You have heard of the Great Wall of China, but have you heard of the Great Wall of India? China’s wall at 2,145 miles in length is hard to surpass. India’s great wall at nearly 22.5 miles long is not even a close cousin, but it is the second longest wall in the world. Although former President Trump’s “wall” is 458 miles in length, it is a barrier and not a wall. You cannot walk on Trump’s wall as you can with the China and India walls.
History of the Great Wall
The Great Wall of India as it snakes through valleys resembles its larger cousin in China. The Indian wall was built around Kumbhalgarh Fort It was built in the 15th Century between 13 towering mountain peaks. The original fort is believed to have been built in the 3rd Century. History has not told us anything about the fort from then until about the 14th Century. China took 1800 years to build its wall; India took about 15 years.
The reigning monarch at the time first tried to build a fort about 4 miles from the present location. This and subsequent forts crumbled. The final attempt at the present site came about according to an apocryphal story:
Kumbha failed multiple times in constructing the mammoth wall until he went to a saint who suggested the present-day spot for the fort and said a human sacrifice was needed to construct it. But who would volunteer to be killed? When no one came up for some time, the saint himself volunteered to sacrifice his life. The saint said to Rana Kumbha: ‘I’ll climb the hill, Rana, and you follow me. The point where I stop first, build the main entrance of the fort there. I’ll climb up further and when I stop for the second time, I will sacrifice myself and you build a temple there. Where my body falls, that mark will be the last point of the great wall.’ The king agreed reluctantly and walked with the saint right up to the present entrance of the fort and did as was suggested by the saint. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/schools/the-great-wall-of-india-105307)
The Architecture of the Fort
The fort needed protection, so the Great Wall of India was constructed. This wall surrounded the fort, protecting its inhabitants and the more than 300 temples inside. The fort sits high upon a hill, 3600 feet above sea level. The surrounding wall is 15 feet thick and allows seven gates for entry. The fort was clearly built as a bulwark against invading enemies.
The architecture created sharp turns with obstructed stairways to slow down the invaders. There are “eyeholes” allowing for viewing the whole valley below and any approaching invaders. The ramparts on the wall are wide enough to allow eight horses to walk side by side. As the fort and its wall lay among the surrounding hills, the enemy had a hard time finding it. The enemy could not see the fort until they were within 1,600 feet of the structure.
This walled fort is almost a secret within India as it is not well known. This is not only due to its obscure terrain, but more likely because it is in a very remote part of the country. You need to take a long day trip to arrive at the fortress and to walk the wall.
The fort and wall remain today a testament to the creative architects who not only had vision but skills matched only to contemporary methods. Of the many forts in India, the Kumbhalgarh Fort is considered the most invincible. It and several other forts were jointly given the UNESCO heritage award in 2013.
Fact: The fort was breached only once in its history
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