“Who is more beautiful, I or Padmavati?, Queen Nagamati asks to her new parrot, and it gives a displeasing reply…”(Padmavati) Rani Padmini.
Rani Padmini palace, situated inside the Chittorgarh fort, leaves behind the tincture of beauty, valour, sacrifice, honour, manoeuvre and tragedy of the past. Padmini was the second wife of the brave and noble king of Mewar, Rawal Ratan Singh and the daughter of Sinhala king Gandharvasen. Her unrivalled beauty was augmented by her preference of death to abduction and dishonour during the historic siege of Chittor in 1303 AD, by the Sultan of Delhi, Alauddin Khilji. Perched on a 180metre high hill, covering 700 acres and surrounded by 13 kilometres of battlement, the massive Chittorgarh fort holds a white, three storied palace that overlooks a pleasant lotus pool. Pavilions crown the palace roofs and a water moat delightfully surrounds it. Later the bronze gates to this pavilion were removed and transported to Agra by Akbar.
Ratan Singh was a patron of art. History traces the claims of a musician of his court named Raghav Chetan being a sorcerer and the incident of his banishment from the kingdom. This musician maliciously carried the word of Padmini’s beauty to Alauddin Khilji who was roused to covetousness. It is said that Khilji tricked Ratan Singh as a friend and demanded to see Padmini. But as per the erstwhile Rajput custom, women kept distance from unknown people. Ratan Singh however allowed Khilji to get a glimpse of Padmini in a mirror placed in the main hall of Padmini Mahal. Her reflection so overwhelmed him that he frantically wanted to make her an adornment of his harem. This resulted to a number of intrigues and the final storming of Chittorgarh fort. The self immolation (Jauhar) conducted by the beautiful queen Padmini in order to save her moral integrity define her as a valiant queen who ever breathed in the land of Rajasthan, and in the whole of India. As an aftermath, Alauddin Khilji killed thirty thousand Hindus in revenge and entrusted the fort to his son Khizr Khan.
The marvellous architectural style of this palace and its picturesque surrounding act as a forerunner of the later palaces built in the midst of water. Padmini, the epitome of beauty resided in this palace, which makes it historically significant. Today a famous tourist spot of Rajasthan, Rani Padmini Palace stands as a feminine structure engulfed by a cascade of water, which at one point of time might have reflected the grace and gallant, the strength and spruce of the queen. Chittorgarh has a number of episodes imprinted in the pages of history. Why not unleash them far better by paying a visit to this place?
When to visit : Rani Padmini Palace
Best time to visit: August - February
Opening hours:8:00 AM - 7:30 PM