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Mahendra India Travel
Gwalior Tour

Gwalior Tour - Mahendra India Travel

Gwalior is much acclaimed its old and very large fort. Within the fort walls are ruins of many palaces and many interesting temples. The rich and impressive history of the great fort goes back over 1000 years.

Gwalior's illustrious history begins from a meeting between a hermit Gwalipa and Suraj Sen. The hermit Gwalipa lived on the hilltop where the fort stands. He cured Suraj Sen of leprosy by making him drink water from the Suraj kund, which is still there in the fort and gave him a new name Suhan Pal. He also told him that his descendants would rule well as long as they retained the name Pal. Suhan Pal's next 83 descendants followed this advice but the 84th descendant changed his name to Tej Karan and lost his Kingdom.

In 1398 the Tomar dynasty came to power and for the next several centuries Gwalior fort was the scene of continual conspiracy and feuds with the neighbouring powers. Man Singh the greatest of the Tomar rulers came to power in 1486.The fort was besieged by Ibrahim Lodi in 1516. Man Singh died but his son held out for a year. Afterwards the Mughals led by Babur held the fort until 1754. In 1754, the Marathas captured it.

In the next 50 years the fort changed many hands. Finally the Scindias came to power. During the Indian Uprising in 1857 the Maharaja maintained loyalty to the British but his troops did not and the fort became the locale for some of the final and dramatic events of the Uprising. It was near here that TantiaTopi was defeated by the British and in the final assault on the fort the Rani of Jhansi was killed.

Gwalior Fort: The blue-tiled Gwalior Fort dominates the cityscape. It has been the scene of some remarkable action, from romance to battles to jauhars. The northeast path, starting from the Archaeological Museum, follows a wide, winding slope to the doors of the Man Singh Palace. The south-west entrance is a long gradual ascent by road, passing cliff face Jain sculptures on the climb. The fort hill rises 100 metres to less than 200 metres. The fort walls, which continue around almost the entire hilltop, are 10 metres high and imposingly solid.

The Fort: Standing on a steep mass of sandstone, Gwalior Fort dominates the city and is its most significant monument. It has been in the scene of momentous events, imprisonment, battles and jauhars . A steep road winds upwards to the fort, flanked by statues of the Jain tirthankaras, carved into the rock face. The magnificent outer walls of the fort still stand, two miles in length and 35 feet high, bearing witness to its reputation for being one of the most invincible forts of India. This imposing structure inspired Emperor Babur to describe it as " the pearl amongst the fortresses of Hind ".

Memorial of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi: This memorial stands near Phoolbagh. One of the most famous ladies in the entire History of India, Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi laid down her life in Gwalior. Laxmibai was one of the leaders in the first freedom struggle of India. Rani of Jhansi, Laxmibai came to Gwalior when general Huroz of British army defeated Laxmibai in Kalpi. Maharaja Scindhia of Gwalior betrayed Laxmibai. He gave her a weak horse. Sensing something-fishy Laxmibai decided to leave Gwalior. She made the supreme sacrifice while fighting British, on 18th June 1858.

Tomb of Tansen: This is the tomb of the father of Hindustani classical music, the great Mian Tansen, one of the 'Nine Jewels' of Emperor Akbar's court. It is built in the early Mughal architectural style and is surrounded by lush gardens in typical Mughal style. There is a tamarind tree near the tomb. It is believed that Tansen got fabulous voice after eating leaves of this tree so people visiting the place also eat these leaves.

Jai Vilas Palace and Museum: A splendor of a different kind exists in the Jai Vilas Palace, current residence of the Scindia family. Some 25 rooms have been turned into the Jivaji Rao Scindia Museum, and in these rooms , so evocative of a regal lifestyle, that the past comes alive. Jai Vilas is an Italianate structure which combines the Tuscan and Corinthian architectural modes.

The imposing Darbar Hall has two central chandeliers weighing a couple of tones, and hung only after ten elephants had tested the strength of the roof. Ceilings picked out in gilt, heavy draperies and tapestries , fine Persian carpets and antique furniture from France and Italy are the features of these spacious rooms.

Eye catching treasures include: A silver train with cut glass wagons which served guests as it chugged around the table on miniature rails; a glass cradle from Italy used for the baby Krishna each Janmashtami, silver dinner services and swords that were once worn by Aurangzeb and Shah Jahan. These are ,besides, personal momentous of past members of the Scindia family : the jeweled slippers that belonged to Chinkoo Rani , four-poster beds, gifts from practically every country in the world, hunting trophies and portraits. The Scindia Museum offers an unparalleled glimpse into the rich culture and lifestyle of princely India.

Gujari Mahal: Within the fort are some marvels of medieval architecture. The 15th century Gujari Mahal is a monument to the love of Raja Mansingh Tomar for his intrepid Gujar Queen, Mrignayani. The outer structure of Gujari Mahal has survived in an almost total state of preservation; the interior has been converted into Archaeological Museum housing rare antiquities, some of them dating back to the 1st century AD even though many of these have been defaced by the iconoclastic Mughals, their perfection of form has survived the ravages of time. Particularly worth seeing is the statue of Shalbhanjika from Gyraspur, the tree goddess, the epitome of perfection in miniature .

Man Mandir Palace: Built between 1486 and 1517 by Raja Mansingh. The tiles that once adorned its exterior have not survived , but at the entrance , traces of these still remain. Within the palace rooms stand bare, stripped of their former glory, testifying to the passing of the centuries. Vast chambers with fine stone screens were once the music halls, and behind these screens, the royal ladies would learn music from the great masters of the day. Below, circular dungeons housed the state prisoners of the Mughals. Emperor Aurangzeb had his brother Murad were imprisoned , and later executed here. At Man Mandir Palace, a poignant ambience of those days of chivalry and heroism still lingers in the silent chambers. A superbly mounted Son-et-Lumiere here brings it all alive every evening.

Ghaus Mohammed's Tomb: The sandstone mausoleum of the Afghan prince, Ghaus Mohammed, is also designed on early Mughal lines. Particularly exquisite are the screens which use the pierced stone technique as delicate as lace. It is on the way to Gwalior fort near Hazira from Railway Station.

Gurudwara Data Bandhi Chhod: Built in the memory of Guru Hargobind Saheb , the 6th Sikh Guru who was imprisoned here by Emperor Jehangir for over two years. It is located on the Gwalior Fort

Climate: Gwalior experiences extremes of climate with hot summers and cold winters. The maximum temperature during the summer months can touch as high as 46°C, while in the winters it can go down to below 5°C. Monsoons arrive in the first week of June and remain till August/September.

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