Kumbhalgarh Fort Rajasthan, History of Kumbhalgarh Fort, Timings of Kumbhalgarh Fort, Entry Fee (Ticket) of Kumbhalgarh Fort, How to Reach Kumbhalgarh Fort, Architecture of Kumbhalgarh Fort, Main Attractions of Kumbhalgarh Fort, Things To Do at Kumbhalgarh Fort, Best Time to Visit Kumbhalgarh Fort.
About Kumbhalgarh Fort
Kumbhalgarh Fort is one of the five hill forts of Rajasthan that were declared the UNESCO world heritage site in 2013. Kumbhalgarh Fort is the second most important fort of Rajasthan after Chittorgarh. Located at a distance of 64 kms from Udaipur in Rajasmand district, Kumbhalgarh Fort is easily accessible from the city of Udaipur. This unconquerable fortress is secured under the kind protection of the Aravali ranges. Kumbhalgarh Fort was built by Maharana Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. The fort derived its name from the same factor.
Encircled by thirteen elevated mountain peaks, the fort is constructed on the top most ridges around 1,914 meters above sea level. The fortifications of the fort extend to the length of 36 kilometers and this fact has made this fort to be in the international records. It is stated to be the second longest wall in the world, the first being ”the Great Wall of China”. The huge complex of the Fort has numerous palaces, temples and gardens making it more magnificent.
The impregnable Fort boasts of seven massive gates, seven ramparts folded with one another with designed walls toughened by curved bastions and huge watch towers. The strong structure and solid foundation of the Fort made it unbeatable till date. The hefty walls of the fort are broad enough to stand eight horses side by side. There are not less than 360 temples inside the complex of the Fort. Amongst all of them, Shiva Temple is worth visiting that comprises a huge Shivalinga (Phallic form).
The Fort is also known for its famous palace that resides on the top of structure. This beautiful palace is known as ‘Badal Mahal’ or the Palace of Cloud. It is also accredited to be the birth place of great warrior Maharana Pratap. This palace has beautiful rooms with lovely color combination of green, turquoise and white presenting a bright contrast to the earthy colors of the Fort. This place gives the appearance of being wandering in the world of clouds. Cloud Palace also offers a fantastic panoramic vista of the down town.
The ceaseless wind seemed to whisper the legends of Kumbhalgarh. How it was captured only once, and that too by a treacherous poisoning of its water supply. How on another occasion, a young woman, a flower-seller, was suborned to show the enemy the way in by strewing tell-tale petals along a secret path. The plot was foiled, and the unfortunate flower girl was bricked up alive in the outer wall, her fate a deterrent to future subversives. Mahipal pointed out a small, white painted outline of a woman on the wall which commemorates the site of the execution.
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 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 Attractions Inside Kumbhalgarh Fort
The following are the brief account of important monuments inside the fort:
The fort is entered from the south through a gate known as Aret Pol, followed by gateways known as Halla Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ram Pol and Vijay Pol. The Hanuman Pol is significant as it enshrines an image of Hanuman which was brought by Rana Kumbha from Mandavpur. The palatial complex at the top is approached further through three gateways viz., the Bhairon Pol, the Nimboo Pol and the Paghra Pol. One more gateway is situated on the east which is known as Danibatta. This gateway connects Mewar region with Marwar.
The Ganesh temple was built during the time of Maharana Kumbha and it is located along the road leading to the palaces. According to one of the inscriptions of Kirttistambha of Chittaurgarh fort, Rana Kumbha consecrated an image of Ganesha in this temple.
The Vedi temple was built by Rana Kumbha in AD 1457 for performing rituals after completion of the fort. The building is double storeyed and erected on a high platform. The temple faces west. It is octagonal on plan with thirty-six pillars supporting the domical ceiling. A triple shrined temple dedicated to goddesses is located to the east of this temple.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
Situated to the east of Vedi shrine, this temple was built in AD 1458 and enshrines a Siva linga in the garbhagriha. It is built on raised platform accessible from west through a flight of steps. The temple consists of a sanctum and an open pillared mandapa all around. The shrine is sarvtobhadra with entrance from all the four directions. A stone inscription on the left pillar of the western gate mentions about its renovations by Rana Sanga.
The temple was built by Nar Singh Pokhad in Vikrama Samvat 1508 (AD 1451). It houses a three feet high idol of Jaina Tirthankara Parsvanatha.
Bawan Devi Temple
This famous Jaina shrine derives its name from the fifty-two (bawan) shrines in a single compound built around the main shrine. The bigger shrine among the group consists of a sanctum, antarala and an open mandapa. An image of Jaina Tirthankara is carved on the lalatabimba of the doorway. The smaller shrines are devoid of any idols.
Golerao Group of Temples
The Golerao group of temples is located adjacent to Bawan Devi Temple and consists of nine shrines enclosed by a circular wall. The shrines are adorned with beautiful carved sculptures of gods and goddesses on its exterior. On the basis of architectural style, the group may be ascribed to the period of Rana Kumbha. A sculpture bears an inscription dated V. S. 1516 (AD 1459) and speaks of one Govinda.
This temple is also known as Kumbha Shyam, and it consists of a flat roofed sanctum and a pillared mandapa. An inscription of Rana Kumbha giving detailed history of Kumbhalgarh was fixed on this temple. A large number of carved idols of gods and goddesses were recovered from the premises of this temple.
Pitalia Dev Temple
This east facing Jain shrine is located in the northern part of the fort. Built by Pitalia Jain Seth in V. S. 1512 (AD 1455) on a raised plinth, the temple consists of a pillared sabhamandapa and a sanctum having entrances from all the four directions. The jangha is adorned with images of gods and goddesses besides asparas and dancers.
The palace of Rana Kumbha is located close to the Pagda Pol. The palace is a two storeyed edifice. It consists of two rooms, a corridor in the middle and open spaces. The rooms are provided with jharokas and windows in stones.
Birth Place of Maharana Pratap
The mansion known as Jhalia ka Malia or the Palace of Queen Jhali is situated near Pagda Pol. This is believed to be the place where Maharana Pratap was born. It is constructed of rubble stone with plain walls and flat roof. The traces of painting can still be seen on the wall.
Badal Mahal is situated at the highest point of the fort. It was built by Rana Fateh Singh (AD 1885-1930). The palace is a two storeyed structure divided into two interconnected distinct portions i.e. the Zanana Mahal and the Mardana Mahal. This palace is profusely decorated with wall paintings. The Zanana mahal is provided with stone jalis which facilitated the queens to see the court proceedings and other events in privacy.
The fort is open from 9:00AM to 6:00PM every day of every week throughout the year.
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 15 per head & Foreigner: Rs.200/-
(Free entry for children below the age of 15)
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the fort is during winters between the months of October to February when the climate is cooler and suitable for people instead of the scorching heat of the summer during the months of March to June.
Things To Do at Kumbhalgarh Fort
Basically, there are three things to see and do in Kumbhalgarh: the fort, the fort and the fort. Even today, though deserted and sorely defaced, Kumbhalgarh Fort remains the mainstay of the neighbourhood’s tourism economy. True, 50 km away there are the Jain Temples at Ranakpur, with their exquisite carvings and forests of stone pillars (1,444 of them); a Sunset Point (6 km) where you can go and watch a fine example of the world’s biggest optical illusion whereby the rising horizon of the rotating earth masquerades as the sinking of the sun; and a 578-sq-km wildlife sanctuary which invites exploration by jeep or horseback. But the fort is still Kumbhalgarh’s star attraction.
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.