The most impressive construction in Gwalior's fort is Man Mandir palace.
Built in the 15th century it is a delicate building, where, despite many missing tiles, the colors are strong and the shapes harmonious.
As we descent from the Urwahi Gate, we stopped by the Jain statues, carved in the rock about 1300 years ago, right beside the road.
They are more than 20 statues, with several sizes and figures and they were under recuperation when we saw them, what turned moving along them even more difficult.
For my european eyes unable to identify the different indian stiles, this other temple only impressed by the size and proportins, where the details are easily vanished. But someone knows more than me:
"According to one surmise Rashtrakuta Govinda III occupied the Fort in 794, and appointed the Telang Brahmins (check Religion for details on Brahmins) to supervise all religious ceremonies.
The temple got its name from them.
According to another version, the monument is called the Teli Temple, because men of the Teli caste or oil merchants handled its construction. A third conjecture is that the name suggests a link with the Telangana region in modern Andhra Pradesh, suggesting the fusion of Dravidian and North Indian architectural styles."
In Gwalior's fort, we saw two different pillared temples close to each other, dating from the 7th century.
I couldn't´t read much about it, but it really confirmed the idea we took from Portugal about the Indian art, with reliefs reproduction human scenes everywhere. And eroticism couldn't be absent.
The Mughal Emperor Babar referred to the Gwalior Fort as "the pearl amongst fortresses in India". And since he knew India much better than me, I'm forced to agree. Easily!
The Fort is a huge complex. Being its walls and towers a marvel, it also includes well integrated palaces, temples, tombs, gardens, and splendorous sights. It really worths the trip.
Stop off in Dholpur. It is a lovely, agricultural village that does not see many tourists. The people were friendly. There was lots of staring, giggling, smiling and head wiggling in our direction and when we replied we were greeted with even bigger smiles, more giggles and even more enthustiastic wiggles!
It is not worth making a huge concerted effort to get here but, if you are passing... pass through!
Opulent and extravagant are the two words that spring to mind to describe this place!
It was built in 1874 by prisoners.
Cut glass balusters from Belgian.... outrageous and enormous chandeliers made from Venician glass.... a silver train, running the length of a never ending dining table, carrying brandy, whiskey, gin and cocktails - a gift from England... stories of elephants being 'dangled' from the ceilings to ensure the weight could be coped with... quirky place!
These are the mother in law and daughter in law temples. They date from 9th and 11th centuries, are dedicated to Vishnu and have been painstakingly restored to their original glory, having been coated in china at some point for some strange reason!
In the grounds there are a few statues etc... to walk around - like a tiny outdoor museum.
We presented the tickets we got for Gwalior Fort and got in on those!
On the western side of the fortress there are some rather wonderful Jain carvings. They are carved into the cliff face and datew back to the 15th century. The carvings erpresent the 24 Jain teachers, called tirthankars. They are naked. I observed they had no faces so I did a little research and found out that in 1527 Babur's muslim army purposefully defaced and castrated them. It is a shame but some have been repaired which will explain the subtle difference in colour between face and body!
There is a 17m tall sculpture of Adinath (one of the tirthankars - the 1st one).
The sculptures are definitely worth seeing and are free.
A beautiful hilltop fortress with blue tiles, paintings of elephants, crocodiles and ducks - yes ducks! This medieval fancy is the stuff of childhood fantasy. Apparently the eastern approach is the most dramatic and spectacular. Before I knew this I found myself happily being driven up to the western entrance (the western entrance being the best side to exit the fortress as you can then see the Jain rock sculptures).
Our driver told us this was a good place to hire a local guide. We did just that ... for pennies really... and it was worth while. He knew his stuff and showed us and explained to us many things we would have overlooked... such as the 'telephone system' to speak to the Mrs whilst she was enjoying her bathing (as he would not have been allowed to see her in a state of undress).
As with everywhere in India there is an entrance fee for Indians and an entirely different price for foreign visitors. If memory serves me correctly I do not believe there is a charge for a still camera here (there is one for a camcorder though!)
The view on the fort, mainly due to it´s location on an vast high plateau, is breathtaking. A walk through the fortification includes several nicely carved temples and fantastic exterior of Man Singh palace. (Interior is not especially interesting)
It is highly recommendable to use both entrances to the fort - via Urvai gate you are going along huge, unique jainist rock sculptures from the 15th century; leaving via Gwalior gate enables walk through the old town, only marginally impacted by tourism.
On the northern end of Gwalior Fort lies this cenotaph of Maharaja Bhim Singh Rana (1707-56) who was the most powerful ruler of the princely state of Gohad in northwestern Madhya Pradesh. Later it developed into an important Jat State. The Jat rulers of Gohad were awarded the title of Rana. Bhim Singh Rana increased his powers and was planning to expand his territories. He marched to Malwa in 1736 but came back and targeted the Gwalior Fort. There was a severe fight between the Marathas and the Jats to win the Gwalior Fort but the Jats won and the Gwalior fort came under Jats. Bhim Singh Rana occupied the fort from 1740-1756. His successor Maharaja Chhatra Singh Rana constructed this cenotaph in memory of Maharaja Bhim Singh.
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.
It has been built in the remembrance of sixth guru of Sikhs Guru Hargovind Singh ji. It is a beautiful structure completely made up of white marble. The building is decorated with color glasses. Cupolas on domes are of gold. There are two sarowars or ponds as well in this Gurudwara. Non Sikhs are kindly requested to keep their head covered, by some cloth like handkerchief, when going to Gurudwara. I am not exactly aware of its reason as I am a Hindu but I follow the custom.
The 15th century Gujari Mahal is a monument to the love of Raja Mansingh for his Gujar queen, Mrignayani. Today Gujari Mahal has one of the finest museums of sculptures dating back to 1st century AD even though many of them have been defaced by the Mughals, their perfection of form has survived the ravage of time. Particularly worth seeing is the statue of Shalbhanjika from Gyraspur, the tree goddess, epitome of perfection in miniature. The statue is kept in the custody of the museum's curator and can be seen on request (timing of this museum is from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm daily except Monday).