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Label : Top Attraction

Tags : Forts & Palaces

Timings : 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : Indians: INR 10, 
Foreign Tourists: INR 100,
Light and Sound Show: INR 100

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Kumbhalgarh Fort, Kumbhalgarh Overview

Kumbhalgarh Fort is one of the five hill forts of Rajasthan that were declared the UNESCO world heritage site in 2013. Situated in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, around 82 kilometres from Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh Fort has the second largest wall (38km) after the great wall of China. Constructed on the foothills of Aravalli ranges, it is surrounded by thirteen hill peaks of the ranges and is perched at an elevation of 1,914 m. The magnificent fort is situated in the middle of a forest which has been turned into a wildlife sanctuary. It is the second-largest and the most important Mewar fort of Rajasthan after Chittorgarh palace.

Under the reign of Mewar kings in Rajasthan, the majestic fort was built by Rana Kumbha in the 15th century between AD 1443 and 1458 under the direction of Mandan who was a very renowned architect of that time. The fort was constructed in the exact same place where an old castle existed which was attributed to Samprati who was a Jaina prince of the second century BC.  Named after the King Kumbha, the Kumbhalgarh fort was cleverly designed on a hilltop to provide the strategic position to the Mewar kings to protect them against the attacks of the enemy.

The fort is also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, one of the most powerful kings of Mewar. Also, Badal Mahal was constructed inside the fort by Rana Fateh Singh, who was one of the most famous builders of the time. Badal Mahal, Kumbha Palace, Jain Temples, Baoris, Chhattris, water reservoirs and Brahmanical are some of the main buildings inside the spectacular fort.

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History of Kumbhalgarh Fort

There is a story behind this striking fort according to which when Rana Kumbha began constructing the fort, he came across several difficulties after which he thought of giving up on the construction. One day, he met a holy man who advised him not to give up hope and that one day all his problems would vanish away provided a pure-hearted man sacrificed his life willingly. Hearing this, the king got disappointed after which the holy man offered his own life to the king. He told the king to build the entrance of the Kumbhalgarh Fort where he was going to get beheaded and palaces where all his body would fall. Following his advice, Rana Kumbha did exactly what was told to him and succeeded in building the majestic fort.

Kumbhalgarh marked different territories between Mewar and Marwar and was used as a place to escape to whenever there was an attack. Prince Udai ruled the Kumbhalgarh Sort as well and was the founder of the city of Udaipur. This admirable fort remained unconquerable throughout its existence except for the one time when there was a scarcity of drinking water to Akbar, Raja Man Singh of Amber, Raja Udai Singh of Marwar and the Mirzas of Gujarat.

This fort is said to be the place where Maha Rana Pratap was born. It was attacked by Ahmed Shah I of Gujarat in 1457 but to no good. The locals believed that there was the presence of Banmata deity in the fort which protected the fort as its temple was destroyed by Ahmed Shah I. Further attempts were made by Mohammad Khilji in 1458-59 and 1467. Shabhbaz Khan, general of Akbar finally gained power over the fort in 1576. It was later taken over the Marathas and the residential buildings, as well as temples, still remain intact.

Architecture of Kumbhalgarh Fort

The Kumbhalgarh Fort lies on a hilltop which is 1100 meters above sea level. The gate of the striking fort is humongous and is also known as Ram Gate or Ram Pol. The fort comprises of around seven gates and a total of 360 temples within, 300 of which are ancient Jain while the others are Hindu. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva inside which showcases a huge Shivalinga. One can also get a pretty view of the dunes in the Thar Desert from the fort.

The walls of the Kumbhalgarh Fort are 36 km in diameter making them one of the longest walls in the world. Frontal walls of the fort are thick and measure 15ft. There is a Lakhola Tank present inside this resplendent fort which was constructed by Rana Lakha between 1382 and 1421 CE. It is situated on the Western side of Kelwara town and is 5 km in length & 100-200 m in width. It had a depth of around 12m during independence which has now been increased to 18m. Aaret Pol, Halla Pol, Ram Pol and Hanuman Pol are the major gates of the fort. On the foot of the Hanuman Pol is the presence of an inscription indicating its detailed construction. Bad Shahi Bavdi is a stepped tank which was constructed when Shahbaz Khan invaded India in 1578. The Ram Pol is an architectural wonder from where one can witness all the other buildings easily.

Kumbhalgarh Fort Wall - The Great Wall of India

The grand wall of Kumbhalgarh fort which runs through the entire fortress is considered to be the longest wall in the world right after 'The Great Wall of China'. Hence, it is fondly known as 'The Great Wall of India'. The wall stretches over a distance of 36 km. It is 15 m wide which is wide enough for eight horses to walk abreast. 

