The belt of hilly land east of Udaipur is the most fertile in Rajasthan, watered by several perennial rivers and guarded by a sequence of imposing forts perched atop the craggy ridges that crisscross the region.

The first major settlement you’ll come across is the historic town of Chittaurgarh (or Chittor), 115km northeast of Udaipur. Of all the former Rajput capitals, Chittaurgarh – former capital of the kingdom of Merwar before Udaipur – was the strongest bastion of Hindu resistance against the Muslim invaders and it is home to one of Rajasthan’s most spectacular and historic forts, rising majestically above a verdant tapestry of plains. No less than three mass suicides (johars) were committed over the centuries by the female inhabitants of this honey-coloured fort. As a symbol of Rajput chivalry and militarism only Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort compares.

Some visitors squeeze a tour of Chittaurgarh into a day-trip, or en route between Bundi and Udaipur, but it’s well worth stopping overnight to give yourself plenty of time to explore the fort properly.

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