Kumbhalgarh Fort, a Mewar fortress on the westerly range of Aravalli Hills, in the Rajsamand district is not really on the popular tourist circuit in Rajasthan, but it is enchanting because of a few things.
- It is one of the rare forts that has never been attacked and hence never been captured by an enemy.
- The fort is atop a hill, about 3500 ft. above sea level in the Aravali range.
- It has the longest wall surrounding it almost 36 km encompassing a few hills, a lot of step wells, and a group of temples.
- This fort wall is second only to the Great Wall of China.
- Wait for a few years and you will be able to take a ride on top of this wall.
- It is also the birthplace of the most famous king of Mewar Maharana Pratap.
- Built and ruled by Rana Kumbha who was a Sisodia Rajputs descendant.
- The fort is located about 85 km from Udaipur, a popular destination in Rajasthan.
- Built-in the 15th century this is said to be inhabited until the late 19th century.
- The fort is a World Heritage site included in the Hill Forts of Rajasthan list.
- Look at the persons and the vehicles in the background of the massive fort wall and entrance gate called Ram Pol, to get the perspective of the size we are looking at in the below image.
Kumbhalgarh Fort – Second Largest Fort Wall in the World
The legend behind the fort says that Rana Kumbha wanted to build this huge fort as the biggest fort. And a place from where he can see Chittorgarh. But as he started the construction, he could not move ahead with it.
Folklore & Mysteries of Kumbhalgarh Fort
Whatever construction work was carried out during the day, it used to get mysteriously destroyed during the night. One night the king got a dream, and the family goddess or Kuldevi told him that he needs to sacrifice a human to go on with the construction of the Fort. When the king was ready for the sacrifice, he got another dream where the Goddess demanded that the sacrifice should be voluntary. And not forced upon the person sacrificed.
King announced this to the public. A man named Mer (or Mehar) volunteered to sacrifice but had three conditions. He wanted the fort to be named after him and initially, the fort was called Kumbhalmer fort. Next, he wanted that after the sacrifice wherever his head falls a temple should be built. And wherever his body falls, the palace should be built and that is how the fort was built.
You can climb the fort, and as with most of the forts, as you keep climbing the view that you get keeps changing. In this fort particularly, your view of the wall surrounding the fort gets clearer and you keep getting amazed at the extent of the fort. There are two parts of the palace on top of the fort, one meant for men and the other meant for women, both with inner courtyards and domes above them.
There is a beautiful heritage 3-storied Shiva Temple on the right side as soon as you enter the fort. Do visit it. Reportedly there are several more small temples across the vast campus. We could not visit all of them as we were on a day trip from Udaipur. Hopefully will visit some other time for a detailed visit of the place and the nearby wildlife sanctuary.
Badal Mahal Palace
The palace is called the Badal Mahal as it is so high that the clouds can enter the palace. You can climb to the highest roof along the domes and get a birds’ eye view of the fort. There are various step wells, some of which are old and some are being built. Then men’s part of the palace is converted into a museum. If you visit this Fort sometime down the time, you should be able to visit the museum and go to the fort wall. There is a victory gate, which has never been broken as the fort remains unconquered. There is a Yagnya Shala or the place where yajnas used to be performed by the royal family. And a Shiva temple, both of which must have been built along with the fort. There is another group of temples that you can see from the fort’s top.
There are resorts and hotels around the fort including a Club Mahindra property. A jungle safari that you can take to explore the wildlife. There are trekking options as well. But I guess you can do that for a very limited time during the year as the area is very dry and hot. Combined with Ranakpur, it makes an interesting day trip from Udaipur.
- The Fort is open to public visitors.
- Open from 8 AM to 6 PM on all days of the week. Do check out the national holidays.
- A nominal entry fee is charged.
- Photography is allowed and there were no additional charges.
- If you have depth phobia, take care not to venture close to the edges atop the fort.
- Depending on fitness and interest, climbing the inclinations/steps of the fort may not be suitable for senior citizens. However, they can admire Ram Pol, the fort entrance and nearby Shiva Temple, and a great view of the fort from the base level.
- You can easily spend a couple of hours climbing, admiring the fort and the landscape view of Aravalli hills and several of the mountain ranges peaks from atop the fort.
- A few remnants of paintings in the living areas are interesting.
- You can go on a walk atop the majestic fort walls, though you will need more time.
- It is very hot and dry during the day times.
- Carry drinking water and a cap to protect yourself from the glaring sunshine.
- Winters is the best time to visit and explore the fort in detail.
- Do visit the Jain Temple at Ranakpur nearby and explore Kumbhalgarh Wildlife sanctuary if you have time and inclination.
- One can take a cab for a day trip from Udaipur to cover the Fort and Jain temple.
I recommend a visit to this fort in case you are in and around Udaipur.
Recommend you to read the following Places to visit in Rajasthan.