Showcased in the silver screens many a times, Chittorgarh the erstwhile capital city of Mewar houses the largest fort in India. The city is popular not only for its regal heritage and history, but for the another reason that symbolizes the price one has to pay for power – the fort is also the site which witnessed the mass suicide of Rajput women every time the reign was on attack and fort was on siege. This mass suicide happened within the fort thrice in history.
The Chittorgarh Fort houses was built by the Maurya Dynasty and houses three large palace complexes, 19 temples, 4 memorial spots including the large furnace where women plunged to their deaths and 20 functional water-bodies.
The total area of Chittorgarh is 28 km.
Udaipur - 112 km,
Ajmer - 182 km,
Indore – 349 km
Best time to visit: October to March
Languages spoken : Rajasthani, Hindi and English
Famous cuisines: Baajre ki Khichdi, Besan ke Gatte ki Sabzi,Lahsun ki Chutney, Pyaz ki Kachori, Mirchi Vada and Dal Baati churma.
The ‘Land of the Braves’ as it is famously called as, Chittorgarh remains testament to several battle scars, deaths and stories of valor, it has a history that is written in blood and sacrifice. The very first incident of the mass suicide known as Jauhar, happened during the first Mughal siege. The king Bhim Singh after enduring several days of tactical war led his men donned with saffron robes of sacrifice into battle that was largely imbalanced with number of soldiers of each side.
It was sure death for the men, while the women along with the children committed suicide by plunging into their deaths in a large pyre. Later in the 15th Century, Rana Kumbha who had built the Vijay Stambha (Victory Tower) in Chittorgarh ruled as their eminent king who had defeated Mahmud Khilji. However, the fort was seiged again by Bahadur Shah the Sultan of Gujarat, which led to the deaths of 32,000 Rajput soldiers and the jauhar that followed had 13,000 women killed.
The final jauhar was performed during the siege led by the Mughal emperor Akbar, two valiant Rajput generals fought to defend their fort as long as they could and have their names etched in the pages of history – Jaimal and Kalla. A third jauhar followed; however, Maharana Udai Singh II had fled to Udaipur where he re-established his rule. Later the Mughal emperor Jahangir returned Chittorgarh into the hands of its rightful rulers in 1616.
The closest place to visit from Chittorgarh is Bijapur, located 40 km away. The place houses an ancient fort which has now been transformed into a heritage hotel promising great experiences. There are several temples along the Chittorgarh – Bundi road situated 48 km from the neighboring Bundi, the road is dotted with Hindu and Buddhist temples from ancient India. Another close destination is at Nagri 17 km away from the city towards the north, which also houses famous temples of Hinduism and Buddhism.
The Palace on Wheels luxury train arrives on the third day of its scheduled itinerary into the Chittorgarh station. After a royal jungle safari and equally royal breakfast on board the train moves towards Chittorgarh on the 3rd day of the journey. After a day of sightseeing and then sipping evening tea at the infamous Chittorgarh Fort while watching the sun set, the guests are entertained with a special light and sound show later in the evening and can sample refreshments at the Fort cafeteria. Post which guests will be taken back to their luxury carriage where a sumptuous dinner and comfortable stay promises another new tourist spot next morning.