We traveled back in history, not literally though. Before leaving from Udaipur, we decided to drive to Kumbhalgarh Fort which is approx 102 Kms away, situated on the banks of the Banas River. The then Rana Kumbha took 15 long years to build this massive citadel which today extends along with 36 km long winding walls and wildlife sanctuary around the entire fort area. Our aim of the trip was to capture the fort lights in the evening, which were highly recommended. Without wasting much time, we reached Kumbhalgarh, disenchanted to see the area covered in darkness. We were informed that the authority hadn’t paid the electricity bill for the last 4 months and it would take another week before the fort would lit up again. They only had that much electricity available for the ‘light and sound’ show. Unbelievable and sad.
We saw no point in returnig back even after this major setback. We decided to stay overnight and capture the early morning shots of the fort. Meanwhile, we seated ourselves among the other visitors and saw the ‘Light and Sound’ show. That was impressive and how! Being a Sisodia myself, it was a moment of pride to witness the history of Kumbhalgarh unraveling through dancing lights and melodious music. This show lifted our mood and we looked forward to the early morning shoot.
Over the years, tourism has grown exponentially and we can see many hotels, both luxury and budgetary, guest houses and lodges have mushroomed near the fort area. We got a good deal and spent the night at a decent accomodation. They say, everything happens for a reason and that reason usually turns out to be a good one. The birds’ chirp woke us up and what lay ahead was truly magical.
The misty morning painted a beautiful picture of the Kumbhalgarh Fort with the hues of tangerine orange in the sky and the massive structure stood there testimony of the fact that it stands second after the Great Wall of China. The structure comprised of huge gates (called Pols), bastions and nearly 360 Jain and Hindu temples along the wall stretched over acres of land. The view was breathtakingly beautiful.
The white, cold clouds gathered around the fort, like feathers floating with the wind. The lush green forest belt around the fort, far across the women engrossed in the daily chores, the animals grazing in the farms, the echo of the temple bells in the air; all made Kumbhalgarh an experience to be treasured for a lifetime. It wasn’t even close to what we had anticipated the previous day when we reached there.
Kumbhalgarh Fort is a worthwhile experience even for those who are inclined towards jungle safari or trekking. The interesting part of any Rajasthan fortress is the association with the folklore or legends mixed with history and Kumbhalgarh is nothing short of it. There are many other places near the fort that can be explored, Udaipur being the number one choice of visitors. Other places worth a visit are Ranakpur Jain Temples, Ghanerao Royal Castle, Rajsamand Lake, Muchchala Mahavir Temple and Haldighati to name a few.
We left Kumbhalgarh the following afternoon and back to our city the next day. But we took back with us a lot of memories and scenic captures that truly encapsulated the beauty of Kumbhalgarh or what it is often called – ‘the Eye of Mewar’.
Wild Life Sanctuary of Kumbalgarh
Witnessing the ethreal beauty of Kumbalgarh at dawn.
Fort and Forest of Maharana kumbha of mewar – Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan
Kids from nearby villages selling us farm fresh custard apples on our way back to Udaipur