Kumbhalgarh Festival, Udaipur


Perched on a hilltop, Kumbhalgarh is a fortress nestled on the banks of the Banas River in Mewar. It is cradled in the Aravalli Hills in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, India. Kumbhalgarh, located around 80km north of Udaipur, is a fort epitomizing the bravery and chivalry of the Rajput era. Its associated battlements are said to be second only to the Great Wall of China in extent. The Kumbhalgarh Festival is named after Rana Kumbha who was an enthusiastic supporter and patron of fine arts, architecture, and learning. The Kumbhalgarh Festival is an ode to the fascinatingly rich art, culture, and heritage of Rajasthan. Organized by the Department of Tourism of the state to promote the culture and heritage of Rajasthan. 

 Kumbhalgarh Fort is the second most important citadel in the Mewar region after Chittorgarh. The palace is known as the silent hill station of Rajasthan and stands on the high ridge with an elevation of 1100metres (3600feet) above sea level. It is a great example of the past grandeur and glory of the Rajput Kings of Rajasthan.

The fort of Kumbhalgarh dates back to the 15th century when it was built by Rana Kumbha. In Kumbha’s time, the kingdom of Mewar extended from Ranthambore to Gwalior, including vast tracts of present-day Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Kumbhalgarh was once the seat of Prince Samprati, who was the Jain descendants of the erstwhile Mauryan Dynasty, who ruled here in the 2nd century defining the boundaries between Mewar and Marwar. Rana took around 15 years to built this fort. The sentimental significance of the fort also accounts for the birthplace of Maharana Pratap who was a great king and warrior of Mewar. The fort was built to serve a refuge for Mewar rulers in times of strife.

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About the Kumbhalgarh Festival

Kumbhalgarh Festival

Kumbhalgarh Festival is a 3-day festival organized by the Department of Tourism of Rajasthan every year at Kumbhalgarh fort. The grand event commemorates the contribution of Maharana Kumbha’s contribution to art and culture. Throughout the fest, the fort is embellished so much so that the tourists and even the locals are left astonished by its beauty. This year the Kumbhalgarh Festival will be held from the 1st to the 3rd of December, 2019.

Rajasthan is one of the most culturally and historically significant states in India. Its culture, heritage, and art are appreciated all over the world. The annual Kumbhalgarh Festival is one such event that commemorates the contribution of Maharana Kumbh towards art and culture. The event is set against the backdrop of fort Kumbhalgarh and features some of the finest classical and folk dances from all over India. Artists from every nook and corner of the regal state of Rajasthan and other parts of India travel to the Kumbhalgarh fort with their performance pieces and artworks. During this festival, the entire Kumbhalgarh Fort is illuminated and adorned, and the crisp December air starts buzzing with energy and vitality. This festival has hosted some of the finest and most popular talents in the country. Needless to say, it is popular all over India. It is a delight for the tourists to witness such a wide variety of art under one roof, giving them the true essence of Rajasthan. During the festival, the fort is embellished with beautiful yellow lights making it look no lesser than a beautiful newly-wedded bride. The energy at the event is so infectious that it won’t be uncommon to see visitors shaking a leg to the scintillating tunes that combine both modern and traditional elements of music. The state tourism department has specially curated and nurtured this event for decades making it one of the well-known festivals of the country.

Highlights of the Event

Kumbhalgarh Festival

The Kumbhalgarh festival is one of the most highlighting festivals of Rajasthan. The festival is divided into two sections. In the daytime, there are exhibitions by the locals where they display regional specialties like ethnic wear, jewelry, handicrafts, souvenirs, etc. In the evening it is full of sound, light, dance, and music.

 The organizers also conduct exciting competitions among locals and foreigners. Some of the competitions held here are Pagdi Bandhi (tying the turban), tug of war, and musical chair among others. The participants show an insane amount of energy and enthusiasm during these contests. It is a delight to watch locals and foreigners enjoying and exploring the various hues and colors of Rajasthan in the truest Rajasthani spirit. The competitions and programs carried out in the fest simply escalates the zeal and enthusiasm of the people and make them feel what it was like in the bygone era of Mewar. Another exciting aspect of this festival is the colorful puppet show. Puppetry is an ancient art form, which is currently on the decline. However, the Rajasthani artists are on a quest to revive this beautiful Indian art of storytelling and theatre. It is said that a puppet is one of the most remarkable and ingenious inventions of the man. And, here at the Kumbhalgarh Festival, you shall witness this enchanting art of puppetry come to life again in its purest form. The artistes here will mesmerize you with their impeccable theatre, storytelling, dance, and artistic skills. This event is nothing like you’d have ever witnessed before.

