Kumbhalgrah Fort – World’s Second Largest Wall
Kumbhalgarh Fort, a small town in district Rajsamand is known world wide for its great history and architecture. Here lies the great Kumbhalgarh fort which was built during 15th century by Maharana Kumbha. Enlarged during 19th century, this fort is also the birth place of Maharana Pratap, the great king and warrior of Mewar. This almost invincible fort is the highest and most formidable in the state of Rajasthan. Even the mighty mughal couldn’t capture it alone and it took the combined armies of Delhi, Amber and Marwar to breach its defences. Standing majestically on 1180m high ridge and representing the past glory of the Rajput rulers, the Fort also provides a panoramic view of the countryside from the top. Thirteen mountain peaks of the Aravali range protect this impregnable fortress. Seven huge and imposing gates stand like sentinels at the approaches and seven ramparts, one being folded within another with crenulated walls strengthened by rounded bastions and immense watch towers, make this an impregnable mountain fortress. It’s serpentine 15 kilometres long wall is thick and broad enough for eight horses to ride abreast. This wall is second longest only to the ‘Great Wall of China’. This grand fort also has 360 temples within the walls.
Gateways of Kumbhalgarh fort
The fort is entered from the south through a gate known as Aret Pol, followed by gateways known as Halla Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ram Pol and Vijay Pol. The Hanuman Pol is significant as it enshrines an image of Hanuman which was brought by Rana Kumbha from Mandavpur. The palatial complex at the top is approached further through three gateways viz., the Bhairon Pol, the Nimboo Pol and the Paghra Pol. One more gateway is situated on the east which is known as Danibatta. This gateway connects Mewar region with Marwar.
The Ganesh temple was built during the time of Maharana Kumbha and it is located along the road leading to the palaces. According to one of the inscriptions of Kirttistambha of Chittaurgarh fort, Rana Kumbha consecrated an image of Ganesha in this temple.
The Vedi temple was built by Rana Kumbha in AD 1457 for performing rituals after completion of the fort. The building is double storeyed and erected on a high platform. The temple faces west. It is octagonal on plan with thirty-six pillars supporting the domical ceiling. A triple shrined temple dedicated to goddesses is located to the east of this temple.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
Situated to the east of Vedi shrine, this temple was built in AD 1458 and enshrines a Siva linga in the garbhagriha. It is built on raised platform accessible from west through a flight of steps. The temple consists of a sanctum and an open pillared mandapa all around. The shrine is sarvtobhadra with entrance from all the four directions. A stone inscription on the left pillar of the western gate mentions about its renovations by Rana Sanga.
The temple was built by Nar Singh Pokhad in Vikrama Samvat 1508 (AD 1451). It houses a three feet high idol of Jaina Tirthankara Parsvanatha.
Bawan Devi Temple
This famous Jaina shrine derives its name from the fifty-two (bawan) shrines in a single compound built around the main shrine. The bigger shrine among the group consists of a sanctum, antarala and an open mandapa. An image of Jaina Tirthankara is carved on the lalatabimba of the doorway. The smaller shrines are devoid of any idols.
Golerao Group of Temples
The Golerao group of temples is located adjacent to Bawan Devi Temple and consists of nine shrines enclosed by a circular wall. The shrines are adorned with beautiful carved sculptures of gods and goddesses on its exterior. On the basis of architectural style, the group may be ascribed to the period of Rana Kumbha. A sculpture bears an inscription dated V. S. 1516 (AD 1459) and speaks of one Govinda.
This temple is also known as Kumbha Shyam, and it consists of a flat roofed sanctum and a pillared mandapa. An inscription of Rana Kumbha giving detailed history of Kumbhalgarh was fixed on this temple. A large number of carved idols of gods and goddesses were recovered from the premises of this temple.
Pitalia Dev Temple
This east facing Jain shrine is located in the northern part of the fort. Built by Pitalia Jain Seth in V. S. 1512 (AD 1455) on a raised plinth, the temple consists of a pillared sabhamandapa and a sanctum having entrances from all the four directions. The jangha is adorned with images of gods and goddesses besides asparas and dancers.
The palace of Rana Kumbha is located close to the Pagda Pol. The palace is a two storeyed edifice. It consists of two rooms, a corridor in the middle and open spaces. The rooms are provided with jharokas and windows in stones.
Birth Place of Maharana Pratap
The mansion known as Jhalia ka Malia or the Palace of Queen Jhali is situated near Pagda Pol. This is believed to be the place where Maharana Pratap was born. It is constructed of rubble stone with plain walls and flat roof. The traces of painting can still be seen on the wall.
Badal Mahal is situated at the highest point of the fort. It was built by Rana Fateh Singh (AD 1885-1930). The palace is a two storeyed structure divided into two interconnected distinct portions i.e. the Zanana Mahal and the Mardana Mahal. This palace is profusely decorated with wall paintings. The Zanana mahal is provided with stone jalis which facilitated the queens to see the court proceedings and other events in privacy.
Culture & Festival at Kumbhalgarh fort
The Rajasthan Tourism Department organizes a three-day annual festival in the fort in remembrance of the passion of Maharana Kumbha towards art and architecture. Sound and light shows are organized with the fort as the background. Various concerts and dance events are also organised to commemorate the function. The other events during the festival are Heritage Fort Walk, turban tying, tug-of war and mehendi mandana among others.
About the wall of Kumbhalgarh fort
Kumbhalgarh fort is surrounded by a majestic thick wall which is approximately 15 KMS long. It has seven huge gates and claims to be the second longest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China. The width of wall varies from 15 to 25 feet. It is mentioned in the various books of history that eight horses could run on this wall side-by-side. This wall runs through surrounding mountain cliffs of the Aravali range. The wall is a great example of architecture brilliance of Rajput Era. Its architectural brilliance is proved by the fact that in spite of being around 700 years old it is still intact and in a very good shape. This wall is not in a regular straight pattern but it runs through mountain cliffs and valleys. It has steep ascend and descend throughout its length the wall has stairs and walk way which is evident from the photographs. The wall runs through the forest area which falls under Kumbhalgarh National Park. This national park is abode of great variety of flora and fauna. It provides shelter to number of endangered species of Indian wild-life. It is famous for panthers and leopards. Other wild life in this national park is Hyena, Toddy cats, Wolf, Chansinga, Neelgai, Sambhars, Crocodiles, Grey Jungle fowl, Peacocks, Wild boars, Beers etc.
Its architectural brilliance is proved by the fact that in spite of being around 700 years old it is still intact and in a very good shape. This wall is not in a regular straight pattern but it runs through mountain cliffs and valleys. It has steep ascend and descend throughout its length the wall has stairs and walk way which is evident from the photographs. The wall runs through the forest area which falls under Kumbhalgarh National Park. This national park is abode of great variety of flora and fauna. It provides shelter to number of endangered species of Indian wild-life. It is famous for panthers and leopards. Other wild life in this national park is Hyena, Toddy cats, Wolf, Chansinga, Neelgai, Sambhars, Crocodiles, Grey Jungle fowl, Peacocks, Wild boars, Beers etc.
Some Photo of Kumbhalgrah Fort And It’s Wall