Chittaurgarh is 230 km from Ajmer on the NH 79. The Chittaurgarh Fort is immense. We have visited several fort cities both in Rajasthan and around the world, but for sheer size, Chauttaurgarh is the largest. There are several villages within its walls. Although the population is now limited, one can just imagine the villagers travelling the narrow and rocky roads from one village to another, soldiers in exotic uniforms on horses and elephants and the cacophany of village life. The winding road and seven gateways made this fort difficult to conquer and one can imagine the plains below filled with enemy camps for months on end trying to breech the walls and starve the population out.
Luckily for us we had Kan Singh, our driver, who bought our tickets and hired a licenced English speaking guide. We then had the luxury of being driven from site to site within the fort walls as it was very hot and dusty. You can hire a bike from the railway station - a long ride to get to the fort and then up the 1.5km long and winding road before you even reach the hot and rocky inside roads or you can hire a cycle rickshaw within the fort. If you are on a bus tour, you will only be dropped at one site (near the only toilet) and left to your own devices. You will not experience the full effect of this huge and stunning fort.
There are some renovations taking place wiuthin the Rana Khumba Palace and this will only improve the areas to be seen. There are stunning views over the different areas of the fort and of the town on one side and the agricultural fields (former battle fields) on the other.
The guide provided an overview of each place we stopped at and then allowed us to wander at leisure for a while. Beware that he will want to take photographs of you on his phone and then charge exhorbitantly for oversized copies.
The Samiddesvara temple has rats running around in the dim light, so if you are squemish or like me worried about what I might catch on my bare feet, I recommend just standing at the door way and peering in. Unfortunately the guide books sold at the temples and by the guide himself do not capture the fort either photographically or historically. Similarly, the book of postcards could be reduced to just a couple which depict the attraction.
Tours and cars stop at the RTDC restaurant and only toilet. It is none too clean and the attendant waits outside with a towel over his arm and a twenty rupee note firmly displayed on top. I don't mind paying for using a toilet if it is clean but not if it has me hopping out as fast as possible.
There is an 'attendant' watching the shoes (Indians do not seem to pay) at the base of the Vijay Stambah tower. He is likely to want more than Rs10. A climb up the 9 storey tower is a must, but do not go if you are large (you will not fit) have poor eye sight (it is often quite dark) have claustrophobic issues (it is narrow and steep), are tall (you will surely clunk your head several times), have difficulty climbing (the steps are worn, very high and often only a half step so in the dark you can miss your footing and go tumbling). I am only 5ft 2in but had to watch my head often. At the top you are rewarded with views over the fort and the temples below through carved windows, all mixed with the perfume of urine!
Watch out for the monkeys and keep your belongings close to you.
The Padmani lake (Padmani was the beautiful queen who Allahudin Khilji lusted after) has a unique viewing point whereby Allahudin Khilji could supposedly see Padmini's reflection without being able to actually see her.
Since September 2010, the RTDC have introduced a Sound and Light Show. We stayed in Chittaurgarh a second night specifically to see this show. Nowhere in the limited information available does it indicate that the English show is only on certain nights at the whim of the custodian. I am sure a hefty bribe would ensure that the show was in English. We were the only visitors but he refused to show it in English. As we left, an Indian family of 4 arrived and he agreed to run the show in Hindi for them. Since only Kan Singh would have understood the show, we decided not to bother.
Chittaurgarh receives a very limited number of visitors who stay overnight. The few that do come here do so on a flyby tour and fail to appreciate the fort. The RTDC really needs to get its act together to improve accommodation and amenities.
Opium is grown in the area for pharmaceutical reasons, so you will see acres of poppy plants on your onward journey.
Do visit Chittaurgarh Fort, you won't be disappointed, but take my advice given above.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.