Brief History of Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh)

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Brief History of Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh)

Gwalior, a major city of Madhya Pradesh, is 198 miles south of Delhi and is an important railway station between Delhi and Mumbai. The Agra-Mumbai Road turns south-west from Gwalior towards Indore, while the railway line goes south-east to Jhansi.

The Gwalior fort has been described as ‘a pearl in the necklace of the castles of India’. It is a majestic and awe-inspiring structure on a rocky eminence that dominates the city and has played a crucial part in the history of North India.

Towards the end of the fourteenth century, Timur the Lame invaded India. In the confusion which arose in the wake of his departure, a chieftain named Bir Singh Deo, who belonged to the Tomar clan, made himself the sovereign of Gwalior and established a dynasty which was famed for its artistic genius. The last but one of the Tomar Kings, Man Singh Tomar (1486-1516) built several notable monuments and a tank to the north-west of Gwalior. The Man Mandir, a palace built by Man Singh within the fort is considered to be the noblest specimen of Hindu architecture in North India.

The last of the Tomar kings fell in the battle of Panipat which resulted in the enthronement of Babur, as the first Mughal king of India. The Gwalior fort played an important part in the fortunes of Babur and his son Humayun. It passed into the hands of Sher Shah.

In 1784, the Maratha warrior Madho Rao Scindia captured the fort and established his dynasty.

Gwalior played a notable part in the 1857 uprising, the First Struggle for Independence against British rule. The Gwalior contingent of nearly 18000 men led the fight against the British. It was commanded by Tantia Tope, the most brilliant general of the patriots and by Rani Lakshmi Bai.

Gwalior is famous for its pottery works which produce chinaware famed throughout the East. There is an interesting museum near the railway station which has a very good collection of Mughal, Rajput and Maratha coins.

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