The excellence of Rajasthan lies in its rich legacy and languid modernity. As you explore transcending forts, fantastical royal residences and charming bazaars, you understand that Rajasthan holds its history near its heart.
‘Rajasthan’ means ‘The land of Kings’ and it’s rich cultural heritage is testimony to this name. For a considerable length of time, the maharajas encouraged human expression and art, prompting a rich culture in this sandy heaven. Regardless of whether you’re taking a camel ride on the dunes, investigating the detailed imperial structures or tasting the local dishes, Rajasthan rarely ever disappoints.
Enough has been written & said about the usual tourist haunts of Rajasthan such as Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer & Bikaner. One would be surprised to find much more character and inherent Rajasthani culture and heritage in the lesser known destinations of Ranakpur & Kumbhalgarh. Forming a neat little triangle along with Udaipur, these 2 destinations have a lot to offer!
Ranakpur, District Pali, Rajasthan
- Ranakpur is about 2 hours from Udaipur and in this jungle village dwells the greatest sanctuary of Jainism, the Ranakpur Deraser (Temple). This temple is the biggest attraction of Ranakpur, and is complemented by tremendous and excellent development of the nearby Ranakpur – Kumbhalgarh forest reserve over the years.
- There are more than 1444 columns in the temple, and all are extraordinarily planned. No two columns have the same carvings on them. Every column has its arrangement of cutting and plan. From every column, you can see the heart, the sanctum of the temple where the sculpture of the Lord lies.
- There are many other temples around like the Krishna Temple and the Sun temple. Although these temples are smaller in size, they are worth a visit for the visiting tourists.
Kumbhalgarh, District Rajsamand, Rajasthan
- Kumbhalgarh is known for the great Kumbhalgarh Fort. The Mewar post is where the extraordinary warrior Maharana Pratap took birth. In addition it is the second-biggest stronghold in Rajasthan. Like some of the other great forts of the country, Kumbhalgarh too is built on top of a hill. Yet the most noteworthy piece of information about the Kumbhalgarh Fort is the length of its peripheral wall – a staggering 34 km.
- It is the Great Wall of India, which is the second-longest wall on the planet after the Great Wall of China. It extends over the mountains and this design was known to shield its residents from a wide range of assaults from their adversary’s. Kumbhalgarh Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the other Hill Forts of Rajasthan. The other 5 forts included in this list are Chittor, Ranthambore, Gagron, Amer and Jaisalmer.
- Apart from the majesty of the forts wall, you will see Jain and Hindu sanctuary work inside. The fort has 300 Jain sanctuaries and 60 Hindu Temples, however, not all are open for the general population. At night, the fortress is lit with lights for a couple of hours, which is a wonder in itself. The lit fort can be seen for 50 km in all directions due to its height and isolated location.
- Even after hours of exploring the fort, you would have witnessed only 20% of the total area in the fort. The reason for this is that many areas of the fort are closed to the general population for safety and security reasons.
- The Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is also highly recommended for nature lover’s. The wildlife sanctuary is the biggest after Ranthambore in Rajasthan. You will find animals like the wolf, jackal, four-horned antelope, leopard and many more in the newly declared reserve.
Both Ranakpur & Kumbhalgarh offer some of the best hotels and resorts in Rajasthan for the comfort of the tourists. Mana Hotels in Ranakpur is very well located to experience both these destinations along with Udaipur for a short 3 day break with your friends and family.