Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan
No other fort in India can match Chittorgarh Fort for its legends of chivalry and glorious deaths, the Rajput’s obsession with honor and its tales of valor. The Rajput men died fighting war after war and the women and children preferred death to defeat and flames to dishonor!
Chittorgarh Fort was built in the eighth century by King Bappa Rawal. After his rule the fort passed many hands, many dynasties for many generations. Many wars have been fought here, but three major sieges by Muslim invaders brought this mighty fort down.
The first disaster was in AD1303 by Al-ud-din Khilji. He had heard so much of the beauty of Rani Padmini Queen of Rana Ratan Singh the then King of Chittorgarh that he wanted to possess her. He failed to capture the fort and sent a message to the king that he would return to Delhi after he gets a glimpse of Rani Padmini’s beautiful face. Khilji wasn’t allowed to directly gaze at Rani Padmini’s face; instead he was shown her reflection in a mirror. Khilji was so mesmerized by the hazy reflection of the Queen that he cunningly captured the King Ratan Singh who had come to see him off at the gate. He then demanded the Queen submit herself to him in return for the King’s life.
The intelligent Queen then chalked out a plan and demanded for 700 palanquins for her 700 maids who would accompany her. Khilji immediately provided the palanquins. 700 brave soldiers in the guise women then set out to Khilji’s camp and rescued their King. Khilji attacked the fort again 13 years later. This time, Ratan Singh’s men could not withstand the attack and when defeat seemed certain 30,000 women and children led by Rani Padmini threw themselves in the liberating flames of Jauhar. When Khilji entered the fort all that was left was ashes and stench of burning dead bodies. He was so angry that he razed down the various structures inside the fort except Ratan Singh’s and Rani Padmini’s palace.
The Muslim invaders had built dome like structures on top of all the razed down buildings.
This is not the end! More on Chittorgarh Fort here.