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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Kumbhalgarh - A glimpse into the past

My last few posts have been about my trip to Kumbhalgarh, and I have written in detail, probably more than required, about my experiences there. I felt that my posts were much too long to qualify as a travelogue, and be of use to people who might like to visit the places I have mentioned. I am, therefore making a fresh effort to write about my trip, this time in brief, giving the relevant details, but nothing more. I hope this literary effort is of use to all of you.

Nestled among the mighty Aravallis are many forts of the Rajputs, each one greater than the other, each one relating a story of its own, a story which is part history, part legend, but which gives each of these forts its own unique identity. The Kumbhalgarh fort in Rajasmand district of Rajasthan is one such fort which has its own story to tell.

Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh is about 90 km from both, Udaipur as well as Falna. We took the Ranakpur express from Mumbai to Falna, and a cab from the Falna station to Kumbhalgarh. The 2 ½ hours drive took us through lush green fields and rocky mountains welcoming us to a part of Rajasthan we had never seen before.

Our destination was the Club Mahindra Resort, 5 Km from the fort. The other options for accommodation near the fort are ‘The Aodhi’, a favorite with foreign tourists, ‘The Dera Tented Resort’, which offers variety and adventure in the form of luxurious tents, the ‘Kumbhal Castle’, and the ‘Tiger Valley Resort’.

A View of the wall of Kumbhalgarh Fort

The Kumbhalgarh fort was built by Rana Kumbha to defend his kingdom from the Mughal invaders, and the USP of the fort is its 36 km – long wall, said to be the second largest after the Great Wall of China. However, the fort wasn’t the first structure to be built at this place. In ancient times, it was the capital of a Jain king, who built about 300 temples at this place. Rana Kumbha added to this and at the peak of its fame, the fort had a total of 360 temples within its walls, 300 of Jains, and 60 of Hindu gods. Today, few of these are left, fewer with idols inside. Of these, the Neelkanth Mahadeo Temple has pride of place, having been the chosen deity of Rana Kumbha. The 5 feet high Shivaling in this temple was personally cared for by the king who, it is said, towered over the lingam at 8 feet. Ironically, it was while he was praying to this idol that he was stabbed in the back by his own son, who, again ironically, was the father of the great Maharana Pratap.

The idol of Neelkanth Mahadeo

The fort itself is very impressive, and one can spend hours roaming over the vast area, if only there was someone to guide us. As it is, the only effort the government is making to popularize the fort is in the form of a sound and light show, as part of which, the fort is lit up every evening between 7:30 and 8:00PM. This is really a very beautiful sight, one which every visitor must look forward to. The palace, at the highest point of the fort is however, not all that impressive, or rather, unlike what one expects of a Rajasthan Palace. This palace, in fact, is the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, and deserves a lot more care and maintenance.

A View of the Palace

Rana Kumbha was well known, not only for his valour, but also for his large-heartedness, his generosity, as well as righteousness. Kumbhalgarh abounds with legends connected to him, and when one hears these legends from the mouths of the locals who make up for the scarcity of guides, one can actually imagine the great man who made this difficult terrain his home, and feel his presence lingering around……

Rana Kumbha

There are quite a lot of places to visit around Kumbhalgarh-

The Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary (5 Km) – The Jungle safari is a must for nature lovers. Don’t have great expectations with regard to animals, and you won’t be disappointed.

The Parshuram Mahadeo Temple (20Kms) – A Cave temple approachable from Falna as well as Kumbhalgarh, it involves a 1 ¼ Km trek to the cave where Lord Shiva blessed Sage Parshuram. Water permanently trickling down on a natural Shivaling is a wonder of nature. This temple is a must-visit for those who are spiritually inclined, as well as those who aren’t.

The Ranakpur Jain Temples (50 Kms) - Architectural wonders!

Mucchal Mahavir (25Kms) – Jain temple

Ganesh Temple (Ghanerao) (25Kms) – Life-size statues of Lord Ganesha and his consorts Riddhi and Siddhi.

Haldighati (25 Km), Nathdwara (50 Km), and Udaipur (90 Km) are also easily accessible from Kumbhalgarh.

Links to my other posts on Kumbhalgarh


  1. Anu,

    Nice pics - generally speaking readers like short posts - becuz most of them skim while reading.

  2. Very nice post, keep the good work on and on.

    r u a writer or a poet.

  3. neither a writer nor a poet... just a person who tries to look out for interesting things wherever i go.....

  4. Great post..brought back memories..we didnt go to the wildlife sanctuary..glad your son loves the camera

  5. hi Anu,
    we are also developing the another resort at kumbhalgarh, we have named it Forest as we are based in mumbai and when we have travelled the kumbhalgarh i liked it so much that i planned the resort here.

  6. There's so much to see in Rajasthan!

  7. Thanks Anuradha for the beautiful log. Very helpful and detailed information.

  8. Hi Anu,
    we are planing holidays in kumbhalgarh next week. I hope this information will be benefitial for us. THANKS


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