After the Great wall of China, Kumbhalgarh has the longest wall in the world. The 36 km wall is circular and surrounds the Kumbhalgarh fort, which is the second largest fort in Rajasthan. This fort is also the birthplace of legendary Maharana Pratap. Unlike the other forts, which were built with the perspective of comfort and entertainment, this fort was strictly built for the security purpose. In earlier times, this fort was used as an army headquarters and a place of refuge for the rulers of Mewar.
There are seven gates to the fort, out of which two were destroyed by the army general of Akbar. Despite the multiple attacks over time, the fort remained impregnable till date. There are around 360 temples within the boundary of this wall, but most of them are ruined. It is also said that you can see the dunes of the Thar from this fort, however, I haven't seen the same.
How to reach
Kumbhalgarh is around 90 kms from Udaipur. There are multiple local taxi services which provides to and fro cab facility from Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh. They charge around Rs. 1800-2400, depending on the car you choose. The road from Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh is a single lane highway. The roads are comfortable and you can see a lot of interesting land features during the journey.
The fort is built on a hilltop of Aravalli range and it takes around one and half hour to completely view the fort. The car goes till the second gate of the fort and beyond that you have to walk. The top of the fort is around 850 m from where the car leaves you and therefore you've to be prepared for a small trek. There is a nominal entry fees to the fort of Rs. 10 and car parking charges of Rs. 20.
I would strongly recommend that you should hire a guide if you want to enjoy the splendid construction of this fort. Only 4-5 tour guides are available at this fort and may be that's why they charge around Rs. 400-500. I visited this place during February, which is the peak season for tourism. Although I faced a little difficulty in tracking down a guide and had to wait for around half an hour, but the price and time I spent was totally worth it.
If you want to catch a guide during peak season, you should wait at the entrance. There are guards at the entry gates and they'll let you know as soon as they see one. The other way to track down a guide is by speculation. They are normally formally dressed (unlike tourists), wearing aviators and talking continuously with swift hand movements (:D).
The journey to the fort starts at the second gate, followed by a shrine devoted to the person who voluntarily sacrificed his life for the construction of the fort. It is said that only after the volunteer human sacrifice of a pilgrim this fort could be made. There are other interesting features of this fort, such as Badal mahal-where the Maharana Pratap was born, a massive lamp- which was lit at night and consumed around 50 kg of pure ghee, a horse stable- which is now being renewed as a picture gallery, queen's room- with sound echo effect etc. You can easily find a lot of reading material on web which describes the spectacular beauty of this fort.
There are two small shops at the entry of the fort which serve light snacks and drinks to the visitors. The charges are as per MRP. I haven't taken any food at the Kumbhalgarh. It's very close to Udaipur and you can start from Udaipur after taking a breakfast. The restrooms are also available inside the premises of the fort.
Not too many people know about this but there is a small shop which sell clothes made by villagers of Kumbhalgarh. Their specialty is 100 gm quilt which is made from the cocoon plant by a natural process. Other interesting goods include banana leaf sarees and 'herbal quilt' which is made from the fiber retrieved from various aromatic and herbal plants. I don't know whether the goods they sell are real or artificial. So, if you're planning to buy anything that's totally on your own risk.
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