There are two entrances to the fort. If you approach the fort from the west before you reach the Urwahi gate you will encounter the impressive Jain statues which are carved into the sandstone rock face.
Man Mandir Palace is the most spectacular palace inside the fort complex. The facade is decorated with yellow and turquoise tiles.
The inside of the palace is no special, still worth a visit.
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.
This beautiful pure white edifice patterned on the style of the 'Palais de Versailles' in France combines Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian styles of architecture. The palace has been partly converted into a museum for Royal memorabilia. The rest of the part is the residence of Madhav Rao Scindia. The royal Durbar Hall is a magnificent structure and taking support only from columns on four sides. It also has the largest single piece carpet woven right there in the hall by 12 weavers who took 13 years to complete it. The ceiling of the Hall has a pair of the largest crystal chandeliers in the world which were built in Belgium and bought in Paris each weigh 3.5 tones. The banquet hall below has the famous Royal Gwalior silver train, which is infect, a liquor serving trolley.
This is a 9th century temple. The Sas-Bahu temple was probably called the Shashtra Bahu (another name for Vishnu) temple. "The smaller one close to it was perhaps a Shiva temple, but over the years this pair of temples whose carvings can be compared to any of the great temples of India came to be known as the "Sas-Bahu temples". In local language Hindi sas means mother-in-law and bahu means daughter-in-law.
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.
This is a 11th century 70 feet high temple. The temple was probably known as the Telengana temple. It has a South Indian influence on its architecture especially on the roof, which is Dravadian, though it's facade remains Indo-Ayran.
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).
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!)
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!
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!
This is the extra-ordinary silver mechanical toy train that used to carry liqueurs and cigars in decanters on its very own track around the dining table. If you lifted the decanters out then the train would stop. If you placed them back again it would start again. I was told that the silver is from England.
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.
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.
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.