Everyone has heard of the great wall of China. But how many of us have heard about the great wall of India?
If you haven’t, let me introduce you to the majestic fort of Kumbhalgarh in Rajasthan. Situated under the Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Kumbhalgarh was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. Apart from that, it’s the second-largest fort complex in India, ranking just after another jewel of Rajasthan, the Chittor Fort.
Strangely, the early history of the fort is still unclear. The fort’s present design was created by Rana Kumbha, the Rana of Mewar from the Sisodia Rajput clan. It stood undefeated despite many attacks from outside forces through the ages. Here is something interesting— it is considered the birthplace of the legendary king, Maharana Pratap.
Are you based in North India and thinking, “what are the places to visit near me”? Well, Kumbhalgarh is just 82 kilometers away from Udaipur and around 350 kilometers away from Jaipur. Even though it is away from the known tourist circuits of Rajasthan, it’s one place you can’t afford to miss.
So in this article, we will tell you all about the tourist attractions in Kumbhalgarh and more. Keep reading.
Kumbhalgarh Sightseeing & Things To Do in 2021
There are plenty of exciting things to do in Kumbhalgarh for tourists and history buffs as well. Here is a list of the most important tourist attractions and activities in the area.
Undoubtedly, the fort is the prime attraction of the spot. This gigantic citadel built across multiple peaks of the Aravalli range separated the kingdoms of Marwar and Mewar. It was built during the 15th century. In Rana Kumbha’s period, the kingdom of Mewar stretched from Ranthambore to Gwalior and extended into the current state of Madhya Pradesh.
The striking architecture of the ramparts and the bastions of the fort catches your eye from the first glance itself. There are 7 fortified gateways and 360 temples, including many from Jain and Hindu faiths. Like the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple and the Parsvanath Temple, some of them present beautiful examples of stone architecture.
Once you reach the top of the fort, visit the grand setting of the two-storied ‘Badal Mahal’ or the Palace of Clouds. From there, you can also catch a breathtaking view of the countryside and the mountain ranges. The huge complex of the fort will take an entire day for a detailed visit.
Take an E-Bike tour
Explore the historic town of Kumbhalgarh on this exciting e-bike trail. This unique destination is the birthplace of Mewar’s legendary king, Maharana Pratap. Surrounded by great architecture and the Aravalli hills, you will find yourself lost in the beauty of this place.
We visit a mysterious lake believed to be in the shape of the Indian map. Furthermore, we pass through the fish point, a small lake town known as Hammeripal Lake, famous for being the home of African Catfish. This experience will indeed leave you amazed!
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
This is a great destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. It covers 578 square kilometers stretching across the arid but attractive landscape of the Aravalli ranges. If Rajasthan reminds you only of deserts, you’ll be surprised to see the greenery in this sanctuary.
The area was once the kings’ royal hunting grounds and was converted into a sanctuary in 1971. The wildlife consists of a wide range of species, some of which are in the endangered category. A few of the prominent species include wolves, leopards, sambhar, and the nilgai. It also has over 200 species of birds. Among them, the prominent ones are the jungle fowl, parakeets, golden oriole, peacocks, and doves.
The sanctuary is also home to various tribal cultures, including the Bhils and the Garasias. A visit to their villages can be an enriching cultural experience. There are regular jungle safaris conducted here. If you prefer something more exciting, there are arrangements for horseback tours.
Located just below the fort, this beautiful temple is a classic example of stonework. Rana Kumbha built it in 1460. The striking architecture and the peaceful setting allow it to stand apart with its elegance. The temple has four stone slabs upon which the history of Mewar was etched. The slabs are now preserved in the museum of Udaipur.
The temple has a beautiful reservoir and an idol of Lord Kuber, the God of wealth. As an added attraction, there are two cenotaphs, constructed in the memory of Rana Kumbha and Prithviraj Chauhan.
