Chittaurgarh is located on the banks of the Berach and Gambhiri rivers. It is elevated at a height of about 394 metres above the sea level. It is inhabited by around 116,409 people belonging to different religions.
Chitrakut, as Chittaurgarh was known earlier is believed to have been built by a Rajput chieftain, Chitrangada Mori after whom the town was named during the rule of the Maurya dynasty in 7th century AD. Other historical records refer to the Mori dynasty who were in possession of the Chittaurgarh Fort until it was seized by Bappa Rawal, the ruler of Mewar in 734 AD who made it his capital. Another story goes that the town was gifted to him as dowry when he married the last Solanki princess.
Considered to be largest fort in India, the Chittaurgarh Fort stands tall on a 180 metres high hill over an expansive area of 700 acres. The fort was built in the 7th century AD by the Mauryans. According to popular folklore, it is also believed that it was built by the mighty Bhima, one of the Pancha Pandavas. The fort has served as a refuge to many gallant Indian warriors like Gora, Rana Kumbha, Jaimal, Badal, Patta etc.
Chittaurgarh has a few majestic towers reminiscent of the gallantry of the warriors of the land and contributions of other people of repute. One such tower is the tall 9-storey Vijay Stambha built by Maharana Kumbha to mark his victory over the warriors of Gujarat and Malwa in the year 1440. This tower is 37 metres high and stands on a 3 metres high pedestal. The outside of the tower is adorned with beautiful sculptures and carved works that were in vogue at that time. The inside walls depict carved images of weapons and gods. This tower is visible from all parts of the town. One can savour a breathtaking view of the town below from the top of this tower that can be reached climbing its 157 steps.
Kirti Stambh was created and dedicated to Rishabha, who was the first Tirthankara of Jainism. This 7-storey tower was built during the 12th century AD by a merchant named Biherwal Mahajan Sanaya of the Digambar Jain sect. Each of the towers four corners has idols of Shri Adinathji measuring about 5 feet in height.
The town of Chittaurgarh is dotted with temples that pay tribute to various gods and goddesses. Foremost among them is the Kalika Mata Temple that was built in the 8th century dedicated to the sun god. Later in the 14th century it was converted into a temple for the goddess Kali. This temple attracts pilgrims from far especially during the Navaratri festival during which fairs are also organized.
Another noteworthy temple here is the one dedicated to Lord Siva, the Samadhisvara Temple. It houses a huge idol of a three-faced Lord Shiva. This temple was constructed by Bhoja Pamaror Powar in the early 11th century AD. A few years later in 1428 AD it was remodeled by Mokal.
Also located in Chittaurgarh is the famous Kumbhaswamin Temple. It was built in the 8th century AD as a mark of respect to Varaha, Lord Vishnu’s incarnation in the form of a boar. It was later renovated completely by Maharana Kumbha.
A tourist visiting the town of Chittaurgarh is sure to be enthralled by its many majestic palaces boasting of the Rajput architecture. Legend has it that during the rule of King Ratan Singh, Alauddin Khilji had set his eyes on capturing Chittaurgarh. He was mesmerized by the beauty of the queen Rani Padmini and pleaded with the king to be allowed to see her once lying that he considered her to be his sister. The king saw this as an opportunity to retain his kingdom and agreed to his request by allowing him to catch a glimpse of the queen through a mirror. Rani Padmini's Palace was witness to this piece of history.
Other palaces that attract hordes of tourists are the Ratan Singh Palace and Fateh Prakash Palace which has a museum within its premises.
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