We live in a world that people in the early days could never dream of. Science fiction, which was only to be seen in films, has now become an integral part of our life. Our residences and workplaces are equipped with devices that make it easy for us to perform the daily chores and live with a sense of security. However, people who laid the path of constructing a secure premise within the four-walls were not so technologically advanced. Still, what they made in that period still exists as a reminder and a source of inspiration for our generation and will continue to be visited and explored by the coming generations for the unique design and style that went into the creation of the historic monuments and structures. A very distinct structure that stands apart due to its iconic built and location is the Kumbhalgarh Fort of Rajasthan.
Kumbhalgarh Fort is in the Rajsamand district at a distance of around 82 kilometers from the city of Udaipur in Rajasthan.
The fort is said to be built in the fifteenth century. Rana Kumbha, a ruler of Mewar, who belonged to the Sisodia dynasty, faced failure in building a fort wall despite repeated attempts. He turned to a spiritual leader for help, who in turn advised that sacrificing a human being will be the solution to all the problems. He further added that a temple should be built where the head of the person being sacrificed falls, while the fort must be built where his body lies after beheading. It was natural that nobody was at first willing to sacrifice his life for this cause. Sometime later, a person, said to be a traveler, volunteered for the cause. Another legend goes that this person was a soldier, while people also believe that it was none other than the spiritual leader himself who disguised as a common man and sacrificed his life for this cause.
Rana Kumbha oversaw the construction of the fort and is also said to have designed it. He owned 84 forts in his lifetime, out of which 32 were designed by him. Among all the forts, the Kumbhalgarh is evidently the largest. The king helped the farmers who worked in the valley at night by burning huge lamps to provide adequate lighting. These lamps used to consume around 50 kilograms of ghee and hundred kilograms of cotton every night.
Surrounded by Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, the fort stands at an impressive height of 1100 meters above sea level. The walls of the fort are measured at 36 kilometers, thus making it the second largest in the world after The Great Wall of China.
Within the fort, there are 300 Jain Temples, 60 Hindu Temples, several palaces, gardens, and other sections that define the planning that went into the construction of the fort. With seven large gates, ramparts, watchtowers, and fifteen feet thick walls, the fort was a secure premise. It was not just the farmers and the residents of the kingdom who had the privilege to live a prosperous and secure life in the fort. The fort was a refuge for the rulers of Mewar. One such incident was when Prince Udai was brought in here to hide when Chittaur was under attack.
Owing to its massive structure, the fort never fell to the enemies, except for once when four forces namely Akbar (Mughal emperor), Sultan of Gujarat, Raja Udai Singh of Marwar, and Raja Man Singh of Amber, together attacked the fort. One very beautiful part of the fort is the Badal Mahal, which translates to the Palace of Clouds. There are spacious and beautiful rooms in this part of the fort.
What to Do
Even before you enter the fort, you will find that there is a lot to see and do in this area. The road that leads you to the fort introduces you to what you are going to witness ahead. To either side of the road are thick forests followed by Ariat Polo, Hanuman Pol, Bhairava Pol, etc.
From the Badal Mahal, you can take a look around at the downtown and the hills atop which the fort stands. The fort is lit for a few minutes after sundown, and this is the time to take a look at a spectacularly built super massive structure in its full glory.
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, which surrounds the fort, is spread across a massive expanse of the 578-kilometer square. The sanctuary is home to many of the endangered wildlife species. The most common animals found here are sloth bear, jungle cat, four horned antelope, hare, etc. You can opt for a jungle safari that will take you to various parts of the sanctuary and let you watch the animals and birds.
Eat, Drink, Collect
There are several hotels and resorts where you can stay and have meals as per your taste. Some of them include the Dera Kumbhalgarh, Hotel New Ratandeep, Silent Valley Hotel, Devi Palace Resort, Kumbhalgarh Fort Hotel, Aodhi Hotel, Kumbhal Castle, etc.
You can buy various handicrafts from Udaipur, which is not very far from the fort. Various paintings, silver arts, terracotta, etc., are worth purchasing and collecting from this city.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the Kumbhalgarh Fort is from the months of September to March, as this is the period when the climate remains cool. After March, the temperature begins to rise, and it may become difficult for you to explore the vast expanse while sweating in the sun.
How to Reach
The Kumbhalgarh Fort is 82 kilometers away from Udaipur. You can hire private taxis or opt for buses that run at regular intervals to the fort. A trip to this fort will make you appreciate the history and historical figures more, owing to the heritage that has been left for us. Remember to leave behind all your worries and let yourself become an observer of architectural brilliance. Happy Journey!