Chittorgarh Fort, Chittaur
Chittorgarh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also has the largest fort in India. It was built by the rulers of the Mauryan dynasty and was later ruled by the Rajputs of Mewar for nearly 800 years who expanded it to its current state. The fort was later abandoned for the new city of Udaipur and was only refurbished during the British Raj in India.
Chittorgarh, also called Chittaur, from the 7th century to the 16th, was the capital of Mewar under the Rajputs. Chittaur evokes memories of great heroism and sacrifice by Rajput men and women in the intermittent battles that they had to fight against invaders from Northwest or Delhi. Chittaur witnessed both the ravages of war and the triumphs of the spirit. Allaudin Khilji who coveted Queen Padmini of Chittaur, invaded the city in 1303 A.D. Queen Padmini and the women of the court sacrificed themselves in a pyre of fire rather than submit to anybody. This supreme sacrifice has been called ‘Jauhar’ and epitomises the fiery spirit of the Rajputs of the day. The city stands strewn with monuments and battlements as evidence of the blood and gore that it went through in medieval times.
The Chittaur Fort is the best known fort in Rajasthan. Its origins are traced to the Pandavas of Mahabharata. It is said that Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers, built the fort. Standing on 180 meters high hill, the fort covers an area of 700 Acres. Inside it is the Meera and Khumba Shyam Temple. It is associated with Meera, a mystic poetess devoted to Lord Krishna whose life and bhajans have become part of the folklore and literary traditions of the region and several parts of India.
Chittorgarh (Chittaurgarh) is the epitome of Rajput pride, romance and spirit. It reverberates with history of heroism and sacrifice, which is evident as it echoes with the tales sung by the Bards of Rajasthan. The main reason for visiting Chittorgarh is its massive hilltop fort, which is a depiction of Rajput culture and values.
The fort of Chittor is regarded as one of the most outstanding forts of the country and is indeed the “Pride of Rajasthan State”. The formidable fort is perched atop a 180 meter high hillock covering a massive area of 700 acres and is a standing sentinel to the courage and valour of Chittorgarh. It is belived that the fort was build by the Mauryans in 7th century and further strucres were added to it by the successive Mewar rulers.
The one mile long serpentine road to the fort is quite steep and exhastive. The fort is approached through seven huge gateways or ‘pols’, which are guarded by watch tower and massive iron spiked doors.
Water Fort :
Chittorgarh fort is also called as Water Fort. The fort had 84 water bodies, out of which only about 22 exist today. These Include talabs (ponds), kunds (wells), and baories (stepwells). All the talabs have a natural catchment. The kunds and baories are located below the talabs, so that even the seepage from the latter is not lost.
The fort spreads over 700 hectares, 40 per cent of which are given over to water bodies. The average reservoir depth is about 2 m. Taken together, this means these reservoirs can store about 4 billion litres of water.
In a year of more than normal rainfall (average annual rainfall: 700 mm), enough water would be stored to last the next 12 months. Even after water loss due to seepage and evaporation and other causes, an army of 50,000 could live in the fort for four years without fear of thirst.