Gwalior Fort Madhya Pradesh

By Sanjeev Nayyar Sanjeev@esamskriti.com | 2020

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1.Man Singh Palace. Elephants came up slope. King got off at elevated platform in front of gate, centre of pic. Fort at a height of 100 metres, is 2.5 kms in length & 200-700 metres in width. It has Surya Kund, Telli-ka n Sas-Bahu n Chaturbhuj Mandirs & Baoris/wells. Palaces are Man Mandir, Gurjari Mahal, Vikram Mandir, Karan Mandir, Shri Mandir or Jahangir Mahal & Shahjahan Mahal.

2. Extreme left is Sas Bahu temple. Next to tower is Gurudwara. The earliest historical mention of the fort is found in inscription on a Sun temple i.e. 525 a.d. A total of 110 kings ruled over it spread over dynasties i.e. Gurjara-Pratihara (8th century) Kachhawaha Rajputs, Tomar, Lodhi, Mughal and British/Scindia, ruled.

3. View of eastern fort side. The outer wall of the fort stands 2 miles in length, 35 feet high. The fort wall has a 10 km radius. U see Man Singh Palace, followed by Vikram Palace. The fort is situated on the Gopacal Parvat (mountain), has 10 gates of which only two are operational. It has 8 tanks, 6 palaces & 6 temples.

4. Entire pic covered by Fort. Pic taken from Ramakrishna Mission School Rest House ie a height & at one end of Gwalior. It was January, very foggy in morning. Album has pics from my 2008 and 2020 trips.

5. Board gives history of fort, who were its rulers and dates. “Gwalior is best known for its imposing hilltop fort, which was famously described as `The pearl amongst fortresses in India`.”

6. Suraj Kund. King Suraj Sen was out hunting. He outpaced his entourage to reach Gopacal hill. The hard ride made him thirsty. He saw Rishi Gwalipa & asked him for water. The Rishi struck a rock & clear spring gushed out. Next king bathed in a small pool out of water from fountain. Thereafter, he was cured of a skin disease. The Rishi asked king to build a, tank to preserve curative water & a wall to save sages from wild animals.

7. Samadhi of Maharishi Gwalipa or Galav. “The king later built a palace inside the fort, which was named "Gwalior" after the sage, and eventually the city that grew around the fort took the same name.” To this date locals come for a dip in the kund to get cured of skin diseases.

8. Close up of east side entrance gate to fort. By foot it is some climb from the base. Note design & elephant brackets.

9. You can enter the fort from Gwalior Gate (i.e. steep climb that you see) or the Urvayu Gate i.e. a car takes you uphill on a tarred road. The steep path has 6 fortified gateways. At base is Ganesh Gate. It is a simple doorway made by Raja Dungar Singh in the 1st half of the 16th century. There only is a Kabutar Khana (or pigeon house) & a small tomb constructed by Motamid Khan in 1664.

10. Eastern side of fort clicked while walking up from Ganesh Gate. What you see is Man Singh Palace. Right of pic lower side is Chaturbhuj Temple top part. There is a huge Chaturbhuj mandir in Orchha, M.Pradesh.

11. Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, was carved during the rule of the Pratihara king Bhojdeva (Kannauj) in 876 A.D. The inscription in the temple sanctum contains the figure Zero in numerical form, probably used for the first time in the Gwalior region.

12. Front view of temples. Pillars ornately carved. Temple was closed so could not click sanctum.

13. Front view of temples. Pillars ornately carved. Temple was closed so could not click sanctum.

14. Entrance-see lions, Morena 13th century A.D. “In the year 1913, the then Maharaja of Gwalior State Shri Madhav Rao Scindia formed an Archaeological Department. Subsequently, ancient objects were collected from various places of the Gwalior state from 1914-20. In the year 1922 the museum was inaugurated.”

15. Pic from southern end of fort. See fort wall. Centre is Telli ka Mandir. This part of fort comes under Scindia School.

16. You see a water-storing pond or Taal. “In the last 10 years Scindia School has worked towards creating ways to save water via rain water harvesting, recycling waste water, tree plantation, Sewage treatment Plant, Interconnection of all the ponds (Taals), etc. In 2016 approx. 174 .74 lakh litres+Chamer Talliya were conserved and used for the maintenance of campus.”

17. .This is at one end of the fort, the place where guns were shot. It was for Musketeers.

18. Sas Bahu Mandir (temple). It is a must see. Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu (measures 102 by 74 feet). It was completed during the reign of Raja Mahipal in 1093 A.D. In the 17th century 350 murtis were destroyed by Aurangzeb.

19. Teli-ka- Mandir. Built in the 9th century during the reign of King Mihira of Pratihara dynasty. Height about 30 metres. Temple has a wagon-vaulted roof ie South Indian style, rarely found in North India. Exterior walls richly decorated with sculptures.

20. You see Gurudwara Data Bandhi Chhod built in the memory of the 6th Sikh Guru Hargobind Singh who was imprisoned by Mughal Emperor Jahangir for two years and three months in Gwalior Fort. Post land donated by Scindia School the gurudwara has got bigger.

