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Head to Kumbhalgarh Fort

Where royalty still resides!

According to local guides, the Kumbhalgarh Fort is the second longest, continuous wall in the world after the Great Wall of China. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has within its boundaries, thousands of ancient temples, palaces and even a wildlife park with endangered animals. In spite, of these superlatives, it takes only a moment to recognize the beauty and magnificence of this fort, that is also the birthplace of the legendary warrior Maharana Pratap, a popular figure in Rajasthani folklore.

Located 80 kms north of Udaipur, on the western section of the Aravali range, it was constructed in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha, who ruled Mewar during this period. He built 32 forts during his lifetime, although this one remains not just the most popular but also undefeated as no outside army was able to lay claim to it. It only fell  once, and that too due to a shortage of drinking water, when the the combined forces of Mughal Emperor Akbar, Raja Man Singh of Amber, Raja Udai Singh of Marwar, and the Mirzas in Gujarat attacked the fort. It is believed that Akbar later returned the fort to its rulers.

Viewed from outside, the wall appears almost impossible to reach without modern transport systems and impossible to breach, making it even more awe-inspiring. And if that is the situation in modern times, imagine the kind of reception it would have received from the medieval traveller. After travelling through a landscape of wild forests and lakes, this fort rises from the summit of a hill, the second highest elevation in the state after Mount Abu.

One of the most flamboyantly built fort, the entire area encompasses more than 360 intact and ruined temples, (some of which go back as far as the 2nd century BC when the Mauryan empire ruled India), along with palaces, gardens and stepwells and close to 700 cannon bunkers. And while each part of the fort is built aesthetically, nowhere is this flamboyance more evidently displayed  than at its crenellated ramparts that weave themselves through remote Aravalli forests for an incredible 36 kilometres. The wall is supported by nearly 30 foot high boulders shaped butteresses and varies in thickness from 15 to 25 feet, and eight horsemen could ride it astride, if historical records are to be believed.

Historically, there are many reasons why giant walls are constructed - from monitoring border activities to intimidating enemies and protecting vast realms. But building such a protective boundary around Kumbhalgarh Fort is unique, as such a huge protective boundary around a single fort has never happened before. The wall around the fort made it virtually impossible to be defeated from outside and almost a decade to build. Add to that the ramparts of the fort embraces every small pit and bump in the way, there are some stunning and spectacular views of the Kumbhalgarh wildlife Sanctuary and hills around it that you can witness from the fort. Highly unmissable, a visit to this fort has to top your list, when you come to Kumbhalgarh.

PS: Every evening for 45 minutes, there is a sound and light show that takes place at the fort. The show depicts the history of the fort and is a great way to understand the rich and royal culture of the Rajput kingdom. Narrated in Hindi, the show is organised by the Rajasthan State Government Tourism Department and the fort stays illuminated for one hour, post the show.

Time for show: 6:45 - 7:30 PM (daily)

Price: INR 75

 

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