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GWALIOR                                       General Information of Gwalior

Gwalior - a historical Indian city - is located on the periphery of Madhya Pradesh State, 321 Kms from Delhi and 121 Kms from Agra. The new city consists of three large areas, called Lashkar, Morar and Gwalior. Lashkar dominates in business activity while Morar serves as a market for the farmers and villagers of adjoining areas. Gwalior also known as Old Gwalior has most of the tourist places. Massive Gwalior Fort, popularly called Gibraltar of India overlooks the city. The great Mughal Emperor Babur presumably described it as, "The pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind". In the east of the city are two magnificent examples of early Mughal architecture. One is mausoleum of, 16th century Sufi saint Ghous Mohammed, and another is tomb of Mian Tansen, a great singer and one of the 'Nine Jewels' of Emperor Akbar's court.

Close to the heart of the city is splendid Jai Vilas Palace, patterned on the style of the 'Palais de Versailles' in France combines Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian styles of architecture. Exciting excursion trip can be made from Gwalior to Shivpuri, where the Madhav National Wildlife Park is located. Rich in cultural heritage and architectural marvels, Gwalior has the added advantage of it's proximity to Agra, the city of Taj Mahal, Khajuraho, the city of great temples and Delhi, the national capital.

Mr.B.B. Lal has discovered implements of Paleolithic age in Gwalior. Many cave paintings of the Middle Stone Age have also been found in the area. Pottery of Iron Age has been excavated in Gwalior and adjoining areas. Old name of Gwalior is Gopadri or Gopgiri. In the Mahabharta Gopalkaksh has been mentioned as the place of victory of Bhima. Probably Gopalkaksh is same Gopadri.

During the later period of 2nd Century a new dynasty called Nagvans (vans means clan) took roots in Vidisha-Gwalior region. Vrashnath was the founder of the Nagvans. A coin has been found of this ruler in Vidisha during Veshnagar excavations.

Bhimnag was the next ruler of this clan who shifted it's capital from Vidisha to Padmavati (modern Pawaya near Gwalior). Coins of descendant of Bhimnag, Skandnag, Vashunag, and Vrahaspatinag have been found in Pawaya. According to a pillar inscription found in Allahbad, Samudragupta had defeated last ruler of Nagvans, Ganpatinag.

Pawaya is some 68 kms from Gwalior. The life-size statue of Chaksha Manibhadra has been found here. The Parmars built the fort and the nearby Dhoomeshwar Mahadeo temple, which are the main attractions of Pawaya.

Beginning of legendary Gwalior fort found it's roots in the 5th Century during the rule of a Kachhwaha Rajput prince, Suraj Sen.

It is believed that Gwalior was also under the rule of Mihir Bhoj (836-882 AD). In the 10th Century, second ruler of Kachapghat Rajvans, Vrajdaman had taken over Gwalior after defeating king of Kannauz. Mangleraj and Kirtiraj were the subsequent rulers of Gwalior.

In 1021 AD Mahmud of Gazni attacked on Gwalior. One of his lieutenants Malik Bahauddin Tughluq won Gwalior fort after lot of hard work.

Tourist Places

The Fort

The most magnificent monument of Gwalior the hilltop fort overlooks the city. The fort is above 300 feet high and is about three kilometers in length and 600 to 3000 feet wide from East to West.

Raja Mansingh Tomar built it in 15th century. The fort can be approached from two sides, on the eastern side is Gwalior Gate which leads pedestrian path while on the western side is Urvai Gate which is the motorable way.

The fort wall which encircles almost the entire hill is about 10 meters high. A steep road goes upward to the fort, flanked by statues of the Jain Tirthakaras, carved into the rock face. One of the most invincible forts in the entire History of India, this "pearl in the necklace of the castles of Hind" has changed many hands but has rarely been captured.

The northern end has Jhangiri Palace, Shah Jahan Palace, Karna Mahal, Vikram Mahal and Jal Johar Kund. Jahangiri and Shah Jahan Palaces are predominantly Muslim in their architectural styles, these two-storied each with large audience chambers. Karna Mahal was the palace of maternal uncle of most famous king of Gwalior Raja Man Singh. Palace of prince Vikram, Vikram Mahal had a small Vishnu temple in it.

In the same area is the Jal Jauhar kund or the tank used for Jauhar (mass immolation undertaken by the ladies) which took place when Iltutmish the slave king of Delhi besieged the fort and defeated the Parihar ruler. A cenotaph nearby is of Maharajah Bhim Singh Rana (1757-1785), the Jat chief of Gohad. The fort is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm except on Fridays. You need to by different tickets for different sections. First when you enter either from Gwalior Gate or Urvai Gate, you would buy Rs. 0.25 ticket for whole fort, second one is bought on reaching the top, of Rs. 2 for Man Madir Palace.

Man Mandir Palace
This marvelous palace was built between 1486 and 1517 by Raja Man Singh of Tomar dynasty of Gwalior. The palace has two underground floors. It consists of two open courts surrounded by apartments with carved stones, pillars and brackets. Six rounded towers of singularly pleasing design crowned with cupolas relieve this 80 feet high structure. It is further complimented by blue ceramic mosaic and petite trellis work. Vast chambers with fine stone screens were once the music halls, and behind these screens, the royal ladies would learn music from the maestro of the day. Former Emperor Aurangzeb had imprisoned his brother here. Aurangzeb ordered that his brother be killed by being put in to a big vessel containing boiling oil. This place still has black walls for the aforesaid reason. A magnificent 'Son-et-Lumiere' brings back all this alive in the evening. Light and sound show or 'Son-et-Lumiere' in English is from 8:30 pm to 9:15 pm. 

