Here's Why You Should Not Miss The Kumbhalgarh Festival

If you are looking for a winter break with a dose of culture, head to the Kumbhalgarh Festival, held in the backdrop of the stunning Kumbhalgarh Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Folk dance performance at the Kumbhalgarh Festival
Folk dance performance at the Kumbhalgarh Festival Moroz Nataliya/Shutterstock

If you have been looking for winter holiday ideas with a generous dose of culture, you could consider going for the Kumbhalgarh Festival in Rajsamand district, Rajasthan. The three-day annual festival, from December 1 to 3, is being organised by the state tourism department. And the backdrop for the festival is the stunning Kumbhalgarh Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the day, you can enjoy traditional artists' folk performances and compete in various colourful competitions (think turban tying and henna). Cultural performances will fill the evenings.

What's On Offer

The festival, which draws visitors from all over the world, is well-known for its cultural events. Evenings are dedicated to performances by well-known international artists and prominent local entertainers. Visitors look forward to seeing traditional dance forms such as Ghoomar and classical as well as folk music performances. The line-up of folk dances at the festival include the famed Kalbeliya dance (or Kalbelia/Karberia). Inscribed in 2010 on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the dance involves women from the Kalbeliya community in black skirts swirling with graceful movements. Check here for our interview with the famed Kalbeliya artist from Ajmer, Gulabo Sapera.

Travelling with family or friends? You can take part in the workshops and games that are part of the festival, from art camps to puppet making, and tug of war. A festival is incomplete without delicious food. At Kumbhalgarh, you can experience the distinctive style of Rajasthani cooking in dishes like Gatte ki Sabzi which is made with gram flour, and Laal Maas, the rich mutton curry that comes from the kitchens of the royals.

Don't just look at the colourful attire and accessories of the locals, pick up some for yourself or as gifts at the festival haats selling local handicrafts such as home furnishings, clothes and accessories with handblock prints or mirrorwork, beautiful jewellery pieces, lac bangles, and more.

Children in in traditional costumes wait their turn to dance at the Kumbhalgarh festival
Children in in traditional costumes wait their turn to dance at the Kumbhalgarh festivalMoroz Nataliya/Shutterstock

What To See And Do

The ramparts of Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan
The ramparts of Kumbhalgarh Fort, RajasthanDmitry Rukhlenko/Shutterstock

Explore the stunning architecture of Kumbhalgarh Fort, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Udaipur. The fort, standing at over 6,233 feet above sea level, is a World Heritage Site included in Hill Forts of Rajasthan. Located at the tail end of the Aravalli range in Mewar, it provides panoramic views of the dusty plains of Marwar. Built in the 15th century by Rana Kumbha, who is said to have established 32 of Mewar's 84 major fortifications, Kumbhalgarh is said to be even more impressive than the more well-known Chittorgarh. The Mauryas built a magnificent array of temples, the most picturesque of which is the Badal Mahal, or Cloud Palace. A massive 20-foot-thick encircles the outer wall, which snakes over the hills for 36 km and is pierced by seven gates. You can undertake a two-day trek along Kumbhalgarh’s perimeter wall, where sentries once patrolled.

Sign up for a jeep safari to the Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary (around 4 km) and check out the crocodile farm and the birdlife at the Thandi Beri Lake.

Take the opportunity to explore the amazing Jain Temple complex in Ranakpur (50 km). The glittering white marble complex is reputed for the 1,444 intricately carved supporting pillars, of which no two are alike.

The Information

Entry fee: Free

How to reach: The nearest airport is Udaipur Debok or UDR (115km). The nearest railway stations are Udaipur (85km) and Falna (80km) away. Tourists can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Kumbhalgarh.

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