Rajasthan, the name brings to mind a kaleidoscope of images – colourful turbans, delectable food, warm people, royal palaces and grand forts welcome you wherever you go. The majestic forts of this enchanting state are the truest symbol of its glorious past. They are not just sagas in stone but also a testament to the valour and indomitable spirit of the Rajputs, the mighty warrior clan. But if there is one fort that personifies the spirit and grandeur of Rajasthan more than anyone else, it is the impressive and awe-inspiring Kumbhalgarh fort in Rajsamand district.
It was Maharana Kumbha who undertook the construction of this architectural marvel in the 15th century, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Best Time To Visit The Fort
The winter months from November to February are perfect. The rainy season (July-August) is also a great time when the entire landscape is magically green and the weather is pleasant.
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Kumbhalgarh Fort History
Built over a period of 15 years under the expert supervision of the famed architect Mandan, Kumbhalgarh fort in Rajasthan is perfectly perched between eleven peaks of the Aravalli ranges. Its strategic position atop a high ridge camouflaged by the surrounding peaks has made it one of the most important and probably the only impregnable fort of the state.
Though never conquered in battle, it was captured only once by the Mughal army by deceit when they poisoned the water supply of the fort. Being the birthplace of the legendary Maharana Pratap, Kumbhalgarh fort also holds a very special place in history and in the hearts of the Rajputs.
Kumbhalgarh Fort Entry Fees & Timings: There is an entry fee of INR 15 for citizens of India and visitors of SAARC and BIMSTEC countries. For foreigners it is INR 200.
Kumbhalgarh fort opening time is from 9AM to 6PM every day.
Architecture And Layout
The sturdy rounded bastions catch your eye even before you enter the mighty Kumbhalgarh fort, towering loftily above. The well-thought of architectural features of the fort have made it an invincible stronghold of Rajput supremacy.
There are seven imposing gates called Pols, guarding all possible entries to the Kumbhalgarh fort. You can hear the whispers of history as you walk the magnificent ramparts of the fort, purportedly wide enough for 8 horses to march abreast!
The Kumbhalgarh fort wall is India’s very own Great Wall, being the second longest wall in the world spanning a length of 36 kilometers around the periphery of the fort with width ranging from 15-25 feet at different places. All along the formidable wall are tapered openings that allowed archers to aim at enemy armies, while themselves being shielded from their counter attack.
The ramp inside the fort leading up to the top of the hill has many sharp turns, made intentionally to make it difficult for enemy army elephants and horses to proceed fast. There are also clever traps built at many places to take the enemy by surprise.
Places To See Inside The Kumbhalgarh Fort
The fort area encompasses various important structures like the Kumbha palace, Badal mahal, birthplace of Maharana Pratap, and an astonishing 360+ Brahmanical and Jain temples dotting the landscape. Unlike the main fort and ramparts which are built using sturdy stone blocks that have survived the ravages of time, the temples are elaborate and delicately carved structures.
The most significant and revered temples is the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. With its huge round dome, intricately carved ceiling aloft 24 pillars, the wide courtyard and 5-feet high lingam, the temple is an unmatched architectural feat. Maharana Kumbha did not begin his day without offering prayers to this deity. It is interesting to note that he was so tall that when he sat to worship, his eyes were at the same level as the deity.
The other noteworthy temples are the Parsvanath Jain temple, the Bawan devi temple (where ‘baawan’ refers to the 52 shrines located in the same complex), Vedi temple and Ganesh temple.
The Kumbha Palace is a double-storeyed structure building built in classic Rajput style with a beautiful blue durbar hall. As was prevalent, the mardana (men’s) and zenana(women’s) palaces are separated by a corridor. The advanced ventilation system in the toilets that allowed fresh air while they were in use is an interesting feature.
It is a steep climb uphill to the highest part of the fort, aptly christened the Badal mahal or Palace of Clouds.
Built by Rana Fateh Singh, this is one of the most prominent buildings inside the fort, constructed in a simple yet impressive architectural style. The palace walls are adorned with beautiful paintings and friezes. It offers panoramic views of the entire fort and the surrounding landscape. In the monsoon months the view from above is a sight to behold, with lush green hills and ravines as far as the eye can see.
The two other important points of historic interest inside the Kumbhalgarh fort are the birth place of Maharana Pratap called the Jhalia ka Malia near Pagda Pol and the spot near the last fortified gate, Nimbu Pol. This is the place that bears testimony to the supreme sacrifice of the faithful maid Panna dhai who saved the young to-be Maharaja Udai Singh by sending her son in his place.
Suggested Read: 20 Best Palaces In Rajasthan That Tell Stories Of Past Glory
Best Places to Stay Near Kumbhalgarh Fort
Befitting the royal splendour of the fort, there are some fantastic heritage and luxury Kumbhalgarh fort hotels in the vicinity. We recommend these two hotels for a truly memorable experience:
1. Kumbha Bagh
Sitting proudly atop a hill just 200m away from the fort, the luxurious 4-star hotel offers stunning views of the Kumbhalgarh fort from every room. With its grand facade and regal decor, it looks nothing less than a palace and promises an experience you will remember for a long time. Superior double room starts from INR 5500
2. Aodhi Hotel
Located very close to the fort this is one of the oldest and finest Kumbhalgarh fort hotels offering world-class facilities, warm hospitality and mouth-watering food. Deluxe double room from INR 4500
Suggested Read: 8 Best Hotels In Kumbhalgarh
Day Trips From Kumbhalgarh Fort
A day trip to the Ranakpur Jain temples is highly recommended. The exquisitely carvings adorning the temples will leave you spellbound.
History enthusiasts can also visit Haldighati, the famed battle ground of the clash between Mughal emperor Akbar and Maharana Pratap.
How To Reach Kumbhalgarh Fort
The nearest railway station and Airport are at Udaipur, which is 84 kms from Kumbhalgarh fort. Udaipur is a major city well-connected with all metros via rail and air. Kumbhalgarh fort is a comfortable 2-hour ride from Udaipur via road. If you’re planning for a trip to Kumbhalgarh fort from Delhi, it is advised to take a flight or train till Udaipur as via road, this place is at a distance of 11 hours and 18 minutes.
Kumbhalgarh Fort Location
Kumbhalgarh Fort Tips
- Since the walk inside the fort is a long steep trek, comfortable footwear and water bottles to keep you hydrated are a must
- The light & sound show every evening at 6:45PM is a spellbinding spectacle that must not be missed. History comes alive in this 45-minute show depicting tales of the Rajput dynasties of Mewar and the fort’s history. It is advisable to carry a torch with you as the lighting inside the fort is poor. Show tickets: INR 100 for adults and INR 50 for children.
- After the show the whole fort is illuminated for an hour, giving it a magical aura. This is a great time for clicking those spectacular shots.
- Every year the fort comes alive with the Kumbhalgarh Festival, one of the most important and culturally enriching festival celebrated in this region, with mesmerising live performances by some of the finest artists in the country.
It is no doubt that Kumbhalgarh Fort is one of the best not only in Rajasthan but also the world and should be at least visited once in life. And so just in case you’re planning a holiday to Rajasthan to visit this wonderful marvel along with many others, book a Rajasthan Tour right away and enjoy a hassle free and personalized trip to the royal state.
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