Our next stop was Kumbhalgarh, which is approx 100 km from Udaipur. The place is not well connected in terms of public transport as much as I can gather from my search on the internet & by asking around in Udaipur. Secondly, it’s a small place with no auto rickshaws etc and thirdly we have decided to visit Shrinathji temple in the town of Nathdwara & Jain temple in Ranakpur.
So, the taxi was the best option considering all aspects. We booked the taxi a day before and asked the driver to pick us at 8.30 AM, this taxi is going to be our mode of transport for next two days.
We had breakfast in the hotel and packed our stuff. The taxi came almost on time and we started for Kumbhalgarh. Our first stop on the way was Eklingji temple, which is popular among locals and when we reached, there was a long queue of devotees. There were practically no shops outside the temple but as we entered from the main gate, we saw many flower sellers selling the garlands made of different types of flowers along the queue, so you can buy on the way. The queue moved fast and we reached the main sanctum and paid our respect. Camera and mobile phones are not allowed inside, so I could not click pictures.
From here, we moved to Nathdwara. There is a tax for cars entering the town. The roads are narrow and there was a lot of traffic. The temple opening timings are somewhat strange for this temple, it closes many times a day. My friend has the phone number of some pandit, who can fast-track the entry into the temple. She called him on the way and fixed a meeting point. The driver went to the parking area and we walked towards the temple & met the pandit. We had to pay some amount to him for this fast tracking 😉 Again no mobile and camera inside the temple. We went inside and it was quite crowded inside. We were asked to moved faster after having “darshan” of the main idol, the pundits standing in front of idol asked for some donations even though we had put the money in the donation box. Best is to ignore them because if you give to one, few others will ask you to give them. After having wonderful darshan, we came out of the temple and walked the narrow lane towards the parking area. On the way, we bought some souvenirs, prasad, and snacks.
Our next stop was Haldighati (Where famous Haldighati war was fought between Maharana Pratap and Mughal Emperor Akbar’s forces led by Man Singh I) and Maharana Pratap Memorial. We saw the valley, where war was fought and then moved to the small monument of horse Chetak.
After this, we reached Maharana Pratap memorial and it is a big compound in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by high walls. There is an entry & camera ticket. After getting our tickets checked, we entered inside.
There are some statues depicting the war scene in the small green area. They have big halls and corridors, where they take people in batches with their own guide to explain the life & story of Maharana Partap with clay models & colorful statues with sound light & sound effect. You may have to stand in queue for some time if there is a rush but since it’s the only thing to see here so, it’s better to be patient. In the back side of the compound, they have some stalls selling local products, mainly Gulukand (Rose petal sweetened jam), Rosewater, Honey and some local handicraft. The canteen here serves fixed thali in which they serve local food, its self-service place. Food is on the spicier side.
After our lunch, we proceeded for Kumbhalgarh. I had booked a hotel online before the start of our trip. We checked into the hotel, freshen up and went to Fort. Fort is only attraction in this area apart from wildlife century (Which is not very interesting).
We bought a ticket for entry, which is very nominal. I inquired with the person sitting at ticket counter regarding evening light and sound show and surprisingly he said you can buy the tickets for it now in advance. We entered from the main gate, which is big and high walls built on both sides of the gate. The front wall is approx 15 meters wide and from stairs at the inner part of the wall it possible to climb on the wall & walk around.
Fort is situated on a hilltop and has perimeter walls that extend 36 kilometers, it is the second longest wall in the world. It was built in 15th century by Maharana Kumbha and it’s popularly known as birth place of Maharana Partap.
We climbed the fort to reach its upper level and on the way at different levels, I saw small buildings and gates. There are stone slope and stairs to reach the top of the fort. The view from the top is beautiful and worth climbing. It takes approx 1 to 1.30 minutes to climb. We spent some time on top and enjoyed the view. We started our descend so that we can look around at the base of the fort before sunset and light & sound show start.
We grabbed nice seats for to have a good view. The sound and light show is very good and worth watching. Don’t miss it, if you are in Kumbhalgarh. They lit the entire fort and periphery walls for 20-30 minutes after the sound and light show, and fort looks spectacular in it. It turns into the golden fort and its mesmerizing. We didn’t want to leave but it was getting late so we came out and decided to have our dinner at some other place, instead of our hotel.
The place where we had dinner is also a hotel but they entertain other than residents. There were a nice garden and hotel is made on an elevated area. The food was decent. From here we came to our hotel and called for the day.
Next morning we got up little late and enjoyed the view from our window. There is a valley & hills across the road, our hotel people informed that sometimes they spot the Leopard in front of the hotel in the open area. From them, I came to know that people of Kumbhalgarh with the help of administration organize a marathon on fort’s wall once a year in the month of January/February.
We had our breakfast in the hotel and spent some time roaming around before checking out. From Kumbhalgarh, we moved to Ranakpur. The road is good and there are trees on both sides. The road is winding with many twist and turns.
Jain temple of Ranakpur is outside the city and place is very quite. There were less tourist and most of the people we seen in temple complex were Jain devotees
performing puja and it seems they were staying in the rooms in the temple complex. According to temple guidelines, photography is allowed inside temple between 12 Noon to 5.00 PM. It’s beautiful temple made of white marble but not as beautiful as Dilwara Jain temples. Maintain silence inside the temple and don’t click (pictures with and of idols). Temple is clean and beautiful, nice carving on walls & pillars.
Temple complex was clean though I can not say same about toilets, which are only 2-3 for visiting people/tourists (I mentioned at this point because when you travel for 2 hours and stay for another 2 hours, then it’s kind of important point)
There is one canteen, which serves basic vegetarian food and it’s nice and clean.
From here, we moved to Udaipur from where we have to catch our train for Delhi. But since we had some time to train so we spend some time in market areas and roam around. We had enjoyed some local snacks and got few things packed for our overnight train journey.