Kumbhalgarh Fort: An Awe-inspiring Hill Fort in Rajasthan
Architectural style: Rajput military hill architectural style
Status: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Also Known as: Kumbhal Fort
This wall is second longest in the world after the 'Great Wall of China'
· Nestled in the foothills of the Aravalli Mountain Range, Kumbhalgarh near Udaipur is a majestic citadel and a major tourist attraction. Surrounded by verdant forests, the fort attracts travelers due to its pristine location and architectural grandeur.
· Its 36-km long external wall is the second longest wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China.
Kumbhalgarh Fort Architecture
Due to its mountainous location, Kumbhalgarh was built in the Rajput military hill architectural style that makes use of the defensive properties of the terrain. The fort is built on a hill top at a height of about3600 feet above sea level and enveloped by a 36-km long wall with seven fortified gateways. The wall, which is listed among the longest walls in the world, is often called the Great Wall of India. The frontal walls of the fort have a thickness of 15 feet. There are more than 360 temples inside the fort, out of which 300 are ancient Jain temples and the others are Hindu shrines. Though several additions were made to the fort by the rulers of Mewar over the years,the original structure exists even now.
Lesser Known Facts about Kumbhalgarh Fort
· Kumbhalgarh Fort is one of the largest fort complexes in the whole world and the second largest fort in India,the first being the Chittorgarh Fort. · Thefort’s walls are so wide that eight horses can walk abreast through it. · You have to cross seven massive gates before entering the fort. Each consecutive gate is narrower than the previous one. The gates were constructed in this manner so that elephants and horses can’t enter the fort beyond a certain point. · King Samprati, who is believed to be the builder of the original fort, was the grandson of Emperor Ashoka.
Important structure in the fort
Lakhola Tank is the most notable tank inside the fort, constructed by Rana Lakha during 1382–1421CE. It is located in the Western side of Kelwara town and measures 5 km in length to100 m to 200 m in width. The tank had a depth of 40 ft during independence and since then has been raised to 60 ft . Aaret Pol is the gate on the western side, Halla Pol with an downward slope from the entrance, Ram Pol and Hanuman Pol near Bavadi are the major gates of the fort. There are inscriptions on the foot of idols in Hanuman Pol detailing the construction of the fort. Badshahi Bavdi is a stepped tank, have been built after the invasion of Shahbaz Khan in 1578, the general of Akbar the Great to provide water to the troops.Most buildings are visible from the Ram Pol, which is considered an architectural specimen.
Hindu Temple The central shrine of Shiva is approached through a rectangular enclosure and through a structure supported by 24 huge pillars. The idol of Shiva is made of black stone and is depicted with 12 hands. The inscriptions indicate that the temple was renovated by Rana Sanga.
Parsva Natha temple (built during 1513), Jain temple on the eastern side and Bawan (52) Jain temples and Golera Jain temple are the major Jain temples in the fort. Mataji temple, also called Kheda Devi temple is locatedon the southern side of Neela Kanth temple. Mamdeo temple, Pital Shah Jain temple and Surya Mandir (Sun temple) are the other major temples inside the fort
Windows Designed To Attack
The entire length of the inner wall is designed with openings that are tapering such that they are narrow from the outside and broad from the inside. So soldiers could be shielded by these walls and aim at the enemy troop through these openings without being spot from the outside.
Watch Towers And Gates
The fort has a total of seven huge and imposing gates that stand like lookouts, guarding all the possible approaches and seven ramparts that are strengthened by rounded basti on sand immense watchtowers. These extra reinforcements made this an impenetrable mountain fortress.
Doors Designed To Defend
At many palaces and forts, ancient doors are colossal and robust. So if one had to break it down, human force would be inadequate and strength of elephants would be required. Consequently, at many places within the fort, sturdy doors are built and reinforced with spokes throughout the surface to hurt anything banged against it.
Narrow Passages And Short Doors
The Rajputs of the time had a good height of close to 7 feet yet the doors were designed to be roughly 5 feet high and passages were wide enough for just one person to walk. These cramped passagess lowed down enemy army, if they were successful enough to enter the fort and the moment they bend to pass through the short doors,defending army could cut of their heads.
• The fort walls come to around 14 kms in length, with minor differences due to the undulated surface.
• The massiveness of the rampart is remarkable with its numerous huge bastions its width at the top level varies from 3 to 5 mts. • Random rubble and brick masonry laid in lime mortar, lime plastered in certain portions • The fort also possesses perimeter walls with an extension of 36 kms and frontal walls are very thick and measure approximately fifteen feets. • There are seven equipped gateways and around 360 temples within, out of which 300 temples are Jain and and the rest are Hindu. • The Great Wall was made of large premium stone blocks from the surrounding mountains.
CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS: Great wall was made of large stone blocks
JAIN TEMPLES: Juna bhilwara temple: stone and lime Bawandevris temple: stone and lime
Mataji temple: stone, bricks and lime. Neelkanth mahdevtemple: stone and lime. Parshvanatha temple: stone and lime Ganesha temple:dressed stone with shikhara in brick.
Charbhuja temple: dressed stone, stone jalis and cravings. Shiv temple: stone and lime.
This fort was built by the most talented architectures of the time and supervised by Mandan who was known for his mastery in the engineering elements. There are 4 main gates in the fort namely Aaret, Hanuman, Hulla and Ram Pol. Then there are multiple sections of the fort like Badal Mahal, Kumbha Mahal etc.
THE VIEW MOST LOVED
In the monsoon season because the most serene and calm view of Kumbhalgarh Fort is encountered in that season. A natural bliss, far stretched blue skies, lush green Aravali ranges adds on to the natural beauty of the place.
The peaceful atmosphere when the clouds are flying over the fort and the occasional showers happen to compliment the overall scene.
Beautiful nature view of jungles, rivers,and mountains
that motivates to drive more and more. Kumbhalgarh Fort is build 3600 Ft above the Sea Level and its the biggest Fort of India, which has the second largest wall after Great wall of china.and strange thing is Fort begins to appear only when you are about 500 mts away.
PICTURE CREDITS - INTERNET