The Kumbhalgarh Fort wall is built out of the stone bricks and passes through the valleys of the Aravali ranges and ends at the top of the hill. Some stretches of the wall have been ruined with time. It has a great resemblance to the Great Wall of China and is one of the hidden gems of India. 

Main Monuments Inside Kumbhalgarh Fort

Some important monuments present inside the fort include:

1. Ganesh Temple - A Ganesh temple is built on a 12 ft (3.7 m) platform and is considered the earliest of all temples built inside the fort. Neel Kanth Mahadeva temple is located on the eastern side of the fort built during 1458 CE. The central shrine of Shiva is approached through a rectangular enclosure and through a structure supported by 24 huge pillars. The idol of Shiva is made of black stone and is depicted with 12 hands. The inscriptions indicate that the temple was renovated by Rana Shanga.

2. Vedi Temple - Built by Rana Kumbha, it is situated near the Hanuman Pol, facing west. It is a three-storeyed octagonal Jain temple built on a raised platform accessible through a flight of steps. The Vedi temple has thirty-six pillars supporting the domical ceiling. It was built for performing rituals after completion of the fort. Erected on a high platform, it was renovated later by Maharana Fateh Singh. Nearby, to the east of this temple is a triple shrine temple.

3. Parsvanatha Temple - Parsva Natha temple (built during 1513), Jain temple on the eastern side and Bawan Jain temples and Golera Jain temple are the major Jain temples in the Kumbhalgarh fort. Mataji temple, also called Kheda Devi temple is located on the southern side of Neela Kanth temple. Mamdeo temple, Pital Shah Jain temple and Surya Mandir (Sun temple) are the other major temples inside the fort complex.

4. Bawan Devi Temple - The temple derives its name from the bawan (fifty-two) shrines in a single complex. The temple consists only one entrance. An image of Jaina Tirthankara is carved on the lalatabimba of the doorway. Out of fifty-two shrines, two are big in size, located in the centre. The remaining fifty shrines are small in size and arranged all around the outer wall. The bigger shrine among the group consists a sanctum, antarala and an open mandapa.
5. Kumbha Palace - Located close to the Pagda Pol, this palace is one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture. It is a two storeyed building with a beautiful blue durbar hall. A corridor separated the mardana (men's) palace from the zanana (women's) palace. Some of the rooms in the zenana have an attractive painted frieze with elephants, crocodiles and camels. A circular Ganesh temple is in the corner of the zenana courtyard. The most noted feature is the toilets, which has a ventilation system that allowed fresh air into the room while the toilet was in use. 

6. Badal Mahal - Built by Rana Fateh Singh (AD 1885-1930), it is the highest point of fortress. Once have to climb up to terrace through narrow stairs to reach this palace. It is a two storeyed building with the interior painted in pastel colours. Like Palace of Rana Kumbha, this palace is also divided into two interconnected distinct portions - Zanana and the Mardana palace. This palace is profusely decorated with wall paintings of 19th century style and some have attractive friezes. The stone jali screens in Zanana mahal was facilitated the queens to see the court proceedings and other events in privacy. From here, one can get the view the jungle covered hillsides and across the deserts of Marwar towards Jodhpur.

Things To Do at Kumbhalgarh Fort

1. Badal Mahal which is situated on top of the Kumbhalgarh Fort gives an amazing view of the entire Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary which is spread across the Aravali Hills. You can visit the Badal Mahal and get a lot of pictures clicked alongside enjoying its beautiful scenic view.

2. Be a part of and enjoy the special light and sound show which starts at 6:45 PM depicting the story of the Rajput Royals. The show is in Hindi language and is worth being a part of. The tickets cost INR 100 for Indians and INR 250 for foreigners. The duration of the show is 45 minutes.

Tips For Visiting Kumbhalgarh Fort

1. The light and sound show is a must-watch and the key highlight of the fort.
2. Also, since the fort is massive and requires walking for hours so it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes.

How To Reach Kumbhalgarh Fort

Located in the Rajsamand district, 84 km away from Udaipur it is well connected to the main city via all means of transport. Bus services are quite prominent. Rajasthan State Government run ordinary and deluxe buses that stop around 50 km from the fort. From there, you can hire a taxi to reach the Kumbhalgarh fort.

Another enjoyable way to reach the fort is by becoming a part of the regular trekking trip which is organised by Youth Hostels Association of India once every year. This trip is 5 days and 4 nights long and covers a total of 40.5 km including the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary as well as Kumbhalgarh Fort for INR 3010.

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