Kumbhalgarh: The Great Wall of India
The Great Wall of China is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world but did you know India has its own version of an imposing wall? The spectacular Kumbhalgarh fort wall, which is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest fort wall in the world!
– The Kumbhalgarh fort wall is the longest fort wall in the world
Imposing and spectacular, the Kumbhalgarh fort’s wall was built to protect the northern most fort of the old kingdom of Mewar (today’s Udaipur), from invaders and armies. The walls of the Kumbhalgarh Fort stretch 36 kms along the edges of the western Aravalli hills in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, around 101 kms from Udaipur. This hill range was also the natural border of the Kingdom of Mewar and this made Kumbhalgarh strategically important.
The origins of the Kumbhalgarh fort are not very well known. It is believed to have started out as a small mud fort built by King Samprati of the local Maurya dynasty (Not the Imperial Mauryas of Magadha). The fort in its present form ,with its magnificently long walls was built by Rana Kumbha (1433-1468 CE) of Mewar. The fort is named after him.
– Kumbhalgarh is named after Rana Kumbha of Mewar
Rana Kumbha, the great warrior king and scholar was in continuous warfare with the Sultans of Delhi, Malwa and Gujarat. He is said to have built 32 forts, during his reign. He conquered large territories from neighbouring kingdoms and the Kumbhalgarh fort also acted as an administrative centre for the region, given that it was far from Chittor, Mewar’s capital.
The fort was constructed in 1450s CE by architect Madan, who was a renowned architect of his time. The fort wall is so long that there are a series of seven gateways through which it is accessed.
Kumbhalgarh is also significant for another reason. It is believed to be the birthplace of the legendary Mewar king Maharana Pratap who was born here on 9th May 1540.
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Kumbhalgarh is located in Rajasthan. The nearest airport is at Udaipur, at a distance of about 65 kms. The nearest railway station is Rani, 35kms away from the fort.