The fest also includes performances by various renowned artists from all over the country. Sound and light shows are conducted too with the Kumbhalgarh Fort in the background. On the first day, you will get to see a melange of traditional Rajasthani dance performances such as Ghoomar, Kalbeliya dance and Kachchi Ghodi. These performances mark the beginning of the fest at Yagya Vedi Chowk of Kumbhalgarh. The fest is also looked upon as an opportunity for foreign tourists to get the taste of Rajasthan. The Sufi songs, Rajasthani folk dance, and saperaI (snake) dance are the major highlights of the Kumbhalgarh Festival

The highlight of the second day is the various exciting competitions that will enthrall you. It would be a fun-filled day with the most happening Tug of war competition between locals and foreigners. In addition to that, the turban tying competition will be conducted on all 3 days. On the third day, which is also the last day of the festival, you will get to experience Sufi song performances, Rajasthani folk dance and music, and classical songs and dance. The Kumbhalgarh festival is a melting pot of traditions, colors and folk music and dances. Pulsating with vibrancy and rigor, it is a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the rich culture of Rajasthan in an immersive manner. During the day, the festival showcases the finest of Rajasthan’s heritage- handicrafts, ethnic attires, handcrafted jewelry, among a plethora of souvenirs. You can not only shop to your heart’s content for yourself and your friends and family but also gain some know-how on how these items are made. The festival also boasts several competitions, such as tug of war, turban-tying, musical chairs, which make for a fun watch.

History of Kumbhalgarh

kumbalgarh fort
kumbalgarh fort

Kumbhalgarh is one of the five hill forts of Rajasthan that were declared UNESCO world heritage site in 2013. It is situated in Rajsamand district of Rajasthan and lies 82 kilometers northwest of the city of Udaipur. It was constructed on the foothills of the majestic Aravalli ranges and is surrounded by thirteen peaks of the ranges. This fort stands in the middle of a fascinating forest that has now been turned into a wildlife sanctuary. It is the second-largest and most important Mewar Fort of Rajasthan after Chittorgarh Palace.

This grand fort, depicting the chivalrous history of Rajasthan, was built by Rana Kumbha in the 15th century between AD 1443 and 1458 under the direction of Mandan who was a very renowned architect of that time. The fort was constructed at the spot that once housed an old castle, which was attributed to Samprati, who was the Jaina Prince of the second century BC. The fort has been named after the king of constructed it, King Kumbha. It was constructed over a hilltop to provide the strategic position to the king and his armies to protect the kingdom against the attacks of the enemies. Its position on the top of the hill allowed the army to detect enemy movement from far away. Also, the high altitudes and the steep walls made this fort daunting for the enemy. Kumbhalgarh has the distinction of being one of the rare forts in history that never got conquered. One of the most important reasons stated for it is the aggressive or hostile landscape of the fort. A thick wall that is 36Kms long surrounds this remarkable fort. The perimeter of the wall is assumed to be the longest after the Great Wall Of China. 

The fort, owing to its location on a hill of the Aravalli Ranges, offers panoramic views of the surroundings. The fort is also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, one of the most powerful kings of Mewar. Also, Badal Mahal was constructed inside the fort by Rana Fateh Singh, who was one of the most famous builders of the time. According to the legends, it is believed that when Rana Kumbha began constructing the fort, he was unable to complete its construction. Despite several attempts, he could not build the fort’s walls. One day, he met a holy man who asked him not to fret and said that his fort would be constructed the day a pure-hearted man sacrificed his life willingly. Hearing this the king got disappointed and gave up his hopes of constructing the fort. However, the holy man offered to sacrifice himself for the sake of the fort and asked the king to build the entrance of the Kumbhalgarh Fort where he was going to get beheaded and palaces where all his body would fall. Following his advice, Rana Kumbha did exactly what was told to him and succeeded in building the majestic fort.

The Kumbhalgarh Festival, Udaipur celebrates the culture, heritage, and life of Rajasthan. It is an ode to an art-form that has been preserved since times immemorial. Experience this festival to fall in love with the state all over again! 

Megha Lama

A music enthusiast and a sucker for harmonies, Megha loves singing and expressing her emotions through her writings. Stuck between a fragile heart and a strong mind, she intends to stay passionate about her work. She has a soft corner for animals and loves binging on netflix!

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