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Kumbhalgarh Fort

Place : Rajasmand District, Rajasthan
Best Season : October and March
Significance : The second most important fort in Rajasthan after Chittaurgarh Fort.
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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 India. 

Ganesh Temple
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 temple.

Vedi Temple
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 shrined temple.

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. 

Parsvanatha Temple
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. 

Mamadeo Temple
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.
Nearby Attraction

Kumbhalgarh sanctuary
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.

Charbhuja Temple

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 the fort.

Udaipur - The city of Lakes just 90 Kms from Kumbhalgarh is the major tourist attraction near Kumbhalgarh.