Chittorgarh

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This article is about the municipality in Rajasthan, India. For its namesake district, see Chittorgarh district.
Not to be confused with Chittoor or Chittur.
Chittorgarh
चित्तौड़गढ,
city
Chittorgarh Fort
Chittorgarh Fort
Nickname(s): chittor
Chittorgarh is located in Rajasthan
Chittorgarh
Chittorgarh
Location in Rajasthan, India
Coordinates: 24°53′N 74°38′E / 24.88°N 74.63°E / 24.88; 74.63Coordinates: 24°53′N 74°38′E / 24.88°N 74.63°E / 24.88; 74.63
Country  India
State Rajasthan
District Chittaurgarh
Area
 • Total 28 km2 (11 sq mi)
Elevation 394 m (1,293 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 116,530
 • Rank 121
 • Density 4,200/km2 (11,000/sq mi)
Languages
 • Official Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

Chitaurgarh (Hindi: चित्तौड़गढ़) About this sound pronunciation } (also Chittor, Chittaur, or Chitorgarh) is a city and a municipality in Rajasthan state of western India. It lies on the Berach River, a tributary of the Banas, and is the administrative headquarters of Chittorgharh District and a former capital of the Sisodia Dynasty of Mewar. The city of Chittaurgarh is located on the banks of river Gambhiri and Berach. The district was bifurcated and a new district namely Pratap Garh was created with certain portion taken from Udaipur district in the newly created district of Pratap Garh.

Fiercely independent, the fort of Chittor was under siege thrice and each time they fought bravely and thrice Jauhar was committed by the ladies and children, first led by Rani Padmini, and later by Rani Karnavati. The famous warriors Gora and Badal, in the war against Allaudin Khalji (1303 AD), have become legendary. The sacrifice of Jaimal and Patta, two brave army chieftains of Mewar, in the war against the Mughals (1568 AD) was so great that the Mughal Emperor Akbar installed their statues in the fort of Agra. It has also been a land of worship for Meera.[1] Chittorgarh is home to the Chittorgarh Fort, the largest fort in India.

History[edit]

Chittorgarh Fort precincts

Kirti stambha.jpgIndia 04 0019 chittorgarh.jpgVictory tower.jpg
Tower of Fame|Reservoir|Tower of Victory
Vijay Stambha or "Tower of Victory"

Chittorgarh is the epitome of Chattari Rajput (a Hindu Kshatriya (Warrior) caste) pride, romance and spirit, for people of Chittor always chose death before surrendering against anyone. It reverberates with history of heroism and sacrifice that is evident from the tales still sung by the bards of Rajasthan. Though it can now be called a ruined citadel there is much more to this huge fort. It is a symbol of all that was brave, true and noble in the glorious Rajput tradition.

View of the Tower of Victory, 1927

Historically, it is considered that Chittor was built by the Maurya dynasty. Mauryan rule ended in 271 B.C.as a dominant power in India (Keay 2000 p 104).[citation needed] It was then named Chitrakut after Chitrangada Mori, a Rajput chieftain as inscribed on ancient Mewari coins. The fort is surrounded by a circular wall which has seven huge gates before one can enter the main fort area. Some accounts say that the Mori dynasty was in possession of the fort when Bappa Rawal the founder of the kingdom of Mewar seized Chittor garh (Chittor fort) and made it his capital in 734 AD. Some other accounts say Bappa Rawal received it as a part of the dowry after marriage with the last Solanki princess. After that date his descendants ruled Mewar, which stretched from Gujarat to Ajmer, until the 16th century. Chittor was one of the most contested seats of power in India with probably some of the most glorious battles being fought over its possession. It is famous in the annals of the Mewar Dynasty as its first capital (prior to this, the Guhilots, forerunners of the Mewar Dynasty, ruled from Idar, Bhomat, and Nagda), and renowned in India's long struggle for freedom. By tradition, it remained the Mewar capital for 834 years. With only brief interruptions, the fort has always remained in possession of the Sisodias of the Guhilot (or Gehlot/Guhila) clan of Rajputs, who descended from Bappa Rawal.

The first attack was by Alauddin Khilji in 1303 AD, who was enamoured by the beauty of Padmini of which he had only heard. Rani Padmini preferred death to abduction and dishonour and committed jauhar (an act of self-immolation by leaping into a large fire) along with all the other ladies of the fort.[1] All the men left the fort in saffron robes to fight the enemy unto death. Chittorgarh was captured in 1303 AD by Ala ud din Khilji, Sultan of Delhi who led a huge army. Elderly people then had the responsibility to raise the children. It was recaptured in 1326 by the young Hammir Singh, a scion of the same Gehlot clan. The dynasty (and clan) fathered by him came to be known by the name Sisodia after the village where he was born.

