We all know about the Great Wall of China which is very popular and regarded as the longest man-made structure in the world. Did you know one such wall exists in India which may not be as long as the Great Wall of China but it is probably the second largest wall in the world and known as the great wall of India?
We are talking about the wall of Kumbhal fort in Kumbhalgarh which is a Mewar fortress on the western range of Aravalli Hills, near Udaipur in Rajasthan state. The fort of Kumbhalgarh magnetizes tourists from all across the globe for its scenic beauty and great architecture.
Can you believe that the Kumbhalgarh fort has around perimeter walls of 36 km making it to the second largest wall after the Great Wall of China? The fort was built by Rana Kumbha during the 15th century. It took around 15 long years for Rana Kumbha to build the fort.
Story Behind the Fort Construction
There is another story to the fort construction that when Rana Kumbha started the construction of the fort wall, The structure used to automatically break into ruins by the sunset. Then one spiritual instructor suggested to the king that one voluntary human sacrifice would be required to keep the built structures intact. King announced in his kingdom but nobody volunteered for the sacrifice as expected. Then one day one pilgrim who is also considered to a soldier from the commandment volunteered to sacrifice himself. Therefore, he was ritually sacrificed.
After this King was able to build massive battle walls that could protect the fortress from any attack of intruders. The main gate of the fortress, Hanuman Pol contains a shrine and a temple to honour the great sacrifice of the soldier. According to popular folklore, Maharana Kumbha used to burn massive lamps that consumed fifty kilograms of ghee and 100 kgs of cotton to supply light for the farmers.
Birthplace of Maharana Pratap
Kumbhalgarh is also considered the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the great king, and warrior of Mewar. The fort was occupied until late 19th Century by the rulers of the Indian princely state of Udaipur. The fort is now open to the public. It looks spectacular when it is lit for a few minutes in the evening. It is a World Heritage Site included in Hill Forts of Rajasthan. Kumbhalgarh is situated 82 km northwest of Udaipur by road. It is the most important fort in Mewar after Chittorgarh.
The fort is built on a hilltop on the Aravalli range. The fort is about 1110 meters high when measured from the sea level. The frontal walls are fifteen feet thick. Kumbhalgarh has seven fortified gateways. There are over 360 temples within the fort, 300 ancient Jain, and the rest Hindu.
(The massive gate of Kumbhalgarh fort, called the Ram Gate)
Defence of the Fort
The inaccessibility and hostility of the topography make the fort invincible. It served the rulers of Mewar as a refuge in times of strife. The fort also served as a refuge to King Udai of Mewar in his early childhood when Banbir killed Vikramaditya and usurped the throne. The defence of the fort could be breached only once. It was when the combined armies of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, Raja Man Singh of Amber, Raja Udai Singh of Marwar, and the Mirzas in Gujarat attacked the fort. The combined armies were able to break the defence and the fort army faced a shortage of drinking water.
A Major tourist attraction in Rajasthan
From the top of the fort walls, you can observe a superb panoramic view of the surroundings. The fort is surrounded by the massive wall with a width enough to take eight horses alongside. Maharana Fateh Singh renovated the fort in the 19th century. The fort has an ample size compound in it which has fascinating decay. Waking around it could be very informative.
Kumbhalgarh is a great spot for photographers and people who have an interest in jungle safari. Trekking to Kumbhalgarh Fort is a great way to enjoy your weekend and holidays with your family or friends. Other attraction which you should not miss is the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. It is spread across 578 km² in area and at an altitude of 500 to 1,300 meters.
HOW TO REACH Kumbhalgarh Fort?
You can reach Kumbhalgarh Fort either by taking normal Government buses or you can book a person cab from Udaipur. If you are planning to come by flight, the nearest airport is Udaipur (98 km).
Please share your experiences if you have ever visited the fort or planning to visit the fort.