In continuation from Jodhpur:
Next day, after breakfast, we left for Jodhpur Bus Stand, from where we got the bus to Sayra (Rs. 135 – major Junction), instead of Falna (68 kms from Kumbhalgarh – This is the major Railway Station). Because, Sayra was more closer to Kumbhalgarh (29 kms), our main destination. We reached late afternoon, after more than 4 hours. After getting down at Sayra, there was another issue. Everyone kept staring at us, some taxi (Jeep) drivers gave the quote of Rs. 500/- to drop us at Kumbalgarh. We preferred to go by bus, since only two of us were there and place seemed very remote.
They were constantly discouraging us by telling us that bus will come after an hour, you have to keep waiting. On constant bugging, I tend to become adamant, and do not trust people, we told them, we would rather wait for bus, after an hour, bus arrived, got seat (Rs.30) and thus the journey of 1 hour extended to 2.5 hours, because this was the only Private Bus Service available in that area, which arrives every 1 hour, and it keeps stopping every 2 minutes to pick up the Passengers.
There was no other options available other than those taxis (Jeep). If I had been in group of 4, I would have opted for taxi. Finally, around 6.00 pm, we reached Hotel Devi Mahal Palace (Rs. 2321), which was like 5 kms further away from Kumbhalgarh. We had booked it online, most of the hotels in this area are costly. We had earlier decided to go to this hotel, splurging a bit on this.
Hotel did not disappoint, it was indeed luxury. Kumbhalgarh is a wild life Forest Sanctuary and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hence, the high cost and lack of proper transport. We thought of going for Kumbhalgarh Fort Light show. Being at a distance of 5 kms, we asked for a taxi. Staff told us that, taxi would cost us Rs. 600/-, we skipped that. Instead, preferred to rest, after the journey. We decided to go to fort, next day early morning.
Early morning by 6.30 am, we started walking towards the fort, it was a uphill walk on the road.
After walking for 2 kms, we saw the bus (Rs.5), got into it, and got down at the junction, from where one road goes to Sayra, while other one to Fort, third one down to Devi Mahal. We had the breakfast of Maggi and tea. Fort was more 2 kms away from that Junction. Buses don’t ply on that road. Being early, there was hardly anyone along the way or in the Fort. Crowd started appearing slowly later on. We hired a jeep for to and fro journey for Rs. 300. He left us at the entrance, told us he would be back in two hours. I assumed it would take two hours. (Ticket:5) Instead, after looking at the fortified wall of the fort, I knew, it would take whole day to go around. We had time till 10.30 am. to get back to hotel & leave for Ranakpur.
At the entrance, we were overwhelmed by the sight of huge magnificent Bastions lining on the outer side. The entrance door was huge, with nails on the door.
We first went up to the Badal Mahal, which was the highest point of the Fortress. There was a 360 degree view of Aravalli Mountains, and many temples and structures that was spread around, we did realise it would take a whole day to go around.
The walls ran on lengths on the hills over 38 kms. Fortress is strategically placed in midst of mountains, it is surrounded on all sides by Aravalli range. This is the second largest wall after Great Wall of China. This magnanimous Fortress was not visible even from distance, when we were travelling by bus and I was on lookout for the glimpse of this Fortress.
Also, called as Mewar Fortress and known for being the birth place of Mewar’s Legendary King Maharana Pratap. This Fortress was built in 15th Century AD by Rana Kumbha. Most admirable part of this Fortress is its inaccessibility & hostility of the topography made it difficult to conquer.
There are many beautiful temples built by Mauryas. The impregnable fort has seven massive gates, curved bastions and huge watch towers. At the base, there is a Vedi Temple. This is a Jain Temple built by Rana Kumbha to honour the sacrifice of the pilgrims.
There is a Neelkanth Mahadeo temple with huge six feet Shiva Linga. Built in 1458 AD, Rana Kumbha used to worship here. It is open from all four directions and has a Sanctum & open pillared Mandapa. Towards east of Vedi Temple, there is a Mamadev Temple.
We, later walked up to the highest point Badal Mahal or “Palace of the Cloud”.
This Palace offers the bird’s eye view of the town below and some ruins located faraways within the fort walls and the walls running through Aravalli Range.
Since, we were running late, I was sure of coming back again some day and spending whole day exploring its every nook and corner.
We came out of the Fortress, called up the driver, he dropped us at the Junction. We started walking down, hoping to reach Hotel as soon as possible. We saw a jeep coming our way, we asked for lift, there were already some Ladies seated, we got the seat.
Those Ladies were curious, wondering from where we had come. After some introduction, we came to know they are the relatives of the guy, who was driving, and he was leaving them back home.
He left us at the Gate of hotel. We offered him money, but he declined. He told us, if we need wild life Guide and Safari, we can contact him. We thanked him and he left. We picked our stuff and waited for bus to arrive to drop us at Ranakpur (33 kms away and takes an hour to reach).