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Kumbhalgarh Fort

The Kumbhalgarh town has a number of places of interest, not the least among them being the Kumbhalgarh Fort. Situated 1100m above sea level, the Kumbalgarh Fort was called the 'Eye of Mewar' due to its strategic position that commanded an excellent view of Gujarat and Marwar, its aggressive neighbours. To quote Col. James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, 1829 "The fort rises, like the crown of the Hindu Cybele, tier above tier of battlements to the summit, which is crowned with the Badal Mahal, or 'Cloud Palace' of the Ranas". The Kumbhalgarh Fort is surrounded by thirteen mountain peaks.

The Kumbhalgarh Fort's perimeter wall is thirty-six km in length and is considered to be next only to the 'Great Wall of China'. The Fort and the town itself are named after Rana Kumbha who built it in the fifteenth century. The Fort has 360 temples within its precinct, out of which 300 are Jain temples and the rest are Hindu.

This Fort has a beautiful palace called the Badal Mahal Palace that was also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap. The palace is beautifully furnished in jewelled colours and is an amazing contrast to the grimness of the Fort. The fort was approached by crossing deep ravines and thick jungles and was considered quite invincible. The fort has seven gates, each with a special purpose or a story to tell.

Mirror signals could be sent from Arait Pol, the first gate, in case of emergency. Hulla Pol or the Gate of Disturbance was called so because the attacking Mughal army reached this spot in 1567 and great commotion. The resulting marks from cannon shots are still visible on the gate. Hanuman Pol is the third gate and has a temple dedicated to the Monkey God Hanuman. Bhairava Pol the fourth gate has a panel depicting the exiling of a treacherous Prime Minister in the 19th century.

The fifth gate, Paghra Pol or the Stirrup Gate was the place for the cavalry to assemble prior to action. The Star watchtower close by is an earlier structure and has 8m wide walls. The Topekhana Pol or the Cannon Gate supposedly has an underground passage leading to a secret escape tunnel. Nimboo Pol or the Gate of Lemon Trees, near the temple of Chamundi, is the seventh gate.

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