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Chittorgarh Fort


Chittorgarh Fort


  • It is commonly known as Chittor. It is the biggest fort in India and the magnificent in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is in Chittorgarh City. It’s a World Heritage Site.
  • Before its capture by Emperor Akbar in 1567, it was governed by Guhilot and Sisodias. It covers 691.9 acres over a 180 metres high hill. The fort is studded with a series of temples, gates, historical palaces and two 2 memorial towers. These ruins have inspired writers and tourists for centuries.
  • Between the 15th and 16th centuries, the fort was destroyed 3 times; in 1303 by Allauddin Khilji, in 1535 by Bahadur Shah and in 1567 by Emperor Akbar. Each time the men fought valiantly but lost.

Geography

  • Chittorgarh is located at 233 kilometres from Ajmer, in the southern Rajasthan, midway between Delhi and Mumbai. It is located at the intersection of National Highways No. 76 & 79.
  • The fort is on an area of 2.8 square kilometres. The highest elevation is on the left bank of the Berach River. Inside the fort, you can get access to all the monuments and gates through a circular road within the fort walls.
  • The fort has 22 water bodies. Rainfall and natural catchment feed these water bodies. These water bodies are in the shape of step wells, wells and ponds.

History

  • In terms of area, Chittorgarh Fort is the biggest fort in India. The Fort was built by the Mauryans during the 7th century and derives its name after Chitrangada Mori, the Mauryan ruler, as engraved on coins of that period. For 834 years, Chittorgarh fort was the capital of Mewar. It was founded in 734 by Bappa Rawal. In the 8th century the fort was gifted as part of Solanki princess’s dowry to Bappa Rawal. In 1568, Emperor Akbar looted and destroyed the fort. In 1303, Ala-ud-din Khilji surrounded the fort, in 1535, Bahadur Shah surrounded the fort and in 1568, Emperor Akbar attacked the fort and the fort was abandoned.
  • Chittor is cited in the Mahabharat. Legend is that Bhima, the second of the Pandava brothers gave a hit with his fist to the ground which brought water springing up to create a big reservoir. It’s known as Bhimlat kund, a man-made reservoir named after Bhima.

Siege of 1303

  • In 1303, Sultan of Delhi, Ala ud din Khilji fought a war against Mewar to capture beautiful queen of Rana Ratan Singh, Rani Padmini. At that time the Chittorgarh Fort was considered invincible and grand, on the top of a natural hill. The Rana, allowed the Khilji to see Padmini through mirrors. However this seeing of Padmini added Khilji’s wish to take her. As a gesture of courtesy, Rana accompanied the Sultan to the outer gate, but Rana was deceitfully arrested. Khilji informed the queen that the Rana would be released from captivity if she agreed to marry him. She agreed provided she is permitted to go to Khilji’s camp in a Royal style with an entourage, in tight secrecy. Instead of going there, she sent seven hundred armed soldiers concealed in broods and they saved the Rana and brought him to the fort. But Khilji followed them to the fort and a battle started in which the Rajput soldiers were defeated and Rana was killed. Khilji won the battle in 1303. After that the royal Rajput ladies headed by Rani Padmini preferred to die through rite of Jauhar (self-immolation). Khilji handed over the fort to Khizr Khan, his son to rule and changed the name of the fort to 'Khizrabad'.


Rana Hammir and successors

  • Khizr Khan ruled the fort till 1311 and under the pressure of Rajputs he handed over the fort to the Sonigra chief Maldeva who controlled the fort for seven years. Hammir Singh, seized control of the fort from Maldeva and Chittor again regained its earlier splendour. He changed Mewar into a big and affluent kingdom. Hammir died in 1364. He was succeeded by his son Ketra Singh. Ketra Singh was succeeded by his son Lakha in 1382. In 1433 his grandson Rana Kumbha became the king.

Rana Kumbha and clan

  • Rana Kumbha ruled Mewar from 1433 to 1468. He constructed forts to defend Mewar. But his son, Rana Udaysimha (Uday Singh I) killed him to get the throne of Mewar. This murder was not liked by the people and subsequently Rana Raimal, his brother gained the throne of Mewar in 1473. Rana Raimal died in 1509 and was succeeded by his youngest son, Sangram Singh (also known as Rana Sanga). Rana Sanga had changed Chittor and Mewar, into a strong military state. But in a battle against Babur in 1527, Rana Sanga was defeated and he fled to one of his fortresses. But in another attack on the Chanderi fort Rana Sanga died.

Return of the fort to Mewar

  • Jehangir returned Chittor fort to the Rajputs in 1616. In 1905 during British Raj, the fort was refurbished.