Rana Kumbha (1433–68) was a versatile man, a brilliant poet, and musician. He built Mewar up to a position of unassailable military strength, building a chain of thirty forts that girdled the kingdom. But, perhaps more important Rana Kumbha was a patron of the arts to rival Lorenzo de' Medici, and he made Chittorgarh a dazzling cultural center whose fame spread across Hindustan.

By the 16th century, Mewar had become the leading Rajput state. Rana Sanga of Mewar led the combined Rajput forces against the Mughal emperor Babur in 1527, but was defeated at the Battle of Khanua. Later in 1535 Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat, besieged the fort, causing immense carnage. It is said that again, as in the case of Jauhar led by Padmini in 1303, all 32,000 men then living in the fort donned the saffron robes of martyrdom and rode out to face certain death in the war, and their women folk committed Jauhar led by Rani Karnawati. The ultimate sacrifice for freedom, Jauhar was again performed for the third time after the Mughal Emperor Akbar captured Chittorgarh in 1568. Then, the capital was moved west to Udaipur, in the foothills of the Aravalli Range, where Rana Udai Singh II (the young heir apparent) had established a residence in 1559. Udaipur remained the capital of Mewar until it acceded to the union of India in 1947, and Chittorgarh gradually lost its political importance.

Bhumihars along with others, in some places,[58] were also involved in anti-Muslim communal violence during the 1893 Anti-Muslim riots,[59] and during the Partition of India.[58]

Chittorgarh is also associated with two very widely known historical figures of India. The first, Meera Bai, is the most famous female Hindu spiritual poetess, whose compositions are still popular throughout North India. Her poems follow the Bhakti tradition and she is considered to be most passionate worshipper of lord Krishna. Folklore says that her love for Krishna was epitomized by her final disappearance in the temple of Krishna in Dwarka. She is believed to have entered the sanctum of the temple in a state of singing ecstasy after which the sanctum doors are believed to have closed on their own. When the were opened, later, the sari of Mirabai was seen enwrapped around the idol of Lord Krishna, symbolizing the culmination of her union with her Lord.

The great Maharana Pratap, son of Rana Udai Singh II, is regarded as a personification of the values Rajputs cherish and die for. He took an oath to spend his life living in the jungles and fighting until he could realize his dream of reconquering Chittorgarh from Akbar (and thus reclaiming the glory of Mewar). It was the dream greatly cherished by Maharana Pratap, and he spent all his life to achieve this goal. He underwent hardships and a life of eating breads made of grass while fighting his lifelong battle. Maharana Pratap is the greatest hero in the eyes of the Rajputs of Mewar. In the absolute dark era of Rajput history, Maharana Pratap alone stood firmly for his honour and dignity, never compromising his honour for safety. With the reputation of a brave man of great character even among his enemies, he died free in 1597.

Chittorgarh remains replete with historic associations and holds a very special place in the hearts of Rajputs, as it was a bastion of the clan at a time when every other stronghold had succumbed to invasion. It is often called as the "Bhakti aur Shakti ki nagari" (land of devotion and strength). The fort and the city of Chittorgarh also hosts the biggest Rajput festival "Jauhar Mela". It takes place annually on the anniversary of one of the jauhars, not the one by Padmini which is most famous. This festival is to commemorate the bravery of Rajput ancestors and all three Jauhars which happened at Chittorgarh. A huge number of Rajputs which include the descendants of most of the princely families do a procession to celebrate the Jauhar. The fort at Chittorgarh also contains the ancient and beautiful temple to Goddess Kali called the Kalika Mata Temple.

Geography[edit]

Chittorgarh is located at 24°53′N 74°38′E / 24.88°N 74.63°E / 24.88; 74.63.[2] It has an average elevation of 394 metres (1292 ft). Its beautiful city .

Demographics[edit]

As of 2011 India census, Chittaurgarh city had a population of 116,409.[3]

Religions in Chittorgarh
Religion Percent
Hindus
  
76%
Muslims
  
18%
Jains
  
4.7%
Others†
  
1.3%
Distribution of religions
Includes Sikhs (0.2%), Buddhists (<0.2%).

