Kumbhalgarh


Rajasthan India

Kumbhalgarh is a Mewar fortress in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan India. It was constructed in 15th century by Rana Kumbha. It is located 82 km from Udaipur that is second most important fort in Mewar after Chittaurgarh Fort.  It is an interesting destination that attracts domestic as well as international tourists. There were around 84 forts in the dominion of Rana Kumbha, 32 out of these are designed by the Rana himself, of which Kumbhalgarh is the largest and most elaborate. It is also a birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the great warrior king of Mewar. This was inaccessible in the 15 century because of its strategic location. The fortress was built on a 3500 feet high hill overlooking the approaches from Ajmer and Marwar. It stands on the site of an ancient citadel dating back to 2nd century AD belonging to a Jain descendant of Mauryan dynasty. This fort fell only once in its history due to a shortage of drinking water against the combined forces of Mughal Emperor Akbar and his Hindu allies. It was occupied till late 19th century that is now open to the general public.

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Kumbhalgarh is the garrison-city of Rajasthan built 15th century A.D by Rana Kumbha. Its 36-kilometre long unbroken wall has been hailed as the Great Wall of India, second only to the Great Wall of China. It is one of the finest examples of defensive fortification that is located about 85 Kms from Udaipur. Kumbhalgarh is an attractive destination at present since it is within easy reach of Udaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer, and Pushkar, yet off the well-trodden tourist routes. Kumbhalgarh, the kingdom of Mewar spread from Ranthambore to Gwalior, including vast tracts of present-day Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in Rana Kumbh’s reign. The rulers of Mewar became patrons of Indian martial arts, fine arts, architecture, and learning.

KUMBHALGARH SIGHTSEEING

Kumbhalgarh Fort: This is the most-remarkable of forts that stretches across 36 km of the Aravali Mountains and 1100 meter high from the sea level. It was constructed in the 15th century and wall surrounding it, is supposed to be the second longest wall after the Great Wall of China. It is encircled by thirteen mountain peaks, guarded by seven huge gates and seven ramparts, strengthened by rounded bastions and tall watchtowers. This mountain fortress has witnessed many battles. The winding road leads through deep ravines and thick forests.

Mauryas built an array of temples; counts around 360 temples within the fort of which 300 are Jain temples and the rest are Hindu temples. The most beautiful palace is the Badal Mahal (palace of clouds) that is located at the top of the fort encloses beautiful rooms with pleasant color schemes of green, turquoise and white, which provides a fascinating contrast to the fortress. The legendary Maharana Pratap was born here. The most interesting part is that this fort has a fort within itself named Kartargarh, the inner fort has a palace built by Maharana Fateh Singh after he had pulled down the old palace built by Rana Kumbha. Maharana Fateh Singh renovated the fort in the 19th century. The fort’s large compound has interesting ruins and walking around it, is rewarding.

Aodhi, the beautifully designed place is located nearby belongs to a descendant of Rathores of Ghanerao. The Aodhi’s castle-type cottages provide comfort, privacy adventure for horse safari and trekking enthusiasts. Horse lovers and adventure seekers can enjoy the thrill of riding and camping in the Reserve Forest around Kumbhalgarh. Horses, tents, food and fodder are provided by the Aodhi on prior notice at a reasonable price.

Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary: It takes its name from the impressive historic fort of Kumbhalgarh that passes through a hazardous and rough driving track. It is spread over 578 km² in area and at an altitude of 1300 meters approximately. It is home to a variety of wild life, some of them are highly endangered. The wild life includes panthers, wolf, leopards, sloth bear, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, smabhar, nilgai, four horned antelope, chinkara, hare and crocodiles etc. Crocodiles are scientifically bred in the lake within the sanctuary. You may also stay overnight at a guest house near the Crocodile Farm that belongs to the Forest Department. You may see different birds here too such as  flamingoes, saras cranes, spoonbills, painted storks, cormorants, purple heron, egrets, duck, and rosy pelican in winter. There are enough all seasons birds also available such as chakor partridge, crow pheasants, jungle warblers, golden orioles, gray jungle fowl, and the usual peacocks; parrots, pigeons and doves etc.

Trekking and horse safari is also organized by tour operators that are very popular among European tourists. The horse safari route enters the sanctuary from the Kumbhalgarh Fort, cutting across the sanctuary it reaches Ghanerao, and then borders an old abandoned road. On this road, one can see Chinkaras, Neelgais, four horned Antelope and many birds.

Ranakpur Jain Temples: The famous Ranakpur Jain temples are just 50 kilometers from Kumbhalgarh by the scenic route through Vanpura and Saira. Begun in 1438 by Rana Kumbha, Ranakpur became a strangely tranquil meditation center in a frequently war ravaged land. It also became a magnificent sculpture museum to which wealthy Jain merchants and ministers kept adding shrines and statues. The central Chaumukha Temple is dedicated to the Tirthankara Adinath. It consists 29 halls and 1,444 distinctly different carved pillars. There are two temples dedicated to the Jain saints; Parasnath and Neminath have beautiful erotic carvings similar to the Khajuraho temples. You may also visit 6th century, Sun Temple nearby which has polygonal walls embellished with warriors, horses, and booted solar deities driving splendid chariots.

Ghanerao: It is the place where Thakur Sajjan Singh and his gracious wife have recreated a charming old-world ambience by opening this castle constructed in 1603 to paying guests. The genuine warmth of his greeting is appreciable with bright wall frescoes, hunting trophies, turbaned retainers, peeing maids, carved jharokhas, drawing rooms that are full of colored windows and chandeliers, Rajput miniatures and ostrich eggs etc hand painted by the owner.

Parshuram temple: It is a secluded and inconveniently located ancient cave where saint Parshuram did meditation. There are almost 500 steps, which take you down to the cave; you would be moved definitely by the atmosphere inside the cave.

Weather in Kumbhalgarh

The climate in Kumbhalgarh is temperate. In summers the temperature is about 42.6 degree Celsius and in winters it is about 11.6 degree Celsius. The best season to travel to Kumbhalgarh is from October to February.

How to reach Kumbhalgarh?

By Air: The nearest airport is at Udaipur, located 85 Kms away.

By Rail: There are limited train services that connect Kumbhalgarh with few cities of Rajasthan.

By Road: A good road network links Kumbhalgarh with important cities in India.

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