Chittorgarh Fort is the largest fort in India and the grandest in the state of Rajasthan. The fort, plainly known as Chittor, was the capital of Mewar and is today situated several kilometres by road south of Bhilwara. It was ruled initially by Guhilot and later by Sisodias, the Suryavanshi clans of Chattari Rajputs, from 7th century, until it was finally abandoned in 1568 after the siege by Emperor Akbar in 1567. It sprawls majestically over a hill 180 m (590.6 ft) in height spread over an area of 280 ha (691.9 acres) above the plains of the valley drained by the Berach River. The fort precinct with an evocative history is studded with a series of historical palaces, gates, temples and two prominent commemoration towers. These monumental ruins have inspired the imagination of tourists and writers for centuries.
The fort was sacked three times between 15th and 16th centuries; in 1303 Allauddin Khilji defeated Rana Ratan Singh, in 1535 Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat defeated Bikramjeet Singh and in 1567 Emperor Akbar defeated Maharana Udai Singh II who left the fort and founded Udaipur. Each time the men fought bravely rushing out of the fort walls charging the enemy but lost every time. Following these defeats, Jauhar was committed thrice by more than 13,000 ladies and children of the Rajput heroes who laid their lives in battles at Chittorgarh Fort, first led by Rani Padmini wife of Rana Rattan Singh who was killed in the battle in 1303, and later by Rani Karnavati in 1537 AD.
Thus, the fort represents the quintessence of tribute to the nationalism, courage, medieval chivalry and sacrifice exhibited by the Mewar rulers of Sisodia and their kinsmen and women and children, between the 7th century and 16th century. The rulers, their soldiers, the women folk of royalty and the commoners considered death as a better option than dishonor in the face of surrender to the foreign invading armies.
Water Fort :
Chittorgarh fort is also called as Water Fort. The fort had 84 water bodies, out of which only about 22 exist today. These Include talabs (ponds), kunds (wells), and baories (stepwells). All the talabs have a natural catchment. The kunds and baories are located below the talabs, so that even the seepage from the latter is not lost.
The fort spreads over 700 hectares, 40 per cent of which are given over to water bodies. The average reservoir depth is about 2 m. Taken together, this means these reservoirs can store about 4 billion litres of water.
In a year of more than normal rainfall (average annual rainfall: 700 mm), enough water would be stored to last the next 12 months. Even after water loss due to seepage and evaporation and other causes, an army of 50,000 could live in the fort for four years without fear of thirst.