Gwalior Fort is the Pearl among all the fortresses of the country. This fort was ruled by several kings and used according to their preferences. It is located in the center of Gwalior city in Madhya Pradesh on Gopa Hills. This palace is famous for its magnificent and astonishing architecture, a mixture of Mughal and Hindu styles. Earlier this place was the cave of Jain Tirthankaras and the fort here dates back to the 10th century.
Gwalior Fort was renovated into a defensive structure in the 13th century by Raja Maan Singh Tomar. He built the Man Mandir and Gujari Mahal here. It is a huge fort having several palaces and temples inside it made by different rulers. However, here in this fort the second oldest record of “Zero” was founded on a temple stone. This is among the oldest forts of India which was later used as the jail by the Mughal rulers. The fort is a book of history having stories of the kings and their prosperity.
History of Gwalior Fort
This fort has a major significance in the history of India. There is no exact date for the formation of this fortress. According to the locals the fort was constructed in the 8th century by Raja Suraj Sen in the honor of a saint. The saint has saved his life from a serious illness by feeding him water from a sacred pond. The king got the title of “Pal” from the saint with a blessing of ruling the fort until his family tucks this title with their name. After this king was named Suraj Sen Pal and his 83 decedents ruled over the fort, but the 84th successor Tej Karan lost the fort.
According to archaeological surveys, the fort was built in the 6th century but there is no proof. In the 10th century, the Kachchhapaghatas of the Rajput dynasty had control of the fort confirming the historical records. After that, the control of the fort fluctuated among the various Mughal and Hindu rulers till the Tomar ruler of the Rajput dynasty gained possession in 1398. Raja Man Singh renovated the fort and built a defensive structure of the fort with two fabulous palaces on the premises.
In 1505, Sikander Lodhi the sultan of Delhi Sultanate attacked the fort but did not succeed. His son Ibrahim Lodhi in 1516 again filed a war in which Maan Singh Tomar died and the fort came under the possession of the Delhi Sultanate. In 1558, Akbar captured the fort and converted it into a jail for the Mughal Empire. After the death of Aurangzeb, Maratha general Mahadaji Scindia took the fort in 1755. By 1886 the Britishers had control over the whole country so they gave the fort to the Scindia family. Hence, they ruled the city till the independence in 1947.
Attractions of the fortress
- Man Mandir :- This palace is the major attraction of the fort. It has an astonishing architecture built between 1486 and 1516 by the Tomar ruler. The palace has two courts, an underground prison, Jauhar Kund, and many small palaces for the king and his family. The defensive structure of this palace has held this fort until now.
- Gujari Mahal :- This palace is now an Archaeological museum of the state displaying the artifacts including ancient pillars and fragments of the region. Gujari Mahal was built by Raja Maan Singh Tomar for his beloved wife Mrignayani. In this palace, special pipelines for water were fixed from the Rai River.
- Gurudwara Data Bandi Chhor :- This historic Gurudwara was made to honor the sixth sikh guru Hargobind Singh in 1968. This place has an ancient story that says that Guru Hargobind Singh released 52 Hindu Kings from the prison of Gwalior fort. It is a beautiful as well as renowned gurudwara near the fortress.
- Sas–Bahu Temple :- This temple was originally named Sahasrabahu Temple. It is a twin temple of Lord Vishnu and Shiva. The temples were constructed in the 11th century by Kachchhapaghatas rulers. This place is a ruin now because of different rulers rule over the fortress.
Siddhachal Jain Temple
- Urvahi :- These are the caves in the fortress belonging to Jain Tirthankaras. Here you can see the huge statues of Jain gods. This place was built in the 7th century and is the central attraction of the fortress. This place is also called Siddhachal Jain Temple. In these caves, the largest statue of Adinatha is also made which is about 58ft. 4 inches tall.
- Teli ka Mandir :- This is one of the oldest temples of Gwalior dating back to the 8th century. It is located in the fortress having a magnificent Hindu style of architecture. You can witness the rectangular structure of the temple in a partially ruined form.
- Gopachal :- These are the hills near the Urvahi caves of the fortress. On these hills, more than 1500 idols of Jain gods are carved. This part of the Siddhachal Jain temple was formed during the 14th century by Tomar rulers. Here the idols are mostly 57ft. high. Mughals tried to destroy these structures but failed.
The best time to visit
Gwalior is the northern city of Madhya Pradesh state in India. Therefore, the city receives a high temperature during the summer season. During these months it is difficult to trail around in the city and explore. However, it is preferred to visit the city in the months of October – March. In these months the weather here is decent and perfect for exploring the city. Hence, this is the best time to visit the Gwalior fort as it is on the high hill which receives more heat and warmth in summers. So, it is advisable to wander in the fort in winter. During this time the weather here is cold and pleasant.
Therefore, it can be concluded that this fortress is the most astonishing as well as unique fort in the country. Its different stories of various rulers have made it a major center of attraction. Gwalior Fort is a huge fort having mesmerizing views of the city and the fort itself. However, it will be a great experience to visit the fort and learn about its history.
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