Chittorgarh Fort

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Chittorgarh Fort

***** Location: Rajasthan, India
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


Chittorgarh Fort (Rajasthan)

The Chittorgarh Fort is a living testimony to the bravery of the great Rajput rulers who laid down their life fighting a superior enemy instead of leading a life of submission. The fort is located on a hill that dominates the modern township of Chittor. It is a fine example of the Rajput style of architecture.



Standing on a rocky plateau on a 500 feet high hill, the 700 acre fort went through three sieges, and each time Chittor turned out the loser. But that did not mean that the fort was inferior to any other in Rajasthan. It was just that that the Rajputs had a habit of riding out to meet the enemy outside the safety of their walls instead of allowing the enemy to launch the first assault. The first time the fort was stormed in 1303AD, it was purely for matters of the heart. Alauddin Khilji fell in love with Rani Padmini the moment he heard of her and decided to take Chittor and subsequently Padmini. He did get Chittor but Padmini was nothing more than ashes in a huge jauhar (mass suicide by fire) which left 30,000 women burnt alive by choice.

The second siege came 232 years later in 1535 from Muhammad Shah of Gujarat, and this time it was outright war. Chittor fell again, and 13,000 women and children died in a different kind of jauhar. The fortress was on the brink of being seized by Bahadur Shah and there was no time to arrange for a bonfire. Gunpowder was brought out from the magazines and laid out in excavations in the ground. A tremendous blast took the lives of women and children this time.

The final assault was by Akbar in 1567, and it was fatal for Chittor. The seven gates of Chittor were opened and 8,000 Rajputs rode out in their saffron war robes once again to die at Mughal swords. Tradition repeated itself within the walls of Chittor, and women and children sallied forth into flames. When Akbar entered the fort, it is said that there was not a living soul left inside. After this final sack the backbone of Chittor was broken, and its ruler Rana Udai Singh fled to lay the foundations of Udaipur. Chittor never recovered and the fort was taken over by nature.

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I visited the historic fort at chittorgarh that commands reverence and infuses pride in the hearts of millions of Indians.
Thoughts arising from there have started coming in this poetic form to my mind.

crumbling ramparts-
a harvest of past,
sowing future.

quiet of ruins,
shelters the vanquished,
shields the victor.

loosening stones,
sustain deafening silence,
history sprouts.

fire consumes-
beauty and beast,
legend survives.

dying embers-
vacate lonely palace,
for roses to bloom.

Dr. Vidur Jyoti, February 2006


the chittor fort has many stories to tell.
the place has a meera temple. rani padminis beauty is proudly narrated. women jumping in wells to save their honour from invading armies remind us of a history and also of a present where women are even today made to sacrifice their lives for the family's honour.
the question is : was not meera brave in those times by forsaking a kingdom in search of love? and she is revered as a poet saint by indians today.

women jumping in wells
nothing has changed
even today.

kings were invaders
looting coffers
women and men

a fort stands guard
on the ruins of
padmini's beauty

amongst rocks and ruins
the temple bells chime
of meera's devotion

Shoma Datta, February 2006


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,
Visit http://www.chittorgarh.com for more detail about Chittorgarh.