History of Gwalior
Gwalior's history is traced back to a legend in 8th century AD when a chief tain known as Suraj Sen was struck by a deadly disease and cured by a hermit-saint Gwalipa. As a gratitude for that incidence, he founded this city by his name. The new city of Gwalior became existence over the centuries. The cradle of great dynasties ruled the city of Gwalior. With different dynasties, the city gained new dimensions from the warrior kings, poets, musicians, and saints who contributed to making it renowned throughout the country. The city is also the setting for the memorials of freedom fighters such as Tatya Tope and the indomitable Rani of Jhansi.
Situated in Madhya pradesh, Gwalior is known as "the land of music, art and history". It is the birth place of the legendary Miyan Tansen (Music Samrat). It is an ancient city boasting of its rich cultural heritage of the great Rajput, the Kachchwas and the Tomar dynasties. The city is proud of its ancient culture blended with modern outlook. Gwalior houses one of India's oldest forts the Gwalior Fort which has within its vast premises, the carved Jain Sculptures, the Mansingh Palalce, and several other attractions.
Every crumbling wall of the temple and monument has a story to tell. The majestic Gwalior Fort still stands tall. Each and every corner of the fort has seen the change of fate of many powerful dynasties. Gwalior is just the perfect tourist destination for those who want to get a glimpse of the era that has seen the might of Rani Laxmibai, the Indian Joan of Arc. Great care has been taken to preserve the memories of the glorious past of this ancient city. History comes alive when one visits the palaces and the museums.
Gwalior today has a population of approx. one million. It is surrounded by industrial areas with various nationals and multinational companies such as SRF and Cadburys. Forming a part of the Heritage Tourism belt, Gwalior is a city of tourist attraction. Gwalior has the largest and the only base in India, for Mirage 2000.
Standing on a steep mass of sandstone, Gwalior Fort dominates the city and is its most significant monument. It has been 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 ".
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.
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 imprisoned, and later executed here. Close by is Jauhar Pond, where in the Rajput tradition, the Ranis committed mass sati after their consorts had been defeated in battle. 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.
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 is located on the Gwalior Fort.
Situated on the Mountain Area at slopes of Gwalior Fort, it carries unique statue of Jain Tirthankars.in the world, being 47 feet high and 30 feet in width. 26 Jain statues in a series give a beautiful and attractivce picturescue.Built between 1398 to 1536 by Tomar Kings - these Jain Tirthankars Statues are a species of Architecture and a treasure of Old Indian heritage and culture.
Located near the Residency at Morar, the newly constructed Sun Temple takes its inspiration from the famous Konark Sun Temple in Orissa.
This Museum of Music has been set up in the old ancestral house of the legendary Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan. It houses ancient instruments of the great Indian Masters of yesteryears. It also houses an impressive collection of photographs and documents. Sarod Ghar is a unique institution devoted to promoting Indian classical music, heritage and culture. Through this 'window' to the past, music lovers can gain a better understanding of the evolution and history of our classical music and a deeper perspective and insight into the context of the art as it exists today.
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, 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 tonnes, 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 cutglass 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 unparallel glimpse into the rich culture and lifestyle of princely India.
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