I hope you have been enjoying part one of my visit to Kumbhalgarh Fort and as promised, here is part two of my Kumbhalgarh trail – through the enticing Badal Mahal. Let me start with my first glimpse of the “Palace of clouds” or Badal Mahal from within the fort.
The climb to the palace is easy but a steep one. As I kept ascending towards the Badal Mahal, the other delights along the second largest wall in the world kept me straying off the path – most of these I have described in the earlier post. This gorgeous bend is the main path that leads to the first chamber of the Badal Mahal.
Note that I say the “main path”, for I did see a few detours on the way. A few were the steps along the fort walls. However, I did not see many taking the path and since I was traveling with kids, thought it better to stick to the wide, open pathway leading to the Mahal. Of course, if I was traveling solo, I might have just strayed off to the other options, just to see, if I were missing something else along the way.
In any case, this main path led to one of the few sign boards that you will find here – one that points to the room where Maharana Pratap came into this world.
The entrance to the room is through a flight of stairs along the side of the palace. The room itself, seemed removed from the main palace, possibly used as an infirmary or a room where midwives were called to help out the queens. The staircase did not have any handholds and though restored, it was steep nonetheless. I was a bit worried that I kept rebuking my bounding daughter to walk along the walls but typically unmindful, she was the first to run up and burst into the room, just to exclaim – “There isn’t anything here”.
To explain her words, when I walked in, I realized that the room was empty and in shambles. It did not seem like a Queen’s chamber at all and I think my earlier guess of this being a mid wife’s room, was possibly true. But while the room may not have anything major to talk of, the view from the room did.
From that high platform of the chamber, you could see the rest of the hills and the green cover around the fort. The golden rays of the sun made the landscape even more spectacular, so much that we sat around here capturing a few memories from every possible angle. The cool breeze added to our enjoyment. Here is one of my memories.
Walking back, I followed a path that went through small enclosures and some ruined terraces and buildings. There is a small temple room that we found, which was still functional. I saw a few shoes left outside and religiously removed mine to go have a peep. Dark as it was, I saw one candlelight and then, something moved and beckoned me in Hindi to come in. Goosebumps erupted!
But nothing to worry about, for it was an old lady, possibly the priestess in the temple room. I was a little shaken as my eyes had still not adjusted to the dark and a voice in the dark totally unnerved me. After paying respects, I just rushed out to the others and attempted to calm my fluttering nerves. In this shaken spree, I forgot to check on what the temple’s significance was and how long was it around. Maybe, one of you can complete this incomplete story for me 🙂
While the rest of my travel companions discovered the temple room, I walked around the little tunnels and small terraces trying to make sense of the surrounding. Seemed to me that these ruins were possibly homes of the help here or the kitchens for the palace. Here is a picture of the ruined homes that were around this place.
I think I ventured a little too long into these ruins for later, I could hear my daughter, hubby and friends shouting out for me, as they could no longer see me. :-D. I suppose they thought I fell down a rabbit hole 😉
From there on, we went ahead and climbed that staircase that opened up to what seemed the main entrance of the Badal Mahal in Kumbhalgarh Fort. A picture of my adventurous daughter with glee on her face – the thrill of having climbed the staircase first!
The palace is not as huge as I imagined it to be and nor as ostentatious as the Meherangarh fort of Jodhpur or the City Palace of Udaipur. Simple and charming is how I would describe it.
Built by Rana Fateh Singh, the Badal Mahal clearly has two parts – the male chambers (Mardana Mahal) and the female rooms (Zenana Mahal). You can easily identify these sections from the decor – where the Zenana Mahal has a lot of jhalis or windows that would shield the women from the public eye and yet allow them to see the court proceedings.
A large central courtyard connects the various rooms in a section. The entire palace is two-storied and you can see the open terraces from the central courtyard itself. I mentioned the word Simple earlier and am re-iterating it here as so far in all the palaces and forts of Rajasthan, the central courtyard had a centerpiece of architecture – be it the gorgeous doors of the Pritam Nivas Chowk of Jaipur City Palace or the Mor Chowk of the fabulous City Palace of Udaipur. I suppose, possibly because the fort was meant as a safe house, the place was devoid of such elaborate work.
While there is no major architecture or interiors to rave about, every corridor and room has some beautiful wall paintings. There is some bit of restoration work that seems to have been done as the paintings seem quite bright and fresh. Surprisingly, the ceiling in the rooms and the doorways seem quite low that even a shortie like me had to bend my head to enter the rooms. 😉
Sadly, the rooms are not well maintained. One more unusual thing that I noticed was that the rooms were quite dark. Possibly they were used only as sleeping chambers while the terraces and corridors were used more as sitting areas. Every doorway was designed with these beautiful arches, which added charm to them.
There are several small narrow steps through dark corridors – some that take you to the terrace area while some connect two sections of the palace. When I say narrow, they allow only one person to pass through. The dark narrow corridors can get quite claustrophobic but for me, they were quite thrilling. Felt as if I were on an adventure trip. One has to use these corridors to access the other section of the palace. And trust me, you really don’t want to leave without having visited this section.
A central courtyard with large windows that open up to the gorgeous view of the hills and valley. It is here that I truly understood why this palace is called Palace of Clouds or Badal Mahal. Right amidst the clouds, it felt as if we were floating through the sky.
The windows have a ledge for you to perch onto and enjoy the lovely view from it. The breezy atmosphere coupled with the glow of the setting sun over the fresh green valley was enough to make this part of the palace my favorite spot, so much that my travel buddies had to literally drag me out of here.
The terrace is a different story. The view from here is spectacular. What made them adventurous was the low ledges and low railings. The connecting passages allow you to walk only in one file and the low walls does get a bit of your adrenaline pumping.
Check the picture below, note the flimsy railings along the sides of the terrace. These railings seem to be added recently. With none of them earlier, imagine how flat and boundless this terrace was.
I was here, right on time to see the gorgeous sunset and grab dozens of pictures to add my stack of memories. This is where I ended my tour of the Badal Mahal in Kumbhalgarh Fort. I headed back down to the entrance of the fort, with a lots of lovely memories and a fair bit of wonder. I end this post now with a picture of this gorgeous sunset captured from the terrace.
On how to reach Kumbhalgarh and tips on visiting this monument, click on this link for my earlier post. Would love to know your reactions to this lovely fort. Do share the same below.
Popularly referred to as a Restless Ball of Energy. My Mom refuses to entertain my complaints about my equally restless daughter & assures my husband that I was born with a travel bug.
I am a Post-Graduate in Marketing by qualification and a travel blogger by passion. Besides travel, I enjoy photography and if you don’t find me at my desk, I would be out playing badminton or swimming or just running. I believe in planning for every long weekend through the year. And when I cannot travel physically, I travel virtually through this travel blog. My travel stories have also, got published on various websites and magazines including BBC Travel, Lonely Planet India and Jetwings. I have recently published my first book – When Places Come Alive – a collection of stories that are based on legends, landscapes, art and culture of a place which is available in both ebook and paperback format.