Kumbhalgarh Fort is the first search result you will find when you search for this quaint town in Rajasthan, approximately 85 km from Udaipur. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the five forts of Rajasthan declared as world heritage under the Hill Forts of Rajasthan.
Built by Rana Kumba, Kumbhalgarh Fort is one of the largest fort complexes in the world. Featuring the famed the Great Wall of India, which is the second-longest wall after the Great Wall of China, this Mewar fortress sitting on the Aravalli hills is a must-visit place for history lovers. Apart from the stunning fort, there are many places to visit in Kumbhalgarh, including the ancient temples and wildlife sanctuaries.
How to reach Kumbhalgarh from Udaipur
Udaipur is well connected to most cities of India via rail and air transport. We chose the latter and took the one-hour flight from Mumbai to reach Maharana Pratap Airport Udaipur. With the COVID pandemic going on, it has become mandatory to do web check-ins. So, plan accordingly and shell the extra money to get your preferred seats 😛
We halted at Udaipur for a day at Club Mahindra, which is located on the outskirts of the city. The next day, we started from our resort to Club Mahindra Kumbhalgarh via a cab. It took us approximately over three hours since we stopped for food and shopping. The cost of traveling was Rs. 2800 to cover the 90 odd kilometers from Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh. The roads are well-maintained and there was no traffic for the most part. The last few minutes before reaching Kumbhalgarh had steep roads, due to the mountains. Overall, the journey was comfortable.
3 places to visit in Kumbhalgarh
Kumbhalgarh, ideally, can be comfortably explored in a day or two. There are many places to visit in Kumbalgarh, the top being the Fort. More than places to visit there are fantastic things to experience in this quaint town. In a day, you can explore the popular tourist destinations and keep a day free to take a village tour and trek the mountain to the fort, the old entrance.
1. Kumbhalgarh Fort
Magnificent, splendid, magical – an architectural wonder, it makes you think how talented the architects were back in the 15th century. Cradled in the Aravalli hills, 3,600 ft above sea level, this fort is the most popular place in the town. Being the birthplace of the great warrior Maharana Pratap also adds to the glory of the fort.
The most eye-catching thing you see from the fort is the massive Great Wall of India, stretching approx. 36 km. The mere sight of it makes you want to pause and ponder. Just marvel at the beauty! This is only second to China when it comes to the largest continuous wall on the planet earth.
There are many Hindu temples surrounding the wall. To further dwell on the rich history of this place, it is suggested to hire a guide. Our guide was a local girl, who narrated a story in under five minutes for Rs. 100. She was a good story teller. After we trekked all the way to the top of the fort, we caught the most panoramic view of the majestic wall, the surrounding temples, and the beautiful hills. While you trek, marvel at the ruins as it depicts greater stories of the yesteryear era.
The fort also houses an Akhand Jyot, a lantern, which is burning for centuries and has never gone off, even once. Do visit the temple to experience the peace this place holds. I was awestruck by the massive beauty of it all! I suggest visiting the Kumbhalgarh Fort around four in the evening and trekking all the way to the top. Wait for the sunset and then catch a look at the magnificent fort burning in golden lights as the darkness grows. Breathtaking!
Things to Remember:
- Kumbhalgarh Fort timings: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Entrance Charges: Rs. 40 for Indians, Children free entry until 15 years.
- Don’t forget to carry Water bottles
- Wear comfortable shoes/Walking or trekking shoes
- Carry dry snacks (make sure not to litter around)
2. Mammadev Temple & Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, next to Kumbhalgarh Fort
Located at the starting point of the fort, its architecture and interiors are beautiful. From this temple, you can walk a few stairs to reach the Great Wall of India. For visitors, it is allowed to take a walk near the wall to a certain length, post which armed men are stationed, not letting you explore beyond.
The Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is just behind the Mammadev Temple. It is a popular Shiva temple holding six feet high Shivling. The grandeur of this temple and the majestic view of the fort from its exterior are calming to the soul.
3. Catfish Point
Located just 3 km before the fort, a local tour to explore Kumbhalgarh usually begins with a visit to the famed Catfish point. The Hammeripal lake is filled with thousands of giant African catfish which apparently love eating gathiya, a local snack made from gram flour. You can also feed them bread but the sellers push the gram flour snack, as it helps them earn more money. The mere size and number of the fish you will see in this pond are overwhelming. I am sure if a person falls in the pond, they can eat the person too. Just kidding. But it’s better to steer clear while feeding the fish, especially if you have little kids, who get over-excited when feeding them. My little one was almost aiming to feed them by hand 😛
You will also spot several ducks in the pond, peacefully swimming, playing and bathing in the water. That was a calming experience in comparison to feeding what looked like angry catfish.
So, our day 1 of exploring this beautiful place ended with the fort. The Jeep driver cum guide also took us to a temple which he said is the starting point of Varanasi River, I am not sure if it’s true. He also showed us a cave up the mountains where a pair of leopards live. Quite fascinating. One of the other points was a place from where you could see the separation of Mewar and Marwar regions.
We didn’t explore the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary as we just visited the Kanha National Park and were not in a mood to go on another wildlife safari. So, we instead planned to go on a village tour. Day 2 was great fun. Stay tuned as I will share our experience of the village life in the next blog. Do comment if you want to know any further information.