DESTINATION
HISTORY OF GWALIOR

Once the capital of the Scindias, Gwalior is a majestic city that retains its past grandeur amidst the daily choas. The influence of great dynasties of the Rajput clan of the Pratiharas, Kachwahas and the Tomars have left indelible etching in this city. The old city retains its flavor with the 10th century fort standing atop a huge bluff, a silent witness to its glorious past.

 

Gwalior derived its name some 2000 years ago when a Rajput chief Suraj Sen was cured of his leprosy ailment by the hermit saint Gwalipo. It was in his name that the grateful nobleman built a fort on the hills and named it Gwalior. The plains around Gwalior witnessed fierce fighting during the time of India's war of Independence in 1857 led from the front by Tantia Tope and Rani Laxmi Bai.

 

Gwalior has played a great role in the history of India and it is described as the pearl in the necklace of the castles of India. The history of Gwalior dates back to the 8th century A.D., when its chieftain, Suraj Sen, was cured of leprosy by a hermit-saint, Gwalipa. Out of sheer gratitude, Suraj Sen named the city after his savior.

 

Gwalior Fort is the city's most renowned landmark, its walls housing several fascinating temples and palaces in ruins. Its glorious history dates back to more than a thousand years. Looming at a height of 100 meters over the city, the fort hill is around d 3 kms in length.

 

Man Mandir Palace, an erstwhile music hall, was built by Raja Man Singh during 1486 and 1517, for the royal ladies of the palace. It is generously adorned with blue, green and yellow tile work creating patterns of flora and fauna on its exteriors.

Jai Vilas Palace, located in the new town, belongs to the Scindia family. Although the current ruler still lives in a portion of the palace, a large part of it is now a museum designed by Lt. Col. Sir Michael Filose.

Tourist Attraction in Gwalior
Gwalior Fort
The foundation of the Gwalior Fort was laid by Raja Suraj Sen on the advice of Sage Gwalipa some 1,000 years ago on a hill where he was supposedly cured of his leprosy. Some estimates claim that it is the largest structure of its kind in the world. The outer wall of the fort stands 3.2 km (2 miles) in length and 35 m in height. A steep road winds upwards to the fort. On both sides of the road, cut deep into the rock and towering over the proceedings, are scores of Jain statues.
Gujari Mahal and Archaeological Museum
If Man Mandir reflects Man Singh/’s aesthetic sensibilities, Gujari Mahal speaks of his love for his ninth Gujar wife, Mrignayni, for whom he built a special palace outside the fort. It is now a museum and houses a very extensive collection of stone carvings, many of them rare and exquisite.
Man Mandir Palace
The palace built by Man Singh Tomar between 1486 and 1516 is a delicate structure exhibiting a sense of joy and abandon through use of colour, motif, and design. This palace is also known as the Chitra Mandir or the Palace of Paintings because of the tiled and painted decorations of peacocks and other birds.
Sas-Bahu Temples
The Sas-Bahu temples, in another part of the fort, are not dedicated to a mother-in-law (Sas) and daughter-in-law (Bahu) as is sometimes supposed. Sas-Bahu is the name traditionally given to two adjoining temples of different sizes.
Memorial of Tansen
Adjacent to the tomb of Ghaus is another small white, austere tomb. This is the memorial dedicated to Tansen, a famed musician, and one of the nine gems of Akbar’s court.
Suraj Kund
Built in the 15th century, references to the Suraj Kund complex can be traced as far back as AD 425. Suraj Kund existed much before the city of Gwalior and is considered the place where Sage Gwalipa cured Suraj Sen of leprosy from the waters of this pond.
Teli-Ka-Mandir
Contrasting with the predominant North Indian style of architecture is the Teli-ka-Mandir. This temple, built in the ninth century and Dravidian in form, is believed to be the oldest in the fort. The sculptures are distinctly North Indian. A more recent study ascribes it to Telap Raj, a prime minister of the region. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, a garuda (mythical bird) can be seen on top of the 10-metre-high doorway.
Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus
At another point in the city is the tomb of Mohammad Ghaus, a saint of the Islamic faith of the 16th century. The stone carving for which the skilled artisans of Gwalior were justly famous is apparent in the huge panels of lacy screen work, which combine with an interesting architectural design to create a delicate, ethereal appeal.
Scindia Museum
Much of modern Gwalior is associated with the Scindias who were prolific builders. The Jai Vilas Palace at Lashkar is an opulent Italianate structure, set in carefully laid lawns. Part of the palace functions as residence of the royal family while the other has been converted into a museum that effectively documents a more leisurely and princely lifestyle.
Kala Vithika
Situated near the Gwalior Railway Station in the heart of the city, Kala Vithika is a good place to venture into if one wants some information on the history and culture of Gwalior. The museum is open on all days except Sundays and holidays.
Nearby Attractions of Gwalior
Shanichara Temple
About 18 kms from Gwalior is situated the Shanichara Temple, the abode of Shani, the Saturn deity. The Hindus held him in great respect and awe, for a benign glance can bestow prosperity while a fierce look can cause unparallel misfortune on the object of attention. Devotees flock to the temple to please him every Saturday. The temple made out of stone at Aeti houses the original idol of Shani brought from Lanka(presently Sri Lanka). History speaks that Shanideva was held prisoner by the demon king Ravana, King of Lanka in the epic Ramayana.
Dholpur
Situated between Gwalior and Agra, Dholpur was the scene of a fierce battle between Aurangzeb's sons to determine who would succeed him as the emperor of the Mughal Empire. The Shergarh fort built by Sher Shah Suri, the Khanpur Mahal, the Palace of Shah Jahan, Shiva Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is glorious part of this city.
Orchha
Lying besides the Malwa plateau, Orchha is famous for the Temples built in the 17th century. It was once the capital of the Bundela Rajputs. The Jahangir Mahal, the Chatturbhuj Mandir and the Laxmi Mandir are worth visiting. Built in massive stone platforms and palatial architecture the temples adds a feeling of wonder to the visitors.

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