It is a fortress situated in the Aravalli Range of Rajsamand district in Rajasthan. Kumbhalgarh is the second largest fort in the country after the Chittorgarh Fort and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort covers around 12 sq. km and its walls stretch over an area of around 36 km which makes it one of the longest walls in the world.
It was built in the 15th century during Rana Kumbha’s reign and is one of the largest fort complexes in the world. It is 84 km away from Udaipur. Those staying in Delhi can book a Delhi to Udaipur flight and visit the town. The chief architect involved in building the fort was Mandan who documented his style of work in his text, Rajvallabh.
The climate of the region is considered to be of tropical type. The summers can be hot with temperatures climbing up to highs of 42° C. WInters on the other hand though are stable and not too cool.
Best Time to Travel
WInter season which lasts from October to February is the best time to tour Kumbhalgarh. The weather is pleasant and day time is great for sightseeing. Summers are best avoided as the heat can be extreme making travel tiring. If interested, consider booking a flight to Rajastahn.
History of the Fort
The King of Mewar, Rana Khamba is believed to have laid the foundation of the town in the 15th century. The fort housed and provided refuge to Mewar rulers. The fort stood strong despite several invasions and only collapsed once because there was a shortage of drinking water in its premises.
It is also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap. Apart from the fort, the descendants of the Mauryan empire built a number of temples as well that add to the city’s popularity. In the 19th century the fort was renovated by Maharana Fateh Singh and since then the place has been a popular tourist attraction world over.
The Fort’s Architecture
The Kumbhalgarh Fort is built at an elevation of around 3,600 feet above sea level in the lap of the thirteen elevated mountain peaks of Aravalli. The width at most places varies from 49 feet to 15 feet. The fort offers a bird’s eye view of the dunes of Thar and the surrounding towns. There are also seven fortified gateways in them that stand in the form of sentinels. The largest gate is known as the Ram Pol or the Ram Gate and is a unique attraction. The fort is also home to 360 temples out of which 300 or so are ancient Jain temples.
Places To See
There are several appealing places to see within the fort complex and nearby within the region as well.
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
It is located in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan. It stretches across the Aravalli ranges and spans across a total surface area of 578 sq km. The wildlife sanctuary encircles certain parts of Pali, Rajsamand and Udaipur and encompasses the Kumbhalgarh Fort. It is also named after the fort.
The green tract inside the park creates a dividing line between the two parts of Rajasthan: Marwar and Mewar. Its current location was once a royal hunting ground and was converted into a sanctuary in 1971. The sanctuary also boasts a diverse topography.
The river Banas also flows through the sanctuary and acts as its main source of water. The Aravalli ranges that have an altitude of over 3,748 feet line the Eastern part. It is also renowned for its 40 strong wolf pack, which is rarely found anywhere else. It is also home to around 200 species of birds along with a variety of rare and endangered species.
The autumn here brings out the russet colours and the monsoon brings on the beautiful flora. The sanctuary also offers provision for other activities like trekking, horseback safari and jeep safari. Several Bhils and Garasia tribals can be spotted here staying in their traditional huts.
Badal Mahal, Kumbhalgarh
The Badal Mahal is also a part of the Kumbhalgarh Fort and is split into two sections: Mardana and Zanana. These are halls for gents and ladies respectively. The architecture in both the halls is spectacular. The top of the tower also offers an incredible view of the surrounding regions.
The two-storey palace also contains well-painted rooms that are painted with pastel-coloured murals. The rooms in the palace are decorated with white, green and turquoise schemes on their walls. The Zanana Mahal also contained stone jalis through which females could view court proceedings and other important events.
The chambers also feature an innovative ventilation and air conditioning system. The system has duct pipes which allow cool air to enter into the room and are further ventilated from the bottom.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
Another incredible piece of architecture situated within the vicinity of the Kumbhalgarh Fort. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva with his 6 foot Lingam present in the temple. It is one of the very few deities that is maintained and worshipped by the locals. The fort is full of stories about the temple, the king and various chambers that keep tourists mesmerised.
The temple has entrances on all four sides. It has a sanctum, an open-pillared mandapam and a pillar on the temple’s left side that contains inscriptions about renovations.
Mammadev Temple, Kumbhalgarh
The temple can be found right below the fort. It previously had four big slabs with inscriptions on them which have now been moved to the Udaipur museum. It now has a few cenotaphs in memory of Rana Khumba and for Prithviraj Chauhan. There is also a huge reservoir of water near the temple. The temple is famous for its architecture, intricate sculptures and incredible interiors.
The Vedi temple is a revered Jain temple which is presided by Goddess Vedi (the local deity). It can be found within the fort complex in Kumbhalgarh in the Hanuman Pol. It was constructed by Rana Khumba to honour the sacrifice of the pilgrims. It stands on 36 pillars and was built in an octagonal shape.
The temple is also the only sacrificial site present in the country and was renovated by Maharana Fateh Singh. It is one of the most visited attractions in the region and is protected and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Apart from all the aforementioned there are several other attractions within the fort complex and a few nearby as well. Most of them are temples and religious sites. The
Parshuram Temple, Muchhal Mahavir Temple, Mount Abu, etc. are some such places.
Hotels and Resorts
There are numerous Kumbhalgarh hotels and other accommodations like resorts, etc. where tourists can enjoy their stay while touring the town.
The Jungle Camp Resort by Sky Stays
Address: Gawar Kumbhalgarh, 313325 Kumbhalgarh, India
Brief Description: The property is situated around 4.6 km away from the fort amongst lush forests and is also a short drive away from Ranakpur. The resort is rated 4-star and offers modest accommodations to leisure seekers.
It provides a variety of minimalistic and chic accommodations, an on-site eatery and features that include a convenient tour desk for sightseeing arrangements. All of these make it a great place to stay.
Fateh Safari Suites by Fateh Collection
Address: Delas near Aaret ki Bhagal, Chouhano ki Ghatti Saira Road NH 162 Ext, Qila Kumbhalgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan 313325
Brief Description: It can be found just 6.8 km away from the Kumbhalgarh Fort. It features accommodation with a garden, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool. Free private parking and a restaurant.
The Lal Bagh
Address: Kakarwa, Chamboa Sarjela, Rajasthan 313325
Brief Description: The resort is rated 3-star and offers accommodations with a garden, free private parking and a restaurant. It also provides free WiFi, room service and 24-hour front desk.
Conclusions & Recommendations
The town has great historical significance and that is the main driving force that attracts tourism towards the town. The fort complex is without a doubt the biggest crowd puller. Its olden architecture and overall design amazes tourists even to this day. Despite its olden touch there are multiple resorts and hotels here also for tourists to stay.
It has something to offer nature lovers as well with the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is also near the Kumbhalgarh Fort which makes it easier for tourists as they can visit both sites together. However, both are really big and will require at least one day each to completely explore them.
It is also recommended that tourists wear walking shoes instead of slippers as there is a lot of distance to cover on foot during the tours. Consider carrying water and maybe even a few snacks in your backpacks as canteens may not be available for long periods.
Also, in the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary be sure to turn the flash off while clicking photos. This applies especially when it comes to photos of animals as flash photography may provoke them.
In conclusion, Kumbhalgarh is a great place to visit especially for history geeks and ancient architecture fanatics. It can be both a fun and a highly educational experience as well.