Located flawlessly between the hills of the Aravalli range in Rajasthan, Kumbhalgarh fort is an easy two-hour or 80 km drive from Udaipur revealing the stone walls of this stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, what makes it intriguing and unique is its outer snake like walls stretching through the curves and folds of the earth. Its length is known to be around close to 36 kms. This length makes it the longest wall in the world, second only to the Great Wall of China. It is also the highest point of escalation in the state of Rajasthan, second only to Mount Abu. Constructed in around the 15th century, the fort was not even once conquered in the ongoing battles in that era, it was only captured once by the Mughal armed forces by deceit & deception when they had planned to poison the water supply of the fort.
The Kumbhalgarh fort is very cherished and holds a very exceptional place in the hearts of the Rajputs as it is the birthplace of the legendary Rajput king Maharana Pratap. There are seven imposing steel gates called Pols to the fort that are in the charge of guarding all possible entries to it. The strong, lofty rounded bastions that peeks out in the eyes of people even before entering the high and mighty Kumbhalgarh fort essentially speaks of the Rajput supremacy.The long ramp inside the fort that lead up to the topmost of the hill has many sharp turns which were historically intentionally made in that manner to make it impossible for the enemy's armed forces' elephants and horses to go up fast. There are multiple clever traps that were built at many places in the fort to make invasion difficult for the enemy armed forces.
While legends and stories about the monument sing of the song of the revered glory of its king, it is significant to talk about the elaborate and meticulously planned construction as evidence for the diligence of the thousands of labourers. The entire edifice, including the grand facade is known to be built in about 15 years. Delicate and meticulous masonry has made the wall an overpowering icon of the undulating terrain of the ranges as it continues to survive the cruelty of time. It is interesting to note how just one walk down the wall will open you up with the sharp turns and inclines that can leave you breathless. However, with risk comes the beauty of this place. A wide panoramic view of the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is truly worth that breathlessness during the risky walk.
Still not extensively probed in the field of tourism, there's so much to experience and witness in the fort. There are many areas that consist of various significant structures like the Badal mahal, birthplace of Maharana Pratap, Kumbha palace, and a surprising range of Brahmanical and Jain temples scattered around the landscape. The most important and revered temple is the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. With its mighty round dome which is a delicately carved ceiling aloft with 24 pillars and the wide courtyard with a 5-feet high lingam, the temple is an undisputed architectural feat.
The culture of Rajasthan breathes and resides within these walls. The structure is famously known to have an estimate of 360 temples of various religions along with the palaces of mind boggling display with an insane amount of diverse flora and fauna to explore and anticipate. Annexed by the British until the late 19th century, the spectacular Kumbhalgarh fort is now open to the public and is gorgeously lit up in the entire region on every beautiful evening. Truly an enchanting sight to behold!
All images via Wikimedia Commons
Written by Ayusshi