Kumbhalgarh Fort

Ok, Adventure Seekers, it’s time for another UNESCO pilgrimage to a far-flung isolated Indian hilltop fort. This one features 52 miles, three hours of shake ‘n’ bake on high heat in the back of a four door speck called a Suzuki to the world’s second longest continuous wall called “The Great Wall of India.” We all know who’s got the longest.

Once again we start out with the familiar early morning Old Town zigzag and footbridge shuffle to the pickup area where the authorities allow cars. Prem, our driver, was waiting by his car which featured most of the correct pieces commonly associated with a functioning automobile, although it did turn out to be prone to overheating but then again who doesn’t overheat in India?

On the way out of town the pigs with horns were at it again.

The roads are a haphazard combination of nearly first world divided highway alternating with a dirt and gravel moonscape. It’s India, and as you pass by you get the sense that it’s the same as it ever was.

This alternating road/no road pattern persisted. Prem said, “come back in a year and this will be all new beautiful road.” The lack of any evidence of anyone actually working on the road might be discouraging but that’s India.

The large infrastructure needed to handle monsoon rain looks oversized in the dry season.

Well into the mountains, I sensed that we were getting close. Besides, it’s been nearly three hours. There’s hardly a hill that doesn’t have some sort of fortification on top and Kumbhalgarh Fort certainly follows that paradigm.

Prem dropped us off at the mighty gate where the monkeys were doing their usual naughty hi-jinx tricks.

The scale of this monster fort is overwhelming.

In a fit of patriotic pride Prem proudly told us the fort was never attacked but in a rare bout of professional enthusiasm, Yours Truly has already done the research for our Escapees and found that while many had tested themselves against these walls, most failed. Built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha, the 38km wall did its job, or as some believed, maybe it was the divine intervention of the 360-odd temples contained within the walls. It seems Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great failed by attacking directly so he poisoned the fort’s well water. I think that we can all agree that really doesn’t count.

It’s said that 8 horses can walk side by side on the wall.

We started the climb after buying an extra bottle of water. The sun was directly overhead and scorching.

Marce found the only shady spot in the whole climb.

It’s a magnificent view from the top of Kumbhalgarh, but every party has a shelf life and Prem wants to show us a Jain Temple on the way back.

Prem’s enthusiasm has us rocketing over dirt back roads in the outback of India. Apparently we stayed a little too long at the fort.

An hour later we arrived. It seems shoes can’t come any closer than 100 meters to the Ranakpur Jain Temple. Interesting architecture but the damn asphalt is burning hot.

I’ll admit that Prem was right about the Ranakpur Jain Temple but how do I find my shoes?

Back on the road Prem suddenly stopped and backed up. He turned to us and motioned toward the side of the road. We were in the middle of nowhere. In a scene as old as time, we witnessed two buffalo turning a waterwheel which lifted water up to a trough. Not a show or a demonstration but an everyday need being met with what they have. An old Tahitian friend, when happening upon a scene like this, would exclaim, “It’s authentique!”

It’s India.

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One Response to Kumbhalgarh Fort

  1. Jitendra Bruce Bly

    Thank you so much for enduring the stress of this trip. I was not aware of the 2nd longest wall in the world. Not a surprise for India as they excelled in so many things over the ages. I love the photos and carefully enlarge all of them to the largest my big screen TV will do. I hope you’re going to have a party when you return to the states. Blessings on you and all your loved ones.
    Jitendra Bruce Bly

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