Viaje a India

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Chittorgarh Monuments and Festival

CHITTORGARH FORT
The fort of Chittor is believed to have been the capital of the Gahlot and Sisodia kings who ruled Mewar from the eighth to the sixteenth century AD. The fort is named afterMonuments and Festivals Chittrangad Mauraya. The Sisodia ruler Ajay Pal (AD 1174-1177) improved the fort wall built by the Gahlot king in the ninth century AD. The fort has witnessed three ferocious sieges and each time her defenders, demonstrating true Rajputana pride, fought valiantly against the enemies. The magnificent fort rises 150 m above the surrounding region and runs to an approximate length of 3 km covering an area of 60 acres and peripheral length of 13 km.

SIEGES
Out of the three major sieges, the first one occurred in AD 1303 when Ala-ud-din Khilji of Delhi attacked to gain possession of Padmini, the beautiful wife of Rana Rattan Singh. In spite of gaining control of the fort, the goal remained unachievable since Padmini along with other Rajput women marched in procession to an underground cave and committed self-immolation or jauhar.

The second siege in AD 1535 was by Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. The Rajputs fought valiantly but were defeated and jauhar was once again performed.

The third siege of the fort took place in AD 1567 with the Mughal ruler Akbar arrayed against the might of the Rajputs. It is believed that Akbar got annoyed with Udai Singh for sheltering the then ruler of Malwa. This was a bloody war with jauhar being performed for the third time. The tales of valor of Jaimal and Kalla are still alive in the local folklore. It is believed that Akbar was so impressed by the valor of Jaimal and Kalla that he got their statues installed at the Agra Fort.

LEGENDS
Legend has it that it was because of the beautiful Padmini that Chittorgarh was sacked the first time. When Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji, the ruler of Delhi, heard of Padmini's beauty, he requested Rana Rattan Singh (her husband) for a glimpse of the queen. However, the Sultan was permitted to see only the reflection of the queen from a water tank that overlooked the palace.

Ala-ud-din is said to have been so carried away by Padmini's beauty that he attacked Chittor in order to possess her. This led to the first bitter and bloody siege of the Chittorgarh fort and the subsequent mass suicide.

THE POLS
The ascent to the Chittorgarh Fort takes one through zigzag paths interrupted at intervals by seven enormous gateways or 'pols'. The different gateways are Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ganesh Pol, Jorla Pol, Lakshman Pol, and Ram Pol. The Suraj Pol is the gate on the east. There are two chhatris (small domed canopies, supported by pillars)
where the two famous commanders Jaimal and Kalla fell when Akbar laid siege to the fort in AD 1567.

Monuments and Festivals Near the Padan Pol is the memorial of Rawat Bagh Singh who joined hands with King Vikramaditya to fight against Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat when Chittor fort was attacked the second time. The Bhairon Pol is named in the memory of Bhairondas Solanki who also fought against Sultan Bahadur Shah in AD 1534. The Hanuman Pol, the Ram Pol, and the Lakshman Pol have a temple in their vicinity. The Jorla Pol has two adjacent gateways.

The main places of interest within the precincts of the fort are the two towers known as the 'Kirti Stambh' (Tower of Fame) and the 'Vijay Stambh' (Tower of Victory). Besides these, there are several temples, reservoirs, and palaces originating between the 9th and 17th centuries AD. There is also a big complex of Jain temples within the fort.

The Kirti Stambh is a seven-storied structure with a cramped stairway of 54 steps. It is 30 feet at the base and narrows down to 15 feet at the top and is adorned with Jain sculptures on the outside. It is dated approximately around the 12th century AD. It is dedicated to the first Jain tirthankara or spiritual teacher, Adinath, and has an impressive five-feet-high statue of the saint.

However, the most imposing structure within the Chittorgarh Fort is the Vijay Stambh. This tower can even be seen from the town, which is located below the fort. This exemplary piece of architecture stands on a pedestal of 47 square feet and 10 feet high, while the tower alone stands at a height of 122 feet and is 30 feet wide at the base. There are 157 steps and the stairs are circular. It is believed that the tower took 10 years to be completed. The tower was built around the 15th century AD, by Rana Kumbha, one of the most powerful Mewar kings. The tower was built to commemorate his victory over Mahmud Khilji of Malwa. The entire structure is covered with sculptures of Hindu deities and episodes from the two great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, with names given below each piece of sculpture.

The Sammidheshwara Temple is near this tower. Gaumukh reservoir and the palace of Queen Padmini are important spots to the south of the Rana Kumbha Palace. According to legend, Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, was allowed to see the reflection of Queen Padmini in this palace. A big water reservoir with water gushing out of a rock shaped in the form of cow's mouth called 'Gaumukh' is close to the opening of the cave where Rani Padmini and the other women are believed to have performed jauhar. Other spots worth visiting are the Bhimtal Tank, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Meera Temple, Kumbha Shyam Temple, and Kalika Mata Temple dating back to the 8th century.

Festivals

Deepawali (Dewali or Depawali)
Diwali is celebrated all over India. The preparations for the festival begins well in advance. People start decorating their homes, preparing sweets and farsans and buy new clothes & jewellery all this to welcome the Goddess into their homes who comes to bless all. People light up their homes with clay oil lamps and colorful lights and Rangolis . This new moon night or Amavasya as it is called is thus turned into a bright and colourful night

Holi
Holi is a festival of colour & is celebrated all over India. It is also celebrated by Indians residing out of India. This festival comes on the full moon day of Phagan - a Hindu month. This festival bring new hope for all the people as it marks the end of chilled winter days and the beginning of the summer. People forget their enmity and throw away their worries

Everywhere people - young or old are drenched with different colours and water which comes from everywhere, there are balloons bursting and long piston squirting coloured water. People in small groups are seen singing, dancing and throwing colours on each other

Dussehra
One of the big festivals celebrated in most parts of India is Dussehra. Dussehra marks the victory of Ram over the demon king Ravana, and the rescue of his wife Sita. In north India, gigantic effigies of the ten-headed Ravana and his brothers are set aflame amidst bursting of crackers. Fairs are usually held on this occasion with lots to eat, buy and enjoy. This day is also known as Vijayadashmi, or the Victory Tenth, because of the victory of Ram over Ravana.

Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu custom marking the love and affection between brothers and sisters. It is celebrated on "Shravan Sud Poornima" every year according to the Hindu Calender. Raksha means Protection , Bandhan means bond. On this day, sisters tie a colourful 'Rakhi' on the wrists of their brothers. Sisters believe that this will bring success, peace, and good health to their brothers throughout the year. Brothers on their part take a vow to protect their sister, and a symbol of his love gives a gift to his sister

Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi marks the birth of Lord Ganesha and is celebrated all over the country. This is also symbolic of the advent of all festivals dedicated to other Indian Gods. The temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha is located in the fort of Ranthambhor, about 12 kms from Sawai Madhopur. The Orange color in which the idol is painted as well is the holy colour for this festival. The idol is lavishly decorated with golden ornaments and every day felicities with huge garlands of marigold.