Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Origin:--- "Chittorgarh"

The medievel Rajput stronghold of Chittorgarh is the Masada of Rajasthan. Not once, but three times in its history -- in 1303, 1535 and 1568 -- the valiant defenders of the fort committed suicide rather than surrendering to invaders. In this ritual, known as jauhar, the men of the city put on saffron robes and rushed in to battle to fight to the death, while the women collectively immolated themselves on a funeral pyre. (Source:

Chittorgarh (also Chittor, Chittaur, or Chittaurgarh) is an ancient village in Rajasthan state of western India. It lies on the Berach River, a tributary of the Banas, and is the administrative headquarters of Chittorgharh District and a former capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Mewar.

"GARH TOH BAS CHITTORGARH BAAKI SAB GARHIYA" is a very common old saying in the Princely state of Rajasthan. It literally translates to "There is only one fort, Chittorgarh, rest all are just fortresses.

Chittorgarh is the epitome of Rajput (Indian warrior caste) pride, romance and spirit for people of Chittor always chose death before surrendering against anyone. It reverberates with history of heroism and sacrifice, and that is evident from the tales sung by the Bards of Rajasthan till date. Though now it can be called a ruined citadel but there is much more to it in this huge fort. It is a symbol of all that was brave, true and noble in the glorious Rajput tradition.


Historically, it is considered that Chittor was built by the Maurya dynasty in the 7th century AD. It was then named Chitrakut after Chitrang Maurya (Mori), a Rajput chieftain as inscribed on ancient Mewari coins. The fort is surrounded by a circular wall which has seven huge gates before one can enter inside the main fort area. Some accounts say that the Mori dynasty was in possession of the fort when Bappa Rawal the founder of the kingdom of Mewar seized Chittor garh (Chittor fort) and made it his capital in 734 AD. While some other accounts say Bappa Rawal received it 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, up to the 16th century. Chittor was one of the most contested seats of power in India with probably some of the most glorious battles being fought over its possession. It is famous in the annals of the Mewar Dynasty as its first capital (prior to this, the Guhilots, forerunners of the Mewar Dynasty, ruled from Idar, Bhomat, and Nagda), and renowned in India's long struggle for freedom. By tradition, it remained the Mewar capital for 834 years. With the some interruptions, the fort has always remained in possession of the Sisodias of the Guhilot (or Gehlot/Guhila) clan of Rajputs, who descended from Bappa Rawal.

Chittorgarh was captured in 1303 by Ala ud din Khilji, Sultan of Delhi who led a humongous army. Legend and history corroborate that this was because of his passionate desire to abduct Rani Padmini but she preferred death to dishonour, and committed Jauhar (an act of self immolations by plunging in a large fire) along with all the other ladies on the fort and all men left the fort in saffron robes to fight the enemy till death. Elderly people then had the responsibility to raise the kids. It was recaptured in 1326 by the young Hammir Singh, a scion of the same Gehlot clan. The dynasty (and clan) fathered by him came to be known by the name Sisodia after the village where he was born.

By the 16th century, Mewar had become the leading Rajput state. Rana Sanga of Mewar led a combined Rajput forces against the Mughal emperor Babur in 1527, but was defeated at the Battle of Khanua. Later in 1535 Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat besieged the fort causing immense carnage. It is said that again just like in the case of Jauhar led by Padmini in 1303, all 32000 men alive then in the fort donned the saffron robes of martyrdom and rode out to face a certain death in the war, and their women folkes committed Jauhar led by Rani Karnawati. The ultimate sacrifice for freedom, Jauhar was again performed for the third time after the Mughal Emperor Akbar captured Chittorgarh in 1568. The capital was moved west to Udaipur, in the foothills of the Aravalli Range, where Rana Udai Singh II (the young heir apparent) had established a residence in 1559. Udaipur remained the capital of Mewar until it acceded unto the union of India in 1947, and Chittorgarh gradually lost its importance.

Chittorgarh is also famous for its association with two very widely known historical figures of India. First is, Meera Bai the most famous female Hindu spiritual poetess whose compositions are still popular throughout North India. Her poems fall in the bhakti tradition and she is considered to be most passionate worshipper of lord Krishna. Folklores say that her love for Krishna was epitomized leading to her final disappearance in the temple of Krishna in Dwarka. She is believed to have entered the sanctum of the temple in a state of singing ecstasy after which the sanctum doors are believed to have closed on their own and when later opened, the sari of Mirabai was seen enwrapped around the idol of lord Krishna, symbolizing the culmination of her union with her lord.

The second equally famous person is Maharana Pratap, son of Rana Udai Singh II is regarded as a personification of the values Rajputs cherish and die for. He took an oath to spend his life living in the jungles and fighting until he can realize his dream of reconquering Chittorgarh from Akbar (and thus reclaiming the glory of Mewar). It was the dream greatly cherished by Maharana Pratap, and he spent all his life to achieve this goal undergoing hardships and a life of at times eating breads made of grass while fighting his lifelong battle. Maharana Pratap is the greatest hero in the eyes of Raputs of Mewar. In the absolute dark era of Rajput history, Maharana Pratap alone stood firmly for his honour and dignity, never compromising his honour for safety. With the reputation of a brave man with great character even among his enemies, he died free in 1597.

Chittorgarh remains replete with historic associations and holds a very special place in the hearts of Rajputs, as it was a bastion of the clan at a time when every other stronghold had succumbed to invasion. It is often called as the "Bhakti aur Shakti ki nagari" (land of devotion and strength). The fort and the city of Chittorgarh also hosts the biggest Rajput get-together "Jauhar Mela". It takes place annually on the anniversary of one of the jauhars, not the one by Padmini which is most famous. This festival is to commemorate the bravery of Rajput ancestors and all three Jauhars which happened at Chittorgarh a huge number of rajputs which include the descendants of most of the princely families do a procession to celeberate the Jauhar.

The fort at Chittorgarh also contains the ancient and beautiful temple to Goddess Kali called the Kalika Mata Temple.

Chittaurgarh is located 24.88° N 74.63° E.[1] It has an average elevation of 394 metres (1292 feet).

As of 2001 India census,[2] Chittaurgarh had a population of 96,028. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Chittaurgarh has an average literacy rate of 70%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 78% and female literacy of 61%. 15% of the population is under 6 years of age.

The completed Golden Quadrilateral highway system will pass through Chittorgarh, connecting it to much of the rest of India.

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