If you have a day to spare and want to really delve into the heart of Rajasthani history, a visit to Chittorgarh is a must. As it is a long drive, be sure to drop in at Sawaryaji temple on the way back.
Chittorgarh dates back to the 7th century and its history encapsulates more than a millennium of Indian cultural change. It has endured three epic battles between the Rajput family and the Mughals (Alu-ud-Din-Khalji in 1303; Sultan Bahadaur Shah in 1535; and Akbar in 1568) and remains to tell the tale today.
It is known as the strongest bastion of Hindu resistance in the state and each battle was followed by a johar (mass suicide) as the dead warriors’ wives sacrificed themselves to prove their loyalty. The fort covers an area of 14 square km and was once home to over 100 temples, separate palaces for each dignitary and almost 100 reservoirs. An impressive, and largely still-standing wall, surrounds the entire complex. Interestingly, a parallel plateau can be seen across the plain on which the highway was built; this used to be the battlefield. This hill is in fact higher however as the terrain is less rocky and unsuitable for storing water, the fort was built on the lower platform.
Much of the fort is now in ruins (although structurally still stunning) but it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. As at Haldighati, the site is a treasure trove of stories, which involve individuals such as Padmini, who is believed to be the most beautiful woman to have ever lived, and the famous Maharana Pratap, who always wished to occupy the fort but, due to its outstanding defences, was unable to. There is very little information available, so in order to unlock the secrets of Chittorgarh it is well worth paying a guide to take you around the site and transportation can be provided by the hotel. Harish is a particularly knowledgeable guide and extremely professional. For the day he charges 500 INR.
Although there are a number of temples that are still active at Chittorgarh, about an hour from Devigarh, on the return trip, you have the choice of visiting the famous Sawaryaji temple. It is a new build, although the idol is extremely old and depicts the child Krishna, the preserver. This temple, and the town of Sawaryaji is quite crowded and unclean, but gives you a taste of real life in an Indian town. Again, please take a hotel driver and guide in order to help you navigate and arrange this trip.
Distance: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Duration of Visit : Full Day Trip
Opening Times: 8am – 7pm Daily
Chittorgarh – 7am – 6pm daily
Sawaryaji – 5:30am – 7pm