Kumbalgarh Fort

By Sanjeev Nayyar Sanjeev@esamskriti.com | 2008

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Attributed to Maharana Kumbha Kumbalgarh fort was built between 1443-1458 a.d. under supervision of the famous architect Mandan. After the Great Wall of China Kumbalgarh has the longest fort wall in the world ie 36 kms. It stands on the Aravali hills with a strategic position and is the second most important fort after Chittorgarh. In its long history the fort was never captured. The best part is you discover the fort only when you get close to it. The fort has 360 temples, 300 Jain & 60 Hindu of which only 6 Hindu temples are practicing ones Clicked this a short distance away from the fort. On the left is the famous Badal Mahal. In the center of the pic is the entrance.

Fort is situated at a height of 3,600 feet and 84 kms from Udaipur. We drove from Nathdwara to Kumbalgarh, took about an hour. Clicked this picture from Badal Mahal which is the highest point in the fort. You see the road approaching the fort. The earlier picture was clicked from the road. The orange structure in front is the place where Rana Pratap was born. Although we did not see the fort at night it has lots of lights meaning it is illuminated at night.

This is the main entrance to the fort. Gives you an idea of its imposing walls. Since the fort’s highlight is its long wall the next few pictures are arranged in a manner by which you get a sense of 36kms wall.

On the left of the pic you see the entrance. The picture shows you the fort on the right of the entrance.

Clicked this picture from Badal Mahal. On the left is a Shiv mandir next to which you see a small Adhinath temple. Dwellings that you see are mostly of Muslims. On the right you see the Vedi Mandir. On the right you see the fort wall from the inner side, the outer side you saw in the earlier picture. Huge platform is constructed next to the fort wall. Enables you to get a good view of Badal Mahal from down as you shall see later. See the point to which the fort extends i.e. on right of picture.

Clicked this picture from Badal Mahal. See carefully from right to left and you can see the fort wall. In the center you see the Golrao group of nine temples.

Clicked this picture from close to the Shiv mandir in picture five. You can see fort wall in the center of picture with mountains behind not very clear though. Shiv mandir is called Neelkantha Mahadev mandir. It has a very big lingam because Rana Kumbha was a tall & hefty man. Rana Kumbha was killed in this mandir by his son who is now referred to as Udai Hatyara. The next Rana was Raimal followed by Rana Sangha who fought with Babar, then Udai Singh who founded the city of Jaipur, then Rana Pratap.

Clicked this picture from one end of Badal Mahal. We saw entrance, then wall on same side, next was a turn that extended for a distance, now we see another part of the fort wall. Note that there exist steps close to the wall. Wonder why the Government does not convert these steps into a walk way. It can be positioned like a Parikrama for the Kshatriyas – testing your endurance. At the end of the picture you see Pitalsaya mandir.

Next to the fort wall that you see in the earlier picture is the Badal Mahal ka fort wall. See fort wall on the right of the picture. The temple that you see to your left is a Mahadev ka mandir.

Having seen the fort walls we now enter the fort. As you enter right in front is a Ganesh mandir that you see right in front of this picture. Behind that you see the Badal Mahal. Right in front is wifey Aparna with a notebook on which she wrote down history of each place. To your right are Vedi mandir, Shivji ka mandir etc. The fort is well maintained and clean.

A top end view of the fort. At the top you see Badal Mahal that was built by (Palace of Clouds built by Rana Fateh Singh 1884 to 1930 a.d.). As you can see reaching fort top is quite a climb, guess a one km walk. We walked all along the mahal ka wall. At various points you can see the pol or gate. Right in front is the Vedi mandir. On the left of the picture is where you enter from. The red stone that you see in front is the huge platform that you saw in picture five. We wondered! How Indians of those times made these magnificent structures that survive to this day.

A close up view of Badal Mahal ie painted yellow. Soon you will see pictures of the mahal. You get to see the pol or gates, one in the center of the pic. You can see that the palace was made on top of the hill.

You see the rear side of Badal Mahal. Not an easy picture to click since I walk amongst wild bushes, went to a lower level to click this picture. Note the balcony in the center of the picture i.e. from where clicked quite a few pictures.

This picture is clicked from the top of Badal Mahal. Below the structure that you see on your left is a balcony, get very good breeze there. Intent of showing you this picture is also for you to see the mountains that a fort is surrounded by. One reason why it was a very safe fort making it difficult to conquer.

Below this huge was a Maharana’s bedroom. It has windows on three sides and is huge by any standards. You see a girl from Germany who was enjoying her trip too and marveling at the architecture of Kumbalgarh.

The original name of the fort was Kumbal Meir. It is said Rana Kumbha wanted to make a fort at Keliwada 7kms from here. What ever was constructed during the day would fall down by night. He then met a Sage of the caste Meir who advised the Rana to make the fort at this point. Since the Sage belonged to the Meir caste it was named Kumbal Meir. After the fort was made the Sage told Kumbha to cut his head. His head fell at Bhairav pol after which the body continued to walk and eventually fell at a point in Badal Mahal where his samadhi lies today. That is what you see.

Inside the mahal found a number of walls with similar paintings. We were told these are original meaning they have survived over 500 years and seem to look good even today.

When you turn right at fort entrance you first see Vedi & Shivji ka mandir. If you take a left and walk another 10-15 minutes you see the Golrao group of nine temples ie what you see in this picture. In number of cases Mandapas are either broken or left incomplete as you can see temple on the right of the picture. You can also visit the Kumbalgarh Wild Life Sanctuary. During the monsoons tourists come in large numbers, it is very green and you get see clouds moving close to you remember the palace name Badal Mahal.

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