Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chittorgarh, the witness of bravery, sacrifice and devotion

Chittorgarh Fort, the witness of Bravery, Sacrifice and Devotion.

Chittorgarh, the largest fort (70² miles) of India was constructed by Chitrangad Maurya in the ancient time. It was occupied by many kings but the occupancy of Sisodia Kingdom of Bappa Rawal in 8th Century and his heirs were full of important historical events of bravery, sacrifice and independence. Solanki's gave the fort to Bappa Rawal in dowary.  

The tourists may visit the fort, the Vijaystambha, the Kirtistambha, Palace of Rana Kumbha, Palace of the famed Padmini, Jaimal palace and Patta palace, Trimurti Shiv Temple, Kumbha Shyam Temple, Kalika Mata Temple, Saas-Bahu Temple, Meerabai Temple, etc.

The Shiva Trimandir in the fort is unique with three postures of Shiva and the middle one is for "tratak sadhana". King Bhoj of Malawa used to do sadhana in this temple.

The fort Chittor was under siege thrice and each time the Sisodia Rajputs fought bravely and thrice Jauhar was performed by the ladies and children, first johar led by Rani Padmini (1303 AD), second by Rani Karnawati (1535) and third time by wives of Jaimal and Patta and other soldiers (1568 AD). 

Rani Padmini was the most beautiful queen of Rana Ratan Singh. Attracted by her beauty Aladdin came to Chittor with army. To avoid bloodshed, a compromise reached and accordingly, the sultan went up the hill and glimpsed Rani through mirror. Rana Ratan Singh courteously escorted Allauddin down to the outer gate-where he was taken in hostage. Aladdin demanded Rani Padmini. One of the brothers of Padmini dressed up as Padmini and the soldiers entered into Aladdin camp wearing women clothes and carrying swords. Rana was rescued but 7000 warriors died. Chittor could not hold out Sultan's attack. Rana and his brave brothers-in-law legendary Gora and Badal were killed. The rani and her entire entourage of women, singing ancient hymns, boldly entered the mahal and performed jauhar.

Rana Kumbha (7 feet height) was the famous King of Sisodia Dynasty of Mewar. He constructed Vijay Stambh in the fort in memory of victory of Malawa and Gujarat. Vijay Stambh is known for its architecture design of broad narrow broad; broad at bottom and top and narrow in the middle. It looks little tilted towards left. He was killed by his son Rana Uday Singh 1 (1468 AD).

Rana Sanga, the most powerful King of the dynasty won many battles. Under Rana, the Rajputs scored several victories, capturing some key strategic assets in the process, including the fort of Ranthambore. He ordered Babar to quit India, but lost the war of Khanva in 10 hours against Babar due to defection of his general Silhadi and cannon guns attack of Babar in 1527. Rana Sanga died shortly afterwards from his wounds.

It has also been a land of worship for Meera. Meerabai, daughter of King Ratan Singh Rathod of Merta, married to Rana Bhojraj Singh the eldest son of Rana Sanga of Mewar. She was Sri Krishna Bhakta. Mirabai took no interest in her earthly spouse, since she believed herself to be married to Krishna. Her husband died in a battle in 1521. She made Dalit Saint Rohidas her Guru. A small temple with charan paduka of her Dalit Guru was constructed in front of Krishna temple in the fort where she used to pray Guru everyday along with her Givind. She merged with her Lord Krishna in Dwarka (Gujarat) in 1557.

After the death of Rana Sanga, the weak administration of Chittor was looked after by Raja Baghsingh and his wife Jodha. Both died in a war with Gujarat Sultan Bahadurshah in 1535. Rani Karnavati (grand mother of Rana Pratap) sent a Rakhi to Mughal Emperor Humayun addressing him as brother and asked for the help but till the help arrives, the war was lost. She with other women performed Jauhar in front of Trimurti Shiv Temple in the fort on 8 March 1535. 

Rana Sanga had 7 sons but infighting amongst them made them vulnerable. Finally, Rana Udesingh (father of Rana Pratap) took over the kingdom. He shifted the capital from Chittor to Udepur. During the attack of Badshah Akbar, Udesingh left the fort before the attack and the war was fought by his Generals Jaimal and Patta. The generals wives along with other women performed third jauhar in the fort. The sacrifice of Jaimal and Patta, two brave army chieftains of Mewar, in the war against the Mughals was so great that the Mughal Emperor Akbar installed their statues in the fort of Agra. 

Rana Udesingh's son Rana Pratap took over Kingship in 1572 but lost war of Haldighati against the imperial army of Badshah Akbar lead by Raja Mansingh in 1576. He didn't surrender and harassed Mughals through gorilla warfare for 20 years till he died in 1597 at 49Y. (He was born in 9th May the period of Exalted Sun!) He couldn't get the fort back from Mughals but rules as a King without capital. Sheth Bhamasha funded all his experiences and set an example of "Swami Bhakti". Maharana Pratap's fights, struggle and independence still motivate us for bravery and nationalism for mother land. 

Maharana Pratap made his descendants vow that they would not sleep on beds, nor live in palaces, nor eat off metal utensils, until Chittorgarh had been regained. In fact, right into the 20th century the maharanas of Mewar continued to place a leaf platter under their regular utensils and a reed mat under their beds in symbolic continuance of this vow.

The fort was returned to Rana Amarsingh by Badshah Jahangir for limited purpose of maintenance and holding.  

When King George V visited India in 1911, and invited all the kings in Delhi Darbar, the chair of King of Mevar remained vacant as the Rana of Mewar didn't attend the meet. 

Chittorgarh, the fort will be remembered for centuries for Beauty of Rani Padmini; bravery of Gora & Badal, bravery and sacrifice of Jaimal & Patta; 3 Jauhars of Rani Padmini, Rani Karnawati and wives of Generals; Bhakti of Meera, Bravery and Independence of Maha Rana Pratap, and Swami bhakti of Bhamashah.  

गढ मे गढ चितौरगढ, और सब गढैया;
राजा मे एक रामचन्द्र, और सब रजैया;
तालो मे एक भोपाल ताल, और सब तलैया;
रूपमती तो रानी पदमीनी, ओर सब पदैया ।

"Garh mai garh Chittor garh, aur sab garaiya; Raja to ek Ramchandra, aur sab rajaiya; Taal to ek Bhopal Taal, baki aur talaiya; Rupmati to Rani Padmini, aur sab padaiya."  

Must visit Chittorgarh, the witness of Bravery, Sacrifice and Devotion. 

15 January 2015

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