January 8, 2021

Chittorgarh: The Historical Fort

As you stroll through the stunning Chittorgarh fort, it evokes stories of the spirit, valor, pride and romance of the Rajputs, the warrior clan. Sprawling over 700 acres and intimidating over a hillock by the Berach River in Rajasthan, Chittorgarh fort with a 13 km long circumference is the largest fort in Asia. It is believed to have been initially built in the 7th century A.D. by the Maurya Kings and was later taken over by the Mewar kingdom for a long period. The fort was ruled for 800 years by various dynasties such as Mauryas, Pratiharas, Solankis, Guhilas and Mewars. It was also witness to three attacks by Alauddin Khalji in the 14th century, Bahadur Shah and Akbar in the 16th century. Legend says that while the men died in the battlefields, the women and children committed Jauhar (self immolation) to save themselves from the wrath of the victorious army. However, the Mewar kings managed to fight back every time and regained hold over Chittorgarh fort, which is considered as the 'Pride of Mewar’. The prominent Mewar rulers who ruled this fort were Ratnasimha, Rana Kumbha, Rana Sanga, Maharana Udai Singh II (Founder of Udaipur) and Maharana Pratap. The Mewar dynasty later moved to Udaipur and made it their capital. Kumbalgarh fort, with one of the longest fort walls in the world is the other major fort that was under the Mewar kings.

Chittorgarh fort is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the Hill Forts of Rajasthan.



Magnificent structures laced with stunning sculptures and intricate carvings are strewn across the fort, which showcases a blend of Rajput and Islamic style architecture. The formidable fort wall runs all across the hillock with seven entrance gates that you need to pass through to reach the insides of the fort. The fort is also sometimes referred as water fort, as it had about 84 water bodies during its prime, of which very few remain today. Rana Kumbha’s palace which is mostly is ruins, once housed many structures such as underground cellars, elephant and horse stables, royal treasury and shrines a well. It is believed that Rani Padmini committed Jauhar inside this palace. Rani Padmini’s palace with a well laid out garden is the other major palace here, and has a small palace (Jal Mahal) inside a large pond. Fateh Prakash palace is presently a museum which houses various artefacts, weaponry, photographs and other displays of the royal family.










The fort also houses numerous Hindu and Jain temples such as Kumbhashyam temple, Kalikamata Temple, Meerabai temple, Tulja Bhavani temple and Satbis Deori Jain temple.  There are numerous ponds or reservoirs as well with Gaumukh Kund being the most significant one, as it served as the source of water during the fort’s glorious times. There are also cenotaphs, gates, smaller palaces and more dilapidated structures scattered across.





Despite the magnificent palaces and stunning temples, what garners most of the attention inside Chittorgarh fort is undoubtedly the Vijay Stambh or the Tower of Victory built by Rana Kumbh in the 15th century to commemorate his victory over the Sultan of Malwa. Emblazoned with spectacular carvings of gods and motifs, this is an absolute stunning piece of artwork and unsurprisingly the most celebrated structure here. Narrow steps lead you to the top of this 37 meter high nine-storeyed structure with magnificent views of the fort through the numerous peep holes. Kirti Stambha, another victory post with elaborate carvings was built in the 12th century, and is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain Thirthankara.





The fort also has a sound and light show every day from 7:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M.

Travel Tips:

  • Chittorgarh fort is open every day from 9:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M.
  • The entry charges are INR 50 for adults and INR 25 for children.

 

How to reach Chittorgarh Fort:

The closest major city is Udaipur, which has an airport and railway station connecting to other cities in India. It is recommended to take a private taxi from Udaipur to reach Chittorgarh fort, which is about 116 kms away. Public transportation is not frequent between Udaipur and Chittorgarh.

December 31, 2020

Let's Rise!


Like the sun that rises every morning giving us hope to look forward to brighter moments in life, I wish 2021 turns out be much better than what we all went through in 2020. Let's hold each other closer and rise together in the coming year. Hopefully, we will all soon be able to get back to our travelling days again.


Have a memorable and wonderful 2021 full of travels and excitement!

The above picture was captured from the sand dunes of Thar desert in October 2018.

December 16, 2020

Kumbalgarh Fort: Home to One of the Longest Walls in the World

It wasn’t until I read up about Kumbalgarh fort that I learnt it houses the longest wall in India and the third longest in the world. The fort wall of Kumbalgarh which can be described as Great Wall of India stretches over 36 km across the Aravalli range in Rajasthan. Kumbalgarh fort might not be as extravagant as Chittorgarh fort with impressive structures, but built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha, it is one of the prominent forts in Mewar region.  Rising to a height of more than 3600 feet, the fort holds great significance in the history of Mewar rulers as it was considered impregnable for a very long period with many attempts by various rulers turning futile. The fort is also the birth place of Maharana Pratap, one of the most celebrated rulers of Mewar. 

Kumbalgarh fort is presently a UNESCO World Heritage site under Hill Forts of Rajasthan.


Perched on a craggy hillock, Kumbalgarh fort can be spotted from a distance as you head towards it. The long fort wall with intermittent bastions snaking its way till it bends over makes an interesting and intimidating frame. With thick walls, some stretches of which are fifteen feet wide and seven fortified gateways, Kumbalgarh fort is quite an outstanding work of architecture. There are numerous beautiful Jain and Hindu temples spread across the fort and a couple of stepped tanks as well. The aerial views from Kumbha Palace on top are absolutely spectacular with endless views of hills, the meandering fort wall and various structures inside the fort premises.













 

Travel Tips:

1. The fort is open every day from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM.

2. The entry charges for the fort are INR 10 for Indians and INR 100 for foreigners.

 

How to reach Kumbalgarh Fort:

The closest major city is Udaipur, which has an airport and railway station as well. It is recommended to take a private taxi from Udaipur to reach Kumbalgarh fort, which is 84 km away. Public transportation is not frequent between Udaipur and Kumbalgarh fort.


December 4, 2020

Marble Temples of Ranakpur

By the River Maghai and nestled cosily amidst the Aravalli hills in Rajasthan are the magnificent Jain temples of Ranakpur. Made from marble in the 15th century by a Jain businessman, it apparently took almost 50 years to construct them. It is also considered to be one of the prominent temples in Jainism along with the ones at Dilwara and Palitana. The temples which are known for their extensive intricate carvings, designs and figurines are built in Maru Gurjara style of architecture.

The main temple dedicated to Adinatha (the first Thirthankara) is known as Chaturmukha temple, and is the largest and most elaborately carved temple here. The three-storeyed structure houses 80 domes, 29 halls, 84 underground chambers and more than 1400 carved pillars. There are four entrance doors that lead to the inner chambers and extends further to the inner sanctum, which houses the idol of Adinatha. The extensive carvings and detailing on the pillars, ceiling, and sculptures of elephant, cupolas and various gods and goddesses make the temple an exceptional work of art. The architecture is so unique that it ensures natural light enters the halls, and also keeps the insides of the temple cool.










The other temples are nearby and dedicated to Neminatha, Parshvanatha and Suryanarayan. These temples are much smaller in size, but do have beautiful carvings on the outer facade.






Traveller Tips:

1. There is a minimal charge for camera and phone cameras, if you would like to take photographs.

2. While the temple is open from 6:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M. everyday, non- Jains can visit only between 12 noon and 5 P.M.


How to reach Ranakpur:

The closest major city is Udaipur, which has an airport and railway station as well. It is recommended to take a private taxi from Udaipur to reach Ranakpur, which is 93 km away. Public transportation is not frequent between Udaipur and Ranakpur.

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