- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
If any one of Rajasthan's many forts were to be singled out for its glorious history and chivalric lore, it would be Chittaurgarh. It's also gargantuan in size, and there's plenty to explore on a day trip from Udaipur.
This was the capital of the Mewar princely state from the 8th to the 16th centuries, before Maharana Udai Singh moved the capital to Udaipur, and the sprawling hilltop fort occupies roughly 700 acres on a hill about 300 feet high. It was besieged and sacked three times: after the first two conquests, the Rajputs recovered it, but the third attack clinched it for the Mughals for several decades.
The first attack took place in 1303, when the Sultan of Delhi Allauddin Khilji became so enamored of Rani Padmini that he set out to attack the fort and win her in battle. Some 34,000 warriors lost their lives in this struggle, but the Sultan did not get Padmini: she and all the women in the fort committed jauhar—mass self-immolation—in anticipation of widowhood and assaults by invading armies. Frustrated, Khilji entered the city in a rage, looting and destroying much of what he saw. Chittaurgarh was also the home of the saint-poet Mirabai, a 16th-century Rajput princess and devotee of Lord Krishna who gave up her royal life to sing bhajans (hymns) in his praise.
The massive fort encompasses the palaces of the 15th-century ruler Rana Kumbha, where Udaipur's founder Udai Singh was born, as well as palace of Rani Padmini. Legend has it that Khilji fell in love with Padmini by gazing at her reflection in the pond in front of her palace. Also worth visiting in the fort are the victory towers—the ornate Vijay Stambh and Kirti Stambh —and a huge variety of temples, including Kunbha Shyam, Kalika Mata, and the Meera temple associated with the devotional poetess Mirabai. The Fateh Prakash Mahal displays some fine sculptures. Plan to spend at least half a day in Chittaurgarh. Note that the sites are spread out and it can get quite sunny, so you may want to drive between some points. You can find a guide by the Rampole entrance to the fort or near the Rana Kumbha.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
First of all, I want to thank all posters from whom I gleaned information for my India trip. Read more
Trip to Hampi and Day 1:
It was the first time I was travelling with both my very good friends and their spouses...AJ and I had spent last new years with Pranava/Manoj and we had made innumerable trips Read more
We are applying for Indian visas and our tour company recommended a firm charging $183 per person.
The Embassy of India has outsourced visa applications to BLS International and they charge $68 per person. Read more
· News & Features
With Art Basel Miami now in town, it's prime time to consider the 7 reasons why you should be taking a... Read more
New York City offers irresistible retail therapy during the holiday season.... Read more
Next year, crazed soccer fans the world will descend upon Brazil, host of the 2014 World Cup.... Read more