Gwalior Fort The Pearl Of Madhya Pradesh
The fort as the name suggests is situated in Gwalior a city in Madhya Pradesh, located at the border of present day Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The place Gwalior is reported to have been founded by Suraj Sen Kachwaha in gratitude of being treated with the holy water from Surajkund reservoir. The historians report that the Gwalior Fort which is a hill fort was made in 8th century and was ruled by Rajput kings.
The fort was later built under the Raja Man Singh Tomar in 15th century. The Gwalior Fort is situated on the small hillock named Gopanchal, and is spread over zone of 3 square Kilometers, and is surrounded by concrete wall of sandstone. The Fort stands 35 feet high and is covered by six pillars, the outline of the fort is irregular due to its landscape. The Fort has three main temples, six palaces and many water tanks. Teli-ka- Mandir is the most popular temple in this premise along with the Sas Bahu ka Mandir.
The Gwalior Fort has seen many ups and downs in the history of 500 years and in the course of events the fort has passed from Tomars to Mughals and then to Marathas and then to the British. Finally the fort has gone to the Scindias from the British.
Man Singh Palace built by Raja Man Singh Tomar himself is one of the most amazing Palaces of Gwalior Fort. This was the place where King stayed, later it was this very place where Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had imprisoned and killed his brother Murad. The Palace also has the deadly Jauhar Kund where the women of the harem burn themselves to death in mass suicide, after the defeat of the king of Gwalior in 1232. Jauhar was the custom of Rajputs where the warriors would set out to battle wearing saffron patka after locking the doors of the fort, if they return victorious they were welcome and if they were defeated the women of the harem would commit mass suicide called Jauhar as well as Mass Sati by burning themselves.
Gujari Mahal was constructed by Raja Man Singh for his beloved and favorite queen, his Gujari wife Mrignayani. The Gujari Mahal is a monument of love of raja Man Singh Tomar for his wife. The palace had water supply through aqueducts nearby the Rai River. The Gujari mahal is now converted to an archaeological Museum. The museum has rare artefacts which include Jain and Hindu sculptures dating back to 1st and 2nd century. The Fort has many other palaces like Karan Palace, Jahangir Mahal and Shah Jahan Mahal amongst others.
Amongst the temples, the 9th century Teli Ka Mandir is very famous. The literal meaning being oilman’s temple, the temple has great architectural style having blend of both South and North Indian architectural style. The roof does belong to the Dravidian style. The temple was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the Garuda Monument close to the temple is the ardent proof but later the temple is converted to worship of lord Shiva. The Fort also has Sas Bahu mandir made in 1093 by the Kachawahas, dedicated to worship of Lord Vishnu. There is a sun temple similar to the Sun temple in orrisa.
The fort also has a Gurudwara buit in the memory of 6th Sikh Guru Hargobind Singh Saheb who was imprisoned here by Emperor Jahangir for more than two years. Besides these the fort also has the Tomb of Tansen the great musician from the navaratnas of Emperor Akbar.