Gwalior Fort – Step into History of several dynasties
The hill fort of Gwalior consists of two major palaces and a defensive structure Gujari Mahal and Man Mandir. With an enormous historical record, the place offers so much to see like Jain temples, Teli ka mandir, Garuda monument, Sahastrabahu (Saas-Bahu) temple, Gurudwara Data Bandi Chhor, Gujari Mahal Museum , Man Mandir Palace, Vikram Mahal , Karn Mahal, Chhatri of Bhim Singh Rana, Hathi Pol. Gwalior Fort Light and Sound Show is one if famous thing to see here.
The hill fort of Gwalior has resided in the city since the 10th century. However the monuments and inscriptions found within the fort say that it could have existed since the 6th century. The Gwalior fort was ruled by several rulers and so the city has seen several dynasties over the years leaving a trace of their culture. It surely can still be seen in the present day.
Today the Gwalior fort consists of two major palaces and a defensive structure. Gujari Mahal and Man Mandir were the two main palaces that were built by the then ruler Man Singh Tomar during the Tomara dynasty in between the year 1486-1516 CE. The Gujari Mahal or the Gujari Palace was built for Queen Mrignayani, however in present day it turned out to be an archaeological museum.
The second oldest record of zero which is found on the hill top with the premises of the fort, it is said that the inscription is 1500 years old.
The fort is built on a solitary rock hill called Gopachal. The fort was on an outcrop of vindhyan sandstone. A small river known as the Swarnrekha River flowed close to the fort during that age.
History of Gwalior Fort
A glimpse of glorious rulers.
No one till date knows for sure that in which period of time the Gwalior Fort was constructed. The local legend suggests that it was built in 3CE by a local prince named Suraj Sen. The city was not named back then until the fort was constructed. The fort was named after a sage name Gwalipa, who came across Suraj Sen on a hill and cured the prince by offering him the sacred water from a pond, that pond now lays within the fort. And based on the name of fort which was named after the sage Gwalipa the city was named and came to be known as Gwalior.
The Gwalior inscription of Mihirakula tells about the construction of the Sun Temple in reign of a huna emperor named Mihirakula who was the son of Tomara and led a conquest and gained a temporary control over the northern and central India.
The Teli Ka Mandir also known as the Telika Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and the Matrikas as we know it is situated within the fort and was built in the 9th century by Gurjara Pratiharas.
Regardless of all the facts as per the locals recall the history one thing is for sure that the fort existed by the 10th century, as that is the first it was mentioned in the historical records.
During this period, the fort was ruled by the kachchhapaghtas.
Muslim Dynasties started attacking the fort in the 11th century.
By the year 1398 the fort came under the control of the Tomars. Amongst them all Man Singh Tomar came up as an incredible leader who also commissioned several monuments that one can see today within the fort. Several leaders came and tried to attack the fort such as that of the Delhi Sultan Sikander Lodi and later his son Ibrahim Lodi attacked the fort which resulted in the death of Man Singh Tomar.
A decade passed and the Mughal emperor took over the fort, and soon the mughals lost a battle against Sher Shah Suri who ruled the fort temporarily until Akbar recaptured the fort again the year in 1558. Akbar turned the fort into a prison for all the political prisoners.
Soon after the death of the mughal emperor Aurangzeb, Rana of Gohad took over the fort but couldn’t rule there for too long as the Maratha general Mahadaji Shinde also known as Mahadaji Scindia captured the fort. And till the present day the local are quite known to who the Scindias are indeed.
He soon lost his victory to the east India Company.
But the Marathas couldn’t settle for so less and recaptured the fort four years later again. Soon after the battle of the Maharjpur the fort was taken over by the Gwalior State of the Maratha Scindia family, as protectorate of the British government.
And soon enough when the British found that the fort was of no use to them, they handed it over to the Scindias. The Scindias ruled the state of Gwalior until the independence of India in 1947, & built several other monuments including the glorious Jai Vilas Mahal.
Stay for the Visit of Gwalior Fort
One has several places to choose from to overlook the heart of city.
