Nestled in the folds of the Aravalli ranges, lies the massive Kumbalgarh Fort. It is located nearly 80 km from Udaipur. Built in 1458 by Rana Kumbha, this massive fort stands 1090 ft above sea level. It is a striking example of excellent defensive fortification. Perhaps it is the second most significant citadel in Rajasthan, after Chittorgarh.
The trip to the fort involves cutting across deep ravines and a ride or drive through the thick, dark jungles which form a part of the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary close by. The 'Eye of the Mewar' as it was called; this fort has had an almost unconquered history and offered refuge to the Mewar rulers during the times of war.
Kumbalgarh Fort was built with great care so as to strongly withstand any type of attack. Designed according to the Vastu Shastras, the crenellated walls, the tall watch towers, rounded bastions with seven magnificent gates and ramparts, makes this mighty fort an impregnable structure. Some of the important buildings within the fort are Badal Mahal, Kumbha Palace and a number of Brahmanical and Jain temples. Water reservoirs, baoris, chhattris, etc. create a holistic picture of the erstwhile glory of the Rajputs.
The most characteristic feature of this fort is that it has another fort within itself! The remains of the inner fort of Kartargarh can still be seen. But in spite of such exhaustive fortifications and its hostile topography, the fort fell to the Mughal Emperor Akbar, due to the scarcity of drinking water. However, it was conquered back again by King Maharana Pratap. That was the only time it was assailed. The fort has a 36 km long embattlement wall with a thickness of around 25ft. The Kumbalgarh Fort holds pride of having the second longest continuous wall in the world after the Great Wall of China.
The Hanuman Pol, Bhairava Pol, Hulla Pol and the Paghra Pol are the names of some of the majestic gates that guard the Kumbalgarh Fort. Apart from the fort, the complex has an array of temples, temple ruins and once magnificent palaces, gardens and water-storage facilities. Neelkanth Mahadev, with its slender fluted pillars, is the oldest of the temples in the fort complex, that was built by Rana Kumbha for daily worship.
The palace can be accessed only through one of the seven gates. In the past centuries, during times of danger, signals would be immediately sent to the Hulla Pol or the Gate of Disturbance. The marks of the Mughal cannon shots are still visible on the gates, and if you can hear enough you could even hear the battle cries resonating through the mighty ramparts…
The third gate called Hanuman Pol leads you to a temple; a small shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman, though most of it is in ruins now. The attacking cavalry was used to be ushered at the Paghra Pol aka the Stirrup Gate, which is the fifth gate.
An escape tunnel is said to be present in the Topekhana Pol or the Cannon Gate. Out of the seven gates that the fort houses, the last gate called Nimbhoo Pol is located near the temple Chamundi. Badal Mahal, also known as Palace of the Clouds, is located on the highest terrace of the fort. It is a magnificent structure which offers amazing views of the beautiful thick dense forests below. Mandalgarh Fort, also built by King Kumbha, lies in a vast sparsely populated area of ruins with the lake and the town lying below the ramparts. A visit to the Kumbalgarh Fort in all its splendour will help us understand the history of Rajasthan better!
Last Updated On: 2011/07/08