Echoing Tales of Love at Chittorgarh, Rajasthan

There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.

Jane Austen

Love – a single word with many meanings. Yet, we always associate Love with romantic relationships only. In doing so, we exclude a diverse and complex range of emotions connected with it – sexual attraction, maternal attachment, affinal bonds , friendship, monogamous relationships and selfless devotion etc.

The elements of romanticism, misfortune, courage and sacrifice makes Chittorgarh a must visit destination in Rajasthan. When I visited Chittorgarh last December, I was overwhelmed by the stories of love echoing through the walls of history. This ‘Land of the braves’ have fascinated history enthusiasts and art lovers from all over the globe.


On the banks of Gambhiri and Berach river lies the majestic town of Chittor. At the acme of its influence, Chittorgarh was considered to be the most contested seat of power in India. From Allauddin Khilji to Akbar everybody wanted Chittor to prove their prowess. Raja Ratan Sen to Maharana Pratap, each king held their grounds and never gave in to the Mughals.

Chittor has many stories associated with its past, but the story I choose to say here is of love.

Mira Bai’s Love for Lord Krishna

At an innocent age of 4, Mirabai in her childish dreams started considering Lord Krishna as her lifelong companion. Watching a marriage procession from her palace window, She once asked her mother about who will be her groom? He mother feeding the child’s curiosity pointed towards the idol of Krishna. Ever since then Mirabai grew up devoting her life singing praises of Krishna.

She married Rana Sagha’s son Rana Kumbha. The union between the two, brought a lot of anguish to Mirabai. The thought of being with another person, when her soul was filled with love was Krishna, seemed horrifying to her. But as a docile and conscientious daughter she agreed to marry Rana Kumbha.

Love Conquers All

Who can suppress true love? Marital boundaries did not stop Mirabai from showing her love for her Giridhar Gopal. The wrath of society fell upon her for not fulfilling her duties of being a married woman. Rumours of her having a secret lover spread like wildfire affected her relations with the Rana Kumbha but she was not bothered with these allegations.

The tipping point came when Akbar visited Chittorgarh in disguise to hear Mirabai’s devotional songs for Krishna. He was mesmerised by her melodious voice and gifted her a piece of jewellery in appreciation. When Rana Kumbha heard of this, he ordered Mirabai to go drown herself which she dutifully obeyed. Just before she jumped into the river, Krishna appeared in front of her and requested her to go to Vrindavan. Before returning to Chittorgarh on Rana Kumbha’s request she spend her time at Vrindavan singing bhajans for Krishna. Even her husband at last understood her immortal love for Lord Krishna.

Meera Bai Temple, Chittorgarh Fort [Source: Wikipedia]

Such was her devotion for Krishna that Mirabai fought against the whole world, left her husband, her home and devoted her entire life to her Giridhar Gopal.

Manmohana Kanha
Manmohan kanha vinati karoon din rain 
Rah take mere nain 
Ab to daras dedo kunj bihari 
Manva hai bechain 

Neh ki dori tum sang jori 
Humse to nahi jaavegi todi 
Hey murali dhar krishna murari 
Tanik na aave chain 
Raah take mere nain ….

– Bhajan by Mirabai


Panna Dhai’s love for Udai Singh

Panna Dhai was the nurse of prince Udai Singh. Her sacrifice is written in bold letters in the pages of Chittor’s history. She sacrificed her own son to save the young prince from the clutches of Rana Banbir. She escaped from the palace and went to Kumbhalgarh with the prince where she got asylum.


Raja Ratan Sen’s Love for Padmavati

Though there is no evidence in any written text about the existence of Rani Padmavati yet her love story has caught the imagination of many. The only mention of her finds it way through history was in a poem written by the Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi.

The rumours of Padmavati’s beauty was far and wide. Ratan Sen upon hearing about Padmavati’s exquisite beauty couldn’t stop himself from reaching the borders of Simhal. There are many versions of how Ratan Sen won Padmavati’s heart – the most accepted version states that Ratan Sen won a dual against another king in a Swayamvara. Another version narrates the role of a talking parrot ‘Hiraman’ who spreads the word of Padmavati’s magnetism in Chittor that instils in the king’s heart a desire to possess her.

Love triangle

As in any love story, there were two villains in this historical narrative- Nagmati and Alauddin Khilji. Nagmati, the first wife of Raja Ratan Sen was jealous beyond words when Padmavati came to Chittor. A nagging spouse desperate for attention – Nagmati remained on the fringes as Ratan Sen’s affection got divided between his wives.

Alauddin Khilji hears about the enchanting beauty of Padmavati from Raghav Chetak, a sorcerer who had been banished from the court of Ratan Sen. Raghav Chetak was practising black magic which was not allowed in Chittor, upon hearing this Ratan Sen asked him to leave the state at once. He found exile in Khilji`s court and began plotting his vengeance against Ratan Sen. Khilji wanted Rani Padmavati to be part of his harem, he believed such exquisiteness belonged to him and no one else. With this thought in mind, he attached Chittor, Ratan Sen died protecting his motherland and Padmavati gave away her life trying to protect her dignity and committed Jauhar.

