No matter how many times you visit you are never bored of travelling to Rajasthan—probably the most complete tourist package anywhere in the world. Although within Rajasthan there are so many places to visit, it is perhaps the mystique surrounding Chittorgarh and Udaipur—the centres of Mewar Rajputana—that captures the attention of the maiden traveler to Rajasthan. The Mewar Rajputs never bowed to anyone any were engaged in a constant battle with the warring Mughals. Chittor was the seat of Mewar kingdom until Maharana Udai Singh built Udaipur. But Chittor Fort always remained the favourite haunt of the Rajputs of Mewar.
Chittorgarh, the Capital of Rajputana of Sisodia lineage has the most valorous list of names that ever inhabited India, be it Rana Sanga, Rana Pratap, Rana Kumbha. Its history also carries on its bosom the legend of Rani Padmavati whose tale of beauty and self-esteem is well known. This is also the place of Mirabai—one of the greatest Krishna devotees and Panna Dhai—who made the supreme sacrifice of her son to save the life of the then prince of Mewar. On visiting the Chittorgarh Fort—an architectural marvel—these tales suddenly come to life.
The Chittorgarh Fort
If you are visiting the Fort, you can take the services of a sarkari guide or local auto drivers- who will take you through the fort on booking and also double up as guides. They charge often between Rs. 600-700 for going the whole hog and are a good bet, especially if you are short on time. The Fort, now in dilapidated condition, has a rich history to it and every monument here has a story- from different moments of history. Innumerable ancient temples dot the fort. It hardly takes 3 hours to see the full circumference. The main attractions are the main gate called POLES; and the vast expanse that opens in front—where the armies of the attacking enemy met the valiant Rajputs of Mewar in battle. Today you can see lush green fields where once the vast battleground stood. Here crops are grown and there are a few structures also to be seen that belong to the descendants of the royal family of Mewar who live to date.
Chittorgarh Fort also offers tourists a light & sound programme in the evenings that describes through song and dance the entire history of Rajputana.
Although many tourists visit Chittor after visiting Udaipur we did the reverse—probably as the history of the Fort captivated our imagination more. Udaipur is at a distance of 2-3 hrs by train or bus from Chittor. This is the most loved part of India for foreign tourists and they are a commonplace here. Udaipur is known for the City Palace—a hotel now—and Lake Pichola by the palace side. The City Palace has a museum within its precincts where arms and memoirs of Rajputana have been meticulously kept. These arms comprising swords, daggers, bayonets among others belonged to the Rajputs of Mewar which they carried into battles. There is lots of memorabilia from other periods of history too. Udaipur is called the city of lakes and in addition to lake Pichola there are other lakes such as Fateh Sagar Lake among others, where you can have a boating session with your family. The best part is that all these lakesides have quite picturesque surroundings.
There are many other places to visit near Udaipur—all of historical significance, like Haldighati and Eklingeshwar Temple, if you have time.
One can take the flight to Udaipur. In our case, from Delhi, we took the Mewar Express from Nizamuddin Railway Station. There are other trains too passing via New Delhi and all are comfortable. You can either reach Udaipur or Chittor—according to your travel plan. The best time to go is from November-February.
(By Prasoon Pant)