The Forgotten Glory : Fort of Kumbhalgarh ( Rajasthan, India)

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Built on a hilltop 1100 metres above sea level, the fort of Kumbhalgarh has perimeter walls that extend 36 kilometres. After great wall of China this is the longest wall  in  Asia. The frontal walls are fifteen feet thick. Kumbhalgarh has seven fortified gateways. There are over 360 temples within the fort, 300 ancient Jain  and the rest Hindu. From the palace top, it is possible to look tens of kilometers into the Arvalli Range. The sand dunes of the Thar desert can be seen from the fort walls and few check dams which were also built by Rana Kumbh.

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According to legend, This fort was origianlly built by Jain king Samprati in 2nd century BC , which was named Machhindar Fort. {According to many scholars Emperor Samprati was Great Grand Son of Chandragupta Maurya, Grandson of Emperor Ashoka and son of Kunal. According to an agreement, the great empire of Ashok was divided into two parts between Samprati and his paternal cousin Dashrath. Samprati became the empire of entire western and southern part of India and ruled from Ujjaini,  while Dashrath ruled from Patliputra on eastern parts of India. Samprati was a brave and peace-loving emperor, who cared of his subjects a lot. Like his great grandfather, he too was staunch follower and patron of Jainism. He was disciple of the great Jain Acharya Suhasti. According to Vincent Smith, Samprati sent Jain monks and scholars to Arabistan, Iran, and Greece to introduce Jainism to local populations. He also sent Jain missionaries to Southern parts of India for this purpose. Before departure of the missionaries, Samprati used to send some spies in form of monks in the territories to clear out the routes from any threats. Because of Samprati, Jainism took an aggressive role and was spread in Central India, Deccan and Coorg in South India. He opened food centers for the poor. He asked his feudatories to prohibit killing of animals. According to many scholars, all the rock inscriptions said to be carved by Emperor Ashok doesn’t belong to Ashok, but many of them actually belong to other Mouryan emperors, including Samprati } .

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In 1443, the Maharana of Kumbhalgarh, Rana Kumbha, was initially repeatedly unsuccessful in attempts to build the fort wall. A spiritual preceptor was consulted about the construction problems and advised the ruler that a voluntary human sacrifice would solve whatever was causing the impediment. The spiritual advisor advised building a temple where the head should fall, and to build the wall and the fort where the rest of his body lay. As can be expected, for some time no one volunteered, but one day, a pilgrim, or some versions suggest a soldier, and some the spiritual preceptor and the pilgrim were one and the same, volunteered and was ritually decapitated. Today the main gate of the fortress, Hanuman Pol, contains a shrine and a temple to commemorate the great sacrifice.
According to popular folklore, Maharana Kumbha used to burn massive lamps that consumed fifty kilograms of Ghee  and a hundred kilograms of cotton to provide light for the farmers who worked during the nights in the valley.

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Kumbhalgarh also separated Mewar and marwar  from each other and was used as a place of refuge for the rulers of Mewar at times of danger. A notable instance was in the case of Prince Udai ( Father of Maharana Pratap) , the infant king of Mewar who was smuggled here in 1535, when chittod was under siege. Prince Udai who later succeeded to the throne was also the founder of the Udaipur City. The fort remained impregnable to direct assault, and fell only once, due to a shortage of drinking water, to the combined forces of Mughal emperor  Akbar , Raja Man Singh of Amber, Raja Udai Singh of Marwar, and the Sultan of Gujarat.

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The fort is the witness of many historic events like Its a birthplace of Maharana Pratap. 

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Birthplace of Maharana Pratap.

It is said that Rana Kumbha was the most idol ruler, powerful  warrior , culture loving , art loving , writer and a poet too. Who was known as ” A King who has never lost any Battle” but unfortunately was killed by his own son.

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