Rajasthan, the land of Maharajas, will leave you mesmerized with its royal palaces, huge forts, beautiful lakes, enchanted temples, and peaceful ambiance. So, why not explore the beauty of Rajasthan this season? How about taking a break from your busy life and head to historical corridors of Kumbhalgarh?
As you enter Kumbhalgarh, you will pass through dense forests, stunning scenic beauty, beautiful Aravalli range, and luxurious resorts. No doubt Rajasthan is full of wonders!
Kumbhalgarh has become really famous for the Fort, which was built by Maharana Kumbha in the 15th century, and Wildlife Sanctuary-where panthers, leopards, sambar love to call Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary their home.
However, there are many other interesting activities that you could engage in while you stay at Kumbhalgarh.
The Kumbhalgarh Fort
Long and serpentine, the walls of the fort are the second longest continuous wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China. Extending for over 36 km, the walls of the fort are impassable. My first glimpse of the fort left me wanting for more. It seemed so unconquerable that I wondered how the enemies would have planned a battle against the kingdom.
The fort has many palaces, ramparts, temples, and gardens and the panoramic view of the countryside from its towers was magical. And as we climbed higher the view got more beautiful.
The Fort is also called “The Mountain Fortress”-having the natural advantage of the Aravalli range surrounding it. And it’s well known by the name “Palace of Clouds” or “Badal Mahal” because you can see the clouds just an arm’s length during the monsoon season.
The Fort also marks the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the great king of Mewars, which is also one of the reasons to make this fort a favorite one among the visitors.
The palace is built in Rajputana style which is so exquisite that we stood to gaze in awe. When we entered the rooms, it felt so soothing and calm. And yes, do not miss looking out the windows to see the breath-taking view of the Aravalli range.
It was of no surprise that the Rajputs had immense belief in God as the Fort has 360 temples, 300 of them being ancient Jain temples and the rest belong to Hindu Gods. Seeing so many temples in a fort was really fascinating!
The Light and Sound Show at the Fort
If you are really interested in knowing the history behind the Kumbhalgarh Fort, you must watch this show. The show narrates the story from the beginning to the end of the Mewar period. The tales are beautifully narrated with lights and sounds and it’s an interesting show that captivates the visitors.
The splendor of the Kumbhalgarh Fort was a sight to remember and witnessing the second largest wall in the world was spectacular.
Don’t miss out on jungle safari while you visit Kumbhalgarh. Exploring the enigma of the jungle and ride through the dense forest of the sanctuary, and catching sight of sambar, panther and other animals is enthralling. One of the most popular safari routes is Kumbhalgarh to Thandi Beri. It takes around 3 hours to cover the 15km distance.
Stay at Luxurious Resorts
With tourism on the rise, many luxurious hotels and resorts have opened up in Kumbhalgarh for the convenience of the tourists. With an attractive and soothing décor and furnishings, the resorts make for a wonderful dwelling. There are many resorts that you would love to stay: Club Mahindra, The Kumbha Bagh, Fateh Safari Suites, Hotel Ramada, Hotel Lakhela, Kumbhalgarh Safari Camp Resort, The Kumbha Residency, The Mana Resorts, and many more.
Drive to Nathdwara
Nathdwara is famous for its Krishna temple, popularly known as “Shrinathji”. Like every other temple, Nathdwara temple also has a history.
In the 17th century, Aurangzeb attacked the Hindu temples and to safeguard the idol of Shrinathji, many Rajput rulers tried their best but all in vain. In 1672, Rana Raj Singh made an effort to liberate the idol from Aurangzeb.
It is believed that when the idol was being transferred, the wheel of the cart sank down in the mud at a particular place. The priest perceived that that particular place has been chosen by God himself. As such, the temple was constructed on the same spot. Hence, the aura of the temple is eternal.
The darshans or the temples gates are opened 8 times a day for the devotees to view the idol of Shrinathji. It was around 3.30 pm that we went for the darshan. You have to enter the temple with a huge crowd and long queues for a few minutes of darshan that I personally don’t really understand. But if you have immense faith in Shrinathji, you will surely be moved by spiritual vibes of this pious place.
However, you have to be really careful about the timings when you visit Nathdwara. The slots for darshan starts from 5.45am-6.30am in the morning and final evening ‘Aarti’ takes place between 5.15pm-6.00pm.
After darshan, we went around the vibrant streets of Nathdwara and you could see Shrinathji everywhere. There are many local shops selling the artifacts and paintings of ShrinathJi.
Nathdwara is also known for its famous “Pudina wali Chai” (Mint-Tea). We headed towards a tea stall, he served us mint tea in a clay cup, called Kulhad. The taste of fresh mint and the strong flavor of the tea was refreshing. And if you are fond of Thandai, you must try out Thandai in Nathdwara with Bhaang to get a little tipsy, it would surely add to your exciting experience.
As we walked down the streets, we saw many sweet shops selling prasad, there were various types of prasad. Apparently, there are as many types of prasad as the number of darshan. What is offered to God is as per season and the time of the day. Interesting, isn’t it?
Holi, the festival of colors is played with a great enthusiasm in Nathdwara of which we had no clue. We arrived Nathdwara on the day of Holi and witnessed each and every street was full of people celebrating Holi with colors, water guns, water balloons.
All the shops in the town were closed. The streets in and around the bazaar were covered in the soft powder of abil and gulal. The festive colors formed a thick, soft carpet color of ashen purple color.
People were howling with delight as they sprayed unsuspecting pilgrims with color. We wanted to go for a darshan but there was no other way as if we would step out of the car, it was for sure we would not get back without getting pink. Though we decided to move on with our plan we got back to our car only after playing Holi with the people of Nathdwara.
We could not head for darshan but enjoyed getting covered in the colors of Holi in the streets of Nathdwara. And as we drove to Kumbhalgarh, we saw people enjoying in bright colors of Holi and giving us their warm wishes.
It was an altogether different experience and we had lots of fun. You must visit Nathdwara on Holi, not for darshan but to enjoy the Holi festival. J
Drive to Ranakpur
The drive from Kumbhalgarh to Ranakpur was very scenic and as we passed through the wildlife sanctuary, we saw a lot of curious langurs peering at us from the roadside. We didn’t have to go for a safari to see these adventurous langurs.
There was a very steep descent after passing through the forests, we could feel the car engine straining in first gear to make the gradient. It was a really fun and exciting driving experience.
After that, we passed through some rustic Rajasthani villages with narrow pot-holed roads till we finally arrived the famous Jain Temple of Ranakpur. The Jain Temple was built in the 15th century and is situated in the lovely valleys of the Aravalli. The surrounding is quiet and picturesque. We were amazed by the beautiful sculpture of the temple.
The entire temple is carved from white marble and 1,444 pillars in the temple hold up the ceiling and the interesting thing is that none of the pillars are the same. The design is different in all the pillars. All of the carvings were intricate, portraying people, elephants, flowers, and other patterns. We wandered through the tranquil interior and enjoyed the serene and calm environment.
Though I am not an overtly religious person, I love the calmness that I experience in temples. At this Jain temple, somehow, that calmness was more magnified. It had me feeling at peace. The experience at the temple was peaceful and I loved it.
So, when are you planning for an adventure, religious, spiritual, and nature-enthusiastic trip?
Best time to Visit:
Kumbhalgarh enjoys a warm temperature as it is located in one of the hottest states of the country. The best time to visit the fort is between October-March and during monsoon season. A visit during monsoon season would be astounding. The chances of animal-spotting are great during October-March.