Replete with historic associations, Rana Kumbha Palace near the Vijay Stambh of Chittorgarh is a famous monument of Rajasthan. Walking through the spooky ambiance of the ruined Mahal, endowed with windows looking down from dark chambers and numerous doorways, you are reminded of the piercing cry of Rani Padmini and other women who committed Jauhar (self-immolation) in the underground cellars of the palace. This supreme heroic act of the Rajputani queen left Alauddin Khilji to find her bones and ashes instead of his prized possession Padmini after Chittor fell to the Emperor in 1303 AD.
The palace gets its name from Rana Kumbha(1433-68),the son of Rana Mokal. He was a versatile man, a brilliant poet, and a musician. He was a patron of the arts to rival Lorenzo de’ Medici, and he made Chittorgarh a dazzling cultural centre whose fame spread across Hindustan. This 15th century palace is also the birthplace of Maharana Udai Singh, the founder of Udaipur. History tells us that Rana Udai Singh’s life was saved by the selfless act of his maid Panna Dai, who forsake her own son to death in order to save the prince from Banbir. Udai Singh was carried to safety in a fruit basket while her son was callously killed by the enemy.
The palace can be entered through the imposing Badipol and also through the modest Tripolia gate both being gateways to the east. Inside the palace complex is a Ganesh temple, a Zenana( living quater for women), a water reservoir, beautiful balconies, and stables of elephant and horses. Although in a dilapidated condition, the palace marks the prosperity of Rajput architecture.
Meera Bai, the Hindu mystic poet and devotee of Lord Krishna was wedded to Rana Kumbha(Bhojraj) in 1513 before she turned 14. Her divine intent clashed with her marial responsibility from time to time and thereby her in-laws trapped her in scandals and tortures. Her worldly renunciation and fidelity to Lord Krishna echo in her compositions. Rana Kumbha Palace incorporates the palace of poetess Meera Bai . There is a museum and archaeological office across the palace at present.
As an embodiment of both strength and devotion, Rana Kumbha Palace embraces two contradicting essence at its best. Get closer to this palace and listen to the murmurs of the edifice which has seen the burning pyre consuming the brave queen Padmini and also heard the songs of Meera Bai in her ecstatic delightful trance. Valour and faith coincides and makes this palace worth mentioning in the pages of history.
When to visit : Rana Kumbha Palace
Best time to visit: August - February
Opening hours:8:00 AM - 7:30 PM