Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort
IMG_0047  IMG_0048
As soon as we approached the outer gate, the inner guardhouse and took in the mammoth wall, we knew this was going to be some visit.
IMG_0051  IMG_0207
In through the Ram Pol and looking back at this tall gate.
The Kumbhalgarh Fort lies on a hilltop which is 1100 meters above sea level. The gate of the striking fort is humongous and known as Ram Gate or Ram Pol. The fort comprises of around seven gates and a total of 360 temples within, 300 of which are ancient Jain while the others are Hindu. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva inside which showcases a huge Shivalinga. One can also get a pretty view of the dunes in the Thar Desert from the fort. 
IMG_0064  IMG_0065  IMG_0068
We bimbled up a steep rise to Bhairav Pol, equally stout wall and from the inner side.
Looking up at Kumbhalgarh Fort: it is one of the five hill forts of Rajasthan that were declared the UNESCO world heritage site in 2013. Constructed on the foothills of Aravalli ranges, it is surrounded by thirteen hill peaks of the ranges and is perched at an elevation of 1,914 m. The magnificent fort is situated in the middle of a forest which has been turned into a wildlife sanctuary. It is the second largest and the most important Mewar fort of Rajasthan after Chittorgarh palace.

Under the reign of Mewar kings in Rajasthan, the majestic fort was built by Rana Kumbha in the 15th century between AD 1443 and 1458 under the direction of Mandan who was a very renowned architect of that time. The fort was constructed in the exact same place where an old castle existed which was attributed to Samprati who was a Jaina prince of the second century BC. It is named after the King Kumbha. The Kumbhalgarh fort was cleverly designed on a hilltop to provide the strategic position to the Mewar kings to protect them against the attacks of the enemy which is why it is also recognized as the second most important fort of Rajasthan. 


Being located on a hill of the Aravalli ranges, it offers the panoramic view of the surroundings along with the sand dunes of Thar Desert. This is a view looking across at just a few of the many temples within the fort walls........



IMG_0058  IMG_0059




......and some close by.


History of Kumbhalgarh Fort: There is a story behind this striking fort according to which when Rana Kumbha began constructing the fort, he came across several difficulties after which he thought of giving up on the construction. One day, he met a holy man who advised him not to give up hope and that one day all his problems would vanish away provided a pure-hearted man sacrificed his life willingly. Hearing this, the king got disappointed after which the holy man offered his own life to the king. He told the king to build the entrance of the Kumbhalgarh Fort where he was going to get beheaded and palaces where all his body would fall. Following his advice, Rana Kumbha did exactly what was told to him and succeeded in building the majestic fort.





Looking down the valley to the stepwell which was destroyed in a major flood.





Looking up toward Kumbha Palace.



IMG_0106  IMG_0063  IMG_0108


On the higher level we could see the side edge of Badal Mahal, a pretty water carrier picture, through the final gate (Pagda Pol) up a slope........ 




and to the fort proper.



IMG_0114  IMG_0126


Through restored barracks...........



IMG_0122  IMG_0117  IMG_0118


...........and into Kumbha Palace.





The view from here.



The fort is also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, one of the most powerful kings of Mewar. Also, Badal Mahal was constructed inside the fort by Rana Fateh Singh, who was one of the most famous builders of the time. Badal Mahal (own blog), Kumbha Palace, Jain Temples, baoris, chhattris, water reservoirs and Brahmanical are some of the main buildings inside the spectacular fort. It was attacked by Ahmed Shah I of Gujarat in 1457 but to no good. The locals believed that there was the presence of Banmata deity in the fort which protected the fort as its temple was destroyed by Ahmed Shah I. Further attempts were made by Mohammad Khilji in 1458-59 and 1467. Shabhbaz Khan, general of Akbar finally gained power over the fort in 1576. It was later taken over the Marathas and the residential buildings, as well as temples, still remain intact.
IMG_0164  IMG_0162
IMG_0165  IMG_0174  IMG_0169 
IMG_0159  IMG_0160
Finally, at the top we took in the views.
On our way down we stopped at The Cannon House.
IMG_0184  IMG_0185  IMG_0187  IMG_0188
Sadly, Bear couldn’t get to the cannons with his itchy trigger finger but the paintings behind them gave us a feeling of the warrior nature of the troops stationed here.
IMG_0186  IMG_0189
IMG_0190  IMG_0191
I never saw the Indians as fighters, warriors and such impressive builders.
IMG_0192  IMG_0200  IMG_0201  IMG_0203
We re-traced our steps, heading downhill once more.
IMG_0205  IMG_0206  IMG_0210
Back to the bottom and watching tourists have fun while we had a well-earned cold drink.




Looking back on an amazing place.