If you’re visiting anytime soon to Gwalior specifically to visit the Gwalior Fort or to study about the beautiful history and culture of the same, then it is better to pre-plan your trip and know about the locations you will be visiting in your trip. Gwalior Fort is situated in the heart of the city in the location called the Phool Bagh in the present day.
Some prominent locations to stay at are-
- Clarks inn and suites – which is quite a high end hotel providing eminent services located at phoolbagh and provides a fort view.
- Hotel Ambience – this hotel is right next to the railway station and close to the area of phoolbagh, is easily accessible and affordable for all.
- TajUshaKiran Palace – if you’re expecting a luxurious stay nearby there is no better option then.
Places to see and visit nearby Gwalior Fort
With an enormous historical record, the place offers so much to see
- Jain temples– The main temple among these is Urvahi, this area consists of 24 idols of tirthankar.
- Teli ka mandir– it is a hindu temple which was built by a pratihara emperor named MihiraBhoja. Besides being the oldest part of the fort, it also has a fusion of north and south Indian architectural styles.
- Garuda monument– it is the highest in the fort and quite close to the telikamandir. The garuda monument was dedicated Lord Vishnu and had a blend of Muslim and Indian architecture.
- Sahastrabahu (Saas-Bahu) temple–the temple was built in between 1092 and 1093 during the reign of the kachchapaghatas dynasty. It too was dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was made of red sandstone carved pyramidal in shape.
- Gurudwara Data Bandi Chhor–this place was was built on a site where the 6th Guru Hargobind Sahib was arrested. As of the present day it still lays there as a place of worship.
- Gujari Mahal Museum –the former gujarimahal now called the museum was built by Raja Man Singh Tomar for his beloved wife Mrignayani. As of now it has turned into an archaeological museum and have artefacts from 1st and 2nd century BC.
- Man Mandir Palace– this too was built by the emperor Man Singh during the reign of the Tomara dynasty. It was referred to as a painted palace due to the usage of styled tiles of turquoise, green and yellow used extensively in a geometric pattern.
- Vikram Mahal – it is also known as the Vikram temple and was dedicated to the Lord Shiva. It was destroyed during the Mughal Dynasty but was re-establisher later.
- Karn Mahal–as it was built by the second king of the tomara dynasty, Kirti Singh who was often called Karn Singh; they named it the Kranmahal. And lays there as a significant monument of the Gwalior fort.
- Chhatri of Bhim Singh Rana– it is a dome shaped pavilion built as the memorial of Bhim Singh Rana.
- Hathi Pol– this gateway to the man mandir palace is situated on the southeast side of the fort.
Gwalior Fort Light and Sound Show Timings & Fee’s
An area of seating to attend the light and sound show;
- Hindi show – 7:30 PM onwards
- English show – 8:30 PM onwards
- Ticket fee – 40 INR for locals & 250 INR for foreigners
Gwalior Fort Architecture
A phenomenal work of art
Gwalior fort resides on a hilltop in the city overlooking the entire scenery of the city. The hill is a rocky platform which is 104 metres height at its highest point. It is 2.4 kilometres alongside its north-south axis and 820 metres from east to west. The fort was on an outcrop of vindhyan sandstone. The architectural history of Gwalior is special indeed. The range rock formations of the Gwalior fort is Ochre coloured sandstone which is colour of natural clay from earth which is furthermore covered in basalt which is an igneous rock with a bluish tinge to it.
How to reach Gwalior Fort?
One can reach the city from Mumbai via direct flights, Gwalior is a stop to most of the trains travelling to different regions of the country which makes it easy for everyone to board one and spend a beautiful weekend in the mesmerising atmosphere of the city or to cherish most of their journey one can simply get their wheels on for a road trip via NH44, NH3 and NH75.
With this, this historical and mesmerizing journey of Gwalior fort ends. But nothing to be sad about as the next voyage begins to somewhere nearby. With all of this historical knowledge and the tales of the local legend that one comes across, an individual is left with traces on his soul to speak about to the world reciting the same where ever he goes.