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the very heart of india
Gwalior is 120 km away from Agra and 330 km from Delhi. Gwalior is a city of palaces, temples and monuments.
History of Gwalior : The splendor of this royal city is living since sixth century. This ancient capital city has been a cradle of great dynasties and a living heritage heroism. The antiquity of the city can be traced back to 8th century when, Suraj Sen, a chieftain, founded the city. He was suffering from leprosy. The patron saint of the shepherds and cowherds, Gwalipa, cured Suraj Sen of leprosy and thus he named the city after the saint’s name.
Gwalior has witnessed the rule of great Rajput and Tomars. Its tradition as a royal capital continued until the formation of independent India, with the Scindias having their dynastic seat here. With the decline of Muslim power in Delhi, Gwalior fell under the sway the Marathas- Scindias assumed sovereign power. The Scindias, counted among the most glamorous of Indian princes, became famous of their wealth and were popular with successive viceroys because of their generous hospitality and capacity to organize thrilling tiger shoots for visiting dignitaries. Tour Enquiry
Sight seeing in Gwalior : The historic city Gwalior has a lot to offer to the tourist. These are The Gwalior Fort, Chhatri of Maharani Laxmi Bai, Gujari Mahal, Man Mandir Palace, Suraj Kund, Teli Ka Mandir and Sas Bahu ka Mandir, Gurudwara Data Bandhi Chhod, Jaivilas Palace and Museum, Tansen’s Tomb and Ghaus Mohammed’s Tomb.
Places to see around Gwalior :
CHANDERI (220Kms) : The pictures town surrounded by the hills, lakes and forest is known for the fine sarees and brocades. The town has a large fort, built during the Mugal period. There are severl monuments of Malwa Sultans and the Bundela Rajputs. The old Chanderi town is dotted with numerous Jain temples dating back to 9th and 10th century which attracts thousand of the Jain pilgrims.
DATIA (74 Kms) : This historical town was known as Daityavakra in Mahabhrata. It has historical monuments , the seven storeyed palace built by Raja Bir Singh Deo in 1614, is one of the finest examples of Bundela architecture. The palace also houses Bundela mural paintings.
NARWAR FORT (122 Kms) : Narwar was once the capital of legendry king Raja Nal of Naisadha whose love for Damyanti has been described in Mahabharat. It is situated on the top of the hill . The fort and palaces are built in Rajput style architecture, with flat ceilings, arches and fluted coloums. The inner walls of the palaces are adorned with glass beads. Tour Enquiry
Historical Monuments at Gwalior
A glazed frieze in Gwalior Fort.
Towering 100 meters above the town in splendid isolation on a solid rock of sandstone, the fort is reckoned the most imposing citadel in India and the Palace houses a priceless collection of rare objects de art.
Then there are huge rock cut icons of Bahubali, a Jain Master which the visitor of the giant Buddhas found in Bamiyan in Afghanistan. Executed in the 15th century the tallest figure is almost17 meters high is made on the rock over which the fort is situated.
The main entrance on the eastern side affords a breathtaking view of the ever-extending plains of the Indian heartland. Six gates built in a distinct Hindu or Muslim style lead the way up to the summit. There are six Palaces encircled by the massive ramparts of this fort- these again show a beautiful blending of the Hindu and Muslim styles and testify the catholic taste and tolerance of the ruling dynasty.
There are many water tanks in the fort. The most prominent are the Johar Kund, where the Rajput women immolated themselves to save their honour when defeat and disgrace were imminent, and the Suraj Kund, where the family deity of the Scindias,the sun god, was worshipped. It is an impressive mustachioed Surya that blazons forth from the royal emblem of Gwalior. Tour Enquiry
Jai Vilas Palace
Jai Vilas is unmatched in scale and splendour The durbar hall for formal audience measures 15 meters by 85 meters with the roof over 12 meters high. The ceiling is painted in pale green and gold and the floor is covered with perhaps the largest one-piece carpet woven in situ by the carpet makers in the world. This is the room about which lady Dufferin the Vicereine exclaimed in 1884, ” The magnificent room in which we lost ourselves last night”. The two crystal chandeliers are reputed to be the largest in the world with the possible exception of one on display in the Tsar’s winter palace outside Moscow. When the huge chandeliers were about to be installed, doubts were expressed whether the ceiling would bear the combined weight of about six tons. The ruler of Gwalior could indulge in such expensive fancies because he was one of the richest men of his tome. Griffith, a British author, has provided a glimpse of the treasure he had amassed.
“In addition to coins, there was an inestimable quantity of Jewels which rivaled Alladin’s store. Thos collection… was the largest in the world He ( Jayajirao Scindia) had in his vaults, silver coins that could be counted in millions, manigicent pearls and diamonds by the ten thousands, rubies, emeralds and other gems by the thousands and wrought and melted gold by the maund”. ( A maund, it is useful to recall, is Indian measure of weight used for wholesale purchase of grains and equals 35 kilos approximately.)
Mansingh palace is the most attractive of the palaces. The façade was originally covered with white plaster and the domes plated with copper. The courtyard and the rooms are ornamented with intricate carvings. A wall of hewn stand stone about 100 meters long and 30 meters high crowned by ornamental frieze of brilliant tiles, the ornamentation is further embellished by beautiful domes connected together by a balustrade of delicately wrought stone carvings.
There is an other beautiful palace named Gujari Mahal, commissioned by Mansingh to satisfy a whim of his beloved queen Mrignayani. The epithet refers to the lady’s fawn like eyes. She is the heroine of many a folk ballad and the subject of a many historical novel. ( Mrignayani by Vrindavanlal Varma is a beautiful novel on her)
There are other surprises that Gwalior stores in its magic box. These includes the beautiful buildings namely Teli ka Mandir, Sas Bahu ka Mandir and the mausoleum of the sufi saint Gaus Mohammad are among the most well known.
Teli ka Mandir
Dates back to 8th century. It is the loftiest building in the fort soaring 35 meters high and presents a curious blending of the North Indian and the southern style of temples architecture. Sculptures decorating it indicate that it started as a temple dedicated to Vishnu but was later converted for the worship of the other major Hindu God Shiva. The Sas Bahu Ka Mandir was built by the Mahipala the Kachchwah king in the early 11th century. It was originally called the Sahastrabahu temple and is the most ancient structure in the fort.
Jaivilas despite its opulence did not become the Maharaja’s favorite. It was more suited for a European prince than an oriental potentate. Another Palace was commissioned. Thus was Moti Mahal born, a modest mansion with nine hundred rooms. It draws inspiration from the medieval buildings in Gwalior and has an unmistakable oriental ambience with curving colonnaded terraces flanked by square towers. In the rear is the grand fort and in front an artificial lake sets it off as a showpiece.
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