Kumbhalgarh – The Unbeatable Fortress

Kumbhalgarh, a small town in district Rajsamand is known world wide for its great history and architecture. It is about 90 km from Udaipur (about a two hour drive). Here lies the great Kumbhalgarh fort which was built during the 15th century by Rana Kumbha.

Under the rule of Rana Kumbha, the kingdom of Mewar stretched right from Ranthambore to Gwalior. The kingdom also included vast tracts of Madhya Pradesh as well as Rajasthan. Mewar was defended by about 80 fortresses from its enemies. Rana Kumbha, himself, had designed about 30 of them and Kumbhalgarh is the most famous of them all.

It was only once in the entire history that Kumbhalgarh was taken and its defenses breached. It was when the combined armies of Emperor Akbar, Raja Man Singh of Amber and Raja Udai Singh of Marwar attacked the fort of Kumbhalgarh. That too happened because of the scarcity of drinking water. A thick wall that is 36Kms long surrounds this remarkable fort. The perimeter of the wall is said to be the longest after the Great Wall Of China. The width of wall varies from 15 to 25 feet. It is mentioned in the various books of history that eight horses could run on this wall side-by-side. This wall runs through surrounding mountain cliffs of the Aravali range. The wall is a great example of architecture brilliance of Rajput Era. Its architectural brilliance is proved by the fact that in spite of being around 700 years old it is still intact and in a very good shape.

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The fort is about 1100m high from the sea level and offers a marvelous view of the surrounding area. The main attractions of the fort consist of mesmerizing palaces along with about 360 different types of temples inside it with 300 being Jain temples and the remaining being Hindu temples. The Badal Mahal Palace is right at the top of the fort. The palace has beautiful rooms and is painted in the colours of green, white and turquoise, thus providing an interesting contrast to the raw and grim fortress. 13 mountain peaks surround the fort of Kumbhalgarh, 7 huge gates guard the fort and immense watchtowers further strengthen it.

Kumbhalgarh is the same place where prince Udai was smuggled to in 1535. This happened when Chittaur was under siege. Prince Udai who later became the successor to the throne and also became the founder of the Udaipur City. The renowned Maharana Pratap, who fought against the army lead by Akbar in the battle of Haldighati in the year 1576, was also born at Kumbhalgarh.

There are a number of interesting ruins around the fort and there are many magnificent palaces and havelis. There are ancient remnants that you can explore while you decide to take a stroll through the ravines of Kumbhalgarh Fort. The adventurer can enjoy a horse safari and the thrill of riding and camping in the Reserve Forests around Kumbhalgarh.

The nature lovers could take a hazardous, barely jeepable track to the 586 square kilometer Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. The main attraction here would be panther, sloth bear, wild boar, four-horned antelope or crocodiles.

The reserve forest is a delight for bird watchers. Good forest cover, jungle berries, fruits and nuts, water grasses, algae, and fish provide sustenance for thousands of flamingoes, sarus cranes, spoonbills, painted storks, cormorants, purple heron, egrets, duck, and rosy pelican in winter. One also finds plenty of chakor partridge, crow pheasants, jungle warblers, golden orioles, gray jungle fowl, and the usual peacocks; parrots, pigeons, and doves.

The best time for a trip to the land of the Rajput Warriors is October to March. Contact Road2Travel for information

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