“My name is Pratap, I come from the village of Nathdwara, district of Rajsamand, state of Rajasthan,” said the boy in his late teens sitting in front of me. Before I start on my long introduction, he continued, ” I study agriculture,” in typical Indian English, “and cultivation in India iss good.” “We have many agriculture,” he spoke on, and starts giving me a lecture on the types of fertilizers, HULL, GMS, BS-97…
KUMBHALGARH IS 90 KILOMETERS AWAY FROM UDAIPUR. The bus ride is three hours under good weather condition, but is likely to take more time. Situated deep in the Aravelli hills, this town is made famous for its wildlife sanctuary and its impressive fort structure, which dates back to 15th century, and is the second most important fort in Mewar after Chittorgarh. The bus ride there was not a comfortable one because the conductor kept squeezing passengers into and onto the bus. The air smells too sweaty to breathe. However, the views were spectacular as fields and hills compete each other with their dramatic green.
It gets more interesting when Pratap tries to speak to me using English words from his Agriculture textbooks. “You know agriculture in India?” he would say, “the cultivation and harvesting of the plants, very important in India.”. “Everywhere people live with agriculture and cultivation here.” The small talk started with agriculture and continued for an hour or so until he arrived at his stop. “So you like India agriculture?” I quickly nodded , just to let him stop elaborating.
ARRIVING AT THE FORT, I STARTED NOTICING HOW IMPENETRABLE IT IS because my phone signals stopped working. The complex stretches for 36km, and has numerous cannon bunkers as well as temples within its surroundings. Although the insides of the palaces are ill-preserved and no signboards other than the ones that keep reminding you that this is a protected monument, Kumbhalgarh fort triumphs with its views of the hills and valleys from atop.
Huge cannon bunkers at the entrance of the fort
The fort compound in its entirety is too big to visit in a day
This same blue signboard fill the fort instead of informative posters
When the fog arrives, the fort compound turns into a fairy-tale-esque castle
Kind friends who offered me a ride from the fort to the nearest town
A SIX-HOUR RETURN RIDE FOR A TWO-HOUR SIGHTSEEING TRIP does not sound economical right? On top of that, foreigners pay Rs 100 while the locals pay only Rs 5 for entrance. If it is not for the bewitching fort and surroundings, I would definitely feel cheated and go into a temper tantrum against all Indians. Fortunately I did not and on my way back, a friendly Indian government officer working in the Agriculture department sat beside me on the bus and pointed out the different crops growing by the roadside. I now recognize a few agricultural plants and if I were to meet Pratap again, will be able to give him a lecture in return.
At the end of the day, I ordered mixed vegetables and chapatis for dinner. And just for fun, I arranged the chapati pieces around the vegetables, in memory of my day trip to the ‘fort around the fields’.