Chittaurgarh Fort (Lat. 24º 59′ N; Long. 75º 33′ E) the ancient Chitrakuta Durga occupies a place of pride in the history of Rajput chivalry and remained an important seat of power from 7th to 16th century AD. Covering an area of about 700 acres, the fort stands on a 152 m high hill and is said to be built by Chitrangad of the Mori dynasty in 7th century AD. It has been a witness to the rule of several dynasties such as:
- Mori or Mauryas (7-8th century AD),
- Pratiharas (9-10th century AD),
- Parmaras (10-11th century AD),
- Solankis (12th century AD) and lastly by
- Guhilots or Sisodias.
During its long history the fort suffered three sacks, the first in AD 1303 by Alauddin Khiliji, the second in AD 1535 by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat and the third by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in AD 1567-68 and each time the Jauhar was performed. Its eventful history and rich monumental heritage is characterised by its strong fortifications, gateways, bastions, palaces, temples, towers and reservoirs which are fine examples of Rajput architecture.
The following are the brief account of important monuments inside the fort:
The fort has seven gateways, the first is known as Padal Pol followed by Bhairav Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ganesh Pol, Jorla Pol, Lakshman Pol and finally Ram Pol which was built in AD 1459. The gateway located on the eastern side of the fort is known as Suraj Pol.
The palace derives its name after Maharana Kumbha (AD 1433-68) who undertook extensive repairs to the old edifices. The entrance to the palace is through two gateways known as Badi Pol and Tripolia Gate leading further to Suraj Gokhra, Zanana Mahal, Kanwarpada-ka-Mahal in the open courtyard. The palaces of Pannadhai and Meerabai are situated in the southern part of this palace complex.
Named after Rani Padmini, the beautiful queen of Rana Ratan Singh, the palace stands at the northern periphery of the Padmini pond. It is said that it was from here Alauddin Khilji took a glimpse of legendary beauty of Rani Padmini through a mirror and subsequently attacked the fort. A three storeyed pavilion known as Jal Mahal stands in the middle of the pond.
Ratan Singh Palace
Located along the Ratneshwar pond, this palace is attributed to Rana Ratan Singh II (AD 1528-31). It is rectangular on plan and comprises a courtyard surrounded by rooms and a pavilion with balcony on the eastern part of the second storey.
Fateh Prakash Palace
This magnificent double storeyed palace was built by Maharaja Fateh Singh (AD 1884-1930). It is an edifice with a tower on each of its four corners crowned by domed chhattries. This palace is a grand specimen of modern Indian architecture and at present houses a museum.
Other havelis of relatively lesser significance include those of Alha Kabra, Fatta and Jaimal, Khatan-ka-Mahal and Purohitji-ki-haveli.
Kalika Mata Temple
Built by Raja Manbhanga in the 8th century AD, the temple was originally dedicated to Surya, which is evident from the image of Surya carved in the centre of doorjamb of the sanctum. It has undergone renovations from time to time. It consists of a garbhagriha, antarala, a closed mandapa and a porch. Presently, Kalika Mata or goddess Kali is worshipped as principal deity in the temple.
Dedicated to Lord Siva, the temple was built by Bhoja Parmara in early 11th century AD. Later on Mokal renovated it in AD 1428. The temple consists of garbhagriha, an antarala and a gudha-mandapa with mukhmandapa (entrance porch) on all the three faces, i.e., northern, western and southern sides. A colossal image of three faced Shiva is enshrined in the sanctum.
Originally dedicated to Varaha (boar incarnation of Vishnu) the temple was built in 8th century AD and largely renovated by Maharana Kumbha (AD 1433-68). It is built on a raised plinth and consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala, a mandapa, an ardhamandapa and an open pradakshinapath. An image of Varaha is shown in the principal niche on the back of the shrine. In front of the temple is an image of Garuda under a canopy. On the north, there is a small shrine known as Meera Mandir.
Sat Bis Deori
Locally known as Sat Bis Deori, this ground of twenty seven Jaina Shrines situated within a compound was built in AD 1448. The main shrine consists of garbhagriha, antarala, mandapa, sabhamandapa and mukhamandapa. To the east of the complex, there are two shrines facing east.
This magnificent tower locally known as Vijaya Stambha was built by Maharana Kumbha in AD 1448. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the tower is 37.19 m high and is divided into nine storeys. An inscription in the uppermost storey giving detailed chronological account of life and achievements of rulers of Chittaur was taken up by Rana Kumbha’s court scholar Atri and was later completed by his son Mahesh. One can reach up to the top storey through internally arranged flight of steps. The names of architect of this tower, Sutradhar Jaita along with his three sons Napa, Puja and Poma are also inscribed in the fifth storey.
Jain Kirti Stambha
This six storied tower having a height of 24.50 m is dedicated to Adinatha, the first Jaina Tirthankara. It was built by Shresthi Jija in AD 1300. The tower is built on raised platform and has internally arranged system of flight of steps. In the lower storey, images of standing Adinatha are depicted on all the four cardinal directions whereas upper storeys contain hundreds of miniature images of Jain divinities.
Situated to the south of Samadhisvara temple and adjacent to western rampart, the Gaumukha Kund is a large, deep, rock-cut tank with an irregular oblong shape. A perennial underground stream of crystal clear water flows into it from a small natural cave through a “Gaumukha” (Cow’s head shaped out let) hence this name.
Entrance fee: Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 40 per head & Foreigner: Rs.600/-
(Free entry for children below the age of 15)