02-21 Chittaurgarh

Kirti Stambh, Chittaurgarh fort

21.February, Bundi – CHITTAURGARH FORT with VIJAY STAMBH and KIRTI STAMBH temples

This was another day with a lot of driving, the first stop being at an opium poppy field. This requires a licence and is strictly controlled by the authorities. We were stopped for a total of 3 1/2 hours for lunch and to visitthe huge fort or rather walled town of Chittaurgarh with an area of 7 k2 and 30km of walls which are still intact. Inside much of it is in ruins but some of the temples are still standing although the carvings are partly damaged by the Mogul invaders. The place has quite a horrendous history, being sacked at least three times by invading armies, the last one in the time of Akbar. Each time the defending soldiers left the walls and fought to their deaths while the women and children cremated themselves on funeral pyres. It has not been inhabited now for centuries.

The drive continued until dusk in Bundi and there was unfortunately no more time to visit the palace there. However I learnt that we actually get 2 safaris, one late afternoon and one early morning at the nature park in our next place of stay, which pleased me. The German speaking guide entertained us each day in the coach with explanations about life and customs in India. This time he showed us how to tie a turban. It was the full length of the coach before he started winding it round his head.

Shah Jahan (1592 –1666) (Persian: “King of the World”), was the fifth Mughal emperor, who reigned from 1628 to 1658. He was widely considered to be the most competent of the Emperor Jahangir‘s four sons and after Jahangir’s death in late 1627, when a war of succession ensued, Shah Jahan emerged victorious. He put to death all of his rivals for the throne and crowned himself emperor in January 1628 in Agra under the regal title “Shah Jahan” Although an able military commander, Shah Jahan is perhaps best remembered for his architectural achievements. The period of his reign is widely considered to be the golden age of Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan commissioned many monuments, the best known of which is the Taj Mahal in Agra, which entombs his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Mughal Empire reached the pinnacle of its glory during Shah Jahan’s reign and he is widely considered to be one of the greatest Mughal emperors.

In September 1657, Shah Jahan fell seriously ill, which set off a war of succession among his four sons, in which his third son Aurangzeb, emerged victorious. Shah Jahan recovered from his illness, but Aurangzeb put his father under house arrest in Agra Fort from July 1658 until his death in January 1666. On 31 July 1658, Aurangzeb crowned himself emperor under the title “Alamgir.”

Chittaurgarh Fort

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