Neelkanth Mahadev temple
This is an ancient Shiva temple located within the complex of the Kumbhalgarh Fort. It was originally built in 1458 and was renovated at a later date by Rana Sangha, who was a devotee of Shiva. The sanctum holds a 6-ft-high monolith Shiva lingam, which is carved from a single block of Kasauti stone. If you do not know this already, Kasauti is a special stone used to check the purity of gold.
Legends say that Rana Sanga was so tall that his eyes were at level with the top of the Shiva lingam when he sat down to offer prayers. The beautifully carved walls and ceiling of the temple are the other attractions. Beyond that, you can also enjoy the light and sound show that is organized every evening on the fort from the temple complex.
When you are in Kumbhalgarh, you can not miss another hidden gem, the Jain temple in Ranakpur. Located just 50 kilometers away, it is one of the largest temples for the Jains and is also considered one of the most sacred. Dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankar Adinath, it was established in the year 1437.
Constructed from light-colored marble, this exquisitely designed temple complex has a basement area of 48000 square feet. There are various temples inside the complex, and some of the most important ones are the Chaumukha temple, Parsavanath temple, Amba Mata Temple, and Surya Temple. Among these, the Chaumukha temple is dedicated to Adinath.
The intricate carvings of the pillars, ceilings, and windows are a sight to behold. There are three stories in total, and legends say that no two pillars in the temple are designed in the same way. Also, the design ensures that no artificial lighting is needed in the temple. It is completely illuminated by the sun during the day.
Quite simply, this is a wonder that you cannot afford to miss.
Fairs and Festivals
Fairs and festivals are an integral part of Rajasthan, and Kumbhalgarh is no exception. The special Gher Ghoomer festival is celebrated in the Chamunda Devi temple by the surrounding villages. This six-century old tradition is a colorful extravaganza where the tribal folk from the Bheels, Garasias, and Rawats sing and dance with much enthusiasm. The environment remains joyous as a local brew is offered to all those willing to participate in the celebrations.
A special Kumbhalgarh festival is also organized by Rajasthan tourism in the winter months. With the fort as the venue, this colorful festival celebrates Maharana Kumbha’s contribution to the art and culture of the state. The events include Sufi songs, Rajasthani folk dance, and a special snake dance.
This is a popular activity that many tourists enjoy in Kumbhalgarh. Some of the popular routes include a multi-day trek through the Kumbhalgarh, Ghanerao, and Sumer areas. The unique routes take you inside the sanctuary and also through some tribal villages. There is another trekking route that runs from Kumbhalgarh to Ranakpur. Other than that, there are long treks along the fort’s walls, allowing you to explore the beauty of its surroundings from a close range.
Best Time to Visit Kumbhalgarh
The best time for visiting Kumbhalgarh is during the winter and spring seasons. This includes the months of October, November, December, February, and March. During winter, the chances of spotting wildlife in the sanctuary are also high.
In general, the area around Kumbhalgarh has a tropical climate. The summer temperatures can rise as high as 45o C. In the winter months of December and January, the lowest temperatures can be around 8o C.
While rainfall is limited in the area, the rainy season between July and September brings about a flourish of green amidst the desert setting of Rajasthan. So it can even be a special monsoon getaway for you.
How to Reach Kumbhalgarh
Kumbhalgarh is well-connected with the major cities of Rajasthan, including Jaipur and Udaipur. If you arrive in Jaipur, a direct journey can be a long one. So it’s best to visit Udaipur first. Udaipur also has a domestic airport that is connected to Jaipur and New Delhi. By road, Kumbhalgarh is around 84 kilometers from Udaipur via the Maharana Pratap Marg.
The best part about Kumbhalgarh is there are plenty of activities that bring you close to the rustic traditions and the architectural grandeur of Rajasthan. In case you are looking for a great family activity in the area, you can try a biking trip. It takes you to some unique spots around the area, allowing you to explore its beauty in a leisurely place. Besides, it is also a great trip for the kids.
Now that you know about the best places to visit in and around Kumbhalgarh, it is time to get going and plan the trip. For sure, you’ll be glad you did.