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Kumbalgarh & Ranakpur

aid to be the longest walls in the world after the Great Wall of China, the 23 miles of wall surrounding the fortress are an impressive sight. Originally built in the 15th century, the walls surrounded the ridge of a hill at an altitude of over 1,000m. The fortress remained in use until the 19th century, resisting all attackers, and is now a museum, spectacularly lit up at night.

Inside the great walls, the fortress holds over 300 Jain and Hindu temples, and it is worth spending some time here to explore the different temples. The palace sits at the highest point, and the stiff climb up from the main gate is rewarded by spectacular views over the Aruvali hills.

Kumbhalgarh is also home to the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, with 578 square kilometers of protected reserve. Panthers are very rarely seen in Kumbhalgarh, but it is more famous for its packs of wolves which can be found around water sources. Kumbhalgarh is also home to other species such as leopards, sloth bears, hyenas and antelopes, as well as many bird species.

Located about halfway between Udaipur and Jodhpur, in a lush valley on the flanks of the Aravali Hills, Ranakpur is famous for its impressive temple complex. There are three Jain temples here, dating from around the 15th century, with the largest being the white marble Adinatha. There are said to be 1,444 columns inside the temple, each with its own unique carvings, supporting elaborating carved ceilings and domes. The nearby Parsvanatha and Neminath temples are also worth visiting for their elaborate sculptures.

The temples are very active and are very popular with Jain pilgrims. Non-Jains may only visit in the afternoon, and black clothing and shoes and socks are not permitted inside the temple. The nearby partially enclosed deer park is home to spotted deer, nilgali and an abundance of birdlife.

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facts and information

Time: GMT +5½ hours

Flight time: Flight time from London to Delhi is 8 hours 30 minutes and to Mumbai is about 8 hours.

Language: The official language is Hindi, which about 30% of the population speaks. English is very widely spoken and is used for official and commercial purposes.

Visas: Required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.

Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations.

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