Rani Padmavati of Chittorgarh: Did she exist at all?

  • Rani Padmawati of ChittorgarhImage courtesy: hindustantimes.com

    Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s epic drama film ‘Padmavati’ starring Deepika Padukone depicts the life events of this legendary queen. The movie is based on Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s fictionalized poem ‘Padmavat’ which is the earliest source to talk about her.
    With no mention of Rani Padmavati in the historical records, it’s a mystery whether she existed in reality or was she, simply the imagination of poet, Jayasi.

    Chittorgarh Fort carvingsVersion 1:

    According to the ‘Padmavat’ poem, Padmavati was the daughter of Raja Gandharva Sen and princess of the Singhal kingdom, present day Sri Lanka. After hearing about her flawless beauty from Hiraman - a talking parrot, Ratan Sen, the Rajput ruler of Chittor (Chittorgarh) decided to marry her. Later, when the Sultan of Delhi, Alauddin Khalji, saw her reflection in the mirror, he was enamoured with her charm. To get her, he attacked the Chittor Fort. On hearing that her husband Ratan Sen was killed, to protect their honour - Padmavati along with her companions committed self-immolation aka Jauhar.

    Version 2:

    There is no mention of Padmavati’s father, Raja Gandharva Sen in the Sinhalese history. Also Pandya kings of Tamil Nadu were the only connections the then Buddhist rulers of Lanka had; none with the Rajput rulers. According to records, Alauddin Khalji wanted to conquer Chittor; he laid siege to the Chittor Fort (Chittorgarh). The Rajputs put up a tough fight for the defence of Chittor. Unfortunately, Alauddin Khalji and his army were successful in conquering the fort. To save their honour, the Rajput women committed Jauhar; there are no records claiming that Rani Padmavati was one of them.

    Chittorgarh Fort

    Chittorgarh FortThe Chittorgarh Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the largest forts in India. Built by the Mauryans, this glorious fort is a masterpiece with fine artwork on the pillars. It will take you approximately 2 hrs 20 mins by road to reach Chittorgarh Fort from Udaipur. Experience the Light & Sound Show and learn about the glorious history of this fort, with Rajasthani music playing at the background.

    Attractions of Chittorgarh Fort

    Vijay Stambh, ChittorgarhVijay Stambh

    This stambha or tower offers a breathtaking view of the Chittor city. It is also called Tower of Victory and was erected by Rana Kumbha after he won a battle over Mahmud Shah I Khalji.

    Tower of Fame

    Kirti StambhaAlso known as Kirti Stambha, this tower was built in honour of the first Jain tirthankar, Adinath. Erected by a Jain merchant, Jijaji Rathod, this tower is approximately 22 meters tall.

    Rana Kumbha Palace

    Maharana Kumbh PalaceBirthplace of Maharana Udai Singh, the founder of Udaipur, this palace is one of the oldest structures of the fort. It is adorned with beautiful carvings and sculptures.

    Padmini Palace

    Padmini PalaceSituated at the southern part of the fort, this palace is a popular spot. If the Padmavat poem (Version 1) is to be believed, it belonged to Rani Padmavati. A beautiful lotus pond lies near it.

    How to reach here

    By flight: Maharana Pratap Airport or Udaipur Airport.