If you ask what intrigues me the most about a place, I’ll probably say it’s the history of a place. So, my love for historical places took me to Chittorgarh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the largest fortification in India. Spreading over 700 acres on a hilltop, the fort has the deepest roots in history dating back from the Mauryan dynasty.
An impromptu plan with my office colleagues, we packed our bags, boarded the train and were off to our little weekend getaway. After reaching Chittorgarh next morning and checking into a hotel, we were ready to explore the colossal fort and the town inside.
As I grew closer, I was stunned by the majestic beauty of the fort. Enclosed by massive stone wall and a huge entry gate for protection from opposing army. Inside were the homes of the civilians from the time of Rajput Maharajas.
After crossing the seven gates of the fort called as the pols and our first spot - Rana Kumbha Palace. As I entered, I had a strange, eerie feeling. It was later that I learned that the palace was the spot for many horrific stories of Rana Kumbha and Pani Padmini and is considered of the most haunted places in India. Once a yellow stone plastered palace with elephant and horse stables and a small temple adorned with series of canopied balconies, now what is left is ruins.
Near Rana Kumbha Palace was the magnificent Vijay Stambh (Victory Tower), the mark of Chittor’s victory over Sultan Mahmood of Malwa. The stairs of the tower were dark and dingy. The view from the top mesmerizing, the panorama of the fort complex and the blue color city below was alluring.
In the same complex was the famous Meera Temple, adjacent to the Kumbha Shyam Temple.
Our next stop was the ancient Samadishwara Temple; the temple was a beautiful structure situated near the sacred Gaumukh reservoir. As we entered the dark alleys of the temple, I saw the beautiful three faced idol of Shiva in the main sanctum. The atmosphere of the temple was so tranquil that we spent some extra time relaxing near the Nandi idol, enjoying the view of the green color reservoir.
Towards the end of this historical journey, we visited Rani Padmini's Palace. Situated in the heart of Chittor, the palace comprises of a large lake, beautiful gardens, and a Zanana Mahal in the middle of the lake.
Inside the palace, was greens of perfectly trimmed gardens and relatively cooler air. We entered the room from where Allaudin Khilji saw a glimpse of Rani Padmini. From the chamber, we could see the ruins of Zanana Mahal in the middle of the empty dry lake that was once surrounded by the clean waters and hundreds of servants for the Queen.
After crossing Kirti Stambh and ancient Shiv temple, we reached Suraj Pol-the eastern gate. The gate was the perfect spot for doing the one thing we like the most - clicking selfies! The vast field below the gate that was once a war ground provided a perfect background to our pictures. We finished our journey by watching the 'Light and Sound Show' which is a must do in Chittorgarh.
Covering Chittorgarh in 24 hours was one of the most incredible experience of my life. A small trip will add value to your existence just like it has added to mine.