The Great Wall of China is one of the wonders of the world. And don’t be surprised, India too has a great wall. Though the massive structure in India may not be as expansive as the Great Wall of China, the rampart surrounding the colossal Kumbhalgarh Fort, which is 80km from Udaipur in Rajasthan, is the second longest wall in the world.
The citadel is located amidst the wilderness of the Aravalli range and currently part of the Kumbhalgarh wildlife sanctuary. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) gave the tag of World Heritage Site to the historic Kumbhalgarh Fort in 2013. The Kumbhalgarh Fort is the most important fort after Chittor Fort or Chittorgarh Fort, which is the largest fort in India, in Mewar.
The Kumbhalgarh Fort, perched atop a hill, played a pivotal role in saving the Mewar Kings from the clutches of enemies during war.
The wall of Kumbhalgarh Fort
The perimeter wall of the Kumbhalgarh Fort, which is situated 1,900m above sea level, is the longest wall after the Great Wall of China in the world. The wall, built of red bricks, extends to a staggering length of 36km and is 15m wide. The rampart is so broad that eight horses can walk side by side on the imposing structure. The Kumbhalgarh wall has shades of the Great Wall of China in its design and structure. It is no wonder that the wall around the Kumbhalgarh Fort is known as the ‘Great Wall of India’.
A peep into history
Though there are interesting stories relating to the fort doing the rounds, the most fascinating tale goes like this. It is said that Rana Kumbha, the king of Mewar, had to face many hurdles while starting the construction of the fort. A sage advised the ruler that the bottlenecks in the construction would be removed if a pure-hearted man came forward to offer his life as sacrifice. But unfortunately no one was willing to give up life and the king was crestfallen. Seeing the predicament of the crowned head, the sage offered his life for the cause. Before the sacrifice, the holy man asked the king to build a gateway to the fort where the religious rituals were performed. Accordingly, Rana Kumbha built a grand entrance and gave it the appellation ‘Hanuman Pol’. And it is believed that palace was built on the spot where the hermit’s body fell after he was beheaded.
The palace inside the fort is a perfect example of Rajput architecture, and the regal edifice with the magnificent blue durbar hall has two storeys. A corridor separates the ‘mardana’ palace, which is reserved for men, from the women’s only ‘sanana’ palace. The ‘sanana’ palace boasts of some exquisite paintings of elephants, camels and crocodiles.