My recently married cousin, Aarti Shrivastava Mathur visited Kumbhalgarh Fort and Sanctuary in Rajasthan and happily shared her pictures of the trip with our blogger community. The place is really awesome, natural, historical with heavy dollops of wild –life adventure. To me it looked like a complete package of all above which can cater to all types of tourists. If you are in Rajasthan, do include Kumbhalgarh in your iterinery. The nearest city to reach Kumbhalgarh is Udaipur in Rajasthan. Her trip aroused enough curiosity in me to dig in details about this fabulous fort and share the detail s with my readers.
Kumbhalgarh is a Mewar fortress in the Rajsamand District of Rajasthan state in western India. It is an World Heritage Site included in Hill Forts of Rajasthan. Built during the course of the 15th century by Rana Kumbha and enlarged through the 19th century, Kumbhalgarh is also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the great king and warrior of Mewar. Occupied until the late 19th century, the fort is now open to the public and is spectacularly lit for a few minutes each evening. Kumbalgarh is situated 82 km northwest of Udaipur by road. It is the most important fort in Mewar after Chittaurgarh.
Built on a hilltop 1100 metres above sea level, the fort of Kumbhalgarh has perimeter walls that extend 36 kilometres. The frontal walls are fifteen feet thick. Kumbhalgarh has seven fortified gateways. There are over 360 temples within the fort, 300 ancient Jain and the rest Hindu. From the palace top, it is possible to look tens of kilometers into the Aravalli Range. The sand dunes of the Thar desert can be seen from the fort walls.
According to legend, in 1443, the Maharana of Kumbhalgarh, Rana Kumbha, was initially repeatedly unsuccessful in attempts to build the fort wall. A spiritual preceptor was consulted about the construction problems and advised the ruler that a voluntary human sacrifice would solve whatever was causing the impediment. The spiritual advisor advised building a temple where the head should fall and building the wall and the fort where the rest of his body lay. As can be expected, for some time no one volunteered, but one day, a pilgrim (some versions suggest a soldier, and some, that the spiritual preceptor and the pilgrim were one and the same) volunteered and was ritually decapitated. Today the main gate of the fortress, Hanuman Pol, contains a shrine and a temple to commemorate the great sacrifice.
According to popular folklore, Maharana Kumbha used to burn massive lamps that consumed fifty kilograms of ghee and a hundred kilograms of cotton to provide light for the farmers who worked during the nights in the valley.
Its wall is the second largest wall in Asia.Kumbhalgarh in its present form was developed by, and said to be personally designed by, Rana Kumbha. Rana Kumbha’s kingdom of Mewar stretched from Ranthambore to Gwalior and included large tracts of erstwhile Madhya Pradesh as well as Rajasthan. Out of the 84 forts in his dominion, Rana Kumbha is said to have designed 32 of them, of which Kumbhalgarh is the largest and most elaborate
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is in the Rajsamand District of Rajasthan state in western India and surrounds the Kumbhalgarh fortress and covers an area of 578 km2 (223 sq mi). The sanctuary extends across the Aravalli Range, covering parts of Rajsamand, Udaipur, and Pali districts, ranging from 500 to 1,300 metres (1,600 to 4,300 ft) elevation.
It takes name after the impressive historic fort of Kumbhalgarh, which come into view over the Park. It is 578 km2 (223 sq mi) in area and at an altitude of 500 to 1,300 metres (1,600 to 4,300 ft). It is home to a very large variety of wild life, some of which are highly endangered species. The wild life includes wolf, leopards, sloth bear, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, sambhar, nilgai, chausingha (the four horned antelope), chinkara and hare.
The bird life at Kumbhalgarh is also gratifying. The normally shy and untrusting grey jungle fowl can be spotted here. Peacocks and Doves can be sighted regularly feeding on grains scattered by the jungle guards. Bird like the red spur owls, Parakeets, golden Oriole, grey Pigeons, Bulbul, Dove and white breasted kingfisher can also be seen near the water holes. Kumbhalgarh’s natural beauty is attracting many tourists and especially for its accessibility from Udaipur, which is 100 km from here. Foot tracking and horse safari organised by local tour operators are proving to be very popular. A typical safari route enters the sanctuary from the Kumbhalgarh Fort and cutting across the sanctuary it reaches Ghanerao, and then borders an old abandoned road. On this road, one can sight Chinkaras, Neelgais, four horned Antelope and many birds.
The nearest city to reach Kumbhalgarh is Udaipur in Rajasthan.
Pretty Pictures Courtesy: SIDDHARTH PUROHIT