Udaipur – Kumbhalgarh – Haldighati
Located 84 kms north of Udaipur in the wilderness, Kumbhalgarh is the second most important citadel after Chittorgarh in the Mewar region. Cradled in the Aravali Ranges the fort was built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha. Because of its inaccessibility and hostile topography the fort had remained un-conquered. It also served the rulers of Mewar as a refuge in times of strife. The fort also served as refuge to the baby king Udai of Mewar. It is also of sentimental significance as it is the birthplace of Mewar’s legendary King Maharana Partap. The fort is self-contained and has within its amalgam almost everything to withstand a long siege.
The fort fell only once that too to the combined armies of Mughal and of Amber for scarcity of drinking water. Many magnificent palaces an array of temples built by the Mauryas of which the most picturesque place is the Badal Mahal or the palace of the clouds. The fort also offers a superb birds view of the surroundings. The fort’s thick wall stretches some 36 kms and is wide enough to take eight horses abreast. Maharana Fateh Singh renovated the fort in the 19th century. The fort’s large compound has very interesting ruins and the walk around it can be very rewarding.
Beautiful sculptured Jain temples mark the glory of this renowned place. Marked as one of the five holy places for the Jain community, these were created in the 15 the century. During the reign of Rana Kumbha and are enclosed within a wall. The central Chaumukha [four faced temple] is dedicated to Adinathji the temple is an astounding creation with 29 halls and 1,444 pillars all distinctly carved and no two being alike is a amazing evidence of the genius sense of architecture that enhances the charm of the place. Every temple has this conceivable surface carved with equal delicacy.
The ambience of Ranakpur is mainly highlighted by the location and the almost divine architecture, giving the same hue as its counter part – the great Dilwara Temple’s. in Mt-Abu. Facing the main temple are the unique temples -Parasvanath – Neminath with exquisite figures carving similar to that Khujaraho sculptures. Another temple worth visiting is the nearby ‘Sun Temple’ dedicated to the ‘Sun God’ (Surya-the master of all the planets and the provider of light to the whole universe) adorned with polygonal wall, richly embellished with the carvings of warriors, horses and solar (Nakshatras, grahs’) deities riding splendid ‘chariots’ the vehicle of the ‘Sun God’- which accordingly to the Hindu Mythology is the God of prosperity and a shining destiny in this world. Many throng this shrine for these blessings. Overall Ranakpur is known as ‘ The tranquil pilgrimage town’. For the buffs a ride to the outskirts like ‘ Sadari’ – ‘Desuri’- ‘Ghanerao’- ‘Narhai’, serves the purpose of their satisfaction.