Gwalior is an ancient city, on the Mumbai Delhi
railroad, and is located at a distance of about 300 km from Delhi. Gwalior houses an
ancient fortress. Gwalior was under the illustrious rule of the Scindias
prior to India's independence.
Gwalior was once known as Gopadri or Gopachala.
Archeological evidence on the Gopadri hill dates back beyond the 5th century CE. It has
relics from the period of the Guptas, Huns, Pratiharas, Tomaras, Pathans, Moghuls,
Marathas and the British. The temples of interest at Gwalior are the Chaturbhuj
temple, the Sas Bahu Temple and the Teli Ka Mandir.
The Chaturbhuj temple dedicated to
Vishnu is located on the eastern road to the fort. It is a rock cut monolith.
It was built by the grandson of Nagarabhatta in the year 875 CE during the period of Pratiharas
(Mihira Bhoja). Nagarabhatta is said to have migrated here from Gujarat. Inscriptions in
sanskrit are seen here which speak of endowments made to this temple and to the
Nava Durga temple here.
The Sasbahu temples meaning the
Mother in law and the Daughter in law temples are located on the eastern slope of the
Gopadri hill. Both of these temples, built in the Nagara style of
architecture are dedicated to Padmanabha or Vishnu. Both these temples
are ornately decorated. The doorways, ceilings, and the pillars are covered with
intricate sculptural work. The Sas temple was completed in 1093 CE, as evidenced from an
Teli Ka Mandir located in Gwalior
dates back to the 9th century CE. It is the highest building in the fort of Gwalior,
reaching a height of 100 feet. Most of the decorative details in this temple follow the
North Indian idiom, while the tower is in the Dravidian style. Near this
temple is the Suraj Kund, a tank believed to have miraculous healing
properties. Legend has it that King Suraj Pal, said to be the founder of Gwalior fort, was
cured of leprosy upon bathing here.
Also in the fort is a tomb to Tansen,
the musician who adorned the court of Akbar. Several Jain sculptures
dating back to the 15th century CE adorn the slopes of the hill.
Other attractions in the fort include the Gurjari
Mahal built by Raja Mansingh in the 15th century CE, the Raja Mansingh
palace, the Jai Vilas palace, and the Moti Mahal palace
- with mosaic work of colored glass and murals depicting Ragas and Raginis.
A memorial to Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi is also seen in Gwalior.
Rock cut temples at Elephanta
Rock cut temple at Ellora