Gwalior 


Panoramic view of Gwalior from Fort

Gwalior is a historical and major city of Madhya Pradesh state. It is located to the south of Agra, 319 kilometres (198 mi) south of Delhi the capital city of India, and 423 kilometres (263 mi) north of Bhopal, the state capital. Gwalior occupies a strategic location in the Gird region of India, and the city and its fortress have served as the center of several of historic northern Indian kingdoms. It is famous for Gwalior Fort, which has changed hands many times. From the Tomaras in the 8th century, it passed to the Mughals, then the Marathas under the Scindias (1754).

Origin of Name

According to local tradition, Gwalior owes its name to a sage of former times. Suraj Sen, a prince of the Kachhwaha Rajput clan of the eighth century, is said to have lost his way in the jungle. On a secluded hill, he met an old man, the sage Gwalipa, whose influence almost took him by surprise. Upon asking the sage for some drinking water, he was led to a pond, where the waters not only quenched his thirst but cured him of leprosy. Out of gratitude, the prince wished to offer the sage something in return, and the sage asked him to build a wall on the hill in order to protect the other sages from wild animals which often disturbed their yajnas (or pujas). Suraj Sen later built a palace inside the fort, which was named "Gwalior" after the sage, and eventually the city that grew around the fort took the same name.
Gwalior is a historical and major city of Madhya Pradesh state. It is located to the south of Agra, 319 kilometres (198 mi) south of Delhi the capital city of India, and 423 kilometres (263 mi) north of Bhopal, the state capital. Gwalior occupies a strategic location in the Gird region of India, and the city and its fortress have served as the center of several of historic northern Indian kingdoms. It is famous for Gwalior Fort, which has changed hands many times. From the Tomaras in the 8th century, it passed to the Mughals, then the Marathas under the Scindias (1754).

History

Gwalior temple has the very first occurrence of zero as a written number in the world. Gwalior may have been held by the Guptas or some of their disciples, but the oldest historical evidence shows the fort was conquered by the Hunas in the early sixth century. The evidence for this is a stone inscription of the time of Mihirakula recording the construction of a temple to the sun god. It is now in India Museum, Calcutta. Subsequently, Gwalior was taken by Gurjar Pratihars of Kannauj. From inscription found such as Rakhetra stone inscription, scholars assert that Gwalior was under the possession of Gurjara Pratiharas until at least 942 AD.

In the 10th century, after Gurjara Pratiharas, Gwalior was taken by the Kachwaha Rajputs. Qutb-ud-din Aybak captured the city in 1196. Shamsud-din Altamsh took control of the area in 1232. By the 15th century, the city had a noted singing school which was attended by Tansen. Gwalior was ruled by the Mughals and then the Marathas.



Scindia State of Gwalior


Scindia is a Maratha clan in India. This clan included rulers of the Gwalior State in the 18th and 19th centuries, collaborators of the colonial British government during the 19th and the 20th centuries until India became independent, and politicians in independent India.

The Scindia state of Gwalior became a major regional power in the second half of the 18th century and figured prominently in the three Anglo-Maratha Wars. (Gwalior first fell to the British in 1780.) The Scindias held significant power over many of the Rajput states, and conquered the state of Ajmer.

During the Indian Rebellion of 1857 the city was briefly held by rebel forces in 1858 until they were defeated by the British. The Scindia family ruled Gwalior until India's independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, when the Maharaja Jivajirao Scindia acceded to the Government of India. Gwalior was merged with a number of other princely states to become the new Indian state of Madhya Bharat. Jivajirao Scindia served as the state's rajpramukh, or appointed governor, from 28 May 1948 to 31 October 1956, when Madhya Bharat was merged into Madhya Pradesh.

In 1962, Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia, the widow of Maharaja Jivajirao Scindia, was elected to the Lok Sabha, beginning the family's career in electoral politics. She was first a member of the Congress Party, and later became an influential member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Her son, Maharaja Madhavrao Scindia was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1971 representing the Congress Party, and served until his death in 2001. His son, Jyotiraditya Scindia, also in the Congress Party, was elected to the seat formerly held by his father in 2004.

Demographics

As of 2011 India census, Gwalior has a population of 1,123,505. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Gwalior has an average literacy rate of 85.20%, higher than the national average of 74%: male literacy is 90.85%, and female literacy is 78.82%. In Gwalior, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.



Gwalior Fort


This formidable structure was reputed to be one of the most structurally sound forts of India, having been improved by Raja Man Singh Tomar where a previous structure existed. It occupies an isolated rock outcrop. The hill is steepened to make it virtually unscalable and is surrounded by high walls which enclose buildings from several periods. The old town of Gwalior lies at the eastern base of the fortress.

The massive Gwalior Fort, popularly called "the Gibraltar of India", overlooks the city. The Emperor Babur reputedly described it as "the pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind". This fort's architecture is unique. It displays a Chinese influence on Indian architecture, as Chinese dragons have been crafted at the hilt of the pillars. This influence was due to trade between China and India at the time of the fort's construction.


Sher Shah Suri was the ruler of North India, After his death in 1545,his son Islam Shah shifted his capital from Delhi to Gwalior and constructed 'Sher Shah Mandir' or 'Sher Shah Fort' in his father's memory. Islam Shah operated from Gwalior until his death in 1553. Islam Shah had appointed a Hindu warrior 'Hemu' as his Prime Minister in Sher Shah Fort for the first time, who later on became the Hem Chandra Vikramaditya king at Delhi and established 'Hindu Raj' in North India, by virtue of winning 22 battles continuously from Punjab to Bengal and defeated Akbar's army in Agra and Delhi on 6 October 1556.

