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Kumbhalgarh Fort is located in the Rajsamand District of Rajasthan at a peak of the Aravali mountains. Its altitude ranges between 1150 meters or 3773 feet and 2000 meters or 3937 feet above sea level. This is one of the largest forts of Rajasthan and was built Maharana Kumbha, a descendent of the Sisodia Maharanas of Chittorgarh and Udaipur. Its construction started in 1443 during the reign of Maharana Kumbha and continued through many generations until 19th. century. The peripheral wall of the fort is 36 kilometers or 22 miles long and its section in front of the fort is 4.6 meters or 15 feet wide - eight horses could run on it side by side. At its maximum width the wall is 7.6 meters or 25 feet wide. The fort's wall is the second longest in the world after the great wall of China. The wall is pierced by seven huge, majestic gates.
Inside the fort there are 300 Jain temples and another 60 Hindu temples. From the top of the wall one has a panoramic view of the Aravali mountain range and the sand dunes of the Thar desert on the horizon.
Before the fall of Chittorgarh Fort of Sisodia Dynasty, Prince Udai Singh as an infant was smuggled out and took refuge in this fort. He later grew up to be a powerful ruler and founder of the Udaipur city. Kumbhalgarh was never conquered until Mughal Emperor allied with Maharaja Man Singh I of Amber, Maharaja Udai Singh of Mewar (Udaipur) and Sultan of Gujarat. The mighty Maharana Pratap Singh of Chittorgarh was born in this fort - he fought a guerrilla war against the Mughals and never surrendered to them. Maharana Kumbha extended the Mewar kingdom from Chittorgarh to Ranthambhore and further east in to present day Madhya Pradesh and up to present day Gujarat border on its west.
The Badal Mahal Palace at the top of the Aravali mountain range inside the fort is divided in to two distinct Zenana (Female) and Mardana (Male) sections. Both the sections are elaborately decorated with oil paintings. The sandstone Jalis (latticed windows) in Zenana Mahal provided privacy to the Queen and other female occupants of the palace while they could watch the proceeding outside without being seen by males outside.
The Neelkanth Mahadeo Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is the only Hindu temple in the area that is still maintained by local folk. It is believed that Maharana Kumbha himself used to offer prayers in this temple.
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Surrounding the fort is a vast wildlife sanctuary in an area of 578 square meters or 1896 square feet. It houses some of the most endangered wild life species like wolf, leopards, sloth bear, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, sambhar deer, tall nilgai deer, chowsingha (4-horned) deer, chinkara deer and hare. There are about 40 wolves in the sanctuary and near water sources one can easily spot packs of wolfs. Among the birds one can watch grey jungle fowl, peacocks, doves, red spur owls, green parakeets, golden oriole, bulbul, grey pigeons and white breasted kingfisher.
Hotels near the fort:
- Aodhi Heritage Hotel is 1.1 kilometers or 0.7 miles from Kumbhalgarh Fort and has 26 spacious rooms.
- Kings Abode Hotel is 7.1 miles from Kumbhalgarh but closer to Ranakpur Jain Temples and has 26 rooms
- Rawla Narlai Heritage Hotel is 12 miles from Kumbhalgarh and has 31 rooms
Distances from Kumbhalgarh:
- Udaipur: 162 Kilometers or 101 Miles
- Ranakpur: 32 Kilometers or 20 Miles
- Jodhpur: 186 Kilometers or 116 Miles
- Deogarh: 102 Kilometers or 63 Miles