Chittaurgarh Fort –Death Before Submission in Ancient India
Valour, tenacity and sacrifice. Located in the southwest part of Rajasthan this Rajput fort dates back to the 7th century and can claim all three in it’s history, written in the blood of battle and death offering. That’s not a bad reputation to have but when it includes three mass suicides by females (johar) through the centuries, the ultimate price has been paid in excess. One of the strongest Hindu fortifications against Muslim invaders from the north, the soft, honey-coloured ramparts compare with those of other major lost ancient civilizations, like Pompeii or Machu Pichu, in their ruined elegance. Making a stop at this site in late afternoon enhances travel photography images with the sweet evening light on the ancient fort walls.
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The temples, fortifications, walls, towers and palaces stand tall with mold and bougainvillea creeping up their flanks. Johar by women took place as their husbands and fathers watched before smearing ash over their bodies and riding into battle destined to defeat. One invasion had the Muslim sultan offer to withdraw if permitted to glimpse the legendarily beautiful Indian Queen Padmini. Trickery and double cross, as in the Trojan horse tragedy, the invasion ended in a johar of 13, 000 Hindu women and children on a funeral pyre led by Padmini. The enraged Muslim invaders destroyed many interior palace buildings and the Rajput royalty never returned to rebuild. Life can still be found with horse riding around the ruins offered ( and portrait photography opportunities) as well as Indian monkeys keen to make friends at the temples.