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  KUMBHALGARH : THE MOUNTAIN FORTRESS IN THE WILDERNESS

Cradled in the cluster of thirteen mountain peaks of the Aravalli ranges, the formidable medieval citadel - Kumbhalgarh stands a wary sentinel to the past glory. Rising from a prominent ridge, 1914 meters high from the sea level, the fort was built in 15th century A.D. by Maharana Kumbha (1419-63 A.D.) and is the principal fortification after Chittaurgarh, lying 90 kms. north-west of Udaipur.

The massive fort, encompassed by a 36 kms. long wall, has seven majestic gates and seven ramparts, one within the other. Rounded bastions and soaring watch towers strengthen the crenellated walls of the fort making it an impregnable structure.

Fascinating chambers are built on the western side of the last gate- the `Nimboo pol'. According to history, the infant Udai Singh was smuggled from Bundi and hidden in these chambers by his faithful maid Panna Dai to save him from the murderous intentions of his Uncles

who desired the throne.

Udai Singh ascended the throne of Mewar with Kumbhalgarh as his residence and later established Udaipur - the beautiful lake city.

Within the fort are many magnificent palaces and an array of ruined temples.

The most picturesque of the palaces is the `Badal Mahal' or the palace of the cloud. The palace has got its name for being the highest of all the structures. it offers a superb bird's eye view of the countryside surrounding the fort as well as of  other ruins within the fort.

The ancient ruins of the temples within the fort date back to the Mouryan period built during the reign of the grandson of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka who belonged to the Jain community.

Most of the ruins in Kumbhalgarh are of the Jain temples of various periods.

As one moves to the East, Kali Temple and the Mamadev Kund with royal Chhatris can be seen. Another noteworthy temple, a little further, enshrines a fine black marble lingam.

The mandap or the hall of the temple has beautiful pillars, fluted and having a tapering shape.

PRIME SITES:

Haldighati: The scene of the famous battle of 1576 A.D. fought between Rana Pratap - the heroic son of Udai Singh and the massive forces of the mughal Emperor Akbar. A beautiful Chhatri  with white marble columns, dedicated to Rana Pratap stands here.

Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary: The 586 sq. kms. sanctuary supprting a rich variety of wildlife like the panther, sloth bear, wild boar, four horned antelope and scientifically bred crocodiles in the lake, are the major attractions.

The Sanctuary is also noted for flamingoes, cormorants, spoonbills and egrets usually seen in winter.

Rankpur Temples: These beautiful Jain temples are a fine example of the temple architecture. They are 85 kms from Udaipur and 50 kms. from Kumbhalgarh

Kankroli-Rajsamand are known for their scenic beauty.

On the way to Kumbhalgarh lies a magnificent dam - the Rajsamand Lake .

The royal lake, built on 1660 by Rana Raj Singh. From here one can have a spectacular view of the sunset with beautiful `torans' or arches and chhatris adorning the embankment. The lake has a Rest House of the Irrigation Department on the embankment below. The Rest House has a beautifully laid out garden interspersed with exquisite sculptures excavated from the ruins nearby.

The town of Kankroli nearby with a marvelous temple and a pretty palace on the hill top offers a scenic experience.



 
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