KIRTI STHAMBA, or Jaya Sthamba, is a pillar or tower of fame or victory; and this beautiful tower is commemorative of the triumph gained by Kumbhakarṇa in 1439, when, at the head of a hundred thousand horse and foot and fourteen hundred elephants, he defeated the united forces of the Sultans of Malwa and Gujarat, carrying Mahmud, the Ghilji sovereign of Malwa. a prisoner to Chittur. About ten years after this he laid the foundation of this column, which was completed in ten more It is about 122 feet in height, the base being about 10 feet high and 47 feet square: on this stands the tower about 30 feet over all; inside which is another hollow tower 11 ft. 6 in. square outside and 5 feet square within. The outer tower is 16 ft. 3 in. square inside, with recesses 7 ft. 1 in. by 4 ft. 10 in. on each face. The stair ascends in alternate stories outside; and within the inner tower, and after ascending 94 ft. 9 in we reach a chamber 16¼ feet square, the walls filled with open carved work. By a ladder from this we reach the octagonal pavilion, which carries the cupola at the top.
In this chamber there were inscriptions, but two of the four marble slabs on which they were have been carried off, and of the other two only portions have been read. Thus, śloka 172 reads: "Shaking the earth, the lords of Gujarkhand (Gujarat) and Malwa, both the sultans with armies overwhelming as the ocean, invaded Mîdpât (Mewar). Kumbhakarṇa reflected lustre on the land: to what point can we exalt his renown? In the midst of the armies of his foe, Kumbha was as a tiger, or as a flame in a dry forest … śl183: While the sun continues to warm the earth, may the fame of Kumbha Rânâ endure. While the icy (Himâlaya) mountains of the north rest upon their bases, while ocean continues to form a garland round earth's neck, so long may Kumbha's glory be perpetuated! May the varied history of his sway last for ever! Seven years had elapsed beyond fifteen hundred (Sam. 1507 or A.D. 1450) when Rânâ Kumbha placed this ringlet on the forehead of Chittur. Sparkling like the rays of the rising sun, is the toran, rising like the bridegroom of the land. In S. 1515 (A.D. 1458) … this Kirli Sthamba was finished.
The inner wall of the staircase is one mass of mythological sculptures, and has some inscriptions dated A.D. 1448.
"From almost every point where it can be seen," says Mr. Fergusson, " it gains considerably from being placed on the very brink of a precipice, which adds considerably to its apparent height, and gives it a dignity it would not possess if situated on a plain. As a tower its outline is certainly very pleasing, perhaps more so than that of the Khawasin Sthamba, … but their details and general execution will not bear comparison, and on the spot there are few, I am convinced, but would agree with me in preferring the older example. Not that the details of this one are bad; indeed, for its age, they are wonderfully well and carefully executed: and certainly no pains have been spared to make them as perfect as possible, the whole tower, from the basement to the summit, being covered with the most elaborate ornament, either in figures or architectural scrolls and foliage; all, however, kept in perfect subordination to the general design, and in perfect keeping as a whole.”1
- 1. Picturesque illustrations, p. 43 ; and see Tod's Annals, vol. i. pp. 287, 288, vol. ii. pp. 761, 762 (Mad. ed. vol. i. p. 241, vol. ii. pp. 696, 697).