From Udaipur, we took a short trip to Chittorgarh, to see a semi demolished fort which was once the capital of Mewar. As per our plan we were supposed to spend only half of the day there, as we had Ranakpur also in our chart for the same day. We left Chittor by noon, but the story that we heard from there never left us….
Ratan Singh was a powerful ruler and an artist. He enjoyed the company of talented people and always encouraged them. He had a musician named Raghav Chetan in his darbar whom was later accused of black magic.Hearing this, Ratan Singh lost his temper and exiled Raghav Chetan after blacking his face and making him sit on a donkey. Being so badly humiliated Raghav Chetan decided to pay it back to Ratan Singh and went Delhi which was under the rule of the great Khilji ruler Alauddin Khilji.
Raghav Chetan settled in a forest where Alauddin Khilji frequently go hunting.One day, upon hearing Sultan and his crew entered forest for hunting, Raghav Chetan started playing his flute. Sultan heard the tone and asked the soldiers to bring the musician to his court. But Raghav Chetan played his cards, asked the Sultan why he wants an ordinary man like him when there are far more beautiful things in the world. When Sultan asked him to clarify what he said, Raghav started praising Rani Padmini, the wife of Ratan Singh. Raghav said Rani padmini is the most beautiful woman in the world.
Hearing Raghav’s explanation on the beauty of Rani padmini, Alauddin Khilji decided to make her his wife and started to Chittor with his soldiers.
Alauddin and Rana Singh fought for several days. Ratan Singh found his soldiers getting weak and less in number day by day. Moreover, Chittor fort had only one entrance. As it was war time, food supplies to the fort got ceased.
Ratan Singh had no other way but to come in terms with the Delhi Sultan. Letting someone else see the beauty of
your wife was considered a huge disgrace those days. But Ratan Singh had no other way and as per his request Rani Padmini agreed Alauddin to see her reflection on a mirror. Alauddin with a few soldiers were taken inside the fort, blind folded. Rani Padmini sat on the stairs of her palace and Aluddin could see her reflection on a mirror placed in front of him.
Amazed by her beauty, on the way back from fort, Allauddin caught Ratan Singh and made him a prisoner and offered to release him in return of Rani Padmini. The noble men of Chittor gathered and decided to release their king somehow.They told Aluaddin that Rani padmini will be send to him along with her maids. Seeing palanquins(palaki) coming from the fort, a happy Alauddin released Ratan Singh. But instead of Rani padmini and her maids, a bunch of soldiers came out of the palanquins and took Ratan Singh back to the fort. Realizing the deceit, Alauddin gets angry and frustrated and sends his troops to fort and the war started again. This time Ratan Singh’s army couldn’t hold it for long so the king decided to open the gates and fight till death. Hearing this, rani padmini and other women of Chittor did jauhar. Alauddin Khilji and his army made it to the fort only to see the ashes of Rani padmini along with other Chittor women.
Jauhar is an ancient Indian tradition like Sati, where the royal women does the act of self-immolation when their men are defeated by enemy. The royal women would rather loose their life than losing their pride to an enemy. It says, no enemy has ever got a Rajput Queen alive. When the king’s army faces defeat, the Queen and other women did Jauhar before the enemy could reach them.
Now, the controversial part. From this story or any other story you hear from this place compels you to draw the
picture of the great ruler Alauddin Khilji as a lustful, deceitful and ferocious man. But to his defense, neither
this story nor Rani Padmini left any proof in history. There is no historical evidence that Rani Padmini ever
existed. So its up to us whether to believe this or not. I loved the story anyway.
There are seven major sites to see in Chittor. The gate, Rani Padmini’s palace, Tower of Victory, Tower of Fame,
Rana Khumba palace, Fateh Prakash Palace and Gaumukh reservoir.
The fort is in a semi demolished – semi resurrected state.
From the remains, I could see a beautiful and prosperous Chittor, the gorgeous Rani Padmini walking in her garden, Ratan Singh looking at her through his window, and people of Chittor singing and dancing with joy…While drifting off, I felt a pleasant smile on my face. When I woke up, our cab was halted at Ranakpur….