Kumbhalgarh Fort in Udaipur, Rajasthan
It is believed that the great ruler Maha Rana Pratap was born here. Rana Udai ruled this fortress that was used for defense purposes and was like a barrier to separate the Mewar & the Marwar regions of Rajasthan.
The Palace on Wheels called India’s finest luxury train trails the city of Udaipur famous for ancient palaces & monuments. The Kumbhalgarh Fort situated in Udaipur was unconquerable for several dynasties until water scarcity gave in to the take overs by other kings. It is believed by locals that there is a deity that protects the fortress. However, there is a historical interesting story behind the fort.
History of Kumbhalgarh Fort
King Rana Khumba who started building the fort faced many challenges to even start works. When the king was on his walk one day, he met a holy man who said he could help out the king. So, he said that a very pure man with a good heart gave his live as a sacrifice with his own will. He gave this as advice for the issues to stop troubling the king while constructing the fort.
The king was disappointed and then the holy man gave himself as a sacrifice. So, according to his advice and wishes, the king built the entrance near the place of his head & palaces where his body was. Kumbhalgarh Fort was given the name of the founder and was recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2013.
Architecture of Kumbhalgarh Fort
The fort contains 360 temples inside with 300 Jain temples and remaining Hindu temples as well as a Shiva temple within the enormous fort entrances called ‘Ram Pol’ or Ram Gate. It is the best place to get the view of almost the entire Thar Desert as it stands on an altitude of 1100 meters over sea level. The fort is constructed on top of a high hill with the thickness of fort walls that measure 15 feet. It is one of the world’s longest walls as it is 36 kilometers in diameter.
Another point of interest inside is the water tank dating back to between 13th & 14th centuries constructed by Rana Lakha located in the town of Kelwara. The length is 5 kilometers and width is between 100 to 200 meters and depth of 12 meters. The depth was modified to make it 18 meters. In 1578 Shahbaz Khan built another step – down tank called ‘Baad Shahi Bavdi’. There are four total huge gates – Hanuman Pol that has an inscription with details of construction of fort, Ram Pol, Aaret Pol & Halla Pol.
Kumbhalgarh Fort Wall – The Great Wall of India
The ‘Great Wall Of India’ is the longest wall in the country. After the ‘Great Wall Of China’, this is the second longest wall in the world with 15 meters width. It looks similar to the world famous ‘Great Wall Of China’. The walls were built by stone bricks. It is said that 8 horses can stand side by side on this wall. It is constructed with thirteen hills from the Aravallis mountain range around it. Some parts of the walls are destroyed from the time it was built. The great wall moves in every part of the fortress expanding over a lengthy area of 36 kilometers.
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Main Monuments Inside Kumbhalgarh Fort
1. Ganesh Temple
The temple is contemplated as one of the most ancient of all the temples inside the fort. The structure is constructed on an elevated level surface which is 12 feet high. Situated towards the east region is the temple known as Neel Kanth Mahadeva said to be constructed during the fourteenth century. You have to set about the Shiva temple in the middle through a yard surrounded by orthogonal borders. 24 strong pillars hold up the edifice through which you have to move toward.
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2. Vedi Temple
The founder of the Kumbhalgarh Fort constructed this temple that is located on the opposite of eastern side from the Hanuman Pol. You have to go up a stairway to approach the entrance of the temple which is on an elevated surface.
The Jain temple is made up of three floors and the roof is sloped with sharp angles with thirty six pillars that support it. Very close near the east side of the temple is are three shrines. Later Maharana Fateh Singh did made some changes to the temple. The Vedi was specifically built for doing religious ceremonies upon the conclusion of the construction of the fortress.
3. Parsvanatha Temple
This Parsva Natha temple was constructed during the fifteenth century. There are various types of Jain temples here. The major ones are Golera Jain temple & Bawan Jain temples and Jain temple situated towards the eastern side. The Kheda Devi temple popularly called ‘Mataji’ temple is situated near the Neela Kanth towards the south. There are other major temples inside called the Sun temple or Surya temple, Mamdeo temple and the Pital Shah Jain temple.
4. Bawan Devi Temple
Inside a single complex there are 52 small temples and that is the reason for the name of the temple – Bawan is 52 number of shrines. There is only a single way to enter with a carved ‘Jaina Tirthankara’ image over the doorway. The two shrines right in the middle are the only two larger temples out of all the 52 shrines. The remaining small shrines surround the outer wall here and there. There is one temple that has an open mandapa, a sanctum, and an antarala inside.
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5. Kumbha Palace
This palace is situated within the fortress near the Pagda Pol. There is a fine blue durbar inside this palace that consists of two floors. It sports the ancient and authentic Rajput architecture.
There is a Mardana Palace for the men & Zanana Palace for the women with a corridor running between the two portions of the palace. There is a Ganesh temple that is rounded in shape in one corner of the courtyard of the Zanana Palace. A few rooms have stylish fresco with various animal paintings like crocodiles, elephants, and camels. There is a ventilation method for clean air to come and go for the toilets while in use.
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6. Badal Mahal
This Palace of Clouds dates back to sometime in the late eighteenth century to 1930’s. This is known as the top most place of the palace. The interiors of the palace are filled with pastel shades. It consists of two floors. Similar to the Rana Kumbha Palace, it has Mardana Palace for the men & Zanana Palace for the women.
The decorative walls are the points for focus as they have attractive frieze paintings in the nineteenth century fashion. The queens would witness the proceedings of court from behind the screens made from ‘stone jali’. This was made so the royal women could watch other events in privacy.
Things To Do at Kumbhalgarh Fort
1. As the Kumbhalgarh Fort goes into the forests the best place to view the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is the Badal Palace. See the hills covered by the thick forests and get the view of the Thar desert to Jodhpur from Marwar direction. Get the picturesque view of the scenic Aravalli Mountain Ranges where you can take pictures to keep your memories of the great place.
2. The Light and Sound Show begins in the evening at 6:45 PM. The duration of this ancient depiction is less than one hour and is worth your time (45 minutes). Each ticket for domestic travelers (Indians) Rs. 15 & international travelers (foreigners) is Rs. 200. It is a special show in Hindi on the history and summary of Rajput Royals that you will enjoy.
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