Kumbhalgarh – 2 1/2 hours from Udaipur, 4 hours from Jodhpur, 6 hours from Jaipur – don’t let the distances deter you. It is a fantastic journey to Kumbhalgarh and well worth the effort to discover this UNESCO World Heritage site.
We started our travel towards Kumbhalgarh late in the morning. Having the full day ahead us, we felt travelling to Kumbhalgarh would be a no brainer. Most of the way from Udaipur was great. However, once you reach Jaswantgarh, the road becomes narrow and your journey slows down significantly. The surrounding fields and villages are very nice to experience… but, it will just take a lot longer than the Google maps predicted 2 1/2 hours to reach Kumbhalgarh….. you end up spending about 3 to 3 1/2 hours instead.
Once you reach the approach to the Kumbhalgarh Fort, your journey slows down even further, especially during peak tourist season. But, once your reach the entrance, the magic begins.
In our case, by the time we reached the entrance it was about 4 pm. We quickly purchased the required tickets and hired a guide to take us around the fort (a smart move we felt later). We were lucky. The guide was very knowledgeable and did an amazing job showing us all the different parts without rushing us.
The elders in our group decided to sit out the exploring of the fort. They spent their time by the entrance visiting all the temples in that area while the rest of us slowly hiked up the upper parts.
With each ramp ascent, the views became more and more spectacular. The wide sections of the outer wall of the Kumbhalgarh fort were a sight to behold… we truly wished we had come 2 hours earlier so that we had a chance to really enjoy walking on the wall. Oh well, may be next time.
As we explored the palace, we learnt about the history of the fort, the place where Maharana Pratap was born, the cannon room, the legend of the beheaded saint and the temples dedicated to him. We also had an opportunity to learn about the villages and the people currently living inside the fort and how they trace their ancestry to the glory days of the kingdom. In one word – spectacular!
After exploring the upper parts of the palace, we headed back to the entrance area and explored the temples near by. In particular, the Shiva temple was simply amazing. By the time we were done exploring, it was dark and we decided to call it a day.
We had booked a hotel in Kumbhalgarh for the night as we expected it would not be feasible to drive back. This turned out to be a good decision as the hotel we booked was really nice.
We spent the rest of the evening and the next morning enjoying the resort before heading back home.
The road to Kumbhalgarh has its twists and turns but, you will truly enjoy the simplicity and magnitude of the fort and the outer wall. You can truly understand why it is the second largest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China.
Having been there, my advise would be: wear comfortable shoes and arrive early and allocate at least 4 hours. This way, you will not only enjoy exploring the various parts of the fort but also have enough time to walk a good distance on the outer wall.