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Rajasthan Road Trip : First Stop - The Fort City of Kumbalgarh

Kumbhalgarh is a magnificent fortress located in the state of Rajasthan, India. Built during the 15th century by Rana Kumbha, it stands as a testament to the rich history and architectural brilliance of the region. This imposing structure is perched atop the Aravalli mountain range, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Kumbhalgarh was our first stop during the Rajasthan road trip that we took immediately after COVID-19.  The journey from Jaipur to Kumbhalgarh was scenic and mesmerizing. This article covers our experience of the journey, pitstops, and the town of Kumbhalgarh. 

For an overview of our entire road trip, please read A Rajasthan Road Trip Amidst Rains : An Overview

Let's Start With Journey - Reaching Kumbhalgarh

If you're looking for a weekend getaway from Jaipur, then a trip to Kumbhalgarh should definitely be on your list. Located approximately 300 kilometers away from the Pink City, Kumbhalgarh is a majestic fortress nestled in the Aravalli hills of Rajasthan. The journey from Jaipur to Kumbhalgarh takes around 5-6 hours by road. You can either hire a private cab or take a bus from the Jaipur bus station. The route is scenic, passing through beautiful landscapes and small villages. While there is a lot of history, the place is amazingly beautiful with mesmerizing scenery. All this went into us deciding the town as our first stop on the road trip.

Rains Make the Drive Fun

The first half of the journey 

The main way to reach Kumbhalgarh is through road because of its geography. There are railhead and airport in Udaipur which is only 80 kilometers from Kumbhalgarh. We obviously were traveling from Jaipur as part of the road trip and hence were on our way after bidding goodbye to the family on the morning of September 23rd. As soon as we started from Jaipur, it started raining cats and dogs. It was one of those rains where we had seldom taken a drive, let alone a road trip. However, rain and road trips have their own charm and we persevered through the national highway NH48.

As we started, the national highway is a wide and well-maintained road, and hence the journey was smooth. We crossed Ajmer in no time and continued on to our journey towards the destination. It took about 4 hours when we bypassed Beawar and took off from the wide expressway to the two-lane National Highway 58. The reduction in the width of the road coincided with the change in the geography and we could feel hill-road feel as we moved ahead. 

Relaxing on the Way

Parked for the Pitstop

The first pitstop and second half of the journey 

As we crossed Beawar, we felt the need to take our first pitstop and soon we found a roadside eatery ("dhaba") at a scenic location - nestled in hills with amazing views around. We enjoyed some tea and snacks in the lap of nature and enjoyed some good moments of leisure and photography. This was a much-needed break after the heavy rains and almost half of the drive towards our first destination of the trip. 

Kettle and Travel on the Road

After half an hour of the break, we restarted our drive further. The road was now winding and the hill terrain was evident. This obviously demanded much higher concentration and focus on the road - which was increasingly difficult because of the scenery around. We continued the journey enjoying the weather and the drive. We took our second pitstop - which was primarily a fuel stop near Darda which seemed like a decently sized town. We wanted to stock on some water, snacks, and fuel before we started the last mile to the fort town as we were not sure of availabilities once we were there.  

Us Posing Somewhere on the Way

Pulling into Kumbhalgarh

The last mile connectivity to Kumbhalgarh could improve as the roads were narrow and damaged. From the looks of it, a lot of construction activities were in progress and hopefully, the roads have been repaired now. We did struggle towards the end but the scenery did compensate a lot. This kept us going and we were eager to reach our resort. On our way to the resort, we completed a round across the valley and crossed the main town of Kumbhalgarh. After about 8 hours of the drive, we finally stopped at the entrance of our resort. 

Let me Fly!

Where To Stay in Kumbhalgarh

Kumbhalgarh offers a wide range of accommodation options, including heritage hotels and resorts. If you're looking for a luxurious and unforgettable experience, consider staying within the fort walls at one of the heritage properties. These accommodations provide a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the history and grandeur of Kumbhalgarh. However, if you want more modest accommodation, there are many options around. While we do not recommend going for a very economical option, there still are an adequate number of moderately priced resorts that offer comfort and convenience. Most of these resorts offer great views and good facilities for your stay. 

We had chosen a resort named Tiger Valley Luxury Resort for our one-night stay in the town. In terms of location, the resort is located around 3 kilometers from the fort which is pretty close if you have a vehicle. The location is ideal for a nice vacation as it is away from the hustle and is well-settled in the lap of nature. As you enter, you are greeted with a lot of greenery and a vibe of freshness. The services and facilities are really good. They have all the facilities that you would expect in a resort including gardens, a swimming pool, and a kids' play area. The restaurant is set up very nicely serving delectable food including a nice spread of complimentary breakfast. 

