We went to Kumbhalgarh Ranakpur from Udaipur, which is approx 100 km from Udaipur
. Kumbhalgarh is not well connected with Udaipur by public transport. We booked a taxi a in advance and decided to leave at 8.30 AM, we hired the taxi for next two days.
After breakfast in the hotel and we started for Kumbhalgarh. Our first stop on the way was Eklingji temple, which is popular among locals. When we reached, there was a long queue of devotees in temple. There were no shops outside the temple but as we entered from the main gate, we saw some people selling the garlands made of different flowers along the queue, so everyone 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 Eklingji temple, we proceed for Nathdwara. There was a tax for cars entering the town of Nathdwara. The roads were narrow and there was a lot of traffic. The temple opening timings are very different for this temple, it closes many times during the day. My friend knew some pandit who can fast-track the entry into the temple for Darshan. She called him on the way and fixed a meeting point. The driver parked in the parking area and we walked towards the temple & met the Pandit. We paid him some amount for this fast tracking 😉 Again no mobile and camera were allowed inside the temple. The temple 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 we ignore them because if you give money to one, few others also ask you for more. 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 Haldighat, where famous Haldighati war was fought between Maharana Pratap and Mughal Emperor Akbar’s forces led by Man Singh I. We saw the valley, where war was fought and then moved to the small monument of horse Chetak.
Our next stop was Maharana Pratap memorial and it is a big compound in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by high walls. There was an entry ticket & camera ticket. After getting our tickets checked, we entered the compound.
There were some statues depicting the war scene in the small garden. There were big halls and corridors, where they take people in batches with a guide to explain the life & story of Maharana Partap. These scenes were created with clay models & colorful statues and sound light & sound added to the drama. I have to stand in queue for some time as there was a rush but since it’s the only thing to see here so, it’s we remained patient. In the back side of the compound, there were some stalls selling local products, mainly Gulukand (Rose petal sweetened jam), Rosewater, Honey and some local handicraft. The canteen in the compound serves fixed thali in which they serve local vegetarian food, it’s a self-service place. The food was spicy.
After our lunch, we proceeded for Kumbhalgarh. I had booked a hotel online in advance. We checked into the hotel, freshen up and went to Kumbhalgarh Fort. It is only attraction in the area apart from wildlife century (Which was not very interesting).
We bought a ticket for entry ticket for the fort. I inquired with the person sitting at ticket counter regarding evening light and sound show, he told me that I can buy the tickets for it in advance. We entered from the main gate, which is big and high walls are built on both sides of the gate. As we went inside, I noticed that the front wall is approx 15 meters wide. There are stairs on the inner part of the wall for climbing on it and we walked on it.
The main fort is situated on a hilltop and has perimeter walls that extend 36 kilometers. It is the second longest wall in the world after great wall of China. The Fort was built in 15th century by Maharana Kumbha and is popularly known as birth place of Maharana Partap.
We climbed the fort to reach its upper level. On the way at different levels of the fort, 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 took me around 1.00 hour to climb as I was clicking pictures on the way. We spent some time at the top and enjoyed the view. We started our descend to reach on time to watch the light & sound show.
We grabbed seats to watch the show, seats were on first come first serve basis. The sound and light show was 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 the fort looks spectacular with lighting. It turns into the golden fort and it was mesmerizing. We didn’t want to leave but it was getting late so we came out. We decided to have our dinner at another hotel instead of our hotel.
It was also a nice hotel with garden and it was made on an elevated area. The food was decent. After dinner, we came back to our hotel.
Next morning we got up little late and enjoyed the view from our room’s window. There was 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 the 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 was good and there were trees on both sides. The road to Ranakpur is winding with many twist and turns.
Jain temple of Ranakpur is outside the city in the peaceful area. There were less tourists and most of the people we see in temple complex were Jain devotees performing puja. Some of the people were staying in the rooms made in the temple complex. According to temple guidelines, photography is allowed inside temple between 12 Noon to 5.00 PM. It’s a 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 was clean and beautiful, nice carving on walls & pillars.
Temple complex was clean though I can not say same about toilets, there were only 2-3 toilets for visiting people/tourists (I mentioned this point because when you travel for 2 hours and stay on road for another 2 hours, then it’s kind of important point)
There was a canteen, which serves basic vegetarian food and it was clean.
From Ranakpur we started for Udaipur, from where we have our train for Delhi. But since we had some time before catching our train so we spend some time in market areas. We had enjoyed some local snacks and got few things packed for our overnight train journey.