When I started planning for South Rajasthan trip, the fort of Kumbhalgarh impressed me a lot. I did some reading about Mewar history which was rich in the valour of the kings, especially the bravery of Mahrana Pratap and Rana Kumbha. I thought I would not be able to give justice by doing a day trip to Kumbhalgarh. I added two nights stay at Kumbhalgarh which effectively gave us a complete day to explore the fort.
|The walls of Kumbalgarh fort and the Palace|
I will put in some facts about Kumbhalgarh fort before proceeding to write my experience.
- The fort in its present form was built by Rana Kumbha in 15th century, but it existed during Maurya age with the name of Macchindrapur but not much evidence is available.
- Maharana Pratap was born in this fort.
- The wall of the fort is 38 km long and considered as second longest wall after Great Wall of China.
- It is the second largest fort in Rajasthan after Chittorgarh fort.
- It is also declared as UNESCO sight in 2013.
- The fort remained impregnable falling only once due to shortage of water. And it was to Akbar’s forces.
|The fort walls|
These facts were reverberating in my mind as I entered into the fort. The first surprise was when I saw the entrance fees. It was just 15 rupees per head and photography was free!! It was a refreshing change after having paid a bomb to view the Udaipur city palace and its surroundings.
As we entered into the fort through Hanuman Pol, we had two options. The path to the left climbed up to the Palace and left to the temples. Having decided to visit the Palace first, we took the path to the left.
It is nice to see the fort in a good condition. It may be because it was not invaded much by enemy forces. We climbed up crossing several gates. We took a slight detour to see the birth place of Maharana Pratap.
|One of the gates in Kumbhalgarh fort|
At the top of the fort was Kumbla Palace. The entire fort and its surroundings was seen from the Palace. In the photo below, you can see the solid walls of the fort running on the hills and forests. It is in a good condition and one can walk on the fort for 38km and reach the same spot. Apparently, I did not see tourism of Rajasthan promoting it as trekking spot. There are lot of ruins that can be seen in the fort.
|Fort walls on the hills|
Below is the view of the road that leads to the fort. The hilly terrain with the solid construction of the fort would have made it impregnable. You can also see that authorities maintaining the fort very well.
|Road leading to the fort|
Having spent a good amount of time at the Palace, I decided to come down. Also, the number of people had increased dramatically and I did not like the sound they were making. It was good that we had decided to visit in the morning.
Once I reached back to main gate, I went towards the temple complex. The important temples were Neelkanth and Parsvanath temple. The huge Shiva idol inside the temple should not be missed. Neelkanth temple is also the place where the “Light and Sound” show is held every evening. More about it in the next post.
Most visitors have a look at the Palace and return back. Unlike day trippers, we were staying in Kumbhalgarh and had time to spare. So, I decided to venture further into the fort. As I proceeded further, I saw two Jain temples opposite to each other.
|View of Palace from the Jain temple|
From here, I decided to visit “Gole Rao group of temples” situated further down. On the way, I also saw the ruins of a temple.
|The ruins on the way|
Finally, I reached the “Gole Rao group of temples”. While the Palace was flooded with people, I was the only one present in this temple!! Apart from couple of villagers, I had not seen any soul on the entire route. I immensely enjoyed the temporary solitude that was awarded to me!!
|Gole Rao group of temples|
From Gole Rao, I had seen a temple that looked nice. Though it was hot and I was dehydrated and hungry, I decided to visit before joining the family for lunch. The temple was Bawan Devri and it was another peaceful temple with only few langurs wandering around.
The entrance to the fort is on a narrow road with a limited parking place. We had not realised it when we came to the fort in the morning. But in late afternoon when we decided to go back to our hotel for lunch, the road leading to the fort was crowded resulting in traffic jams. Even a camel was struck in the traffic jam.
|Vehicles piled up to Kumbalgarh fort|
|Camel in traffic jam|
I have visited several forts and I would rank Kumbhalgarh as one of the best forts in India. A must visit in Rajasthan. It is about 80 km from Udaipur. Though it is possible to do a day trip from Udaipur, I strongly suggest to stay for a day to explore the fort and also see “Sound and Light show”. But the stay is very expensive in Kumbhalgarh as there are only high end resorts.