States of India
Dominated by one of the mightiest forts of Asia, and steeped in historic tradition, Gwalior is an excellent entry point into India's largest and geographically most attractive state: Madhya Pradesh. In legend Gwalior's history goes back to multitude of reigning dynasties of the great Rajput clans of the Pratiharas, Kachwas and Tomars who have left indelible etchings of their rule in this city of palaces, temples and monuments. The magnificent mementoes of a glorious past have been preserved with care giving Gwalior a unique and timeless appeal. In the 8th century AD its chieftain Suraj Sen was cured of leprosy by a hermit saint, Gwalipa in gratitude he named the city after his name.
The new city of Gwalior became, over the centuries, the cradle of great dynasties and with each, the city gained new dimensions from the warrior kings, poets, musicians and saints who contributed to making it a capital renowned throughout the country and today, a modern Indian city, vibrant and bustling.
Places to See :
The legend goes that 2000 years ago, after being separated from his attendants, a weary and thirsty Rajput King, Suraj Sen stumbled upon the sage 'Gwalipa', who directed him to a pond. As he splashed water over himself, he was cured of his leprosy too. The grateful king, named the pond 'Suraj Kund' and founded the fort which was named Fort Gwalior, after the sage.
Gwalior Fort is one of India's most famous forts. It has withstood the onslaught of many warring dynasties, each of whom have left their traces in various monuments in and around the fort. The sandstone fort, rising 300 ft. on a steep, flat topped hill, stands necklace among the palaces of India. The son-et lumiere show at the fort brings alive the rich historic traditions to the traveler. Indeed, it is one of the most spectacular shows in the country.
The walls and caves inside the Gwalior Fort have intricately carved Jain sculptures. A rich reminence of the Jain influence in this area through the 13th and 14th centuries.
Within the Fort are some marvels of medieval architecture. The 15th century Gujari Mahal is a monument to the love of Raja Mansingh Tomar for the intrepid Mrignayani, a tribal Gujar queen. The outer structure of the Gujari Mahal has survived in an almost total state of preservation; the interior has been converted into an archaeological Museum housing rare antiquities, some of them dating back to the 1st century AD. Amongst the 36 greatest singers of India, 15 are known to have learnt the art of the their music here, including the immortal Tansen.
The long ascent on the southern side climbs up through a ravine to the fort gate. Along the rock faces flanking this road are many Jain sculptures, some impressively big. Originally cut into the cliff faces in the mid-15th century, they were defaced by the forces of Babur in 1527 but were later repaired.
The images are in five main groups and are numbered. In the Arwahi group, image 20 is 17m-high standing sculpture of the first Jain tirthankar (revered teacher or saint), Adinath, while image 22 is a 10m-high seated figure of Nemnath, the 22nd Jain tirthankar. The south-eastern group is the most important and covers nearly 1Km of the cliff face with more than 20 images.
Man Mandir Palace
Within the fort, the most important structure is Man Mandir, built by Raja Man Singh, the greatest of the Tomar rulers. This graceful palace was noted by Fergusson as 'the most remarkable and interesting example of early Hindu palaces' . The walls are inlaid with enameled tiles of blue, green and yellow decorated with animal motifs. Two courtyards within, lead into rooms which are richly ornamented with jali-work, cornices, mouldings, geometric and flora patterns in a mosaic of tiles.
The palace was once decorated with precious jewels which were removed by plundering Mughals. who later turned the fort into a political prison. The Archaeological Museum housed here, has an excellent collection of carving, images, coins, inscriptions paintings and other antiques, dated as early as the 3rd century BC, till the 13 century AD.
Teli Ka Mandir
This temple probably dates from the 9th century but has been restored. Its peculiar design incorporates a Dravidian roof with Indo-Aryan decorations (the whole temple is covered with sculptures). A Garuda tops the 10m-high doorway .Here princes and princesses came to be betrothed and received education on the aspects of married life. The walls of the temple slope upward and from a ridge from which the roof rises.
Ghaus Mohammed's Tomb
the sandstone mausoleum of the Afghan's prince, Ghaus Mohammed, is also designed on early Mughal lines. Particularly exquisite are the screens which use the pierced stone technique as delicate as lace.