Everybody knows the Great Wall of China is one of the seven wonders of the world. But not many aware that India has its own great wall. Not only that, India’s great wall is the second longest in the world just after China.
India’s very own Great Wall is in Rajasthan at Kumbhalgarh Fort. The wall extends over 36 km around the boundary of the fort. After Chittorgarh the fort is the second most important fort of Rajasthan. It is surrounded by the 13 mountain peaks of the Aravalli range. On top of the fort one can enjoy the panoramic view of the countryside.
History of the Fort
King Rana Kumbha of Mewar expanded his kingdom from Ranathambore to Gwalior. The king himself had designed the 32 fortresses out of the 84. Kumbhalgarh is one of the fort of his creations which is most impressive and famous. The fort was built in the 15th century and it is one of the few forts in India which was never conquered.
It is also the birthplace of Maharana Udai Singh II’s son the famous Maharana Pratap.
The fort remained secure to direct attack. It boasts seven huge gates, the seven ramparts folded with one another with designed walls and it strengthened by curved bastions and huge watch towers. From the top of the palace it is possible to see kilometers of Aravalli range.
The fort was built on a hilltop of 1,100 m above the sea level on the Aravalli range. The frontal walls of the fort is 15 ft. thick. From the fort walls one can see the sand dunes of the Thar Desert.
The wall was beautifully masoned with thousands of stone bricks. At the top, the decoration was so well planned that it attracts tourist and make it a tourist destination.
The width of the wall is 15 to 25 feet. History claims that 15 horses could ride side by side on it. The wall continues through the mountain cliffs of the Aravalli range. The 700 years old wall is still intact and this is an example of great architecture of the Rajput era.
The shape of the wall is not straight, it runs through the cliffs, valleys and through the forest area which falls under Kumbhalgarh National Park. It has stairs and walk way like its cousin the Great Wall of China.
Inside the walls there are 360 Jain and Hindu temples. There is also a magnificent palace named ‘Badal Mahal’ (the Palace of Cloud).
The wall never fall down except once a traitor poisoned the internal water supply of the fort to allow the Mughal emperor Akbar and his associates from Gujarat, Amer, Delhi and Marwar to penetrate its defence.
The name of the seven gates are Hanuman Pol, Hulla Pol, Bhairava Pol, Ram Pol, Top-khna Pol, Paghra Pol and Nimboo Pol.
The myth said that in 1443 CE Rana Kumbha was repeatedly unsuccessful to build the wall. Then a spiritual advisor advised him for a human sacrifice which would solve the problem. He advised to build a temple where the head of the sacrifice would fall and construct the wall and the fort where the rest of the body laid.
For some day no one volunteered for the sacrifice but some days later a pilgrim was ready to give the sacrifice and ritually beheaded. In recent times the main gate of the fortress named Hanuman Pol and a temple and shrine was built to commemorate the great sacrifice.
According to folklores, Maharana Kumbha burnt 50kg ghee and 100 kg cotton to provide lamps to the farmers who worked during nights.
Except the Great Wall, 360 temples this place has many things to offer. Gardens, palaces, step-wells, 700 canon bunkers which are still unharmed. It has one of the largest Shivlingas of India. Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is also a must visit.
The fort is now open as a museum for public visit and each evening it spectacularly lit for a few minutes.