Wednesday, 19 February 2020

The ''Vijaya Stambha'', Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan, built in mid 15th century - a Rajput monument

Vijaya stambha, Chattigarh Fort, Rajasthan/
Vijaya stambha, Chattigarh Fort,
The Vijaya Stambha, an imposing victory monument within Chittorgarh  Fort in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, India was first built by the Mewar king  Rana Kumbha  in 1448 to commemorate his victory over the combined armies of Malwa and Gujarat led by Mahmud Khilji. The tower is dedicated to Vishnu. It is a good example of Rajputana architecture that gives due attention to minute details in stone works, be they marbles stones or sand stones.  
Though Vijaya Stambha is a common name widely used by the local folks, actually it is  dedicated to  Hindu God  Vishnu. Hence it is a Kirttistambha or Kirti Stambha, a "tower of fame". This odd-looking 9-story tower is adorned  with beautiful  sculptures of  many Hindu deities around.  There are around 157 narrow spiral  steps leading to the terrace at the upper level.  Here, from the  balconies  you get a fine view of the whole town down below.  The tall tower is a great sight when it is  illuminated in the evening. The effect is quite absorbing. It is a good example of religious pluralism practiced by the Hindu rulers like Rajputs. The topmost story features an image of the Jain Goddess, Padmavati and images from the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics. Ruler Rana  Kumbha also had carved the word "Allah" in Arabic nine times in the third story and eight times in the eight. It shows the secular attitude of the Hindu kings, unlike other rulers who follow other religion.
Vijaya stambha, Chattigarh Fort, Rajasthan. Guidestone
There are stone inscriptions on the upper levels of the tower. They contain details about the genealogy of the rulers of Chittaur  and their contributions.  The man who designed it was Sutradhar Jaita well supported by his three sons and others like Napa, Puja, and Poma. There  is a stone inscription on them on the 5th floor.
Victory tower, Chittorgarh Fort,
Kerthi stmbha. Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan.
It was in  1326 Chittorgarh Fort  was  re-established   and Rana Kumbha, knowing the impending danger from the Delhi Muslim rulers,  took serious efforts to beef up the security of the fort by strengthening  the  fort walls and building additions.   Most of the fort's walls  were constructed with care during his reign from 1433 to 1468. The second attack on the fort took place a couple of centuries later in 1535 and this time  by Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat.  Every time the enemy had to struggle to access the fort.