The Fascinating Story of Kumbhalgarh, the Second Longest Wall in the World
Now, you may not be able to see the world’s second-longest wall from space, but Kumbhalgarh Fort of Mewar is still marvellous. Nestled in the Aravalli, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the second longest wall (the first one is the Great Wall of China) in the world and the longest one in India.
The Kumbhalgarh Fort is seated at a height of 3600 feet and has three palaces which are Kumbha Palace, Jhalia ka Malia or Palace of Queen Jhalia and Badal Mahal.
Locals often use the ‘eight-abreast’ to describe the marvel. It means that eight horses can fit across the width. The fort is an 80 km drive from Udaipur and is a popular tourist attraction. Like most forts in India, this one too is seeped into India’s glorious history.
The fort is the place of birth of Maharana Pratap Singh, who built Kumbhalgarh in the 15th century under the supervision of the renowned architect Mandan. The fort was built on the site of an older castle credited to Samprati, a Jaina prince from the second century BC. It is regarded as the second most crucial fort in Rajasthan due to its strategic location.
Rana Fateh Singh (1885-1930 AD), a prominent builder of his time, erected the Badal Mahal within the fort. Notable structures within the fort include Badal Mahal, Kumbha Palace, Brahmanical and Jain Temples, water reservoirs, baoris (step-wells), chhattris (cenotaphs), and more.
While history associates the mighty fort with Rana Pratap, the sturdy construction is credited to the hundreds of labourers who worked for 15 years to complete the structure. Thanks to their impeccable masonry, the fort has survived several battles and natural disasters.
The entire expanse is adorned with seven fortified gateways referred to as Pols, while its front walls boast a thickness of 15 feet.
The fortifications of Kumbhalgarh were so formidable that it required a combined effort from Amber, Marwar, and the Mughals to breach its defences. Despite this united force, the Mughal ruler, Akbar, could only assert control over the fort for a brief period of two days. It is not surprising that the fort remained unconquered until the advent of the British Raj in the 19th century.
Key monuments within the fort include Aret Pol (south entrance), Halla Pol, Hanuman Pol (housing an image of Hanuman brought from Mandavpur by Rana Kumbha), Ram Pol, Vijay Pol, Danibatta (connecting Mewar region with Marwar) and more.
The Hanuman Pol is particularly noteworthy for its enshrinement of an image of Hanuman brought by Rana Kumbha. Access to the palatial complex at the summit involves passing through gateways like Bhairon Pol, Nimboo Pol, Paghra Pol, and an additional gateway on the east known as Danibatta, connecting Mewar region with Marwar.
A meticulously maintained road cuts through the rolling Aravalli landscape adorned with thor and dhok trees, passing through serene hamlets, lively small towns, seasonal rivulets, and dammed reservoirs, leading you to this destination. The greenery becomes more abundant, and the ascent becomes steeper in the final section of the journey before the fortress unveils itself in the distance.
Things to know before visiting the fort:
- Opening Hours:9:00 am – 6:00 pm
- Ticket Price: Indian: ₹40; Foreigner: ₹600
- Visit Duration: Visitors typically spend up to 1.5 hours here.
- The fort layout involves trekking, so it is advisable to wear comfortable footwear and attire.
- Carrying umbrellas, caps, and water bottles is recommended for a more comfortable experience.
- Light and Sound Show at 6:30 pm in Hindi. Ticket Prices: Indian: ₹118; Foreigner: ₹236