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The weekend trip to Chittorgarh & KumbhalgarhDelhi - Chittorgarh - KumbhalgarhTotal No of days - 2Dated - August 2016

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Vinod Kumar...know more about me

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The month of August, the rain gods are quite happy this year and its been a wonderful trip to Kumbhalgarh. The place never looked so beautiful and green before, in our earlier trips. The clouds were so low, so as to create the feel of trudging up a cold, misty hillside.

We start as early as 3:45, quite a long journey to cover. Have a break at Hotel Highway King, since it was too early they gave us toast and tea....breakfast starts at 7am.

Again the long drive, being highways not much to note. By 11:30 we reach Chittorgarh fort, It is drizzling here. We hire a guide who takes us to the fort.

Chittorgarh city and fort entry

The history of Chittorgarh holds an important place in Indian history and is brimming with heroic tales of the great Rajput warriors. The kingdom of Chittorgarh was given as dowry to Bappa Rawal, who established the Sisodia dynasty at the time of his marriage to princess Solanki in the mid-8th century. Bappa Rawalís descendants were the rulers of the place from the 8th to the 16th century. Hence the fort is believed to be of the 8th century.

The History
The first defeat befell Chittorgarh in 1303 when Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, besieged the fort, to capture the beautiful Rani Padmini, wife of Rana Ratan Singh. It is said that Rani Padminiís beauty had enticed Ala-ud-din Khilji to invade Chittorgarh. This resulted in a battle between Khilji and Ratan Singh. The fort was under siege for seven months. It is believed that when both sides were exhausted, Ala-ud-din Khilji crafted a sly plan. He asked Ratan Singh for a glimpse of his wife Rani Padmini in return of lifting the siege over Chittor. Khilji was taken into Padminiís palace in the midst of a lake and Padminiís reflection was shown to him in a mirror as she sat down on the steps of the Jal mahal. Khilji then asked Rana Ratan Singh to accompany him to the last gate of the fort where he was outnumbered and captured by the Sultanís army. Khilji demanded Padmini in return of her husbandís freedom. Padmini sent 700 palanquins of soldiers disguised as women along with two of her brothers- Gora and Badal. A battle ensued between the two and the soldiers of Chittor embraced death fighting, while Rani Padmini and other women jumped into burning pyres.

In 1533 CE, during the rule of Bikramjeet came the second attack from Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat. Once again jauhar was led by Rani Karanavati, a Bundi princess. Her infant son, Udai Singh, was smuggled out of Chittor to Bundi and survived to inherit the throne. He was saved by his nurse, Panna Dhai, who sacrificed her own son to save the crown prince.

The final ransacking of Chittor came a few decades later, in 1568 when the Mughal emperor Akbar captured the fort. Maharana Udai Singh II fled to Udaipur where he re-established his capital.

The fort is protected by a series of 7 gates called the pols. Its a living fort, where there are palaces, havelis and temples. The first monument we see while we enter is the Kumbha palace. There are two gates to enter they are, Badipol and Tripol. This has been the residence of the kings who ruled the fort. We take our car further to the Vijay Stambha built by Rana Kumbha after his victory over Mohammad Khilji in 1448. It is 120 feet high and has nine distinct storeys with openings at every phase of each storey. Rana Kumbha was a devotee of Vishnu so the entire tower is inlaid with well-sculpted iconography of Vishnuís incarnations alongside other deities. It has a narrow spiralling stairway that leads to the top storey, a small mandapa, but it is closed.

Rana Kumbha's palace

The view from the entry

Vijay Stambha

We then enter the Sati gate, a huge imposing gateway leading to a open lawn. In the right in the corner of the open lawn is a square shaped altar, the place where Rani Padmavati and the other women commited Sati. A little ahead we see another gate which the guide said to be the jauhar gate. To the right stands the the imposing Shiva temple, there are many beautiful and elaborate Jain temples also here. From the temple complex we have the iconic view of the reservoir which appears, anytime you google Chittaurgarh fort. Its the largest one in the fort, although there were nearly 84 such reservoirs once now hardly 27 remains.


Shiva temple

The water reservoirs

We now drive to Rani Padmini's Jal Mahal. Its a small residence set in the middle of a lake, forming a perfect place for comfort during the scorching summers of Rajasthan. It has an underground passage which is now closed. The structure and the mirror from where Khilji caught the glimpse of Rani's reflection in water is well recreated.

Rana Ratan Singhís Palace is located away from other monuments and is one of the few places that have been restored. It is accompanied by a temple that has numerous sculptures of goddesses, which have been forgotten in time with their names written in Devanagiri.

Next we drive to Kirti Stambh, dedicated to the first Jain tirthankara, Adinath, is situated on an elevated platform and is 76 feet high. There is a Jain mandir also along side. It lies adjacent to Suraj pol, which opens at sunrise and is closed by sunset. The battle between Khilji and Rana was held in the plains which was monitored from the Kirti Stambh. The door has iron spikes and it is believed that Khilji could not break open the door.

Suraj pol

Kirti stambh and Jain mandir

That comes an end to the fort tour. Its getting hot as the sun shines. Its 1:50 and we are already offerd cards promising us good rajasthan food withinn the fort itself. But as suggested by our guide we make it to RR hotel near Singpur (pls refer route guide) for an authentic Rajasthani thali. The food was lavish and we could not finish the served, leave the extra helping.

The road on return gave us some surprise as we missed a major turn and made it through some interior village road. The rain god blessed us throughout, and by 5:30 we check-in at Club Mahindra Kumbhalgarh.

The next day morning was misty and beautiful, so we take a drive to the fort although it wont be open so early. The drive was heavenly with water passes, mist, cool breeze which made us forget that we were in Rajasthan. The fort gates were open so we take our car in, but the security guard approaches us sayiing its not yet open. We take some pics and proceed to Parashuram temple. It is 9kms from the fort. There is a trek of around 1.4 kms from the junction, pics are below. Since we were getting late we had to keep the temple for some other visit. Back to hotel, had breakfast and checked out, to reach Delhi by 7:30pm.

Drive to Kumbhalgarh fort and Parashuram temple pics

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