kumbhalgarh fort was designed and constructed by the then ruler of Mewar, Rana Kumbha. Built in the 15th century it is the second most elaborate and important fort after Chittargarh. The wall of the fort runs for 36 kms long which makes it the second longest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China. The fort is located on top of Aravalli hills at a height of around 1100 meters. Rana Kumbha and his decedents were part of the Sisodia dynasty who ruled Mewar region of Rajasthan for a long time. During the time of distress kumbhalgarh fort was the refuge for Mewar rulers. The fort is very uniquely positioned on top of hills with difficult access ways through forest. It is located in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan around 84 km from Udaipur.
The fort fell only once when the Mughal army laid siege and got to enter the fort by tricking/threatening three women. The women said not to kill them and they will show the route to enter the fort. The women threw flowers on the way while walking to the fort door while Mughal army followed at a distance. But the Mughals could not get hold of anything. The king had left the fort to safety through a hidden route. Later Rana Kumbha regained the fort and three women were posted alive inside the frontal walls of kumbhalgarh fort as a punishment. Three heads of women were erected where they were posted so that people can see what will happen to traitors.
The fort has numerous temple, around 300 for Jains and the others for Hindus. From the high tracts of the fort one can see long ranges of Aravalli hill, Mewar region on one side and Marwar region on the other side. There is a very interesting story associated with the construction of kumbhalgarh fort. In 1443 when Rana Kumbha started to built kumbhalgarh fort , the walls were built and the next day the walls gave way. This kept on happening for several days. The constructor told the king there might be some issue with a devi (goddess) in that area and that a saint below in the plains can only help. So the saint was contacted and he advised that this will be resolved only if someone voluntarily offers himself for human sacrifice. King was concerned who will offer himself for doing so! Then the saint himself offered for sacrifice and ordered the king to prepare for so. He told he will be walking on the hill and at a particular area he will stop. There he should be killed and a temple of Goddess should be built there. He will still continue walking demarcating the walls of the fort. This was followed and then the king was able to built the large magnificent fort.
Young Uday Singh who was saved by Panna Dhai, who sacrificed her own son was also smuggled to kumbhalgarh fort for safety. Maharana Pratap, the great warrior king of Mewar who loved freedom more than anything else was born in kumbhalgarh fort. I was told that Maharana Kumbha used to burn massive ghee lamps on the high tracts of the fort to provide lights to the farmer in the valley who work in the fields at night.
I went to kumbhalgarh fort in the evening of the same day I reached Club Mahindra. kumbhalgarh fort is located around 2 km away from Club Mahindra. The drive from Club Mahindra resort to the fort is a very scenic one through the ghat section and bushy forest. The approach to the fort is a narrow lane which opens up in front of the the intimidating Hanuman pol (gate).
Entrance fee: Rs 10 per person (Indian)
Parking fee: Rs 20
Camera fees: Rs 50
A look at the thick massive walls gives an idea how strong the fort might be. There are 7 gates in the fort namely Ram pol, Pagra pol, Hanuman pol etc. I could not explore the fort much as it was late evening and the light and dance show was about to start. People are seated for the show near Neelkant Mahadev temple. I sat on the bench of the right hand side of Neelkath Mahadev temple for the show while enjoy awesome cool breeze. The light and sound show talks about the entire history of kumbhalgarh fort. As of now the show is only in Hindi. I was told efforts are being made to have it in English as well. Club Mahindra has sponsored the entire cost for the light and sound show at kumbhalgarh fort.
A day may be less to see kumbhalgarh fort completely. A good way of seeing it may be to take a walk along the length and breath of the fort. The fort is beautifully lit everyday in the evening for a brief period after the light and sound show. This makes for some awesome shots. Be there to discover it for yourself!