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Temples of Central India


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 inscription.

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.

Also See:
Rock cut temples at Elephanta
Rock cut temple at Ellora