The Mountain Fortress In The Wilderness
Cradled in a cluster of 13 mountain peaks of the Aravalli ranges, the formidable medieval citadel - Kumbhalgarh stands a wary sentinel to the past. Rising from a prominent ridge, 1914 meters high from the sea level, the fort was built in by Maharana Kumbha (1419-63 AD) and is the principal fortification after Chittorgarh lying 90-kms north-west of Udaipur.
The massive fort, encompassed by a 36-km long wall, has seven majestic gates and seven ramparts, one within the other. Rounded bastions and soaring watchtowers strengthen the crenallated walls of the fort making it an impregnable structure.
Fascinating chambers are built on the western side of the last gate - the 'Nimboo Pol'. According to history, the infant Udai Singh was smuggled from Bundi and hidden in these chambers by his faithful maid Panna Dai to save him from the murderous intentions of his uncles who desired the throne.
Udai Singh ascended the throne of Mewar with Kumbhalgarh as his residence and later established Udaipur - the beautiful Lake City.
Within the fort are many magnificent palaces and an array of ruined temples.
The most picturesque of the palaces is the 'Badal Mahal 'or the palace of the cloud. The palace has got its name for being the highest of all the structures. It offers a superb bird's eye view of the countryside surrounding the fort as well as of other ruins within the fort.
The ancient ruins of the temples within the fort date back to the Mauryan period built during the reign of the grandson of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka who belonged to the Jain community. Most of the ruins in Kumbhalgarh are of the Jain temples of various periods.
As one moves to the East, Kali Temple and the Namadev Kund with royal 'Chhatris' can be seen. Another noteworthy temple, a little further; enshrines a fine black marble 'lingam'. The 'mandap' or the hall of the temple has beautiful pillars, finely fluted and having a tapering shape.
Haldighati: The scene of the famous battle of 1576 AD fought between Rana Pratap, the heroic son of Udai Singh and the massive forces of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. A beautiful 'Chhatri' with white marble columns, dedicated to Rana Pratap stands here.
Kumbhal Garh Fort: Kumbhalgarh Fort was built by Maharana Kumbha in the 15th century. Perched on the Aravallis, this is the second most important fort in Rajasthan after the Chittaurgarh Fort. Nearby is the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. more...
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary: The 286-sq-kms sanctuary supporting a rich variety of wildlife like the Panther, Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Four-horned Antelope and scientifically bred crocodiles in the lake are the major attractions. The Sanctuary is also noted for Flamingoes, Cormorants, Spoonbills and Egrets, which are usually seen in winter.
Rajsamand Lake: On the way to Kumbhalgarh lies the magnificent dam - the Rajsamand Lake. The royal lake, was built in 1660 AD by Rana Raj Singh. From here, one can have a spectacular view of the sunset with beautiful 'torans' or arches and 'chhatris' adorning the embankment. The lake has a Rest House of the Irrigation Department on the embankment below. The Rest House has a beautifully laid out garden interspersed with exquisite sculptures excavated from the ruins nearby.
The town of Kankroli nearby with a marvellous temple and a pretty palace on the hill top offers a scenic view.
Ranakpur Temples: (85-km from Udaipur and 50-km from Kumbhalgarh). These beautiful Jain temples are fine examples of temple architecture. Kankroli Rajsamand, located nearby are known for their scenic beauty.
Air: Udaipur at 105-km is the most convenient
airport from Kumbhalgarh.
Road: Kumbhalgarh Fort is approachable by a good road, but there aren't any train connections from here.
PWD Guest House and quite a few resonable budget hotels are avaialable in Kumbhalgarh.