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Chittorgarh (also Chittor, Chittaur, or Chittaurgarh) is a city and amunicipality in Rajasthanmarker state of western Indiamarker. It lies on the Berach Rivermarker, a tributary of the Banas, and is the administrative headquarters of Chittorgharh District and a former capital of the Sisodia clans of Chattari Rajputs of Mewar.

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 lead by Rani Padmini, and later by Rani Karnavati . Chittorgarh is home to the Chittorgarh Fortmarker the largest fort in Indiamarker.

History

Chittorgarh Fortmarker precincts

Tower of Fame|Reservoir|Tower of Victory
The ancient inscriptions in the Pali Buddhist character have been discovered in various parts of Rajasthanmarker of the race of Taxak or Tak, relating to the tribe Mori and Parmara are their descendants. Taxak Mori was the lord of Chittormarker from very early period.

The Huna Kingdom of Sialkotmarker (of Mihir Kula 515-540 AD), destroyed by Yashodharman, was subsequently seized by a new dynasty of kshatriyas called Tak or Taxaka. The Taxak Mori as being lords of Chittormarker from very early period and few generations after the Guhilots supplanted the Moris. From 725 to 735, there were numerous defenders who appear to have considered the cause of Chittormarker their own the Tak from Asirgarhmarker. This race appears to have retained possession of Asirgarhmarker for at least two centuries after this event as its chieftain was one of the most conspicuous leaders in the array of Prithvi Raj. In the poems of Chandar he is called the "Standard, bearer, Tak of Asir."

Chittorgarh is the epitome of Rajput (Indian 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 in the 7th century AD. 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 inside 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. While 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. 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.

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 just like 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. The capital was moved west to Udaipurmarker, 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 unto the union of India in 1947, and Chittorgarh gradually lost its political importance.

Chittorgarh is also famous for its association with two very widely known historical figures of India. The first is, Meera Bai 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 and when later opened, the sari of Mirabai was seen enwrapped around the idol of Lord Krishna, symbolizing the culmination of her union with her Lord.

The second equally famous person is Maharana Pratap, son of Rana Udai Singh II who 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 Raputs 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 with 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

Chittaurgarh is located at . It has an average elevation of 394 metres (1292 feet).

Demographics

 India census, Chittaurgarh had a population of 96,028. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Chittaurgarh has an average literacy rate of 70%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 78% and female literacy of 61%. 15% of the population is under 6 years of age.


Transport

The completed Golden Quadrilateral highway system will pass through Chittorgarh, connecting it to much of the rest of Indiamarker. 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

Places to Interest

Chittorgarh Fort

The Chittorgarh Fortmarker seated on a 180 metre hill, covers an expanse of 700 acres. 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 Rajput warriors such as Rana Kumbha, Maharana Pratap, Jaimal, Patta, etc.

Kalika Mata Temple

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.

Vijay Stambh

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 high and stands on a 10 ft 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 from the tower top after climbing 157 steps, there is a great view of the surroundings. The inside walls of the tower are carved with images of Gods, weapons, etc.

Kirti Stambh

Kirti Stambh is tower is dedicated to Adinatha, the first of the Jain Tirthankar. It was built by a merchant and is decorated with figures form the Jain pantheon.

Rana Kumbha's Palace

Rana Kumbha's Palace is near the Vijay Stambh. This is the birthplace of Maharana Udai Singh the founder of Udaipurmarker. His life was saved by the heroic act of the maid Panna Dhay, who replaced her son in place of the prince & consequently 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.

Rani Padmini's Palace

Rani Padmini's Palace is from which Alauddin was allowed to watch a reflection of the Rani.

Excursions

  • Nagari
  • Baroli
  • Bassi Village
  • Bassi Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Begun Fort
  • Sanwariaji temple
  • Mati Kundiya temple
  • Bhainsrorgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Bijaipur
  • Sitamata Sanctuary, Dhariyavad
  • Menal
  • Gotmeshwar
  • Joganiya Mata
  • Kailger Mahadave
  • Bari Sadri
  • Radha Kirshan Temple
  • Shree Sanwaliyaji Temple
  • Bharat in Chittorgarh


See also



References



External links




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