form of a pyramid while the sanctum is composed of twenty pillars. The image of Varaha is in the principle niche on the back of the shrine. In front of the temple is an image of Garuda under a canopy supported on four pillars. On the south, there is another smaller shrine called Meera-Mandir. In front of this is a four-pillared chhatri, said to have been built in the memory of her guru.
In the year 1561 son of Maharana Sangram Singh I, Prince Bhoj married Meera Bai of Merta. Being a devotee of Krishna she requested a temple for her deity thus her father in law built a smaller temple right next to Kumbha Shyam Temple.
This is one of the Bawri’s (Step Well) located at Chittorgarh Fort. Multiple water bodies within the fort complex ensured that the fort was independent when it came to the source of water and could sustain a military blockade for months.
The fort would surely be having lots of elephants and horses as a part of the army and this water body was meant for the elephants and is located right opposite to that of Khattan Bawri.
This is a massive water reservoir located right opposite to Fatta Haveili.
Located right opposite to Fatta Tank this haveli in a ruined state still stands. People now refer to this as Kankali Mata Temple. Once you enter the remaining of the haveli on the right, you will see an altar dedicated to Bheruji.
Kalika Mata Temple
This is one of the most famous temples in Chittorgarh and all throughout the day you can find devotees thronging to the temple dedicated to goddess Kali. There are a lot of Langoors out here ready to snatch the temple offerings thus do be careful.
This palace is of immense historical importance in the history of Mewar. Associated with Rani Padmini, this beautiful building stands in the northern margin of the Padmini Lake. It is said that here Rana Ratan Singh showed a glimpse of the legendary beauty of his wife Padmini to Ala-ud-Din Khalji through a mirror. After which Ala-ud-Din Khalji went to the extent of ravaging Chittorgarh in order to possess her. In the middle of the lake, there is a three-storeyed structure with arched openings locally known as Jal Mahal.
Rampur Bhanpur Haveli
Just up ahead down the road from Jal Mahal you will see Rampur Bhanpur Haveli
Nau Gaz Peer Sahib
Surprisingly just north to Kali Mata Temple is this shrine and what makes is special is the size which is 9 feet long.
This is perhaps the symbol that people think when they talk about Chittorgarh. To commemorate the victory over Sultan of Malwa, this magnificent stambha which is 37.19 meter high was built and congregated by Maharana Kumbha in 1448 AD. Dedicated to Vishnu it has nine stories distinctly marked with openings and balconies at every face of each story. The interior staircase widens alternately through the central chamber and the surrounding gallery. The inscribed slabs in the uppermost story contain the genealogy of the rulers of Chittaur from Hamir to Rana Kumbha. The entire tower is covered with architectural ornaments and inscribed images of gods and goddesses, seasons, weapons, musical instruments, etc. Its inscribed sculptures are a veritable textbook of Hindu iconography. The portraits of the architect of this tower Jaita and his three sons, Napa, Puja, and Poma carved in the fifth story
Main Fort Complex
Right next to Vijay Stambha are multiple buildings in ruins. Some structures can be clearly understood like the gates, shrines while some are in complete ruins. The ground beside the Vijay Stambh is the place where people say Rani Padmini along with other woman committed Jouhar (self-immolation).
Samadhisvara Temple which was originally an 11th-century temple was in 1428. This is one of the most well-maintained structures in this section of the fort. Apart from this Gomukh Kund is a must visit as it visually stunning.
Entry Ticket = Indian Rs. 40 (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar & Thailand)
Foreign Citizens = Indian Rs. 600
Children of 15 years and below = Free
Videography for personal use = Indian Rs. 25
Photography without tripod = Free
There are hundreds of Langoors in and around the fort area and they love to snatch away things especially food packets. Store any visible food items inside your bag and make sure your camera and mobile phones are held securely.
Archeological Survey of India – Jaipur Circle