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Chittaurgarh Fort

With the modern town of Chittor at the foot of the hill, imposing Chittaurgarh Fort rises 150 m above the surrounding region and runs to an approximate length of 3 km covering an area of 60 acres and peripheral length of 13 km. Standing tall in one of the oldest cities in Rajasthan, the Chittaurgarh Fort perched on a 152-m-high rocky hill. The town of the brave, Chittaurgarh is known for its massive fort atop a hill, which can be singled out for its glorious past.

Architecture:
The ascent to the Chittaurgarh Fort takes one through zigzag paths interrupted at intervals by seven enormous gateways or 'pols'. There are 7 gateways to the main gate are Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ganesh Pol, Jorla Pol, Lakshman Pol, and Ram Pol. The Suraj Pol is the gate on the east. On the climb, there are two chhatris (small domed canopies, supported by pillars) where Jaimal and Kalla, heroes of the 1568 seige, fell during the struggle against Akbar.

Near the Padan Pol is the memorial of Rawat Bagh Singh who joined hands with King Vikramaditya to fight against Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat when Chittor fort was attacked the second time. The Bhairon Pol is named in the memory of Bhairondas Solanki who also fought against Sultan Bahadur Shah in AD 1534. The Hanuman Pol, the Ram Pol, and the Lakshman Pol have a temple in their vicinity. The Jorla Pol has two adjacent gateways.

History:
70 miles east of Udaipur lies the famed but ruined fortress of Chittaur, the Rajput's 'holy of holies', physical symbol of chivalry and the sacrifice of thousands of men and women who died in three gruesome massacres and mass suicides by jauhar or self-immolation by women. Mewar (Udaipur) was the only house that stead fastly refused to either capitulate to the Mughals or give it's daughters in marriage to them. The first massacare took place in 1303, when Chittaur was besieged by Allauddin Khilji, who was besotted by the beauty of the legendary rani Padmini. Chittorgarh Fort:
The fort has checkered history, it has witnessed some of the bloodiest battles in history. The antiquity of Chittaurgarh is difficult to trace, but it is believed that Bhim the legendary figure of the Mahabharta, visited this place to learn the secrets of immortality and became the disciple of a sage, but his impatience to perform all the rites deprived him of his goal, and out of sheer anger he stamped on ground creating water reservoir, this reservoir is called as Bhim Lat. Later on, it came under the Mauryas or Muri Rajputs, there are different opinions as to when it came under the Mewar ruler, but it remained the capital of Mewar till 1568, when it was shifted to Udaipur. It is believed that Bappa Rawal the legendary founder of the Sisodia clan, received Chittaur in the middle of 8th century, as a part of the dowry after marriage with the last Solanki princess, after that his descendants ruled Mewar which stretched from Gujarat to Ajmer, upto the 16th century.

Tragedies:
Chittaurgarh embodies romance and chivalry. The stories told of the ruined Fort Chittor evokes awe and respect to this day. The fort fell more than once and each time the inhabitants fought literally to the last man and the women committed Jowhar, or mass immolation, to escape the ignominy of capture. The most famous instance, which is now a part of folklore, occurred in 1303 when the legendary Rajput beauty, Rani Padmini committed Jowhar with thousands of womenfolk to escape dishonor at the hands of the soldiers of Allaudin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi. A second instance occurred in 1533 when Bikramjeet of Chittaur was defeated by the Sultan of Gujarat - many women and children sacrificed themselves in the Jauhar led by Rani Karnavati. Chittorgarh stands today as a symbol of Rajput courage and pride.

The third siege of the fort took place in AD 1567 with the Mughal ruler Akbar arrayed against the might of the Rajputs. It is believed that Akbar got annoyed with Udai Singh for sheltering the then ruler of Malwa. This was a bloody war with jauhar being performed for the third time. The tales of valor of Jaimal and Kalla are still alive in the local folklore. It is believed that Akbar was so impressed by the valor of Jaimal and Kalla that he got their statues installed at the Agra Fort.

Prime Attractions:
Vijay Stambh(Victory Tower) The imposing 37 metres high structure with nine storeys, covered with exquisite sculptures of Hindu deities. It was built in 1440 AD by Maharana Kumbha, a powerful ruler of Mewar to commemorate his victory over the Muslim rulers of Malawi and Gujarat.
Kirti Stambh (Tower of Fame) The22 metres high tower built by a wealthy Jain merchant in the 12th century AD. The tower is dedicated to Adinathji, the first of the Jain Tirthankaras and is decorated with figures of the Jain pantheon.
Padmini's Palace Built beside a pool, the palace is a magnificent one. It was here that Rana Ratan Singh showed a glimpse of queen Padmini to Alauddin Khilji. Rani Padmini stood in 'Zanana Mahal' - a pavilion in the centre and her reflection was visible to Alauddin Khilji in a mirror placed in the main hall. After having glimpse of the legendary beauty, Alauddin went to the extent of ravaging Chittaur in order to possess her.

Bassi Wildlife Sanctuary 50-sq-kms sanctuary near Bassi, supports a population of panthers, wild boars, antelopes, mongoose and migratory birds.

Prior permission has to be obtained from the District Forest Office, Chittaurgarh before visiting the sanctuary.
Sita Mata Sanctuary, Dhariyavad This thickly wooded jungle sprawls over the Aravalli ranges and the Malawi plateau with three rivers flowing through the forest. According to legend, Sita, wife of Lord Rama stayed in this jungle in Rishi Valmiki's Ashram after she was exiled by Lord Rama. The common fauna that can be sighted here includes Leopard, Hyena, Jungle Fox, Porcupine, Sambhar, Wild Bear, four-horned Antelope, Nilgai and Flying Squirrel.

Menal (90-km) On the Bundi-Chittaur Road, amid the natural beauty is Menal, famous for its ancient Shiv temples, picturesque water falls and dense forests.

Meera Bai Temple The temple where Meera Bai worshipped Lord Krishna is built in north Indian style on a raised plinth with a conical roof and beautiful inner sanctum. An open colonnade around the sanctum has four small pavilions in each corner.

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