Rani Padmini Mahal, Chittorgarh [Source: Wikipedia]

Important Information

How to reach?

By Road: One can take a local bus from Jaipur, Bundi, Ajmer, Udaipur [90 kms], Kota and Jodhpur. Alternatively, hiring a private cab is also a good option if you are planning a day visit.

By Train: Chittorgarh is well connected by rail with direct trains from Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur, Kota and Bundi.

By Flight: The nearest airport is Maharana Pratap Airport in Udaipur.

What is the best time to visit Chittorgarh?

The best season for Chittorgarh is during monsoons and winters. Avoid going there from March to July.

Where to stay in Chittorgarh?

My suggestion would be to avoid staying in Chittorgarh, instead stay in Udaipur or Bundi and do a day trip. I stayed at Castle Narela Lake Resort which was around 15 kms away from the city centre.

Some good options for accommodation are : Padmini Haveli, Just a Lake Nahargarh and Bassi Fort Palace.

Should I hire a guide?

There is no need for a guide, you can collect ‘Chittorgarh Guide Book’ from the ticket counter for free. It is enough for basic information. For more information you can read it online. I would suggest you see the ‘Light and Sound Show’ in the evening to know the general history of this fortress town.


READ MORE ABOUT CHITTORGARH:

Chittorgarh – Tales written in devotion and courage

Padmavati’s Chittorgarh Fort is a must visit Here’s why?

READ MORE ABOUT RAJASTHAN:

Fading Frescos of Mandawa, Rajasthan

Water Storage System at Amber Fort by Heritage Water Walks

author --
If it wasn't for some dear friends who backed out of a trip to Ladakh, Suman wouldn't have been sharing these travel stories today! It was an eye opener, her first solo trip. Beyond the shenanigans of youthful days, Suman experienced a world of many dimensions. With her words, Suman hopes to share and inspire.

20 thoughts on “Echoing Tales of Love at Chittorgarh, Rajasthan

  1. Loved reading all the romantic tales in the historic settings of Chittorgarh, Rajasthan. Even many Bollywood films are based on Meerabai’s love for Lord Krishna and Padmavati’s Love triangle.

  2. Such a lovely story to introduce the place. India is such a wondrous place with different landscapes and architecture. Would love to visit one day.

  3. I love how many beautiful stories are born in India and so many of those are of love. I did not know that many of them are associated with Chittgarh but I do remember my grandmother, who was also a devotee of Lord Krishna, telling me the story about Mira Bai when I was little and listened to her in awe. Padmavati was another story that was made famous recently by a movie which I enjoyed watching!

  4. “Garh to Bas Chittorgarh, baaki Sab Garhiya” beamed our Homestay host and Guide, Parvati as she took us around the 7th century AD, Padmini Palace in Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan.

    Translated the phrase means, “If there is any Fort worth mention, it is Chittorgarh rest are all fortresses!” Chittorgarh is home to the Chittor Fort, the largest fort in India and Asia.

    We had visited Chittorgarh during a 3 day long weekend. We drove down from Delhi and stayed in Padmini Haveli which is inside the Chittorgarh Fort. We had a lovely time exploring on foot the entire fort at our leisure 🙂

    Your post brought back lovely memories.

  5. I learned something new today from your post: the Indian love stories. They are so touchy. How come nobody wrote about it before? Thank you for exposing me to these.

  6. I love posts like this! Because now when I visit Chittorgarh, it will be that much more significant to me. One can see, with their eyes, how beautiful the place is, but having this story and background makes it that much more special when you visit. The images have meaning, you’ll take more time to learn and reflect. And who doesn’t enjoy a story about love?! Thanks!

  7. I’d love to visit India one day, there are so many beautiful places to explore and so many landscapes to admire. By the way, I love that you offer directions to get there for various means of transport. It’s always handy to find that in travel articles 🙂

  8. Immortal love of Meera for her Giridhar Gopal fascinated me since the childhood days. I used to hear her bhajansa…quite enchanting. As always love accompanies lot of hatred as well. That was depicted through Rani Padmavati tale. Nice post.

  9. I keep reading so much about India, I need to get there already. Hopefully my plans will go through for next year. Lovely story.

  10. I had no idea that all these historic stories were linked to Chittorgarh. It was a nice read about love in Chittorgarh. My favourite among all os about Mirabai and her love and devotion for Krishna.

  11. What a pretty love story, and such a fitting structure to match. India looks like an awesome place to visit, and reading these kinds of legends makes me want to go sooner than later!

  12. The story is so beautiful and you tell it very well. I loved seeing the photos of Chittorgarh. I immediately saw more romanticism and love in the architecture after reading your blog.

  13. Loved loved loved reading your blog. And the way you tied the intangible emotion of love with grandeur of the brave Rajputs is wonderful.

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