Kumbhalgarh Fort in Rajasthan | Driving Holidays in India
Kumbhalgarh Fort’s claim to fame is its majestic Fort Rampart Walls, which is said to be second longest wall after the ‘Great Wall of China’. We visiting Kumbhalgarh on a cloudy afternoon, driving in from Ranakpur, on our 8 day long family road trip through Mewar region of Rajasthan. The Fort did not impress me; however, the Fort rampart walls certainly, lived up to their fame.
When we were in Udaipur, the guides and locals told us that visiting Kumbhalgarh Fort would be a good day tour out of the city. However, I was more interested in visiting Ranakpur Jain Temple (in Ranakpur) and had kept the visit to Kumbhalgarh Fort as a maybe, depending on time and our toddler’s comfort levels (as we were on a driving holiday and we still had two major destinations and 1000+ kilometres to drive). After our visit to Ranakpur Jain Temle, the husband calculated the pros and cons of driving to Kumbhalgarh Fort and finally decided upon visitng it, with a rider that we will spend maximum half hour at the Fort.
The drive from Ranakpur to Kumbhalgarh Fort takes around 2-2.5 hours, depending upon the driver and vehicle conditions (we took 2.5 hours to reach). The road passes through rolling terrain for quite a bit of the journey, going through deep ravines and thick forests.
The Kumbhalgarh Fort is said to be the second most important fort of Rajasthan after Chittorgarh and was built by Maharana Rana Kumbha in the 15th century (deriving its name ‘Kumbha’lgarh Fort from the Maharana). The main entry gate to the Fort certainly gives an aura of invincibility. The Fort has seven gates, seven ramparts folded with one another with designed walls toughened by curved bastions and huge watch towers. Some of the gates names (as far as I remember are – Arait Pol Hulla Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ram Pol, Bhairava Pol, Paghra Pol, Top-khana Pol and Nimboo Pol. The Kumbhalgarh Fort is listed as one of the “Hill Forts of Rajasthan”, a cluster of heritage sites by UNESCO.
The husband was dead tired, driving through the curved roads (and I guess he was completely saturated by forts and palaces, not being a heritage buff, by that time) and so he opted to rest in the car , while I had half hour to visit the Fort complex. That turned out to be a tough task as the pathway through the Fort to the Palace compound is not only steep but a zig-zag way. It took all my energy and breath, to walk up there in 15 minutes. The views are lovely, walking up and there are many vantage points, which are a photographer’s delight. The Palace in itself is not very big or beautiful. It is rather plain in it construction. The beauty of the fort lies in its vantage location and ofcourse the rampart walls, which seem to stretch into eternity, as seen from the fort palace. I spent around 10 minutes inside the Palace complex, before making a dash down to the parking lot.
There are many resorts and luxury camp sites in Kumbhalgarh area and my suggestion would be to put up in those, if looking for a relaxed getaway to Kumbhalgarh Fort.
Kumbhalgarh Fort for me was again a mixed bag (after Udaipur) and I would not recommend it to anyone who is not interested in heritage to visit this.
You can also read about fellow traveller Jitaditya’s visit to Gagron Fort in Jhawlar, Rajasthan here.