MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA APRIL 26 , 2012 03.45 P.M.
After completing my visit of Jai Vilas Palace , I headed for Gwalior Fort . This fort can be seen from the palace ground itself .
One of the biggest forts of India , Gwalior fort was described by Mughal Emperor Babur as ” The pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind . ” It is spread over an area of 3 square kilometres . Its height is 35 feet .
Gwalior is an ancient city . It is said to be stablished by Maharaja Suraj Sen in the 6th century . As per the tradition and folklore , Maharaja Suraj Sen of Kachhwaha clan was a leper . Once , while hunting , he got thirsty and saw this small hillock , known as Gopachal or Gopagiri . He climbed the hillock in search of water and saw a hermit , sitting in a hut and meditating . His name was Galava a.k.a. Gwalia . Sage Galava gave him water to drink . After drinking water , Suraj Sen got cured . Indebted , Suraj Sen constructed this fort and named it Gwalior after sage Galava . Sage Galava renamed Suraj Sen as Suhan Pal and ordained him to keep Pal as his last name . He also said that as long as his progeny and descendents will keep Pal as their last name they will be rulers of this kingdom . Suhan Pal’s 83 generations kept Pal as their last name and they ruled Gwalior . 84th ruler Tej Karna Sen removed Pal and lost the kingdom . Kachhwaha rulers ruled Gwalior for 989 years . Then Pratihars became rulers of Gwalior .
Pratihar kings became rulers of Gwalior after Kachhwaha rulers . 6 generations of Pratihars rules Gwalior and then Sultans of Delhi became the rules for a brief period .
Gwalior fort was later associated with the Tomar rulers , specially Raja Man Singh Tomar . This happened in the 15th century . Raja Man Singh Tomar was the 10th Tomar king and was the most famous . His eternal love story with Gujar princess Mriganayani is still famous . Two of the most magnificent structures in the fort known as Man Mandir and Gujari Mahal , tell the story of his greatness . He was a great musician and is known as the father of the Dhrupad Gharana . Before moving to Akbar”s court , Tansen was the royal musician of his court . Last Tomar king , the 12th king Salivahan Tomar fought at Haldighati for Maharana Pratap .
Then the Mughals became the rulers . During Mughal rule Gwalior fort was used as a prison for special and important prisoners . Akbar imprisoned his first cousin Kamran in this fort and subsequently got him killed there . Aurangzeb also imprisoned and later on killed his brother Murad and his brother Dara Shikoh’s two sons . 6th Sikh Guru Hargobind Singh Ji was also imprisoned here .
When Mughal empire declined , Jats became the rulers for a brief period and finally Gwalior came under Maratha empire . Scindias conquered Gwalior and in 1810 Daulat Rao Scindia made Gwalior his army cantonment and thus Gwalior came to be associated with Scindias and Gwalior fort finally came under Scindia’s control .
Gwalior fort has many famous , magnificent and important structures within its precincts . Each ruler added some structure or other . There is no uniformity , but that , in a way , is the beauty of the fort also . I entered the fort from the southern gate because that is the only gate which has a road . I visited all the structures one by one .
From southern gate when you move to the top , you can see ” intricately carved rock-cut temples of 21 Jain Tirthankars . “ One statue of Parshvanath , the 23rd Tirthankar , is 40 feet in height .
When you reach the top of the fort , the first main structure of importance is Gurudwara Data Bandi Chhor , built-in the memory of 6th Sikh Guru Shri Hargobind Singh Ji . Mughal emperor Jahangir imprisoned Guru Hargobind Ji in Gwalior fort for one year and later released him along with 52 fellow prisoners Hindu kings .
When you proceed to northwards after visiting Gurudwara , the most famous , the most magnificent structure , which comes to draw your attention , is Man Mandir , palace of legendary Man Singh Tomar . Built between 1486 and 1517 , this grand palace still have some traces of colourful tiles , which adorned the outer walls once.
After having a round of Man Mandir , when you come out and proceed further northwards , there are several old dilapidated structures and crumbling palaces , which attract your attention . Most famous among them are ; Jahangir Mahal , Shahjahan Mahal , Vikram Mahal , Karan Mahal and of course Gujari Mahal .
I completed visit of fort after this . Apart from above mentioned palaces , there are several others , which I missed . I could not visit Bhool – Bhulaiya , Teli Ka Mandir , Sas – Bahu Ka Mandir and Scindia Public School .
May be I would be able to visit these places next time . But will there be next time ? Would I be able to visit them again ? May be yes …… May be not …….
May be , I will be visiting the fort again in near future . May be , I will be visiting it after many years . May be never ……… may be never , ever ……….
Still I wish to visit Gwalior fort one more time . But ……………
Agyeya’s line come again to my mind .
पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;
MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA
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