Kumbhalgarh is very popular tourist destination, located in
the south of Rajasthan. With its important historic significance,
beautiful natural settings, wildlife sanctuary and convenient location, it
has become a must visit destination. Kumbhalgarh has so much to offer to
everyone from leisure & business travellers to nature & adventure lovers.
It is world renowned for the massive Kumbhalgarh Fort with the second
largest wall in the world after great wall of China. Recently Kumbhalgarh
Wildlife Sanctuary got the title of National Park.
Its location had always been Kumbhalgarh's greatest advantage. Because it
was virtually inaccessible in the 15th century, Rana Kumbha of Mewar built
this great defensive fortress on a 3,500 feet (1,100 meters) high hill
overlooking the approaches from Ajmer and Marwar. Today, precisely because
it is within easy reach of Udaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer, and Pushkar-yet off
the well trodden tourist routes-Kumbhalgarh is an attractive destination.
How to Reach
By Air - Nearest airport is Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur (84
km/2.5 hrs). Government and private buses run practically every hour from
the Chetak Bus Stand.
By Rail - Nearest railhead is Falna (80km/2.5 hrs).
By Road - From the north of Udaipur, take NH76 for about 25 km till
Iswal; turn right o the main Losingh Crossing from where you turn left for
Barwarha, Auda and Kelwara and on to Kumbhalgarh.
Kumbhalgarh - History
In Kumbha's time the kingdom of Mewar spread from Ranthambore to Gwalior,
including vast tracts of present-day Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Mewar's
rulers became patrons of all that was best in Indian martial and fine
arts, architecture, and learning. Of the 84 fortresses defending Mewar, 32
were designed and built by Rana Kumbha. Of these, Kumbhalgarh with its
36-kilometer long wall and soaring towers is the most impressive.
Kumbhalgarh stands on the site of an ancient citadel dating back to the
second century AD belonging to a Jain descendant of India's Mauryan
emperors. It defined the boundaries between Mewar and Marwar and became a
refuge for Mewar's rulers in times of strife. Its steel gray ramparts
encircle the fertile Shero Mallah Valley, with ancient monuments
cenotaphs, ponds and flourishing farms. Kumbhalgarh fell only once in its
history, to the combined forces of Emperor Akbar, Raja Man Singh of Amber,
and Raja Udai Singh of Amber, and Raja Udai Singh of Marwar.
Kumbhalgarh - Tourist Attractions
A priest is still employed by the present Maharana to care for the shrines
of his ancestors. And twice a day the Pandit's family makes the stiff
uphill climb to the castle to light the sacred lamps before
vermilion-daubed images of Hanuman, Chamunda, and Ekling. There is an
octagonal room in which Rana Pratap was born, apart from, the hall in
which his grandson Prince Karan entertained the future Mughal Emperor
Shahjahan, the beacon tower from which a flame summoned Mewar's chieftains
to war. The austere chambers, the vast reservoirs kept full by elephant
relays, the simple garden court for the royal ladies, the easily
defendable narrow staircases all declared that this was primarily a
warrior's hideout, not a palace for princely pomp and show.
The imaginatively designed Aohdi nearby belongs to a descendant of one of
those great warrior families, the Rathores of Ghanerao, who enjoyed the
distinction of having the only hereditary seat among the premier nobles of
both Mewar and Marwar. The Aohdi's castle-type cottages provide comfort
and privacy for those seeking a peaceful retreat, plus a base for horse
safari and trekking enthusiasts.
Horse lovers and adventure seekers can enjoy the thrill of riding and
camping in the Reserve Forest around Kumbhalgarh. Each group is
accompanied by experienced sawars. Horses, tents, food and fodder are
provided by the Aohdin on prior notice at a very reasonable cost compared
to a hacking holiday in Europe or America.
A hazardous, barely jeepable track takes you to the 586 square kilometer
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. The main attraction here would be panther,
sloth bear, wild boar, four-horned antelope or crocodiles, "scientifically
bred" in the lake.
The Crocodile Farm has a guesthouse belonging to the Forest Department and
overnight stays are possible. Good forest cover, jungle berries, fruits
and nuts, water grasses, algae, and fish provide sustenance for thousands
of flamingoes, sarus cranes, spoonbills, painted storks, cormorants,
purple heron, egrets, duck, and rosy pelican in winter. One also finds
plenty of chakor partridge, crow pheasants, jungle warblers, golden
orioles, gray jungle fowl, and the usual peacocks; parrots, pigeons, and
Kumbhalgarh - Places Nearby
Ranakpur Jain Temples
The famous Ranakpur temples are just 50 kilometers from Kumbhalgarh by the
scenic route through Vanpura and Saira.
Begun in 1438 by Rana Kumbha, Ranakpur became a strangely tranquil
meditation center in a frequently war ravaged land. It also became a
magnificent sculpture museum to which wealthy Jain merchants and ministers
kept adding shrines and statues. The central Chaumukha Temple is dedicated
to the venerated Tirthankara Adinath. With its 29 halls and 1,444
distinctly different carved pillars, this is an astounding monument. Two
temples dedicated to the Jain saints, Parasnath and Neminath have
beautiful erotic carvings very similar to those which have made Khajuraho
famous. And truly worth visiting is the much earlier, probably 6th
century, Sun Temple close by, which has polygonal walls richly embellished
with warriors, horses, and booted solar deities driving splendid chariots.
Ghanerao is the place where Thakur Sajjan Singhji and his gracious wife
have recreated a charming old-world ambience by opening this castle
constructed in 1603 to paying guests. The genuine warmth of his greeting
as he strode across the courtyard towards us, the bright wall frescoes,
hunting trophies, turbaned retainers, peeing maids, carved jharokhas,
drawing rooms full of colored windows and chandeliers, Rajput miniatures,
ostrich eggs hand printed by the owner in Mayo College, all those old
If you want to go back further in past in history then this is a must
visit place. A secluded very inconveniently located ancient cave where 'Rishi'
parshuram did his sadhna, from era of Ram and Sita. It has almost 500
steps which take you down to the cave. You would definitely get moved by
the atomosphere inside the cave. The priest would tell you lot of history
along with the formations which are called 'Kamdhenu' if you donate meager
100 Rs, which indeed is a big help for people over there to maintain and
sustain themselves in such adverse geographical location.