The Great Wall of India
The second-longest continuous wall on the planet protects a hidden secret in the deserts of India.
The wall that surrounds the ancient fort of Kumbhalgarh is one of the best-kept secrets in India, and perhaps the world. Protecting a massive fort that contains over 300 ancient temples, the wall was constructed half a millennium ago in tandem with Kumbhalgarh Fort itself.
Often referred to as Kumbhalgarh Wall or simply as Kumbhalgarh Fort as a whole, the wall is perhaps best known by its most sensational—and fitting—name: The Great Wall of India. This is appropriate, as the wall extends over 36 kilometers (22 miles) around the perimeter of the fort, making it the second-longest continuous wall on the planet after the far more well-known Great Wall of China.
Its anonymity is mystifying, since this is no crumbling line of bricks fascinating only by description. The wall is massive and breathtakingly majestic as it snakes through valleys and along mountaintops, again bearing a striking resemblance to its cousin in China. At its widest sections, the wall is 15 meters thick and beautifully masoned with thousands of stone bricks and decorative flourishes along the top, making this just as attractive as a tourist destination as it once was effective as a deterrent.
This gaudy defense is fitting for the perimeter wall of Kumbhalgarh Fort, itself a hulking, imposing construction, with its many pregnant ramparts bowing out into the desert in boulder-like configurations, stacked atop one another and giving the fort the appearance of a mountain. Kumbhalgarh Fort, together with five other forts in the area, is registered as designated UNESCO World Heritage Site—Hill Forts of Rajasthan.
Visitors should beware that this piece of history, while alluring and well-preserved, is not well-trafficked. That remoteness and the potential to have miles of ruins all to oneself is appealing to plenty of off-the-beaten-path travelers, but the walls are tall, the stone hard, and while many of the traps and defensive mechanisms along the wall and fort have been deactivated, that does not mean accidents cannot happen. The most pleasant weather conditions in the area are from October through March.
Know Before You Go
Kumbhalgarh is a good option for a day trip from Udaipur. You can hire a car and driver from the local travel agencies in Udaipur for about 2,800-3,600 rupees for a full day. There are also hourly buses from Udaipur to Kelwara village near the Fort. Bus journey takes about three hours and costs some 50 rupees.
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