Saturday, January 24, 2015

Incredible India - Gwalior Fort

As part of Incredible India series, this post is for Gwalior Fort located in historical Gwalior city of Madhya Pradesh, a central state in India.
The majestic Gwalior Fort rests on top of a hillock, overlooking entire Gwalior city, spread out over an area of 3 kms and consists of a defensive structure, enclosing six palaces,numerous water tanks and three temples. Main two palaces being Gurjari Mahal and Man Mandir, built by Man Singh Tomar. Fort has been conquered many times and has seen many rulers from Tomars to the Mughals, then the Marathas to later British and finally ruled by ScindiasIt was in this fort that Laxmibai, the famous Rani of Jhansi, who played a stellar role in the 1857 India's first War of Independence, was killed on 17th June 1858 at the age of just 29, after information regarding her whereabouts was leaked to the British by the local rulers.

Man Singh Palace also known as Man Mandir Palace or Chitra (Translates to Painting) Mandir, was built during the reign of Tomar King Raja Man Singh Tomar in 1506 AD and the king ruled for 30 years.

This magnificent palace is one of the finest examples of Hindu architecture. There are total 4 storeys of the palace of which two are underground. The plan on the third storey consists of two open courtyards and various rooms supported by different decorated pillars and brackets. The palace is decorated with beautiful paintings, glazed tiles of varied colors, different figures including human forms, elephants, ducks, peacocks, lions, etc. The fort is built raised over the cliff 300 feet above the ground level. In sixteenth century when the fort was captured by Mughals, was used as state prison. 

Gurjari Mahal is a monument of love by Raja Man Singh Tomar for his Gurjari queen, Mrignayani. After he had wooed and won her, Mrignayani demanded for a separate palace with a constant water supply from the River Rai. In below picture (2nd row, 1st picture) you can see beautiful sculpture, which has the head of an elephant, body of a lion and legs of a horse. Adjacent picture shows Gwalior city's birds eye view from the fort. 

Guru HarGobind Sahib, the sixth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism, was house arrested in Gwalior Fort by the order of Emperor JahangirGurdwara Data Bandi Chorh Sahib, situated close by, is associated with the imprisonment of Guru HarGobind Sahib in Gwalior Fort and his celebrated release in which he managed to win the freedom of 52 Rajas (Kings) who had long suffered imprisonment in the Fort.

As part of Incredible India series, I had earlier shared blog posts on Karnataka Road TripQutub MinarGolconda FortHumayun's TombTemples in Delhi & Bird Watching