Chittorgarh Fort

sights / Military

Chittorgarh Fort information

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Indian/foreigner ₹5/100, Sound & Light Show Indian/foreigner ₹75/200
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sunrise-sunset, Sound & Light Show sunset
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Lonely Planet review

A zigzag ascent of more than 1km leads through six outer gateways to the main gate on the western side, the Ram Pole (the former back entrance). On the climb you pass two chhatris , domed memorials, between the second and third gates. These mark the spots where Jaimal and Kalla, heroes of the 1568 siege, fell during the struggle against Akbar. Jaimal had already been fatally wounded but was carried out by Kalla to fight on to the death.

Inside Ram Pole is a village of perhaps 4000 people that occupies a small northwestern part of the fort. (Turn right here for the ticket office). The rest of the plateau is deserted except for the wonderful palaces, towers and temples that remain from its heyday, with the addition of a few more recent temples. A loop road runs around the plateau, which has a deer park at the southern end.

There is a Sound & Light Show at the Rana Kumbha Palace. The commentary is in English on days when the Palace on Wheels and Royal Rajasthan on Wheels tourist trains hit Chittor (Tuesday and Friday at time of writing).

Rana Kumbha Palace

Past the ticket office, you arrive almost immediately at this ruined palace group, which takes its name from the 15th-century ruler who renovated and added to earlier palaces on this site. The complex includes elephant and horse stables and a Shiva temple. Padmini’s sati (suicide by immolation) is said to have taken place in a now-blocked cellar. Across from the palace is the Sringar Chowri Temple , a Jain temple built by Rana Kumbha’s treasurer in 1448 and adorned with attractive, intricate carvings of elephants, musicians and deities.

Fateh Prakash Palace

East of the Rana Kumbha Palace, this palace is more modern (Maharana Fateh Singh died in 1930). Closed to the public except for a small, poorly labelled museum , it houses a school for local children.

Meera & Kumbha Shyam Temples

Both these temples southeast of the Rana Kumbha Palace were built by Rana Kumbha in the ornate Indo-Aryan style, with classic, tall sikharas (spires). The Meera Temple, the smaller of the two, is now associated with the mystic-poetess Meerabai, a 16th-century Mewar royal who was poisoned by her brother-in-law but survived due to the blessings of Krishna. The Kumbha Shyam Temple is dedicated to Vishnu and its carved panels illustrate 15th-century Mewar life.

Tower of Victory

The glorious Tower of Victory (Jaya Stambha), symbol of Chittorgarh, was erected by Rana Kumbha in the 1440s, probably to commemorate a victory over Mahmud Khilji of Malwa. Ded-icated to Vishnu, it rises 37m in nine exquisitely carved storeys, and you can climb the 157 narrow stairs (the interior is also carved) to the 8th floor, from which there’s a good view of the area. Hindu sculptures adorn the outside; its dome was damaged by lightning and repaired during the 19th century.

Below the tower, to the southwest, is the Mahasati area where there are many sati stones – this was the royal cremation ground and was also where 13,000 women committed jauhar in 1535. The Samidheshwar Temple , built in the 6th century and restored in 1427, is nearby. Notable among its intricate carving is a Trimurti (three-faced) figure of Shiva.

Gaumukh Reservoir

Walk down beyond the Samidheshwar Temple and at the edge of the cliff is a deep tank, the Gaumukh Reservoir, where you can feed the fish. The reservoir takes its name from a spring that feeds the tank from a gaumukh (cow’s mouth) carved into the cliffside.

Padmini’s Palace

Continuing south, you reach the Kalika Mata Temple , an 8th-century sun temple damaged during the first sacking of Chittorgarh and then converted to a temple for the goddess Kali in the 14th century. Padmini’s Palace stands about 250m further south, beside a small lake with a central pavilion. The bronze gates to this pavilion were carried off by Akbar and can now be seen in Agra Fort.

South of here are the Bhaksi , a small prison where captured invaders, including the sultans of Malwa and Gujarat, were kept; and the Chogan , a former parade ground for Rajput soldiers, now used as a helipad for visiting dignitaries.

Continuing around the loop road, you pass the deer park, Bhimlat Tank and Adhbudhnath Shiva Temple .

Surajpol & Tower of Fame

Surajpol, on the fort’s east side, was the main gate and offers fantastic views across the empty plains. Opposite is the Neelkanth Mahadev Jain Temple . A little further north, the 24m-high Tower of Fame (Kirtti Stambha) is older (dating from 1301) and smaller than the Tower of Victory. Built by a Jain merchant, the tower is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain tirthankar (one of the 24 revered Jain teachers) and is decorated with naked figures of various other tirthankars , indicating that it is a monument of the Digambara (sky-clad) order. A narrow stairway leads up the seven storeys to the top. Next door is a 14th-century Jain temple.

Ratan Singh Palace

While Padmini’s Palace was the summer abode of the Chittorgarh royals, the winter palace takes the name of her husband, Ratan Singh I (or possibly of Ratan Singh II, who ruled briefly in the 16th century). It overlooks a small lake and, although run down, is an interesting place to explore.