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Kumbhalgarh (Udaipur)

Kumbhalgarh Fort, 84 kilometres from Udaipur, is second most important fort to Chittaurgarh Fort. Udaipur in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan. The fort city is well connected to the other parts of Rajasthan by road. Rana Kumbha constructed in the 15th century the most imposing fort known as Kumbhalgarh. Situated at 3500 ft. above sea level, it holds the distinction of being uncounquered and the birth place of Maharana Pratap. It also served the rulers of Mewar as a refuge in times of strife. The fort also served as refuge to the baby king Udai of Mewar. It is also of sentimental significance as it is the birthplace of Mewar's legendary King Maharana Partap. The Badal Mahal or Cloud Palace offers a spectacular bird's-eye- view of the surrounding country side. Closeby is the Kumbhalgrah Wildlife Sancutuary with a rich variety of wildlife.

The massive fort, encompassed by a 36 km long wall and over 25 feet thick, has seven kajestic gates and seven ramparts, one within the other.The second longest continuous wall in the world. Rounded bastions and soaring watch towers strengthen the crenallated walls of the fort making it an impregnable structure. Much of its glorious architecture is in ruins.

Cradled amidst a cluster of thirteen mountain peaks of the Aravali range, the formidable medieval citadel of Kumbhalgarh stands a wary sentinel to the past glory of its kings and princes. Rising from a prominent ridge, 1,914 m above the sea level, the fort was built in 15th century AD by Maharana Kumbha (AD 1419-63) and is the principal fort after Chittaurgarh, lying 90 km northwest of Udaipur. A unique fact about Kumbhalgarh fort is that it was taken by the Mughals only once in its entire history. And even at that time, it took the combined armies of Delhi, Amber, and Marwar to breach its defense. This was the place where the rulers of Mewar retreated during times of danger.

Main Attraction
Badal Mahal, on the upper most terrace, is splendid, commanding spectacular views of forests in the wildlife sanctuary lying below. Kumbhalgarh Fort remains a marvel of 15th century Rajput architecture. The hill ranges are dotted with grand ancient temples.

Mandalgarh Fort is yet another fort built by Kumbha. The fort is a vast area of ruins without much human population. The lake and the town lie below the ramparts.

Achalgrah Fort near Mount Abu was also built by Kumbha for the defence of Mewar. This great ruler is credited with nearly 32 forts in Mewar.

Haldighati is the scene of the famous battle of 1576 fought between Rana Pratap, the heroic son of King Udai Singh, and the massive forces of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. A beautiful chhatri or canopy with white marble columns dedicated to Rana Pratap stands here.

Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary ( 586 sq km ) is also a place worth a visit. A rich variety of wildlife like the panther, sloth bear, wild boar, four-horned antelope, and scientifically bred crocodiles in the lake within the sanctuary are the major attractions of this sanctuary. During winters, the sanctuary becomes home to birds like flamingoes, cormorants, spoonbills and egrets, which stay there through the winter months and fly back once summer arrives.

Places to visit around it
Kali temple and the Mamadev Kund, as one move to eastern side, with royal Chhatris can be seen. Another notewothy temple, a little further enshrines a fine black marble lingam. The mandap or the hall of the temple has beautiful pillars, finely fulted and having a tapering shape.

Ranakpur Temple are situated around 50 km from Kumbhalgarh. These beautiful Jain temples are a fine example of the north Indian style of temple architecture, especially the Jain style, which stresses on extensive use of marble and elaborate decorative carvings.

Fairs & Festivals
There is a big celebration of the Gher Ghoomer festival before the Chamunda Devi Temple has been a tradition of the local tribes for the last six centuries. As part of the traditional celebrations, in one circle, young men belonging to the tribes inhabiting the region like the Bheels, Garasias, and Rawats dance to the mesmeric beat of huge drums. In another circle, village girls of these tribes spray and splash each other with colored water, singing songs replete with double entendres.

Best time to visit
Winter months (September-March) are the best to visit this place.

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