Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Kumbhalgarh Overview
Located in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary covers a total area of 578 square kilometres across the Aravalli Hills, incorporating parts of Udaipur as well as Rajsamand and Pali. Within the wildlife sanctuary is also situated the famous Kumbhalgarh fort, after which the wildlife sanctuary is named. For those who believe Rajasthan to be a desert region, the dense greenery and forests of Kumbhalgarh might come to a surprise. The exquisite flora of the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary acts as a divider between the Mewar and Marwar regions of Rajasthan.
The land that forms the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary was once a lush hunting ground for royals but was converted into the wildlife sanctuary in its current form in 1971. The wildlife sanctuary boasts of a diverse landscape with the eastern area bordered by the towering Aravalli Hills with a height of over 3,748 ft and the River Banas also passing through the sanctuary, serving as the main water source.
The Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is home to numerous animal species, including a variety of endangered and rare animals, and nearly 200 different types of birds. There is also a 40-strong pack of wolves in the sanctuary, a size of which is rarely found elsewhere. While the monsoon season at the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary brings fresh life to the greenery, the autumn season is painted in russet tones. Tribals from the Garasia and Bhils groups also live in the sanctuary. The natural beauty of the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is a major attraction for tourists, and provisions are also available for horseback safaris, jeep safaris, and trekking expeditions.
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Fauna at Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
The Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary provides natural habitats for a wide variety of animal species, ranging from animals such as wolves, jackals, 4-horned antelope, leopards, sloth bears, Sambhal nilgai, hares, jungle cats, and chinkaras. Not only does the sanctuary house wolves, but it is also the only such place in the state where wolves can be spotted in their natural habitat. Since there are around 40 wolves in the sanctuary, in the summer season, packs of wolves can easily be spotted in the parks. Meanwhile, at the Thandi Beri Lake, crocodiles and types of waterfowl can be seen.
There is also a diverse variety of birds at the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, where there are over 200 individual species of birds. You can spot plenty of doves, bulbuls, peacocks, white-breasted kingfishers, red spur owls, golden oriole, parakeets, and grey jungle fowl. The herbal plants growing in the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary include Khair, Salar, Churel, and Dhok.
Jeep Safari at Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
The Jeep Safari provides you with a way to easily explore the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. The most popular jeep safari at the sanctuary starts from Kumbhalgarh and travels to Thandi Beri Lake and back, for a total of 3.5 hours, covering a distance of 15km. Inside the sanctuary there is a track for 4-wheel drive.
The horse safari is a more natural way to explore the sanctuary without disturbing the animals. Several horse track routes are available, connecting the locations of Kumbhalgarh, Ghanerao, Thandi Beri, Sumer, Ranakpur, Roopanmata and Ranakpur. If you are lucky you can spot bears, leopards and sambar in their natural surroundings, roaming around. At the end of the sanctuary at Ranakpur, there is a Jain Temple which you can also visit.
Many hotels in the Kumbhalgarh region and in Ranakpur, Ghanerao, Narlai and Kotri organize horse/jeep safaris.
Safari Cost: INR 2,500 per Jeep for 6 People
Trekking at Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
The Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary has hilly and rugged terrain that is excellent for trekking enthusiasts. One of the most popular trekking trails in the sanctuary is the 3.7km Tirthankar Natural Trail, which is dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras as a representative of an ideal ecosystem of the Aravalli Hills. The path is bordered by various plants that are believed to have been around the Jain Tirthankaras when they achieved enlightenment.
Other popular trekking tracks include the 98 km Roopnagar-Sumer, 30 km Roopanmata-Ranakpur, 25 km Ranakpur-Kumbhalgarh, 15 km Ranakpur-Thandi Beri, 14 km Kumbhalgarh-Thandi Beri and 8 km Malgarh-Magga. Apart from comfortable shoes, all you require for trekking is the entry permit for the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary that is received upon submitting entry fees.
Places To Visit Near Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Kumbhalgarh Fort: Located at a distance of only approximately 2km, the Kumbhalgarh Fort is a must-visit. Following the Chittorgarh Fort, the Kumbhalgarh Fort is recognized as the second-most extraordinary fort in Mewar. Within the fort, there are many exquisite palaces, temples and other structures that can be traced back centuries. The Badal Mahal at the pinnacle of the Kumbhalgarh Fort offers gorgeous panoramic views.
Joba Wolf Point: In the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, at a distance of 7 km from Sadri is the Joba wolf point, a natural habitat for wolves. The around 500 hectares of the forest close to the Muchala Mahaveer Temple is home for the Indian wolf.
Ranakpur Jain Temple: The Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is close to the famed temple complex of Ranakpur Jain Temple. Devoted to the Jain guru Adinath, the temple is considered to be among the largest and most important Jain temples in the country. Nearby, there are two more Jain temples as well as a Sun temple.
Best Time To Visit Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Although the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is open all year, the period from March to December is the ideal time to spot the local animals.
Stay Near Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Visitors can stay within the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary or outside, with Forest Rest Houses available at locations of Thandi Beri, Sadri, Ranakpur, Roopanmata and Sumer. The Forest Rest Houses have 2-3 rooms each available at INR 200-400 per night. To book accommodation at the Forest Rest Houses, contact the DFO Wildlife office in Rajsamand or the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Kumbhalgarh WLS, Sadri.
Restaurants Near Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Kumbhalgarh hotels also have restaurants that serve tasty local Rajasthani food and other cuisines as well. At the sanctuary itself, there are facilities to buy food as per need.
Tips For Visiting Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
1. The entry permit for the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is required for trekking.
2. Forest guards can be hired to accompany you on treks at rates of INR 200-500, or your travel agents can also arrange trekking guides.
3. Carry food, water, sunglasses and a hat for the safari.
4. Safari jeeps and horses and can be arranged by certain hotels.
5. Tourists visit Kumbhalgarh for both the sanctuary as well as the fort, and it’s best to place advanced bookings, especially during the peak season.
6. The Forest Guest Houses do not provide food, however, based on request the caretaker can arrange food. It is recommended that you carry packed or stove meals.
7. The local Rajasthani Thali is a must-try food item at local restaurants/hotels.