Kumbhalgarh Fort is the second most important fort in Rajasthan after
Chittaurgarh. It is located at a distance of 64 kms from Udaipur in Kelwada
tehsil of district Rajsamand of Rajasthan State. Built in 1458 by Maharana
Kumbha, a Mewar king, the fort derived its name from the same factor.
Later, Maharana Fateh Singh renovated the fort in the 19th century.
Encircled by thirteen elevated mountain peaks, Kumbhalgarh fort stands
on the site of an ancient citadel which is ascribed to Samprati, a Jaina
prince of the second century BC. History says that he built around 300
temples at this place. Later Rana Kumbha, added to this. At present, few
of these are left, fewer with idols inside.Covering over 12 sq km, the
walls of the fort stretch about 36 km and stands about 1,087m high from
the sea level. Located amidst the hills of Aravali, the fort offers a
marvelous view of the surrounding areas and sandy dessert of Marwar for
miles around. The fort is commanding a great strategic location on the
border between the Rajput Kingdoms of Udaipur and Jodhpur.
There is a folklore behind the construction of this fort that, Maharana
of Kumbhalgarh failed to build the fort's wall for several times so he
consulted a sage about this problem. And on the advice of this sage, the
sage came up with a bizarre proposition — he was to stand at a point
and chop off his own head, and the place where his body fell would be
the main entrance of the fort and the point where his head fell would
be the second main entrance.
The perimeter of the fort's wall is assumed to be the
longest in the world after the Great Wall Of China. Surrounded by 13 mountain
peaks, the fort encloses royal apartments, temples - dedicated to different
gods, 252 palaces - great and small, seven massive gates or pol (Arait
Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ram Pol, Bhairava Pol, Paghra Pol, Top Khana Pol, Nimboo
Pol), seven ramparts and huge watch towers, storerooms, houses and water
tanks. The wall of fortress is wide enough to take eight horsemen
one at a time.
The main buildings inside this magnificent citadel are Badal Mahal, Kumbha
Palace, Brahmanical and Jain Temples, baoris, chhattris etc.
The fort approach is across deep ravines and through thick forest, in
addition to the seven massive gates. There are seven ramparts, one within
the other, reinforced by rounded bastions and huge watch towers. The climb
will take about an hour. There is a light and sound show every evening
between 7:30 and 8:00PM at this fort.
Main attractions within the Fort
The massive wooden doors at every pol are mainly build up to
keep out invading armies.
Arait Pol - This is the first gate entrance
to the fort. The fort is entered from the south through this gate. It
is said that, here is where the sain't body fell. The area was abounded
with thick jungle harbouring tigers and wild boar. From this gate, mirror
signals would be flashed to all other gates in times of emergency. One
had to buy a ticket for entering the fort. Just right at the entrance
is the Lord Ganesh Temple
Hulla Pol (Gate of Disturbance) - Named
after the point reached by invading Mughal armies in 1567, it is the most
defying gate of fort. From here get the panoramic view of the surrounding
area. Hanuman Pol - It contains an image of Hanuman which
was brought by Rana Kumbha from Mandor in Marwar. The top is approached
further through three gateways - the Bhairon Pol, Paghra Pol,
the Nimboo Pol. The fifth gate Paghara pol or Stirrup
is where the cavalry assembled. Then comes the Canon Gate or the
Tope-Khana Pol, is alleged to have a secret passage.
The last, Nimbu (Lemon) Pol has a Chamundi temple beside
it. This is where Prithiviraj died and the young Uday Singh was saved
by his faithful maid legendary 'Panna Dhai' from his uncles, who wanted
to kill him; substituting instead her own son for the baby Prince. This
prince was later crowned as Maharana Udai Sing of Mewar with Kumbhalgarh
as his residence, and established Udaipur after Akbar destroyed Chittorgarh.
Inside the fort, there are 364 temples, out of these 300 are Jain temples.
Even though Rajputs were Hindus but Jainism flourished in this part of
Built during the time of Maharana Kumbha, the temple is located
along the road leading to the palaces. An inscriptions of Kirttistambha
of Chittaurgarh fort, Rana Kumbha consecrated an image of Ganesha in this
Built by Rana Kumbha, it is situated near the Hanuman Pol, faces
west. It is a three storeyed octagonal Jain temple built on raised platform
accessible through a flight of steps. The temple has thirty-six pillars
supporting the domical ceiling. It is built for performing rituals after
completion of the fort. Erected on a high platform, it is renovated later
by Maharana Fateh Singh. Nearby, to the east of this temple is a triple
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
It is the most worth visiting temple at Kumbhalgarh Fort. It is situated
to the east of Vedi Temple. The temple consists of a sanctum which enshrines
a remarkable 5 feet high Shiv linga. This temple is also built on
a raised platform which is accessible through a flight of steps. The temple
was renovated by Rana Sanga later which is mentioned in a stone inscription
on the left pillar of the western gate.