In the east of the city are two examples of early Mughal architecture: the mausoleum of the 16th century Sufi Saint Ghous Mohammed and the tomb of Mian Tansen, a great singer and one of the 'Nine Jewels' of the Mughal Emperor Akbar's court. Right next to them is the Gujari Mahal, built by Gujjar King Man Singh Tomar on demand of his consort Gujar princess "Mrignayani" (meaning "having eyes like deer"). The Mughal Emperor Akbar is also known to have organized hunting parties near Gwalior.

The sprawling complex of Gwalior Fort


Gwalior Fort stands on an isolated rock, overlooking the Gwalior town, and contains a number of historic buildings. It is one of the biggest forts in India and a postage stamp has been issued by the Indian Postal Service to commemorate the importance of this fort. From historical records, it is established that it was built in the 8th century. The fortress and the city have been integral to the history of the kingdoms of North India. It is said that the Mughal Emperor Babur (1483-1531) described it as "the pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind". The fort, also given the epithet "Gibraltar of India', provides a panoramic view of the old Gwalior town, which is to its east.

Gujari Mahal

Gujari Mahal,  now a museum,  inside Gwalior Fort


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 A.D. 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. The statue is kept in the custody of the museum's curator, and can be seen on request.

Sas Bahu Temple

Sas Bahu Ka Mandir at Gwalior Fort


A 9th-century shrine, Saas-Bahu temple in the fort allures not only the devotees but also the tourists with its artistic value. Despite what its name may suggest, these temples are not dedicated to Sas (mother-in-law) and Bahu (daughter-in-law) but rather the short form of Shashtra Bahu, another name of Lord Vishnu. These temples situated adjacent to each other and the larger one is elaborately decorated with beautiful carvings and sculptures. The roof of the larger temple is adorned with a marvelous lotus carving which is very fascinating. These ancient temples display exceptional architectural brilliance and are a perfect destination for pious people.

Teli Ka Mandir (Telangana Mandir)


A lofty structure of about 100 feet, Teli Ka Mandir in Gwalior Fort distinguishes itself from the other compositions of its time because of its unique architecture. Though the roof of the temple holds a Dravidian look, the sculptures are typically north Indian.

The temple bears a close resemblance to the temple of Prathihara Vishnu, and is filled with images of coiled serpents, passionate couples, river goddesses, and a flying Garuda. The temple architecture follows the Indo-Aryan and Nagara styles that exhibit superior artistic caliber. A marvelous temple, believed to be among the oldest constructions in the fort, gives an enchanting experience to the visitor.

Jain Rock-cut Sculptures


A striking part of the Jain remains at Gwalior is a series of caves or rock-cut sculptures, excavated in the rock on all sides, and numbering nearly a hundred, great and small. Most of them are mere niches to hold statues, though some are cells that may have been originally intended for residences. According to inscriptions, they were all excavated within a short period of about thirty-three years, between 1441 and 1474. One of the colossal figures is 57 ft (17 m) high, taller than any other in northern India.

Sun Temple


A temple built by Birla group is dedicated to the Sun god, the Sun Temple is located near residency at Morar, Gwalior. It is a facsimile of the famous Sun temple of Konark, Orissa and now this sun temple is one among the significant pilgrimage centers in Gwalior. It is the place which gives best examples of peace and neatness in Gwalior.

The temple is located in a serene ambience and a well-maintained garden within the temple premises is very attractive. This holy temple draws the locals and tourists alike who gather here to render their prayers. It makes one astounded that a shrine of comparatively modern origin holds such a highest regard, and became one among the most sought after pilgrimage centers in the city.

Jai Vilas Mahal


Jai Vilas Mahal is the residential palace turned museum of Scindias in the heart of the city. The palace has notable collections of antiques and also some of the old time gadgets and collections that can't be easily seen. The museum is one of the largest in Madhya Pradesh and has the world's largest chandelier and the complex is a mixture of British as well as Hindu architecture. The palace was made in 1874 as an attempt to bring the palace of Versailles to Gwalior and the Jai Vilas Palace was a successful attempt. It combines Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian styles of architecture.

Gaus Mohammad tomb


The tombs of Great Gaus Mohammad and Tansen are situated on the same territory.



Art and culture


Gwalior is a well acknowledged place of art, associated with historic as well as contemporary evidence. In August 2005 a mural created by Aasutosh Panigrahi and five other artists was acknowledged as the World's Largest Indoor Mural by Guinness World Records. Gwalior is the confluence of two rich cultures Bundeli and Braj. Bundelkhand covers Gwalior, Bhind, Morena, Sagar, Shivpuri, Guna, Sheopur and adjoining areas. Rich in cultural heritage and architectural marvels, Gwalior has added advantage of its proximity to Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal; Khajuraho, the city of great temples; and Delhi, the national capital.


Music

Tomb of Tansen


Tansen was born in Behat, trained in music at Vrindavan, served Raja Ramchandra Waghela of Bandhawgarh, then went to Agra under the patronage of Akbar. After the death of Tansen in Fatehpur Sikri and cremation in Agra, his ashes were buried in Gwalior. Tansen Samaroh is held every year in Gwalior. Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is also from the royal city of Gwalior. His grandfather, Ghulam Ali Khan Bangash, became a court musician in Gwalior.

Gwalior holds an unparalleled reputation in Sangeet. Baijnath Prasad (Baiju Bawra) was a classical singer (Dhrupadiya) who lived in Gwalior for his whole life under the patronage of Man Singh. Baiju was born in Chanderi and was cremated there. He received his musical training in Brindaban under Swami Guru Haridas Ji. He was the court musician of Gwalior along with Nayak Charju, Bakshu, and others.


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