A SHORT distance to the north of Sâdri is the small town of Gâneraw, from which a steep and dificult path or pass leads over the Aravalli Hills into Mewar. At the head of this pass is Kailwâdâ. About four miles north of Gâneraw, however, is Désurî, which gives name to to the only really good pass through these hills; at the head of this is jelwâdâ, from which Kailwâdâ may be reached by a ride of twelve miles across very difficult country. From Kailwâdâ it is only about three miles to the famed fortress of Komalmer, which is distinctly visible from Sâdri and the neighbouring villages, crowning one of the highest peaks of the Aravalli chain, probably over 3,300 feet above the sea.
Like the Rânpur temple down below it, this stronghold owes its origin to Kumbho Rana. “Of eighty-four fortresses for the defence of Mewâr,” says Tod,”1 “thirty-two were erected by Kumbho. Inferior only to Chittur is that stupendous work, called after him Kumbhomér (pronounced Kumalmér), ‘the hill of Kumbho,’ from its natural position, and the works he raised, impregnable to a native army. These works were on the site of a more ancient fortress, of which the mountaineers long held possession. Tradition ascribes it to Sampriti Râja2 a Jain prince in the second century, and a descendant of Chandragupta. …. When Kumbho captured Nagor he brought away the gates, with the statue of the god Hanuman, who gives his name to the gate which he still guards.”
“It would be vain to attempt describing the intricacies of approach to this far-famed abode, whose exterior is delineated” in Photograph XII., as seen from the east. “A massive wall, with numerous towers and pierced battlements, encloses a space of some miles’ extent below,” and which is covered in every direction by ruins of tanks, embankments, houses, and temples—Brahmanical and Jaina, while the castle rises “tier above tier of battlements to the summit, which is crowned by the Bâdul Mahal, or ‘ cloud palace ‘ of the Rânâs. Thence the eye ranges over the sandy deserts” of Marwar on the west, and over the chaotic mass of mountains to the south and east. “Besides the Arait-pol or barrier thrown across the first narrow ascent, about one mile from Kailwâdâ. there is a second called the Hâlâ-pol, intermediate to the Hanuman-pol, the exterior gate of the fortress, between which and the summit there are three more, viz. the gate of victory, the sanguinary gate, and that of Rama, besides the last or Chaugan-pol.”
This castle is held by a relative of the Rânâ of Udaypur, and who, “being of the immediate kin of his sovereign, is one of the babas or infants of Mewar, enumerated in the tribe, called Rânâwât, with the title of ‘Maharâja.’“ Nowadays, however, he does not seem to keep any state; there is no garrison to speak of, and the castle is in a dirty, tumble-down condition. The view from the summit over the plains of Godwâr is very fine; so also is the wild scenery through which the castle is approached from Kailwâdâ. Among the many ruins in the large enclosure below the castle are some fine temples, but nothing older than the first half of the fifteenth century. Some of those just below the castle are still used; but one of the largest is a triple temple with a chauri, or open hall of three stories, in front of it (part of which appears on the left in the Photograph), which are now used as cattle-sheds. On a rising ground, at a still greater distance from the castle, but still 260 feet below it, is a fine temple, partially ruined, consisting of a shrine and small portico, with a veranda of elegant columns round it, over which Tod3 goes into ecstasies, calling it the “temple of Theseus in Mewar,” and attributing it to his imaginary “Takshac architect,” and to the age of Sampriti Râjâ. A glance at it, by anyone acquainted with the development of Hindu art, would be sufficient to convince him that it did not belong to an earlier age than the beginning of the sixteenth century; and on the jamb of the door is an inscription4 proving that the temple never was Jaina, as he asserts, notwithstanding the huge black syenite linga that almost fills the shrine, but that it was built as a Śaiva temple in A.D. 1514, in the reign of Sangrâm Rânâ.
- 1. Annals of Rajasthan, vol. i. pp. 288 and 669, 670 (Madras ed. pp. 241, and 575, 576).
- 2. Samprati is said to have been the son of Kuņâla the Blind, and grandson of Aśoka, who reigned at Pataliputra n.c. 263—227. Samprati is said to have reigned at Ujjayin about 200 b.c, and is regarded by the Jains as one of their greatest patrons (Temples of Śatruņjaya, p. 20.)
- 3. Annals of Rajesthan, vol. i. p. 671 (Madras ed. p. 577).
- 4. Indian Antiquary, vol. ii. p. 205.