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About Chittorgarh

Fort Chittor
According to legend, Bhim, one of the Pandava heroes of the Mahabharata, is credited with the fort’s original construction. All of Chittor’s attractions are within the fort. A zigzag ascent of over 1 km leads through seven gateways to the main gate on the western side, the Rampol.
On the climb, you pass two chhatris, memorials marking spots where Jaimal and Kalla, heroes of the 1568 siege, fell during the struggle against Akbar. Another chhatri, further up the hill, marks the spot where Patta fell. The main gate on the eastern side of the fort is the Suraj Pol. Within the fort, a circular road runs around the ruins and there's a deer park at the southern end. From the western end of the fort, one can take a glance at the town and across the surrounding countryside, as well as a charming view of an enormous cement factory. There’s even a little village in this part of the fort.
Today, the fort of Chittor is a virtually deserted to ruin, but impressive reminders of its grandeur still stand and those with imagination should easily be able to tune in to the this should easily be able to tune in to the romantic heroism which lingers in the air of this incredible monument. The main sites can all be seen in half a day (assuming you’re not walking) but, if you like the atmosphere of ancient sites, then it’s worth spending longer as this is a very mellow place and there are no hassles whatsoever. Entry to the fort is free. Guides are available in the fort, usually at the Rana Kumbha Palace and charge around Rs 200.

Rana Kumbha Palace
Entering the fort and turning right, you come almost immediately to the ruins of this palace. It contains elephant and horse stables and a Siva temple. One of the jauhars is said to have taken palace in a vaulted cellar. Right across the palace is the archaeological office and museum, and the treasury building or Nau Lakha Bhandar. The Singa Chowrl Temple is nearby.

Fateh Prakash Palace
Just beyond the Rana Kumbha palace, this palace is much more modern (Maharana Fateh Singh died in 1930). It houses a small and poorly lit museum, and the rest of the building is closed. The museum is open daily except Friday, from 10 am to 4 pm.

Tower of Victory
Continuing anticlockwise around the fort, you come to the Jaya stambh, or Tower of victory. Erected by Rana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mahmud Khilji of Malwa in 1440, the tower was constructed between 1458 and 1468. It rises 37m in nine storey and you can climb the narrow stairs to the eighth storey. Watch your head on the lintels! Entry is Rs 0.50, free on Friday.

Hindu sculptures adorned the outside of the tower, but the dome was damaged by lightning and repaired during the last century. Close to the tower is the Mahasati, an area where the ranas were cremated during Chittorgarh’s period as the Mewar capital. There are many sati stones here. The Sammidheshwar Temple stands in the same area.

Gaumukh Reservoir
Walk down beyond the temple and, at the very edge of the cliff, you’ll see this deep tank. A spring feeds the tank from a carved cow’s mouth in the cliff-side - from which the reservoir got its name. The opening here leads to the cave in which Padmini and her compatriots are said to have committed jauhar.

Padmini’s Palace
Continuing south, you come to Padmini’s palace, built beside a large pool with a pavilion in its centre. Legends relates that, as Padmini sat in this pavilion, Ala-ud-din was permitted to see her reflection in a mirror in the palace. This glimpse was the spark that convinced him to destroy Chittor in order to possess her.
The Bronze gates in this pavilion were carried of by Akbar and can now be seen in the fort at Agra. Continuing round the circular road, you pass the deer park, the Bhimlat Tank, the Suraj Pol Gate and the temple of Neelkanth Mahadev, before reaching the Tower of Fame.

Tower of fame
The Kirti Stambha, or Tower of fame, was probably built around the 12th century and is smaller (22m high) than the Tower of Victory. Built by a Jain merchant, it is dedicated to Adinath, first jain tirthankar. It is decorated with nude figures of the various tirthankars, indicating that it is a Digambara, or ‘sky clad’, monument. A narrow stairway leads the seven storeys to the top.

Other Buildings in Chittorgarh
Close to the Fateh Prakash Museum is the Meera Temple, built during the reign of Rana Kumbha in the ornate Indo-Aryan style and associated with the mystic-poetess Meerabai. In the same compound is the Kumbha Shyam temple, or Temple of Varah.
Across Padmini’s Palace is the Kalika Mata Temple, an 8th-century Surya temple. It was later converted to a temple of Goddess Kali. At the northern tip of the fort is another gate, the Lokhota Bari, while at the southern end is a small opening from which criminals and traitors were hurled into the abyss.

Castle Bijaipur is a 16th century palace in this village, 40km south of Chittor. It’s now an atmospheric hotel with pleasant rooms for Rs 800/850. Good meals are available; the set breakfast/lunch/dinner costs Rs 90/150/225. The amiable owners can organise interesting horse and jeep safaris to nearby villages – a half day village safari by jeep costs Rs 400 per person. To stay at the castle, book through the Hotel Pratap Palace in Chittor. There are daily RSTC buses from Chittor to Bijaipur.

Menal & Bijolia
Enroute to Chittorgarh, 48 km from Bundi, Menal is a complex of Shiva temples built during the Gupta period. After a good monsoon, there’s an impressive waterfall in this area. Bijolia 16 km from Menal, was once a group of 100 temples. Today, only three are left standing, one of which has a huge figure of Ganesh.

A detour between Menal and Bijolia takes you to Mandalgarh. It is the third fort of Mewar built by Rana Kumbha - the others are the great fort of Chittorgarh and the fort at Kumbhalgarh.

One of the oldest towns in Rajasthan, Nagri is 17km north of Chittor. Hindu and Buddhist remains from the Mauryan to the Gupta period have been found here.

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