Kumbhalgarh is a Mewar fortress in the Rajsamand District of
Rajasthan state in western India. 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. The walls of the fort of Kumbhalgarh
extend over 38 km, claimed to be the second-longest continuous wall after
the Great Wall of China.
The massive gate of Kumbhalgarh fort, called the Ram Pol (Ram Gate). Built
by Rana Kumbha in the 15th century on an unassailable hill, the fort fell
only once, due to a shortage of water. 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 to build 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, or some versions suggest a soldier,
and some 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
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.
The Kumbhalgarh was built and ruled by Kumbha and his dynasty who were
Sisodia descendents. 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 also separated Mewar and Marwar from each other and was used
as a place of refuge for the rulers of Mewar at times of danger. A notable
instance was in the case of Prince Udai, the infant king of Mewar who was
smuggled here in 1535, when Chittaur was under siege. Prince Udai who
later succeeded to the throne was also the founder of the Udaipur City.
The fort remained impregnable to direct assault, and fell only once, due
to a shortage of drinking water, to the combined forces of Mughal Emperor
Akbar, Raja Man Singh of Amber, Raja Udai Singh of Marwar, and the Sultan
The fort is entered from the south through a gate known as Aret Pol,
followed by gateways known as Halla Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ram Pol and Vijay
Pol. The Hanuman Pol is significant as it enshrines an image of Hanuman
which was brought by Rana Kumbha from Mandavpur. The palatial complex at
the top is approached further through three gateways viz., the Bhairon Pol,
the Nimboo Pol and the Paghra Pol. One more gateway is situated on the
east which is known as Danibatta. This gateway connects Mewar region with
The palace of Rana Kumbha is located close to the Pagda Pol. The palace is
a two storeyed edifice. It consists of two rooms, a corridor in the middle
and open spaces. The rooms are provided with jharokas and windows in
BIRTH PLACE OF MAHARANA PRATAP
The mansion known as Jhalia ka Malia or the Palace of Queen Jhali is
situated near Pagda Pol. This is believed to be the place where Maharana
Pratap was born. It is constructed of rubble stone with plain walls and
flat roof. The traces of painting can still be seen on the wall.
Badal Mahal is situated at the highest point of the fort. It was built by
Rana Fateh Singh (AD 1885-1930). The palace is a two storeyed structure
divided into two interconnected distinct portions i.e. the Zanana Mahal
and the Mardana Mahal. This palace is profusely decorated with wall
paintings. The Zanana mahal is provided with stone jalis which facilitated
the queens to see the court proceedings and other events in privacy.