Gwalior Fort, which is about 4kms from the centre of town, was our second destination. After we visited Jai Vilas Palace, it was a change of scenery. Driving up the mountain, we got a glimpse of the Fort standing on an isolated rock. A narrow road takes us up the mountain to one of the gates of the Fort. On the way up, you can see figures carved into the rock face. Later, we discovered that it was "Tirthankaras".
|One of the 7 gates to the Fort|
We entered through the gate of the Fort and then was stuck, no directions after that. I hope the government took better care of the Fort. We parked outside the Fort, ample space for parking, Thank God!
Walking into the Palace ground, the view from a distance is beautiful. The immense size of the Palace itself, overlooking the Gwalior town is something that strikes you. Mughal Emperor Babur described it as, "The pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind".
But then, that’s it. History clashes with government's greed for money; there is no effort on the part of the government to preserve the Palace or the Fort. There are people selling pan and cigarette inside the fort, which was a huge surprise to me. Walking through the Palace, I could smell urine and I could see the corners designed with pan spit. The contrasts of the pan spit against the red sandstone walls made a good visual. Also, guides chased us with torch lights, in the beginning it was hard to understand why, but then we had no choice but to comply to their wishes because the light to the underground chambers where not working.
|View of the Man Singh Palace|
|Man Singh Palace|
|Man Singh Palace information Slate|
My husband and sis-in-law were sleepy by the time the show got over but had many questions which I was supposed to answer for the bits and parts that they understood from the little Hindi they know. During the show they mentioned that Miyan Tansen, the legendary composer-musician of Hindustani music, got the name Tansen from the ruler of Gwalior, Raja Man Singh Tomar. After all stories of Tansen, I wished if we could visit his Tomb but since we had to leave early in the morning we missed it. I would love to go there during "Tansen Samaroh", the oldest music festival of India, in honour of the great musician, which is organized every year in December. If you are a Hindustani classical music lover, this is one festival you wouldn't want to miss.
|Gate of Teli Mandir|
|Suraj Kund or Sun Tank|
The hermit also gave him the name Suhan Pal and gave him a 'Vardan' (boon) that his descendants would remain in power, as long as they kept the Patronym “Pal”. His next 83 descendants did just that and stayed in power but the 84th was an ambitious and calculating Tej Karan, who left the state to Ram Deva Prahar and went to his father in law to be his next in succession to the Kingdom of Ambere. After two years family of Pratihars took over. Moral of the story is, don’t change your name.
Then it kept changing hands from Tomars, to Mughals, to Marathas, to British and finally ended up with the Scindias.
There is a lot of significance to his Fort, like Rani Lakshmibai (the Rani of Jhansi) led the troops, to fight the British and was killed defending the mountain passage. The prison dungeon in the palace witnesses the atrocities of the Mughal dynasty, where their many royal prisoners were incarcerated and killed.
Sati (voluntary burning to death of women after the death of their husband) was performed by women of the royal family after news of the death of king. One of the temples has the oldest record of "0".
'Sas-Bahu temple' (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law); but it's a local mistake, it's actually called SahastraBahu Temple which means “One with thousand arms” a form of Vishnu. It’s a pyramidal shaped temple built of red sandstone, built several stories high, with beams and pillars and not arches.
For all its history, it lacks the impact, because it's not taken care off.