You all must have heard of Rani Padmini, the mystery queen of Chittor. Following is the popular legend of Rani Padmini:—The Delhi Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji (1296-1316) decided to conquer Chittor (the capital of Mewar) having heard of the beauty of its queen Rani Padmini. She was the wife of Rawal Ratan Singh, the Rana of Chittor (1303). Ala-ud-din marched his army to Chittor and laid siege to that place. He then sent a message to the Rana promising to raise the siege if he would let him meet the famous queen. When the Rajputs turned down this proposal, Ala-ud-din acceded to the proposal of seeing her through a mirror. His request was finally granted. The Sultan entered the fort slightly guarded and having gratified his wish, returned. The Rana accompanied him to the outer gate as their custom. At this time, Ala-ud-din treacherously made the Rana a prisoner and demanded the surrender of Padmini for his liberty. The Rani accepted Ala-ud-din's terms and played a clever trick to release her husband and save her own honour. She sent word to Ala-ud-din that she will come to his camp on the next day attended by her handmaidens. Early next morning, a long line of palanquins entered Ala-ud-din's camp. They were set down within a tent. Half an hour was granted for the parting meeting between the Rana and his queen. At this time, an armed band of Rajputs forth sprang from the palanquins and fell upon Ala-ud-din's army in surprise. After slaughtering the guards, the Rajputs freed the Rana and took him back to Chittor. Ala-ud-din pursued him and began a fierce attack on Chittor. When the fall of Chittor was certain, the Rajput women including their queen performed Jauhar. The Rajputs died the heroic death and the Rana died fighting to the end.
James Tod also tell us a similar story but according to him, Padmini was the wife of Bhim Singh, regent and uncle of Lachhman Singh, the Rana of Chittor. Anyway, let us go through the history of Ala-ud-din Khilji's conquest of Chittor given by the historian Ferishta.
First Sack of Chittorgarh (1303): In 1303, Ala-ud-din marched towards Chittor with a large army, and after a siege of six months, Chittoor was reduced. After ordering a massacre of thirty thousand Rajputs, Ala-ud-din bestowed the government of Chittor on his son Khizr Khan and the place was renamed as Khizrabad. Rana Ratan Singh was made a prisoner at the fortress of Delhi. The Rana's family and children managed to escape and fled to the nearby hills.
Rana Ratan Singh's Escape (1304): Ferishta narrates the escape of Rana Ratan Singh: Ala-ud-din, on hearing of the beauty and accomplishments of one of the Rana's daughters (Let's assume that her name was Padmini), told the Rana that if he would deliver her over to him, he should be released. The Rana, who was very ill-treated in his confinement, consented; however his family, hearing of this dishonorable proposal, concerted measures for poisoning the Princess. But Padmini contrived a stratagem by which she could obtain her father's release and at the same time to preserve her own honour. She wrote to her father that she was coming with all her attendants, and would be at Delhi on a certain day, acquainting him with the part she intended to act. She selected a number of Rajputs, who in complete armour concealed themselves in litters, and proceeded with a large retinue of horse and foot, as is customary to guard ladies of rank. It was night when they arrived at Delhi and the litters were allowed to carry into the prison. No sooner were they within the walls, the armed men leaped out of the litters; put the Sultan's guards to sword and carried off the Rana to the hills, where his family were concealed. Thus, by the efforts of his clever daughter, the Rana effected his escape and continued to ravage Chittor. Ala-ud-din finally granted the government of Chittor (from Khizr Khan) to the Rana's nephew. Chittor thus became a tributary of Delhi.
Historian K. S. Lal thinks that Ferishta copied it from Muhammad Jayasi's fictional poem Padmavat. Amir Khusro, Ala-ud-din's court poet, who accompanied him to Chittor does not make any mention of 'Padmini'. It was with the Gujarati queen Kamla Devi, that Ala-ud-din fell in love and married afterwards. So to conclude, 'Padmini' is nothing but a fictional character. Ala-ud-din Khilji had not invaded Chittor for capturing this fictitious queen.
In the last year of Ala-ud-din's reign, during the regency of Malik Kafur, the rajputs of Chittor expelled the Mohammedan governors and declared their independence.
Litter: palanquin (a vehicle used to transport people; usually for one passenger, containing a bed or couch often covered by curtains and carried on men's shoulders)
Jauhar: is the Self Immolation done by Royal Rajput ladies when the battle is about to lose, rather than surrender and fall to harem of enemies.
History of the Rise of Mahommedan Power in India By Ferishta
Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan By Col. James Tod