Chittorgarh Travel Guide
When the city was built in the 8th
century by Bappa Rawal (ruled 734-53A.D.), it was named Chittorgarh.
That was a long time ago and just the beginning of one of the
bloodiest histories that a town has ever seen. Famous for being
besieged by invaders, Chittorgarh traces its origin way back to the
Mahabharata, according to one legend. Although the foundation of
Chittor is attributed to Bappa Rawal, the fort is considered to be one
of the earliest in Rajasthan.
¤ Successive conquering of Chittorgarh
Rani Padmini-The Incognizant
Standing on a rocky plateau on a 500-feet high hill, the 700 acre
fort was besieged three times, and each time Chittor ended as the
loser. But that did not mean that the fort was less sturdy than any
other citadel in Rajasthan. It was just that the Rajputs had a habit
of riding out to meet the enemy outside the safety of their walls,
instead of allowing the enemy to launch the first assault. The first
time the fort was stormed in 1303, it was a woman who was the
unwitting cause. Alauddin Khilji fell in love with Rani Padmini the
moment he heard of her beauty, and decided to take her and Chittor to
boot. He did conquer Chittor but Padmini reduced herself to ashes in a
jauhar (mass suicide in fire), in which 30,000 women burnt themselves
Conquered by Muhammad Shah of Gujarat
The second siege came 232 years later in 1535, when Muhammad Shah of
Gujarat declared war on Chittor. Chittor fell again, and 13,000 women
and children committed jauhar but of a different kind. The
fortress was on the verge of being seized by Bahadur Shah and there
was no time to arrange for a bonfire. Gunpowder was brought out from
the magazines and laid out. The tremendous blast that followed took
the lives of women and children.
Finally Conquered by Emperor Akbar
The final assault was by Akbar in 1567, and it was fatal for
Chittor. The seven gates of Chittor were opened and 8,000 Rajputs rode
out in their saffron war robes, once again to die at the hands of the
Mughals. Tradition repeated itself within the walls of Chittor, as, in
true Rajput style, the women and children chose 'death by fire'
instead of disgrace. When Akbar entered the fort, it is said that
there was not a living soul left inside. After this final sack, the
back of Chittor was broken, and its ruler Rana Udai Singh fled to lay
the foundations of Udaipur.
Chittor Could Be Definitely On The Tourist Itinerary List
Chittor today is more of an industrial town, but the only reason to
come here would certainly have to be the fort. The town is off the
main tourist circuit, but is definitely worth a visit. The best way to
get to Chittor would be to make Udaipur the base for a one-day
excursion to the fort.