Built by Nar Singh Pokhad in Vikrama Samvat, Parsvanatha Temple
has a three feet high idol of Jaina Tirthankara Parsvanatha.
Bawan Devi Temple
The temple derives its name from the bawan (fifty two) shrines in a single
complex. The temple consists only one entrance. An image of Jaina Tirthankara
is carved on the lalatabimba of the doorway. Out of fifty two Shrines
two are big in size, located in the center. The remaining fifty shrines
are small in size and arranged all around the outer wall. The bigger shrine
among the group consists a sanctum, antarala and an open mandapa.
Golerao Group of Temples
Near to Bawan Devi temple is the Golerao group of temples. Inside
the shrines are embellished with beautiful carved sculptures of gods and
goddesses on its exterior.
Also known as Kumbha Shyam, it is here Rana Kumbha was killed
by his son while kneeling in prayer. It has a flat roofed sanctum , a
pillared mandapa and a number of carved idols of gods and goddesses. An
inscription of Rana Kumbha giving detailed history of Kumbhalgarh was
fixed on this temple.
Pitalia Dev Temple
It is located in the northern part of the fort. It is a Jain
temple built by Pitalia Jain Seth. The temple consists of a pillared sabhamandapa
and a sanctum having entrances from all the four directions. The temple
houses images of gods and goddesses, asparas and dancers.
Palace of Rana Kumbha
Located close to the Pagda Pol, this palace is one of the finest examples
of Rajput architecture. It is a two storeyed building with a beautiful
blue durbar hall. A corridor separated the mardana (men's ) palace from
the zanana (women's) palace. Some of the rooms in the zenana have an attractive
painted frieze with elephants, crocodiles and camels. A circular Ganesh
temple is in the corner of the zenana courtyard. The most noted feature
is the toilets, which has a ventilation system that allowed fresh air
into the room while the toilet was in use.
Badal Mahal (Palace of Clouds)
Built by Rana Fateh Singh (AD 1885-1930), it is the highest point of fortress.
Once have to climb up to terrace through narrow stairs to reach this palace.
It is a two storeyed building with the interior painted in pastel colours.
Like Palace of Rana Kumbha, this palace is also divided
into two interconnected distinct portions - Zanana and the Mardana palace.
This palace is profusely decorated with wall paintings of 19th century
style and some have attractive friezes. The stone jali screens in Zanana
mahal was facilitated the queens to see the court proceedings and other
events in privacy. From here one can get the view the jungle covered hillsides
and across the deserts of Marwar towards Jodhpur.
Birth Place of Maharana Pratap
The building is known as Jhalia ka Malia or the Palace of Queen
Jhali. Situated near Pagda Pol, it is constructed of rubble stone with
plain walls and flat roof. This is believed to be the place where Maharana
Pratap was born.
It is situated in the lush green environs of Aravali, also well known
for its archaeological value. This is very pleasant place to visit. Fauna
in the sanctuary include wolves, Grey jungle fowl, four horned antelope,
leopard, sloth bear and others. March- June is the best time to see the
animals especially the wolves in large numbers. It is ideal for exploring
on foot or horse back.
The famous Ranakpur Jain temples, situated 50 kms away
is the main tourist attraction near the fort. This temple complex is one
of the largest and most important Jain temples in India. The main temple
'Chaumukha' build in 1439 in marble has 29 halls and 1,444 intricately
carved supporting pillars. Dedicated to Adinath, there are two other Jain
temples and a Sun temple nearby. Open - 1200 to 1700hrs.
Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this temple has the rare distinction of having
an idol of Krishna with 4 arms, and weapons in each arm.
The cave temple Parshuram Mahadeo Temple (25 kms), Amaj
Mata Temple (10kms) and the impressive temple of Shrinathji
at Nathdwar (50 Kms) are the other famous temples near
Udaipur - The city of Lakes just 90 Kms from Kumbhalgarh is the major
tourist attraction near Kumbhalgarh.