Kumbhalgarh is situated about 80 Km. northwest of Udaipur amidst Aravali hills in the Kelwada tehsil of Rajsamand district. Its construction is attributed to Rana Kumbha between 1443-1458 A.D. under the supervision of famous architect Mandan on the site of a still older castle which traditions ascribe to Samprati, a Jaina prince of the second century BC. The fort has ten gates with several groups of temples devoted to Hindu and Jain pantheon which includes the Ganesh temple, Neelkanth Mahadev temple, Vedi temple, Parsavnath temple, Bawan Deori, Pitalia dev temple, Mamadev temple, Golerao group of temples and Jain temples No. 1,2,3 etc.. The other monuments within the fort includes Badal Mahal, Kumbha Mahal, Birth Place of Maharana Pratap and ancient bunds, reservoirs and step wells etc.. The whole fort is encircled by a strong fortification wall having perimeter of about 10 km. with 5 m width abutting wall on the inner side of the fortification supported by a series of round bastions.
The fort of Kumbhalgarh is unparallel in the state of Rajasthan due to its strategic locations on the high cliffs of Aravalli ranges and strong fortifications of undulating nature following the contour of the hills. The fort has remained invincible in its life history. The fort as a whole in its cultural values and other attributes such as forms of fortification walls, palace complexes, group of temples devoted to different sects and faiths, water bodies and other structures, material of constructions, its shape and design, traditional values, use and beliefs is preserved intact
Gateways :The fort is entered from south through Aret Pol followed by Halla Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ram Pol and Vijay Pol. Entrance to the fort is through Ram Pol but Hanuman Pol is significant as it enshrines an image of Hanuman which was brought by Rana Kumbha from Mandavpur. The palatial complex at the top is approached further through three gateways, viz the Bhairon Pol, the Nimboo Pol and the Paghra Pol. One more gateway known as Danibatta is situated on the east.
Vedi Temple: The Vedi temple was built by Rana Kumbha in 1457 A.D. for performing rituals in connection with completion of the fort. This building facing west is a double storeyed erected on a high platform. It is octagonal on plan with thirty-six pillars supporting the domical ceiling. A triple shrined temple is built to the east of the Vedi which consist of a sanctum, vestibule and a common mandapa with a ceiling carved with frieze of swans and deities on the brackets.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple: Situated to the east of Vedi temple, it was built in 1458 A.D. and enshrines a Siva linga in the garbhagriha. It is built on a raised platform accessible from west through a flight of steps. The temple consists of a sanctum and an open pillared mandapa all around. The shrine is sarbvatobhadra with entrances from all the four directions. In front of the western opening is placed a seated figure of Nandi.The stone inscription on the left pillar of the western gate mentions about its renovations by Rana Sanga.
Ganesh Temple: Built during the time of Maharana Kumbha, the temple is located along the road leading to the palaces. According to one of the inscriptions of Kirtti Stambha of Chittaurgarh fort, Rana Kumbha consecrated an image of Ganesh in this temple.
Parsvanath Temple: The temple was built by Nar Singh Pokhad in 1451 A.D. It houses an idol of lord Parsvanath flanked by two more idols of red stones on its either sides.
Bawan Devri Temple : This famous Jain shrine is so named as it has bawan (fifty-two) shrines in a single complex provided with one entrance from north. Of these, two shrines are big in size, one located in the middle of the back wall and the other in the centre of the courtyard. The remaining fifty shrines are small in size and arranged all around the outer wall. These shrines are provided with entrances which open in the common verandah. The bigger shrine in the back wall consists of a sanctum, an antarala and an open mandapa. The sanctum is pancharatha on plan and its interior is square with domical ceiling and has no image. The other larger shrine of the courtyard consists of a sanctum, an antarala, a closed mandapa, a pillared sabhamandapa and another hall which is slightly at a lower level. An image of Jain tirthankara is carved as the lalatabimba on its sanctum door.
