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The famous fort and Scindia palace in Gwalior

by on December 27, 2007

Gwalior the middle kingdom named after Sage Gwalipa is one of the best holiday destinations in Madhya Pradesh. This is the land where sharp swords matched rugged forts and ruthless ambition tested death giving birth to magnificent rock carvings, temples, palaces and forts making it a perfect weekend destination from Delhi.

gwalior-fort.jpgThe Gwalior fort is 300ft above the ground. The Kachhwahas and Tomars contributed most to its culture and architecture, whereas early Mohammedans, and later the Mughals, used the fort as a state prison. There were three main entrances to the fort of which the east and the west entrances are now accessible. The eastern entrance is guarded by the Urwahi Gate, and the western by six gates built in different periods by different kings all situated on the 2500 ft long ramp leading to the fort. Then there is the Urwahi rock which is falling on two sides of the valley which is home to 22 Jain rock sculptures while walking on the ramp of the fort on the left side. Inside the fort the most impressive structure is the Man Singh Palace. Inside is the dancing hall surrounded by a balcony and a courtyard besides many rooms and staircases leading to underground passages. The southern part of the fort has the inlay work of marching ducks, crocodiles holding lotus, and parrots and tigers. Behind Man Mandir lies the Vikram Palace named after Man Singh’s son. man-singh-palace-gwalior.jpgBesides these two palaces there are 5 more palaces three of which were built by Hindu rulers and two by Mughals. The Jahangir Palace has the tank where Rajput queens committed jauhar following the invasion of the fort in 1232. Of the remaining Hindu palaces Gujari Mahal built by Raja Man Singh for his Gujjar love Mrignayani is now a state archaeological museum. It has a collection of decorative pillars, princely sculptures. The fort also includes two temples the Saas Bahu complex and the Teli ka Mandir. The Saas Bahu temples follow the 10th century North Indian temple dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva. The Teli ka Mandir is an 80ft hotchpotch structure with a massive shikara.

Inside the city there is the Mausoleum of Sheikh Muhammad Ghaus built during Akbar’s rule is what I liked. It is built on a square plan with hexagonal towers and flanked on four sides with dedicated stone lattices. He is said to be the saint who is said to have confessed that God had accorded him superiority over Prophet Muhammad. The grave of Tansen is a rectangular platform with a pillared gallery is standing near by. Then there is the famous tamarind tree that is said to have sweetened his voice is dead however in its place grows a younger tree that is regularly plucked by visitors wishing to repeat the miracle. Then there is the Jama Masjid next to Gujari Mahal.

jai-vilas-palae-gwalior.jpg And then there is the Scindia legacy with the Jai Vilas Palace built at a cost of Rs 19 lakhs during the reign of Jiyagi Rao. The palace is three storey high and is decorated with Tuscan, Italian columns. It also has a museum displaying the famous silver dining train used to ferry champagne bottles around the table.

Find Driving Directions from Delhi to Gwalior here

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