Chittor and its Kirti Stambha

Yashwant K. Malaiya

Chittor in Rajsthan is the most famous of all forts in India. It is famous for the story of Padmini taking part in jauhar when Alauddin Khilji had besieged the fort.

Actually Chittor has a history going back several centuries. It was an ancient center of Jain tradition.

Many Jain books were written in Chittor.

The Kirtistambha (tower of fame) dedicated to Lord Adinath was constructed by Baghervala merchant Sah Jija by using "nija-bhujoparjita" i.e. self earned money, according to an inscription by his great-grandson who had the monument repaired in 1489. The exact date of building of the Kirti-stambha is not known. Some believe that Sah Jija had an older tower rebuilt, perhaps from 12th cent. This tower later served as a model for the Jaya Stambha, constructed during 1458-68 by Rana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mahmud Khilji (Here is Jaya-Stambha).

The Chittor Kirtistambha is the only surviving tower from its period in north India. The Buddhist pagodas in China and Japan are based on the ancient towers in India.

In Karnataka, it is common for each Jain temple compound to have a stambha (column).