Kumbhalgarh Fort is located in the Rajasmand district of Rajasthan. The Aravali mountain ranges make this picturesque fortress far more unconquerable as the fort is surrounded by these beautiful mountain ranges.
It’s a World Heritage Site and is the most famous fort in Mewar after Chittorgarh Fort. The fort was built developed in the 15th century by Maharaja Rana Kumbha, from which the fort got its name. It is also said that Rana Kumbha personally designed the architecture of the fort.
Surrounded by thirteen high mountain peaks, the Kumbhalgarh fort is built 1100 meters above the sea level, on one of the highest points of a peak. The fort has got a fortification extending to about 36 km. This lengthy wall has not just entered into the world records, but it has been ranked as the second longest continuous wall of the world, only after ‘The Great Wall of China’. To include to the splendidness of the massive and complex fort, there are temples, gardens and palaces inside it. While you are heading towards the Kumbhalgarh fort, it is most likely that you will come across a zigzag path that stretches through the thick forests and deep ravines. Following this path, you would be able to get to the Arait Pol for entrance. Further on heading ahead, you would be able to get to other gateways as well, like the Bhariava Pol, Nimboo Pol, Top-khana Pol, Paghra Pol, Hanuman Pol, Hulla Pol and Ram Pol.
According to legend, in 1443 AD, Rana Kumbha, was repeatedly unsuccessful in attempts to build the fort wall. A holy preceptor was consulted about the construction problems and then, he advised the ruler that a voluntary human sacrifice would solve whatever was causing the hindrance. He also advised Rana Kumbha to build a temple where the human head will fall and building the wall and the fort where the rest of his body lay. For some period of time, no one volunteered, but one day, a man volunteered and was ritually decapitated. Today, the main gate of the fortress, Hanuman Pol, contains a shrine and a temple to salute the great sacrifice.
Rana Kumbha’s kingdom of Mewar extended from Ranthambore to Gwalior and included large tracts of erstwhile Madhya Pradesh as well as Rajasthan. Out of the 84 forts in his supremacy, Rana Kumbha is believed to have designed 32 of them, of which Kumbhalgarh is the largest and most intricate. Kumbhalgarh also separated Mewar and Marwar from each other and was used as a place of shelter for the rulers of Mewar at times of war and danger. The most notable instance was in the case of Maharaja Udai Singh II, the infant king of Mewar who was smuggled here in 1535 AD, when Chittor was under siege. Maharaja Udai Singh, son of Rana Sanga, who later succeeded to the throne, was also the founder of the Udaipur. During early 19th century, Rana Fateh Singh took great steps to build the palace once again. The big complex inside the fort allows one to explore the beautiful ancient reminiscences.
There are around seven massive gates to the Kumbhalgarh fort. There are also seven ramparts that are folded with each other along with decorated walls accompanied by giant watch towers and curved bastions. The structure of the fort is so strong and its foundation is so solid that fort remained unconquered till date. The gigantic walls of the Kumbhalgarh fort are so broad that on it, around eight to nine horses can be made to stand side by side. Inside the Kumbhalgarh Fort’s complex, there are around 360 temples. Among all these temples, the Shiva temple, also known as Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, attracts a lot of tourists and pilgrims because of the huge Shivalinga. The road that leads to the palace has got a Lord Ganesha temple, which was built by Maharana Pratap. Another famous temple is the Vedi temple, which was erected by Rana Kumbha in 1457 AD so that he could perform the rituals after the construction of the Kumbhalgarh Fort. The Vedi temple is a two storey building and it is built on a high platform.
At the extreme top of the Kumbhalgarh Fort, there is a famous palace which is very popular and attracts large number of tourists from all over India. The palace is called as the ‘Badal Mahal’, in the local language. However, its interpretation in English means, the Palace of Cloud. This palace is also the birth place of one of the bravest and strongest warrior and ruler, the great Maharana Pratap. Anyone who goes to the Badal Mahal would be able to get a breathtaking panoramic view of the awe-inspiring Aravali mountain ranges.
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