Sunday, December 23, 2007


We made a quick stop in Chittorgarh to visit - you guessed it - another fort. Chittorgarh was once the capital of the Mewar kingdom before it was moved to Udaipur and enjoys near-legendary status due to the many battles waged here. One the of the more interesting ones took place in defence of the kingdom against Sultan Ala ud din Khilji after he tried to kidnap Rani Padmini, rumoured to be the most beautiful woman in the land. The men of the fort fought the advancing army until death, while the women also chose death over dishonour by throwing themselves into a fire in an act of mass suicide.

The ruins here are fairly well preserved since repopulation of the fort has been limited. You enter through a series of gates, after which you reach a crumbling palace and its more modern successor, which now houses a small museum. Scattered over several kilometers in the surrounding area are various other palatial buildings, two intricately carved towers and some interesting step wells. We were impressed by the ornate decoration on even the simplest of structures.

There are also hundreds of temples throughout the sprawling fort, including an interesting Jain Digambar temple. Digambar means "sky-clad" and monks in this sect of Jainism reject clothing, as they do other material possessions. The photos of spiritual leaders adorning the temple made us blush, but luckily for us, the attendant on duty was not quite so ascetic.

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