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.
PLACES TO SEE IN CHITTORGARH:
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.
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
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
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
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
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.