Second to The Great Wall of China as the continuous wall in the world, located 98 kms from Udaipur, lies the second-most important fort of the Mewar dynasty and a 15th century masterpiece built by Mewar king, Rana Kumbha – Kumbhalgarh Fort. Being interested in Indian history since school visiting this place was a natural choice when I toured Udaipur. The fort being one of the UNESCO heritage sites was just a bonus.
A Little History About The Fort
Originally settled by a Jain prince, Samprati, in the 2nd century BC, the potential of this site as a strategic fort due to the terrain’s natural outline was comprehended and harnessed by Rana Kumbha. This massive fort was built in a single process, retaining its architectural coherence apart from when the palace of Fateh Singh was added. Nestled in the dry, rugged Aravalli Range, the hostile and inaccessible topography made it impossible for the invaders to capture this mighty fort. The design of this fort is attributed to Rana Kumbh’s architect, Mandan, who was also an author and theorist at his court.
Folklore that's prevalent among the locals on the length of the wall surrounding the fort is awe-inspiring!! Apparently, it was impossible to construct a wall on the rugged terrain, many a kings tried but failed and so did Rana Kumbha. Then a wandering hermit paid him a visit and asked Rana Kumbha to decapitate him and the distance he walks headless will mark the outline of the fort and where his body collapses is where Rana Kumbha should start building the fort. After beheading, the hermit’s body walked headless for 36 kms!!! Fascinating, isn’t it!! Although my scientific mind started questioning the impossible biology behind the headless body walking for 36kms kms while my body gives up after 10, it was something that I couldn’t wrap my head around but left it at that.
Location of the Fort
The fort is located within Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Santuary, two to three hours from Udaipur.
About The Fort
At an elevation of 1100 metres above sea level the fort sits over a sprawling 268 hectares (662 acres)!! Compromising of seven gates or pols, fort palaces and 360 temples within its premises the 36 km long wall snakes over 13 hills.ver
Gateways or Pols
Flanked on both sides by huge doors, at every gateway or pol it was to prevent invading armies.
The main entrance gate flanked by two enormous bastions
The that marks the entrance to the fort in the south where is it believed that the hermit’s body collapsed. From this gate, mirror signals used to be flashed to all other gates in times of emergency.
Hulla Pol or Gate of Disturbance
This is the gate that defines the point where the invading Mughals had reached with their armies in 1567.
This gate comes after Hulla Pol and contains an image of Lord Hanuman brought by Rana Kumbha.
Paghra Pol or Stirrup Gate
The gate where the cavalry used to assemble
Tope Khana Pol or Canon Gate
The gate where it is believed that it had a secret passage
The last gate which has a Chamundi temple beside it, where Prithviraj breathed his last and where Udai Singh was saved by his faithful maid – Panna Dhai
The gate through which you can reach the top.