Sas Bahu Ka Madir
This is a 9th century temple. The Sas-Bahu temple was probably called the Shashtra Bahu (another name for Vishnu) temple. "The smaller one close to it was perhaps a Shiva temple, but over the years this pair of temples whose carvings can be compared to any of the great temples of India came to be known as the "Sas-Bahu temples". In local language Hindi sas means mother-in-law and bahu means daughter-in-law.
Teli Ka Madir
This is a 11th century 70 feet high temple. The temple was probably known as the Telengana temple. It has a South Indian influence on its architecture especially on the roof, which is Dravadian, though it's facade remains Indo-Ayran.

Archeological Museum
It has sculptures found in Naresar, Batesar, Kherat, Ater(my maternal native place), Ranod, Surwaya, Terahi and Padhawali. Sculptures are of Gurjar Pratihar period( 7th century AD to 10th century AD). These sculptures show the later development of Gupta art. 17th century AD sculptures, from Ater are of Bhadoria rulers, showing Hindu and Mughal art.

Gurudwara Data Bandi Chhode
It has been built in the remembrance of sixth guru of Sikhs "Saint Hargovind Singh ji". It is a beautiful structure completely made up of white marble. The building is decorated with color glasses. Cupolas on domes are of gold. There are two sarowars or ponds as well in this Gurudwara. Non Sikhs are kindly requested to keep their head covered, by some cloth like handkerchief, when going to Gurudwara. I am not exactly aware of its reason as I am a Hindu but I follow the custom in accordance with the sentiments of the Sikh brothers. If some Sikh is reading this, please inform me about it. 

Gujri Mahal
The 15th century Gujari Mahal is a monument to the love of Raja Mansingh for his Gujar queen, Mrignayani. Today Gujari Mahal has one of the finest museums of sculptures dating back to 1st century AD even though many of them have been defaced by the Mughals, their perfection of form has survived the ravage of time. Particularly worth seeing is the statue of Shalbhanjika from Gyraspur, the tree goddess, epitome of perfection in miniature. The statue is kept in the custody of the museum's curator and can be seen on request (timing of this museum is from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm daily except Monday). 

Tomb of Tansen
This is the tomb of the father of Hindustani classical music, the great Mian Tansen, one of the 'Nine Jewels' of Emperor Akbar's court. It is built in the early Mughal architectural style and is surrounded by lush gardens in typical Mughal style. Every year a national level music festival is organized here in November/December. There is a tamarind tree near the tomb. It is believed that Tansen got fabulous voice after eating leaves of this tree so people visiting the place also eat these leaves. Unfortunately there has been no change is my heavy voice, does any body know the reason?

Mausoleum of Ghous Mohammed
The great, Ghous Mohammed, whose mausoleum is laid near tomb of Tansen, was a Afghan Prince turned sufi saint who had helped Babur to win the Gwalior fort. His mausoleum is a typical Mughal architecture. Particularly interesting are the hexagonal pillars and screens using pierced stone technique. 

Sun Temple or Surya Mandir
This was Constructed in 1988. It is inspired by architecture of the famous Konark Temple in Orissa. Red stone has been used on exteriors and white marble on interior. There is a beautiful sculpture of Lord Surya in the temple.

Downtown Bada
This is the busiest place in Gwalior. There is a garden in the middle of which stands a copper sculpture of Maharaja of Gwalior, Late Jiyaji Rao Scindhia. This garden is surrounded by shopping centers. There is the biggest post office and bank of, Gwalior. Mrignayani shop for handicrafts that I mentioned for shopping on Roaming Page is also close to it. 

Jai Vilas Palace
This beautiful pure white edifice patterned on the style of the 'Palais de Versailles' in France combines Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian styles of architecture. The palace has been partly converted into a museum for Royal memorabilia. The rest of the part is the residence of Madhav Rao Scindia. The royal Durbar Hall is a magnificent structure and taking support only from columns on four sides. It also has the largest single piece carpet woven right there in the hall by 12 weavers who took 13 years to complete it. The ceiling of the Hall has a pair of the largest crystal chandeliers in the world which were built in Belgium and bought in Paris each weigh 3.5 tones. The banquet hall below has the famous Royal Gwalior silver train, which is infect, a liquor serving trolley. 

Memorial of Rani(Queen) Jhansi
This memorial stands near Phoolbagh. One of the most famous ladies in the entire History of India, Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi laid down her life in Gwalior. Laxmibai was one of the leaders in the first freedom struggle of India. Rani of Jhansi, Laxmibai came to Gwalior when general Huroz of British army defeated Laxmibai in Kalpi. Maharaja Scindhia of Gwalior betrayed Laxmibai. He gave her a weak horse. Sensing something-fishy Laxmibai decided to leave Gwalior. She made the supreme sacrifice while fighting British, on 18th June 1858.

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