Encircled by thirteen elevated mountain peaks, the fort is constructed on the top most ridges around 1,914 meters above sea level. The fortifications of the fort extend to the length of 36 kilometers and this fact has made this fort to be in the international records. It is stated to be the second longest wall in the world, the first being ''the Great Wall of China''. The huge complex of the Fort has numerous palaces, temples and gardens making it more magnificent.
On your way to Kumbhalgarh fort, a few kilometers before, you will find yourself on a zigzag road going through deep ravines and thick forests. This way would take you to the Arait Pol, where you can trace the watch-tower and then Hulla Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ram Pol, Bhairava Pol, Paghra Pol, Top-khana Pol and Nimboo Pol will come across your track.
The impregnable Fort boasts of seven massive gates, seven ramparts folded with one another with designed walls toughened by curved bastions and huge watch towers. The strong structure and solid foundation of the Fort made it unbeatable till date. The hefty walls of the fort are broad enough to stand eight horses side by side. There are not less than 360 temples inside the complex of the Fort. Amongst all of them, Shiva Temple is worth visiting that comprises a huge Shivalinga (Phallic form).
The Fort is also known for its famous palace that resides on the top of structure. This beautiful palace is known as 'Badal Mahal' or the Palace of Cloud. It is also accredited to be the birth place of great warrior Maharana Pratap. This palace has beautiful rooms with lovely color combination of green, turquoise and white presenting a bright contrast to the earthy colors of the Fort. This place gives the appearance of being wandering in the world of clouds. Cloud Palace also offers a fantastic panoramic vista of the down town.
In the late 19th century, Rana Fateh Singh once again took the initiative to rebuild this remarkable palace. In the times of dissension, the fort also offered refuge to the rulers of Mewar. Even, the baby king Udai Singh was kept here safe during the time of battles. The large complex of the Fort offers ancient remnants to explore and one can spend a pleasurable evening while strolling through the ravines of Kumbhalgarh Fort.
HISTORY OF KUMBHALGARH
Under the rule of the king Rana Kumbha, the kingdom of Mewar stretched right from Ranthambore to Gwalior. The kingdom also included vast tracts of Madhya Pradesh as well as Rajasthan. About 84 fortresses have been defending Mewar from its enemies. Out of the 84, Rana Kumbha, himself, has designed about 32 of them. Of all the fortresses, which have been designed by Rana Kumbha, Kumbhalgarh has been the most impressive, famous and the massive one with a wall of the length 36Km. The fort lies at about 90Kms away from Udaipur towards its Northwest. It is situated at about 1914m above the sea level and is the most important fort after Chittorgarh.
The site where Kumbhalgarh stands once was a bastion, which belonged to the Jain descendent of Mauryan emperors of India during the second century AD. It also separated Mewar and Marwar from each other and was also use as a place of refuge for the rulers of Mewar at times of danger, especially Prince Udai, the baby king of Mewar. It was only once in the entire history that Kumbhalgarh was taken or it could not defend or breach its defense when the combined armies of Emperor Akbar, Raja Udai Singh of Amber along with the armies of Raja Man Singh of Amber and Raja Udai Singh of Marwar attacked the fort of Kumbhalgarh. That too happened because of the scarcity of drinking water.
Kumbhalgarh is the same place where prince Udai was smuggled to in 1535. This happened when Chittaur was under siege. Prince Udai who later became the successor to the throne also became the founder of the Udaipur City. The renowned Maharana Pratap, who fought against the army lead by Akbar in the battle of Haldighati in the year 1576, was also born at Kumbhalgarh.
Rana Kumbha who found the fort of Kumbhalgarh got it constructed in the 15th Century. Kumbhalgarh Fort was one of the very few forts in history, which never got conquered. One of the most important reasons stated for it is the aggressive or the hostile landscape of the fort. A thick wall that is 36Kms long surrounds this remarkable fort. The perimeter of the wall is assumed to be the longest after the Great Wall Of China. The wall stretches across the Aravali Mountains. The fort is about 1100m high from the sea level and offers a marvelous view of the surrounding area. The main attractions of the fort consist of mesmerizing palaces along with about 360 different types of temples inside it with 300 being the Jain temples and the remaining being the Hindu temples.
13 mountain peaks surround the fort of Kumbhalgarh, 7 huge gates guard the fort and immense watchtowers further strengthen it. The Badal Mahal Palace is right at the top of the fort. The palace has beautiful rooms and is painted in the colours of green, white and turquoise, thus providing an interesting contrast to the raw and grim fortress. Kumbhalgarh is also the place where the great warrior of Mewar, the legendary Maharana Pratap was born.
The Mewar Fortress in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan was renovated and enlarged again by Maharana Fateh Singh in the 19th Century. Now it is accessible to the public and tourists as a museum. The fort is easily accessible and is just about 60Kms away from the city of Udaipur.
It is also said that the Maharana of Kumbhalgarh failed to build the fort's wall for several times. Then later after they consulted a pilgrim about this problem, he advised that them to behead him and to build up a temple wherever his head fell. He also asked them to build the wall where his body laid. Following his advice the wall, which is the second largest wall in the world, was built.
Kumbhalgarh - Location
Its location had always been Kumbhalgarh's greatest advantage. Because it was virtually inaccessible in the 15th century, Rana Kumbha of Mewar built this great defensive fortress on a 3,500 feet (1,100 meters) high hill overlooking the approaches from Ajmer and Marwar. Today, precisely because it is within easy reach of Udaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer, and Pushkar-yet off the well trodden tourist routes-Kumbhalgarh is an attractive destination.
The renowned Jain temple at Ranakpur is dedicated to Tirthankara Adinatha.
Local legend has it that Dharma Shah, a local Jain businessperson, started construction of the temple in the 15th century following a divine vision. The temple honors Adinath, the first Tirthankar and founder of the Jain religion. The town of Ranakpur and the temple are named after the provincial ruler monarch, Rana Kumbha who supported the construction of the temple.
The construction is well documented in a 1437 CE copper-plate record,inscriptions in the temple and a Sanskrit text Soma-Saubhagya Kavya. Inspired by a dream of a celestial vehicle, Dhanna Shah, from Ghanerao a Porwal, commenced its construction, under the patronage of Rana Kumbha, then ruler of Mewar. The architect who oversaw the project was named Deepaka. There is an inscription on a pillar near the main shrine stating that in 1439 Deepaka, an architect, constructed the temple at the direction of Dharanka, a devoted Jain. When the ground floor was completed, Acharya Soma Sundar Suri of Tapa Gachha supervised the ceremonies, which are described in Soma-Saubhagya Kavya. The construction continued until 1458AD.
The temple was renovated time to time. Some famililies supported the construction of devakulikas and mandaps. The descendants of Dharanashah now mainly live in Ghanerao. The temple has been managed by the Anandji Kalyanji Pedhi trust in the past century.
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