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Kumbhalgarh: Birthplace of Rajput warrior king Rana Pratap

September 17
02:10 2011

Kumbhalgarh is a famous 15th century fort at a distance of around 84 km from Udaipur in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan. The fort city is well connected to the other parts of Rajasthan by road.

Best time to visit: The climate of Kumbhalgarh is tropical with the mercury climbing up to a maximum of around 42°C during summers while winters are a bit colder with the temperature hovering between a maximum of around 25°C and a minimum of around 11°C. The annual total rainfall is around 88 centimeters. Winter months (September-March) are the best to visit this place.

History: Cradled amidst a cluster of thirteen mountain peaks of the Aravali range, the formidable medieval citadel of Kumbhalgarh stands a wary sentinel to the past glory of its kings and princes. Rising from a prominent ridge, 1,914 m above the sea level, the fort was built in 15th century AD by Maharana Kumbha (AD 1419-63) and is the principal fort after Chittaurgarh, lying 90 km northwest of Udaipur. A unique fact about Kumbhalgarh fort is that it was taken by the Mughals only once in its entire history. And even at that time, it took the combined armies of Delhi, Amber, and Marwar to breach its defense. This was the place where the rulers of Mewar retreated during times of danger.

Tourist attractions:

The wall of the fort stretches some 36 km and is situated at a height of 1,914 m, making it quite inaccessible in the medieval times. The fort provides a good view of the countryside from the top. The place also has the honor of being the birthplace of great Rajput warrior king Rana Pratap. The fort encloses many temples, palaces, gardens, and water storage facilities. Apart from the fort, Kumbhalgarh has many more sites for a tourist willing to explore.

The Badal Mahal has beautiful apartments painted with delicate pastel-colored murals.

Haldighati is the scene of the famous battle of 1576 fought between Rana Pratap, the heroic son of King Udai Singh, and the massive forces of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. A beautiful chhatri or canopy with white marble columns dedicated to Rana Pratap stands here.

The 586 sq km Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is also a place worth a visit. A rich variety of wildlife like the panther, sloth bear, wild boar, four-horned antelope, and scientifically bred crocodiles in the lake within the sanctuary are the major attractions of this sanctuary. During winters, the sanctuary becomes home to birds like flamingoes, cormorants, spoonbills and egrets, which stay there through the winter months and fly back once summer arrives.

Places around:
The Ranakpur Temples are situated around 50 km from Kumbhalgarh. These beautiful Jain temples are a fine example of the north Indian style of temple architecture, especially the Jain style, which stresses on extensive use of marble and elaborate decorative carvings.

On the way to Kumbhalgarh from Udaipur lies a magnificent dam, the Rajsamand Lake. Rana Raj Singh built this royal lake in 1660. From here one can have a spectacular view of the sunset with beautiful torans or arches and chhatris adorning the embankment. The lake has a rest house of the state Irrigation Department on the embankment below. The rest house has a beautifully laid out garden interspersed with exquisite sculptures excavated from the ruins nearby.

The town of Kankroli nearby with a marvelous temple and a pretty palace on the hilltop offers a beautiful hideout away from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities.

Fairs & festivals:
Celebration of the Gher Ghoomer festival before the Chamunda Devi Temple has been a tradition of the local tribes for the last six centuries. Colorful crowds from all the surrounding villages congregate at this place to celebrate the festival with much enthusiasm. As part of the traditional celebrations, in one circle, young men belonging to the tribes inhabiting the region like the Bheels, Garasias, and Rawats dance to the mesmeric beat of huge drums. In another circle, village girls of these tribes spray and splash each other with colored water, singing songs replete with double entendres. A euphoria-inducing local brew laced with bhang is offered to anybody who is willing to accept the customary manwar (friendship cup).

Where to stay:
Though Kumbhalgarh is a small place, there are quite a few accommodation options available. The heritage hotels at Kumbhalgarh offer the best bet for the tourists coming to this off-track destination. The service is ethnic and the guests can expect the traditional hospitality that the state of Rajasthan is famous for.

How to reach:

Air – Udaipur is the nearest domestic airport. One can take flights to other important tourist destinations of the region like Jaipur, Jodhpur, Aurangabad, Mumbai, and Delhi. The nearest international airport is in Delhi.

Rail – Udaipur is also the nearest railway station from Kumbhalgarh. There are trains for Delhi, Chittaur, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Ajmer, and Jodhpur from Udaipur.

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