Breathtaking Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan - the largest in India and many engrossing facts

Chittorgarh Fort, near Udaipur, Rajasthan Times of India
No other  forts of Rajasthan  invoke as much of  inspiration and excitement on one hand  and, on the other, of  a dismal picture  as Chittorgarh Fort  does  because  it has close link with the poignant story of legendary  beautiful queen Padmavati,  who immolated herself to allegedly escape  from becoming  a mistress  of Allaudin Khilji of  the Khalji dynasty of Delhi Sultanate. He was  not only powerful but also the most  treacherous Muslim ruler in Indian history much more gruesome than Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb. The historical  ornate fort  has fine architecture and, no doubt, the Bollywood movie ''Padmavati'' was shot here  a few years ago to present the right ambiance to  the film. The fort, once a symbol  of power and opulence,  has excellent collection of  medieval paintings, armory, and murals. The palace has huge rooms, long corridors and  fine stained glass windows that will make the visitors spell-binding. No doubt, it is a  UNESCO  recognized World Heritage Site.The fort also includes several Hindu temples including Jain temples and  is just two hours drive from Udaipur
chittorgarh fort remains.

The following are the fascinating facts about this fort.

01. It was built  in the 7th century AD by various Mauryan rulers  and  Chittorgarh Fort is said to have been the capital of the Sisodia and Gahlot kings who ruled Mewar between the 8th and the 16th century. The Chittor Fort was named after Chittrangad Maurya.

02. Except the fort at Delhi, no other Indian fort would have been a silent spectator of rise and fall of  so many rulers, of fierce  battles and many a tragic event. 

03. It is the largest fort in India  above the plains of the valley drained by the Berach River, covering roughly 692 acres atop
Rani Padmavati
590-foot-tall hill self-contained  with tall watch towers, armory, halls, study gates, water tanks, etc.
04. The Chittorgarh Fort is a well protected one with seven gateways guarded by a watch tower and iron-spiked doors to prevent war elephants jamming the door.

05. The distinctive feature of this temple is it can withstand any long-drawn siege by the enemies.
The Gaumukh

06. Once the fort had a huge water storage system  with as many as 84 water bodies occupying half of the fort's space. It had enough capacity to hold about one billion gallons of water and, with rainfall, enough to maintain an army of 50,000 for four years without fear of thirst.

07. But, now there are only 22 water bodies left in the fort complex and the rest became useless.
Architectural details from the Kirti

08. The notable structures of this fort are the Vijay Stambh or ‘the tower of victory’ and the Kirti Stamb. The former was  built by Maharana Kumbha in memory of his triumph over Mohammed Khilji in the 15th century  and  the latter  was built in the 12 th century dedicated to the Jain  intellectual Adinath Ji).

09. From  the folklore and ballads available in plenty in Rajasthan on  Padvamati, we understand  she was the queen of  exceptional beauty of  Chittor, a woman  who had an irresistible aura about her. 

Alauddin Khilji (r. 1296–1316)    Siasat
10. Malik Muhammad Jayasi, a poet  in 1540, in his poem written more than 200 years after the death of  Sultan  Alauddin Khilji,  was the first one to mention about the beautiful queen of Chittor. Is she a fictional   character created by the poet? Did such a queen of real beauty exist?. These questions need to be  answered firmly. As such, the story of Padmavati is a debatable one. However, many are convinced that  Padmavati was actually Rani Padmini, a princess from Sri Lanka who married Rajput ruler Rawal Rattan Singh and moved over to Chittor.
Rana Kumbha Palace located near Chittorgarh FortTravelTriangle
11. Padmavati’s Palace, a white, a three-story structure is an important part of the palace and bears a forlorn look. It  was here Sultan Alauddin Khilji was purportedly allowed to  take a glimpse of  Rani Padmini’s reflection on the water. Overwhelmed by her attractive personality and driven by lust,  as the story goes, Khilji made up his mind to possess her at any cost  and finally took the option of  waging war on Chittorgarh in 1303.The ruler, having been defeated, Padmavati resorted to self immolation; she would rather die than be a slave in Sultan;s harem in Delhi.
Padmavati committing Jauhar -self-immolation. myIndiamyGlory
12. Rana Kumbha’s Palace, one of the most massive monuments in the fort is believed to have underground cellars, where Rani Padmini committed jauhar (self-immolation).  Visitors could sense an air of melancholy hanging over Rana Kumbha Palace which is in a dilapidated state. 
Meera TempleWikimapia
Sri krishna temple. Alamy
 13. Chittorgarh Fort. has yet another attraction' it is that of a Sri Krishna temple where Meerabhai, a great devotee of Sri Krishna  worshiped. 

 14. Besides Jain temples there are other temples as well within the fort complex such as  Ganesha Temple, Kalika Mata temple, Sammidheshwara Temple, Meerabai Temple (or Krishna Temple), Kumbha Shyam Temple and Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
Chittorgarh. fort Medium
15. The large self- contained fort attracted many power rulers and was subject to war raids. It was attacked for the first time in the year 1303 by Allaudin Khilji. Next  attack was  in 1535 by Gujarat’s Sultan Bahadur Shah who  ransacked the fort.  The fort was attacked again for the last time in the year 1567, when the third Mughal Emperor Akbar decided to pressurize Maharana Udai Singh by the siege of Chittorgarh.
Jauhar kund mass immolaton took place, Chittorgarh Fort,
16. Unfortunately, all these three attacks saw saka and jauhar - collective self immolation - committed by both  men and women folks, who preferred death over surrender.

17. Rana Kumbha and Rana Sanga (whose queen Rani Karnavati is also said to have performed jauhar when Bahadur Shah ransacked Chittorgarh)

18. The light-and-sound show, it is said is an interesting one covering various characters associated with this fort. It is held  every evening (7pm in English and 8pm in Hindi. Timings change with season).