Jain Temple No. 1: This is an east facing nirandhara temple consisting of a sanctum, an antarala, a sabhamandapa and portico. The sanctum is pancharatha on plan. The garbhagriha is square with plain wall and domical ceiling. The doorway of garbhagriha is trisakha. A seated image of Jaina tirthankara is carved as lalatabimba. The antarala has plain wall with niches, one on each side, which are now empty. The sabhamandapa is covered with domical ceiling. The temple is datable to circa thirteenth century A.D.
Mamadeo Temple: Also known as Kumbhashyam, the temple consists of a flat roofed sanctum and a pillared mandapa. An inscription of Rana Kumbha’s time giving detailed history of Kumbhalgarh was fixed on this temple. Large number of beautifully carved idols of gods and goddesses were recovered from the premises of this temple.
Golerao Group of Temples: At a little distance from the Bawan Devri is situated the Golerao group of temples consisting of nine shrines. Exteriorly, the shrines are adorned with beautiful carved sculpture of gods and goddesses. On the basis of architectural style, the group may be ascribed to the period of Rana Kumbha.
Pitalia Dev Temple: This east facing Jain shrine is situated in the western part of the fort. Built by Pitalia Jain Seth in 1455 A.D., the temple is constructed on a raised plinth and consists of a multi-pillared sabhamandapa and a shrine. The sabhamandapa is accessible from three directions viz. east, north and south. The sanctum is sarvatobhadra with four doors in four directions. Its sikhara has fallen. The jangha is adorned with images of gods and goddesses, apsarases, dancers and musicians.
Kumbha Palace: The palace of Rana Kumbha situated close to the Pagda Pol is a two storeyed edifice. It consists of two rooms, a corridor in the centre and open space in front. The rooms are provided with jail windows in stones.
Birth Place of Maharana Pratap: The mansion known as Jhalia-ka-Malia or the Palace of Queen Jhali situated near Pagda Pol is believed to be the place where Maharana Pratap was born. It is made of rubble stone with simple walls and flat roof. Traces of painting can still be seen on the walls.
Badal Mahal: Badal Mahal is situated at the highest point of the fort. Built by Rana Fateh Singh (1855-1930AD), the palace is double storeyed structure divided into two interconnected distinct portions i.e. the Zanana Mahal and the Mardana Mahal. Walls of the palace are profusely decorated with wall painting. The zanana mahal is provided with stone jalis which facilitated the queens to see the court proceedings and other events without being exposed to others.
Besides the above, there are many small temples, water reservoirs and baoris, bunds to harvest running rain water, an old fortified settlement locally known as Juna Bhilwara, and a small habitation adjoining to the Vedi temple which is continue from the erstwhile state period. The whole fort is situated on high hills of Aravalli ranges and surrounded by a forest sanctuary. The fortification wall of the fort is appx. 5 m wide and seem like Great Wall of China.
Kumbhalgarh, a small town in district Rajsamand is known worldwide for its great history and architecture. Enlarged during 19th century, this fort is also the birth place of Maharana Pratap, the great king and warrior of Mewar. This almost invincible fort is the highest and most formidable in the state of Rajasthan. Even the mighty mughal couldn’t capture it alone and it took the combined armies of Delhi, Amber and Marwar to breach its defences. Standing majestically on 1180m high ridge and representing the past glory of the Rajput rulers, the Fort also provides a panoramic view of the countryside from the top. Thirteen mountain peaks of the Aravali range protect this impregnable fortress. Seven huge and imposing gates stand like sentinels at the approaches and seven ramparts, one being folded within another with crenulated walls strengthened by rounded bastions and immense watch towers, make this an impregnable mountain fortress. It's serpentine 10 kilometres long wall is thick and broad enough for eight horses to ride abreast. This wall is second longest only to the 'Great Wall of China'. This grand fort also has 360 temples within the walls.