Did you know that India has its great wall too? Coming just after the Great Wall of China, the great wall of India is the second longest continuous wall in the world, running for over 36 kilometers around the fort it safeguards. Both the walls were built on similar grounds- for protection and defense. Having a vague and obscure history till the invasion of Ala-ud-din Khilji in 1303 AD, this Kumbhalgarh wall or fort received it present resplendence under the crafstmanship and vigilence of Rana Kumbha of Mewar and his dynasty, who were the Sisodia Rajput descendents. Thereafter, it has been a silent audience to the heroic history and superlative splendour of this Rajput clan, so much so that it itself became India’s best kept secrets to the world.
At the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 2013, Kumbhalgarh Fort, along with five other forts of Rajasthan, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan. Once under limelight, tourists started flocking in to visit this second largest fort in Rajasthan, only next to Chittaurgarh fort. Located close to this heritage site is the Kumbhalgarh palace or Khumbhal palace, a resort named after a palace inside the fort also known as the Badal Mahal. The resort offers traditionally furnished luxury rooms, elegant and comfortable with attached bathrooms fitted with all modern amenities. Living up to its name, the resort is built in the fashion of the Rajput palaces to indulge its customers with a royal feeling and the experience is crowned with the undivided attention and excellent service provided by the resort staffs. The rooms have been designed keeping in mind the comfort of the customers, and what makes the place so good is the customised facilities and services which are provided as per the requirement of individual visitor. Aside from this, the in-house Marwar restaurant also caters food that pampers one’s palate with mouthwatering delicacies. Located outside the Kumbhalgarh Fort, the hotel also boasts of safari services to the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and boat rides.
The resort is located just outside the fort and gives a breathtaking view of the massive wall of the latter. Also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the fort was impenetrable and very difficult to conquer. It acted as a place of refuge for the rulers and nobles of Mewar. A notable instance is when Prince Uday was smuggled here when Chittaur lay under siege in 1535. This impregnable fort fell but once due to shortage of water when Mughal Emperor, Akbar’s army attacked it under the leadership of Raja Man Singh of Amber. It remained uninhabited by any ruler till the Marathas took over it in 1818. Though there were additions made by the different Maharanas of Mewar, the original structure built by Rana Kumbha remains.
The Rajasthan Tourism Department organizes a three-day annual festival in the fort in memory and honour of the passion of Maharana Kumbha towards art and architecture. Sound and light shows are organized with the fort as the background. And all this is visible from the beautiful Kumbha Palace resort, making one’s stay there notable and memorable.