21. Scindia Boy’s School. Pranams Goddess Saraswati, background academic block. “The presiding deity of learning, aesthetics and creativity. The essence of the concept of Saraswati is in the power that provides the insight for facilitating the application of fundamental knowledge, to make it useful for all.” The school was founded by Maharaja Madhavrao Jayaji Rao Scindia of Gwalior in 1897.

22. Fort from Urwai Gate entrance ie road side. It is quite a steep climb uphill.

23. Virtually at the base are these huge Rock-cut Jain sculptures. The largest is 57 feet high. Similar rock-cut sculptures located elsewhere in Gwalior Fort. Carved in 15th century. Must see.

24. Urwai valley. Pic taken from room of hostel of Scindia School. U can see a road below, ie how we drove up. We now enter the fort.

25. Jauhar Kund got its name because Rajput women committed Jauhar in 1232 A.D. at the time of Muslim attack on Gwalior Fort. The kund used to supply water to some of the palaces in the fort.

26. View of Johar Kund.

27. Slightly ahead of Jauhar Kund, is fort wall view on the south western side going up to the end of fort on the south side.

28. When you come out of the Man Singh Palace there is a huge hall with pillars i.e. what you see. It was a Shivji ka Mandir (temple) but later on converted into a prison.

29. Finest eg of Hindu architecture. Built on a sandstone hill with 6 cylindrical towers capped with cupolas by Man Singh Tomar in 1508. Has 4 storeys of which 2 are underground. 2 Courtyard decorated by pillars & brackets. Palace decorated with paintings, glazed tiles, ducks etc & pillared domes. Palace is built on the outer wall of the fort raised over the cliff at height of app 300 feet.

30. Both side view, right is east and left is north. In their heyday the Cupolas were glided with copper and gold leaves. It displays several aspects of Rajput architecture like corbelled brackets, chhatris & elaborate lattice work. After it was captured by the Mughals in the 16th century it was made into a State Prison. Every evening a Light and Sound Show (1 hour) is held, very good.

31. View of the palace from the south side of fort. Centre of pic, note the toran like design.

32. Close up – see blue colour and toran like design. Observe carefully to enjoy architecture.

33. Pic taken about 4.30 pm. The chhatri that you see right in front on an elevated level is where the Raja sat. The area behind that is where the subjects sat and today a Light & Sound Show is held.

34. On entering the fort from the eastern side gate as was the norm them, you come into a large open area that you see. Right of pic structure is from where the king entered after alighting from horse or elephant.

35. Close up of front of palace, was around sunset time. The chhatri (centre of pic) is where the kind sat. Area in front is where subjects sat.

36. Close up of the domes, toran design, ducks and crocodiles.

37. Top see elephants on either side. Bottom yellow are ducks. Notice blue coloured tiles. Made 1508, we are in 2020.

38. An even closer view. Every time I see this palace want to visit again.

39. Vertical view close up.

40. Crocodiles. Some of the tiles have fallen off.

41. Front view before we go inside palace.

42. The palace has many rooms. You see the Dancing Hall on 3rd floor. There a total of 4 storeys on the palace of which 2 storeys are underground. The plan on the third storey consists of two courtyards and various rooms supported by different decorated pillars and brackets.

43. Showing designs in courtyard. Top part.

44. Pillar with intricate design.

45. Centre shade or chajja. Notice design above and below, lovely.

46. Elephant design brackets in centre of pic.

47. Notice column design bottom of pic.

48. Below is underground area.

49. Taken from underground area, way for light to come in.

50. You see our guide Jagdish against the backdrop of Brahmaji ka Srishti Rachna Chakra. He is very knowledgeable. Inspite of being affected by polio he walks around briskly. Paid app Rs 250/ for a round of the fort, in year 2008.

51. This gate leads to an underground tunnel that takes you to Jhansi. In Jhansi Fort saw a way that took one to Gwalior. Like this entrance was locked.

52. Made by Raja Man Singh son and heir Vikramaditya (1516 to 1523). For guides in fort Bhagwan Singh 01 09261 29917, Rohit 91 87704 01143, Jagdish 91 99262 29607.

53. Simple design. What I loved is the upper part, could also be used as a watch tower.

54. Because of its height this part of Vikram Mahal is visible from far away. It also gives u a good view of Gwalior city.

55. Because of its height this part of Vikram Mahal is visible from far away. It also gives u a good view of Gwalior city.

56. Jahangir Mahal, large open area, looks like a well in front. Do see Jai Vilas Palace in Gwalior and have lunch at restaurant next to cricket stadium. U get good view of matches from there. Have Samosa & Kachori, nice.

57. Karan Mahal was constructed by Kirti Singh (1480-86). Close by visit temples of Morena (wow), Dantia Fort and Orchha. Dholpur (Chambal ravines) is about 2 hour drive (nice). See Rani of Jhansi chatri, Tansen Tomb although he was born a Brahmin.

58. Karan Mahal made in Hindu style of architecture. Gwalior is surely worth visiting. It is well connected by train to Delhi and Mumbai.

59. Man Singh Mahal, this pic was hanging somewhere just clicked. End of pic is Vikram Mahal. Gwalior Fort is a must see. The fort that come close to it is Chittorgarh near Udaipur. This fort, has two super temples.

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