Chittor Fort, Bijaipur
About Chittor Fort
Siege of 1303
In 1303, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khalji led an army to conquer Chittor, which was ruled by the Guhila king Ratnasimha. Alauddin captured Chittor after an eight-month-long siege. According to his courtier Amir Khusrow, he ordered a massacre of 30,000 local Hindus after this conquest. Some later legends state that Alauddin invaded Chittor to capture Ratnasimha's beautiful queen Padmini, but most modern historians have rejected the authenticity of these legends. The legends also state that Padmini and other women committed suicide by jauhar (mass self-immolation). Historian Kishori Saran Lal believes that a jauhar did happen at Chittor following Alauddin's conquest, although he dismisses the legend of Padmini as unhistorical. On the other hand, historian Banarsi Prasad Saksena considers this jauhar narrative as a fabrication by the later writers, because Khusrow does not mention any jauhar at Chittor, although he has referred to the jauhar during the earlier conquest of Ranthambore.Alauddin assigned Chittor to his young son Khizr Khan (or Khidr Khan), and the Chittor fort was renamed "Khizrabad" after the prince. As Khizr Khan was only a child, the actual administration was handed over to a slave named Malik Shahin.
Rana Hammir and successors
Khizr Khan's rule at the fort lasted till 1311 AD and due to the pressure of Rajputs he was forced to entrust power to the Sonigra chief Maldeva who held the fort for 7 years. Hammir Singh, usurped control of the fort from Maldeva and Chittor once again regained its past glory. Hammir, before his death in 1364 AD, had converted Mewar into a fairly large and prosperous kingdom. The dynasty (and clan) fathered by him came to be known by the name Sisodia after the village where he was born. His son Ketra Singh succeeded him and ruled with honour and power. Ketra Singh's son Lakha who ascended the throne in 1382 AD also won several wars. His famous grandson Rana Kumbha came to the throne in 1433 AD and by that time the Muslim rulers of Malwa and Gujarat had acquired considerable clout and were keen to usurp the powerful Mewar state.
Rana Kumbha and clan
There was resurgence during the reign of Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. Rana Kumbha, also known as Maharana Kumbhakarna, son of Rana Mokal, ruled Mewar between 1433 AD and 1468 AD. He is credited with building up the Mewar kingdom assiduously as a force to reckon with. He built 32 forts (84 fortresses formed the defense of Mewar) including one in his own name, called Kumbalgarh. His brother Rana Raimal assumed the reins of power in 1473. After his death in May 1509, Sangram Singh (also known as Rana Sanga), his youngest son, became the ruler of Mewar, which brought in a new phase in the history of Mewar. Rana Sanga, with support from Medini Rai (a Rajput chief of Alwar), fought a valiant battle against Mughal emperor Babar at Khanwa in 1527. He ushered in a period of prestige to Chittor by defeating the rulers of Gujarat and also effectively interfered in the matters of Idar. He also won small areas of the Delhi territory. In the ensuing battle with Ibrahim Lodi, Rana won and acquired some districts of Malwa. He also defeated the combined might of Sultan Muzaffar of Gujarat and the Sultan of Malwa. By 1525 AD, Rana Sanga had developed Chittor and Mewar, by virtue of great intellect, valour, and his sword, into a formidable military state. But in a decisive battle that was fought against Babar on 16 March 1527, the Rajput army of Rana Sanga suffered a terrible defeat and Sanga escaped to one of his fortresses. But soon thereafter in another attack on the Chanderi fort the valiant Rana Sanga died and with his death the Rajput confederacy collapsed.
Siege of 1535
Bahadur Shah who came to the throne in 1526 AD as the Sultan of Gujarat besieged the Chittorgarh fort in 1535. The fort was sacked and, once again the medieval dictates of chivalry determined the outcome. Following the escape of the Rana, his brother Udai Singh and the faithful maid Panna Dhai to Bundi, it is said 13,000 Rajput women committed jauhar (self-immolation on the funeral pyre) and 3,200 Rajput warriors rushed out of the fort to fight and die.
Siege of 1567
The final Siege of Chittorgarh came 33 years later, in 1567, when the Mughal Emperor Akbar attacked the fort. Akbar wanted to conquer Mewar, which was being ruled by Rana Uday Singh II. Shakti Singh, son of the Rana who had quarreled with his father, had run away and approached Akbar when the later had camped at Dholpur preparing to attack Malwa. During one of these meetings, in August 1567, Shakti Singh came to know from a remark made in jest by emperor Akbar that he was intending to wage war against Chittor. Akbar had told Shakti Singh in jest that since his father had not submitted himself before him like other princes and chieftains of the region he would attack him. Startled by this revelation, Shakti Singh quietly rushed back to Chittor and informed his father of the impending invasion by Akbar. Akbar was furious with the departure of Shakti Singh and decided to attack Mewar to humble the arrogance of the Ranas.In September 1567, the emperor left for Chittor, and on 20 October 1567, camped in the vast plains outside the fort. In the meantime, Rana Udai Singh, on the advice of his council of advisors, decided to go away from Chittor to the hills of Gogunda with his family. Jaimal and Patta were left behind to defend the fort along with 8,000 Rajput warriors and 1,000 musketeers under their command. Akbar laid siege to the fortress, which lasted for 4 months. On 22 February 1568, Jaimal was killed by a musket shot fired by Akbar himself. Jauhar was committed in the houses of Patta, Aissar Das, and Sahib Khan. Next day the gates of the fort were opened and Rajput soldiers rushed out to fight the enemies. In the ensuing battle, 8,000 Rajputs were killed alongside 20,000–25,000 civilians and Chittor was conquered.