The second half of our day would be spent in the town of Chittorgarh. Chittorgarh basically means the fort in Chittor. It’s a fortified town that resides high in the hills. It has been invaded and conquered three times in its history. It is also the largest fort complex in all of India.
Upon arrival we are met by two ceremonial guardsmen mounted on horses to welcome us.
Our guide was a pretty, young woman who is one of the 5,000 residents of the town within the fort. Her name was Parvati and, like our previous guides, was very good. Royal Rajasthan on Wheels (RROW) has thus far been impressive with its choice of guides and Parvati would not be the exception.
Our time in Chittorgarh was spent touring the fort, including Padmini’s garden, the reflection room, and then the Temple to Shiva.
The story of Padmini, and I’ll paraphrase, is that she was a very beautiful woman and wife of the Raja. Another Raja learned of her beauty and wanted to take her away for himself. Padmini has no interest in him, but agrees to let him see her but only via her reflection. Raja wants more then a peek, so he kidnaps her husband. She comes up with a ploy to get him back by having soldiers dress as ladies in waiting and visit the Raja. When they get there, they spring out and save their Raja through the deceit. Evil Raja is infuriated and chases husband to kill him. Rather than be taken away, Padmini kills herself. It really is much better then my abbreviated version. She is very much beloved to this day.
We walked around the temple to Shiva. Shamefully, fanatics have destroyed some of the beautiful carvings around the outside of the temple.
There is also a 37m tall Tower of Victory that was built in the 1440’s and dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
We took a break for beverages before attending a sound and light show on the history of Chittorgarh. The show was interesting; it was a bit buggy out, which took away from the show.
It was a long day and everyone was getting tired by the time we boarded the bus and headed back to the train.
Dinner was ready when we arrived, though Sue was ready to crash rather than eat. I went down to dinner myself and sat with Mick and Joanne. They are a nice couple from the UK and he is a heavy object lifter by trade – moving all sorts of heavy or odd shaped items.
Back to the room after eating, as tomorrow is our early day on safari.