13 June 2024

Kumbhalgarh Fort: The great wall of India and second largest on planet

Kumbhalgarh fort is a Mewar fortress on the westerly range of Aravalli Hills in Udaipur of Rajasthan state. It was built by Rana Kumbha in 15th Century. It was the most important fort in Mewar after Chittorgarh Fort. The fort is among the largest fort complexes in the world and the second largest fort in India after Chittorgarh Fort.

History:
  • The early history of the fort could not be ascertained on account of lack of evidence. The original fort is believed to have been built by King Sampriti of the Maurya Age on account of strategic importance during the 6th century.
  • Kumbhalgarh in its current form was built by Rana Kumbha who was the Rana of Mewar from the Sisodia Rajput clan. Rana Kumbha’s kingdom of Mewar stretched from Ranthambore to Gwalior and included large tracts of what is now Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Out of the 84 forts in his dominion, Rana Kumbha is said to have built 32 of them, of which Kumbhalgarh is the largest and most elaborate.
  • Ahmed Shah I of Gujarat attacked the fort in 1457 but found the effort futile. There was a local belief then that the Banmata deity in the fort protected it and hence he destroyed the temple. There were further attempts in 1458–59 and 1467 by Mahmud Khalji, but it also proved futile. Akbar’s general, Shahbaz Khan, have taken control of the fort in 1576 on the orders of Man Singh I after the Mughal victory in the Battle of Haldighati.
  • it was recaptured by Pratap in 1585 through Guerilla warfare when Akbar was far away in Lahore. In 1818, an armed band of sanyasis formed a garrison to protect the fort but was convinced by James Tod and the fort was taken over by the British and later returned to Udaipur State.
  • There were additions made by Maharana’s of Mewar, but the original structure built by Maharana Kumbha remains. The residential buildings and temples are well-preserved. The fort is also known to be the birthplace of Maharana Pratap.
Architecture:
  • Built on a hilltop 1,100 m (3,600 ft) above sea level on the Aravalli range, the fort of Kumbhalgarh has perimeter walls that extend 36 km (22 mi), making it the second longest wall in the world after the great wall of China.
  • Kumbhalgarh has seven fortified gateways. There are over 360 temples within the fort, 300 ancient Jain and the rest Hindu. From the palace top, it is possible to see kilometers into the Aravalli Range. The sand dunes of the Thar Desert can be seen from the fort walls.
  • Hindu temple: A Ganesh temple built on a 12 ft (3.7 m) platform and is considered the earliest of all temples built inside the fort. Neel Kanth Mahadeva temple is located on the eastern side of the fort built during 1458 CE. 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.
  • Jain temple: 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 located on the southern side of Neela Kanth, Mamdeo temple, Pital Shah Jain temple and Surya Mandir (Sun temple) are the other major temples inside the fort.

Nitesh Kumar Singh

Technical content writer l Website developer

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