A quick Google search for places near Kumbhalgarh might just introduce you to the large wildlife sanctuary encircling the massive Mewar fortress in Rajasthan. In fact, the densely-forested Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary might come as a surprise to you with its vast green expanses in a state essentially known for its deserts. No wonder, from ferocious ones like panthers and leopards, to gentle ones like sambars and antelopes, like to call Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary their home.
Loved by animals and Aravalli-lovers alike, Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, some 65 km from Udaipur. Its area of over 500 square kilometres houses wolves, sloth bears, jungle cats, gazelles, chinkara and the roaring big carnivores-leopards and panthers. Who knows you might even find them crossing the thin strip of a street while travelling around the region in night
In the list below are five things you should certainly not miss when at Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. Afterwards there are some tips on how and when to visit the sanctuary to help you with your plans.
1. Exploring Kumbhalgarh Fort
The Great Wall of India, the second longest wall in the world, it is the Kumbhalgarh Fort that lends its name to the wildlife sanctuary. The magnanimous fort, standing at a height of 3,600 feet, rises above the forest, often painting a lonely but glorious picture. It is located 2km from the sanctuary, tea-shops and 300 Jain and Hindu temples inside.
The legend says Rana Kumbha of Mewar and his team took 15 years to build the fort in the 15th Century. It is also known to be the birthplace of the famous Mewar ruler Maharana Pratap.
2. Taking jeep and horse safari at Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Explore the enigma of the jungle and ride through the dense green foliage of the sanctuary while catching the sight of a sambal here, a jungle cat there. The period of October-March is the best for animal-spotting. One of the most popular safari routes is Kumbhalgarh to Thandi Beri. It takes over 3 hours to cover the 15-km distance.
Horse riding is another interesting activity not many know about. You may cover popular routes travel from Kumbhalgarh to Ghanerao via Thandi Beri or Ranakpur Temples at the end of the sanctuary.
3. Visiting Joba Wolf Point
There is small town near Kumbhalgarh called Sadri. At a distance of 7 km from Sadri lies Joba Village, where there is a forest area of 500 hectares. The area is a habitat of Indian wolves and is popularly known as Job Wolf Point.
4. Going on treks and walking trails
The authorities have allowed trekking in the sanctuary. Take advantage of its hilly terrains and trek through the beautiful Aravallis. Some popular trails include Kumbhalgarh to Thandi Beri (14km), Roopnagar to Sumer (98km), Ranakpur to Ranakankar (15km), Malgarh to Magga (8km), Ranakpur to Kumbhalgarh (25km), Roopanmata to Ranakpur (30km) and Ranakpur to Thandi Beri (15km.)
Tirthankar Nature Trail is another interesting nature trail good for those interested in Jain tirthankaras. It is 3.7-km-long. 24 Jain tirthan karas got enlightenment under the trees here.
5. Experiencing royalty at Ghanerao
This is a beautiful hidden gem Rajasthan has holding for years. A truly offbeat place to visit near Kumbhalgarh, Ghanerao is a small village about an hour away from the fort. It is in the Pali district and has artisan villages, Muchhala Mahavir Temple, and a royal castle-turned-heritage-resort, where the Mertiya Rathore royal family still resides. You can also visit the former hunting ground of the royal family that has now been turned into another offbeat resort.
Best time to visit
Located in one of the hottest states of the country, Kumbhalgarh enjoys a warm temperature for most of the year. It is advised to visit the fort between the months of October and March for a more pleasant climate. The chances of animal-spotting are great too during this period. Look for watering holes where you might find the jungle-dwellers in search of some water.
How to reach
Dabok Airport (168 km) in Udaipur is the closest airport, while the nearest railway station is in Falna. Although there are no direct bus routes to Kumbhalgarh from major cities, the nearest bus stand can be found in Nathdwara, some 64 km away.