Our Room - Outside View

Views from Our Room

Our Room - Inside View

The Breakfast

Unwinding in Kumbhalgarh - Things to Do in 24 Hours (1 Day)

Kumbhalgarh is a small town nestled in the Aravali Range in Rajasthan. While it is predominantly famous for one of the largest fort, the town is also a very scenic blessing of nature. The height and location make the town strategically ideal for a fort and hence the fort remained invincible to adversaries. Today, Kumbhalgarh attracts tourists from all over the world who come to marvel at its beauty and learn about its rich past.

Ideally, one full day should be enough to explore key tourist attractions in the town at a relatively easy pace. Below is a list of some of the things you would like to explore in the town in order of how we did it. These are not in order of importance because any list should ideally start with a visit to the fort! However, we were on a relaxed and leisurely vacation and hence took things at our own speed.

Afternoon - Take a Safari at Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary

Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary spans over 600 square kilometers, and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. The sanctuary boasts an impressive array of animals including leopards, wolves, hyenas, sloth bears, and various species of deer. Birdwatchers will also be delighted by the presence of over 200 species of birds. The sanctuary also houses several ancient temples and water bodies that add to its charm.

Lush Green Dense Forests All Around

We wanted to undertake a safari of the sanctuary, although the season was not the best for an animal sighting. We requested our resort reception and they were more than happy to call a safari operator for us (for reasons in addition to courtesy!). It is easy to get the safari arranged online but since we had not planned earlier and were trying to make the best use of the time we had, we were happy to pay their commission. The safari vehicle was a much-known open-top olive-colored gypsy. The driver picked us up at the resort and took us for a two-hour drive into the forests. Though we did not really see any interesting animals, the weather and the greenery were worth the trip itself. 

Evening (Early) - Enjoy the Views of the Valley and Mountains

We spent our evening enjoying the mesmerizing views of the Aravallis on one side and the valley below on the other side. It was an amazing day with beautiful weather. The rains in the earlier part of the day had embellished the beauty of nature with a new freshness. Then the sky opened up to allow for exploring the resort at ease and unwinding. The kid was happily engaged with all the kids's toys in the garden and we relaxed on the nicely manicured lawns. 

Unwinding With Views

Evening (Late) - Enjoy the Light and Sound Show at Fort

While we did not opt to go to the show, we have heard great reviews of the Sound and Light Show at the Kumbhalgarh Fort. As the sun sets, the fort comes alive with colorful lights and the narration of historical stories and legends. The show beautifully depicts the valor and rich heritage of Rajasthan, leaving you in awe of this architectural marvel. Read more about the show at Rajasthan Tourism Website

Morning - Explore the Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort in Backdrop

The next morning, we started with a good breakfast and headed straight to the fort to explore the magnificent monument. Known for its rich history and breathtaking architecture, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural significance. Kumbhalgarh holds historical significance as it was one of the few forts that remained unconquered throughout its existence. Its strategic location made it nearly impregnable, allowing it to withstand numerous sieges.  The fort has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of "Hill Forts of Rajasthan" for its historical importance and architectural splendor.

Perched at an altitude of 1,100 meters, the Kumbhalgarh Fortress is one of the most iconic landmarks of Rajasthan. Built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha, it is the second longest wall in the world after the Great Wall of China. The fort stretches over 36 kilometers and encompasses several temples, palaces, and gardens within its walls. The first view of the fort is the main gate of the fort called Hanuman Pol. As you walk along the fort walls, you'll be mesmerized by the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys. The fort has several other gates including the Aret Pol, Halla Pol, and Ram Pol, each with its own unique architecture and history.

We strongly recommend two sites to be covered when you are in the fort. Visit the Vedi Temple, which is an ancient Jain temple located inside the fort complex. Its intricate carvings and serene surroundings make it an ideal place for meditation and reflection. Also, make sure to explore the Badal Mahal (Palace of Clouds), which offers a beautiful vantage point and a glimpse into the royal lifestyle of the past.

After our visit to the fort, we returned to the hotel, checked out of the hotel, and proceeded to our next destination of the road trip - Mount Abu. Read about our experience in our next article in the series (Rajasthan Road Trip to Kumbhalgarh, Mount Abu, and Udaipur). As we moved out of the town, we could all agree that a trip to Kumbhalgarh is a journey back in time, offering a glimpse into Rajasthan's rich cultural and architectural heritage. The fortress, with its awe-inspiring walls and picturesque surroundings, is a testament to the glory of the past. So, pack your bags and embark on this adventure to create lasting memories amidst the majestic beauty of Kumbhalgarh.

Thank You for Visiting Kumbhalgarh

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