Transport[edit]

The completed Golden Quadrilateral highway system will pass through Chittorgarh, connecting it to much of the rest of India. Also crossing the East West Corridor (Express Highway). The Chittorgarh is situated at National Highway No. 76 & 79, both the Highways are crossing at Chittorgarh. National Highway 76 connects to Kota within 2 hours. It is well connected by rail with Jaipur via Bhilwara and Ajmer, Kota via Bundi, Jodhpur via Ajmer, Indore Junction BG, Bhopal, Indore Mhow, Ujjain, Ratlam, Nagda Junction, Ajmer and Fatehabad by many Broad gauge trains. The city is also connected to Udaipur City via Mavli Jn. Thus, Chittaur Garh is a major rail head of south Rajasthan. Some weekly trains to Hyderabad and Kolkata are passing through this station. The town still lacks connectivity to Bikaner, Ahmedabad, Jabalpur and Nagpur, so in order to catch trains for further destinations one has to reach Kota, Ratlam or Ajmer.

Places of Interest[edit]

Chittorgarh fort inside

Chittorgarh Fort[edit]

The Chittorgarh Fort seated on a 180 metre hill, covers an expanse of 700 acres (2.8 km2). It was constructed by the Mauryans in the 7th century AD. There is also a belief that it was constructed by Bhima of the Pancha Pandavas. This fort was the citadel of many great Indian warriors such as Gora, Badal,Rana Kumbha, Maharana Pratap, Jaimal, Patta, etc.

Jain temple at Kirtistambha

Kalika Mata Temple[edit]

Kalika Mata Temple was originally built in the 8th century for Sun God and was later converted to a temple for mother Goddess, Kali in the 14th century.During the festival days of Navaratri, fairs are organised and pilgrims from different places come here to pay obeisance at the temple.

Vijay Stambh[edit]

Vijay Stambha, is a huge nine storey tower which was built by Maharana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over the Muslim rulers of Malwa and Gujarat in 1440. The tower is 122 ft (37 m) high and stands on a 10 ft (3.0 m) high base. There are sculptures and carvings on the exterior walls of the tower. The tower is visible from any section of the town below. And for reaching tower top one have to climb 157 steps, one can take great view of the surroundings. The inside walls of the tower are carved with images of Gods, weapons, etc.[1]

Kirti Stambh[edit]

Kirti Stambh is tower is dedicated to Rishabha, the first Tirthankara of Jainism. It was built by a merchant and is decorated with figures form the Jain pantheon.It is a seven storied pillar which was built by Biherwal Mahajan Sanaya of Digambar Jain sect during 12th century AD. On its four corners are engraved idols of Shri Adinathji in Digambar style which each are five feet (about 1.5meters) high and elsewhere are engraved several small idols consecrated to Jain lineage of deities.

Jain Kirti Stambha

Rana Kumbha's Palace[edit]

Rana Kumbha's Palace is near the Vijay Stambh. This is the birthplace of Maharana Udai Singh, the founder of Udaipur. His life was saved by the heroic act of the maid Panna Dhay, who replaced her son in place of the prince, with the result that her son was killed by Banbir. She carried the prince away to safety in a fruit basket. Rani Meera Bai also lived in this palace. This is the place where Rani Padmini committed jauhar with the other ladies in one of the underground cellars.[1]

Rani Padmini's Palace[edit]

Rani Padmini's Palace is from which Alauddin Khilji (one of the rulers of Khilji dynasty during the sultanate rule over India) was allowed to watch a reflection of the Rani by replacing the mirror at such an angle that even if he turned back he could not see the room. Khilji had been warned by the Rani's husband Rawal Ratan Singh that if he turned back they would cut his neck.[1]

Rani Padmini's palace
Padmini palace another view

See also[edit]

The most visited markets and places:-[edit]

The important places and markets besides Chittorgarh Fort are
1.Fort Road Market
2.Rana Sanga Market
3.Sadar Bazaar
4.Hindustan Zinc Smelter, Chittorgarh
5.Marble Industry in Chittorgarh
6.Cement Industry of Chittorgarh
7.Opium cultivation
8.Annual Fair Jauhar Mela

9. Shri Ramdwara, Ramsnehi Samparday, Bundi Road, Chittaurgarh

10. Sainik School

11. Shri Savariyan Temple (on Udaipur Road)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e http://www.saigan.com/heritage/states/rajasthan/chittor.html
  2. ^ Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Chittorgarh
  3. ^ "Provisional Population Totals, Census of India 2011". Office of the Registrar General - India. 2011. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 

External links[edit]