Information on The Gwalior Fort (Madhya Pradesh)

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Information on The Gwalior Fort (Madhya Pradesh)

The great Gwalior Fort is situated ‘on a precipitous, flat-topped and isolated hill of sandstone’ which rises 300 feet above the dusty plain. Its breadth varies from 600 feet to 2800 feet. The enclosing wall is 30 feet in height. Its long line of battlements dominates the old city of Gwalior.

The main entrance is on the north-east through a level road which is unfit for vehicular traffic because of its steep gradient. In the past, distinguished visitors made the trip on the backs of elephants belonging to His Highness the Maharaja.

There are five gateways protecting the main entrance to the Fort. Passing through the Alamgiri Gate (named after the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, whose title was Alamgir, emperor of the World), and the Badal Mahal or Hindola Gate (so called because there was once a swing near it), the visitor turns to the right to gain entrance to the Gujari Mahal, built by Man Singh for his favorite queen Mriganayana.

This two-storey building is a fine structure built of hewn stone. A spacious courtyard in the middle of the Mahal is encircled by a number of small rooms which boast of finely carved brackets and arched doorways. An archaeological museum containing a representative collection of the sculptures, inscriptions, pictures and other antiquities of Madhya Pradesh is now housed in the building. Among other things, it has copies of the paintings of Bagh caves. The museum remains closed on Mondays and public holidays.

The last gate, the Hathia Paur (Elephant Gate), was erected by Raja Man Singh and once had a life-size stone carving of an elephant standing beside it. There is another entrance to the Fort from the west. Access to the citadel is gained through the Urwahi Gate, which was constructed in the 13th century.

The Elephant Gate leads to the Man Mandir Palace built by Man Singh. This noble building is also known as the Painted Palace.

The eastern front of the Palace is one of the most photographed objects in India. There are two open courts, each with a suite of rooms round it inside the main building, which are two storeys high. There are also two storeys of underground apartments in the eastern part overhanging the cliff.

Many of the bungalows and barracks now seen all, over the Fort were constructed by the British between 1858 and 1886.

There are five groups of Jain sculptures, dating back to the fifteenth century, and consisting principally of some of the twenty-four Tirthankaras on the rock walls of the fort. Of these, the group situated in the Urwahi Valley and the south-east group situated near the north-west corner of the King George Park is more interesting. The largest of the sculptures is a standing image of Adinath, the first Jain Pontiff, which one sees on the left about halfway down the slope while descending by the Urwahi Road. It was carved in 1440 during the reign of Dongar Singh. The south-east group contains twenty-one colossal statues, several of which have screen walls in front as at Ellora.


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