SIXTY-FIVE miles east of Udaypur is Chittur, the old capital of Mewar, wrested from its Mori chief by Bappa in the eighth century, and held by his successors as the stronghold and key of the country till the middle of the sixteenth. There are perhaps few places of greater historical and antiquarian interest in India. It was built on a flat table mountain, conspicuous for its light-coloured scarped rock, springing from a dark-wooded base. The length of the hill is three and a quarter miles, and its breadth, at the widest, is about three-fourths of a mile, but at the end which lies to the S.S.W. it is not more than four hundred yards. "Its height varies from 400 to 500 feet above the plain, of which the last eighty is a natural scarp. The approach is by a zig-zag road from the modern town, built at the foot of the western face of the hill, and which leads through seven gateways to the summit."1 The top is covered with the ruins of temples and reservoirs, the debris of houses overgrown with custard apple and other shrubs, and interspersed with the huts of a small wretched village.
The tower represented in Photograph XIX. is perhaps the oldest monument of the kmd now existmg m India. Of its origin we know nothing: one local tradition ascribes it to "Khatan Rani, the wife of Kheta Rânâ" but of these personages history is entirely silent; another legend ascribes it to Allâta, a descendant of Bappa and who probably reigned about A.D. 900.2 Tod calls It the Khowasin-sthamba. and says he found a fragment of an inscription at its base, reading: “By Śri Adinâtha, and the twenty-four Jineśvara, Pundarîka. Ganeśa, Sûrya. and the nine planets, may you be preserved! Sam. 952 (A.D. 895) Balśakh (sudi) the 30th. Guruvar (Thursday).” Unfortunately, the stone on which Mr. Fergusson found "a long inscripton in 1839, is no longer to be seen: like so many more, it has been carried off by some meddling amateur and lost. That the tower, however, belongs to the end of the tenth century there can be no doubt, nor that it was erected by Jains. It stands on a square pedestal 19 ft. 11 in. square and 9 ft- high, with stairs on the south side- from the top of this a few steps lead up 6 ft. 2 in. to the door. It now commences from a base about 22 ft 10 in. square outside and 5 ft- 2 in. inside, and ascends by a winding stair through four stories-the fourth floor being 57 ft- 4 in. from the ground; 6 ft. .0 in. above this is the open canopy at the top the pillars of which are 6 ft. high; and the total height may thus be quite 75 feet. The north side of this canopy with two of the twelve pillars at the top has fallen off, but its extreme dimensions were 15 ft- 4 m. each way "Altogether,-" says Mr. Fergusson3 "the appearance of this tower is singularly graceful and elegant . . Tut its chief charm, at least to me, lay In the extreme elegance of its mouldings, and the careful and elaborate finish of its details, which are only found in the architecture of its age or earlier: of these, so few specimens remain in India, that they are, perhaps, the more enjoyed by the antiquary when he does stumble upon them.”
A belt about the middle of it is covered with six rows of little figures of Jinas or Tirthankars, numbering in all upwards of four hundred, and below this, on each face, is a large standing figure of a Jina in a recess or niche.
- 1. Brooiks, Meywar, p. 5; Tod Annals, vol. ii. pp. 755-764 (madras ed. Pp. 691-700).
- 2. Compare Tod, Annals, vol. ii. p763 (Mad. Ed pp. 698, 699), vol. i. pp.243, 802 (Mad. Ed. Pp. 203, 706); Prinsep, Usefule tables (ed. Thomas). P. 256; Asiat. Res. Vol. xvi. Pp. 294, 302; and Fergusson’s Piet. Illust. P. 38.
- 3. Pict. illustrations, p. 38.