Gwalior - The City of Palace

   Gwalior is a district of Madhya Pradesh state. It is situated on the Agra – Bombay National highway, it fall on Central Northern Rail line. Gwalior’s distance from Delhi is approximate 315 km. Before independence Gwalior was under control of Scinidhia state, Scindhia ruled over the area about two hundred years and Gwalior was their capital. Gwalior had a long history, the city made its presence in every era of history. Gwalior has been a part of pre historic life and activities ever since Stone Age, the traces of which have been discovered from a number of archeological sites including Gupteshvra, hill range.  In Mouryan period Jaderua, the ancient Jaderua , a small village now part of Gwalior town, revealed remains of a Mouryan township. After Gupta period in that area art and culture have been flourished, while that age was known as dark age in the history. Gwalior was the gateway of south India for dynasties who ruled over Delhi and wanted expended their rule in south, in Sultantat period many ruler of Delhi Slatant wanted to their control on Gwalior. Mughaul Kings Babar was also came Gwalior and impressed from fort, great Mughal Akbar also visit Gwalior. Many dynasties ruled over the area and patronized unique arts like architecture, music, painting etc.  Gwalior Fort is a solid example of the presence of the city in many historical events.

Gwalior Fort

 Gwalior Fort is the witness of the great art, sculpture and
architecture for about one and a half millennium. It is believed to be a
creation by some divine agency, Gwalior fort is a rare work of human hands because of its rare sculpture and beauty.

The Fort had been lost by one and conquered by another dynasties over the period and it has been witness of numerous historic events and divine benevolence, human beings transforming into legends. There were many ruling dynasties, Kushanas, Nagas,Guptas, Gurjar-Pratiharas, Kachhawahas, Chandelas, Tomars, Lodis, Mughals, Marathas whose using and misusing it, it was the gate way of south for many dynasties and they use it to represent their strength and sense of art and culture. Gopagiri, the hill-top on which the Gwalior fort stands, is claimed to have been fortified
around the third century itself.

The fifth-sixth century Jain sculptures outside Urbahi gate described that in those centuries the fort was lived and hill-top must have been appropriately secured and inhabited. The magnificence and splendour with which Gwalior Fort abounds is not seen in any other fort in India. Unparalleled in its aesthetic beauty Gwalior fort is as much impenetrable a defence architecture. Besides some temples have rare architectural and sculptural merit and a wide range of sculptures Gwalior Fort also comprises a few royal apartments, namely, Karan Mahal or Kirti Mahal, Man Mandir, Gujri Mahal, Vikram Mahal,
Jahangiri Mahal or Kshir Mandir, Shahjahani Mandir etc. Those royal apartment and temples represent those dynasties ruled over the Fort.

Chaturbhuja Temple

Chaturbhuja temple, small but beautifully carved and complete with all
essential organs, is one of the few monolithic temples in north India.
It is situated on mid-height in between Gwalior Gate and Hathia Paur
just below the latter. As per temple inscription, the temple was
constructed by Alla, Kanauj’s Gurjar king Bhoja’s Governor of Gwalior
fort. Alla dedicated the temple to his Master. Besides some excellent
deep-relief sculptures of Vishnu and his incarnations the temple’s
lintel space has some Krishna-lila episodes carved in relief. The date
of the temple’s construction has been recorded as 876 C. E

Gurudwara Data Bandi Chhod

Gurudwara Data Bandi Chhod, situated at Gwalior Fort, has rare
significance for Sikhs as one of their great pilgrimage seats directly
associated with the Sikhs’ Sixth Guru Guru Hargobind Singh who was imprisoned in the Gwalior fort by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Jahangir passed the oder to release to Guru Hargovind Singh, when famous Sufi Saint Miyan Mir and Mulla Shah pressurised Mughal Emperor to release him. Guru Hargobind refused to leave unless he was allowed to take with him all kings and other innocent people who were imprisoned with him, Mughal Emperor Jahangir allowed Guru Hargobind to take with as many as could hold his chogha. There were with him in the prison 52 prisoners, kings and others. Guru Hargobind got a Chogha stitched with 52 loops and he went with all 52 prisoners holding these loops. The Sikhs celebrated this day as the – Bandi Chhod Diwas. The construction of Gurudwara was begun in 1970 and, as is the Sikh tradition, never stopped. It was named as Gurudwara Data-bandi Chhoda.

Jain Sculptures in Gwalior Fort
 Jain sculptures in Gwalior Fort
India seems to have since early times two distinct traditions of
sculptural art, one of isolated or unattached sculptures and reliefs,
and the other, of sculpture and relief forming part of a building –rock-cut or structured.
In Gwalior fort there are many Jain rock-cut sculptures. A few
isolated rock  shelters or shallow caves housing some random
sculptures apart, all Jain sculptures, estimated to be about 1500,
contained in about 87 caves, rock shelters or niches, representing
Tirthankaras, Shasana-devatas, Jain ascetics, Gandharavas and other
celestial beings, devotee-donors and attendants among other, are
located in five sections of the Gopagiri hills. The Gopachala reliefs
cover a period of over one thousand years, broadly from the 3rd
-4th century C.E. to 15th century C.E.
 
Man Mandir
 

the palace of Raja Man Singh Tomar, was built sometimes
around 1490-1500C.E. It is one of the most spectacular examples of
early Hindu Castle architecture anywhere in India at that time and became model of many buildings of later. In Man Mandir almost all interior walls, ceilings and other spaces have been
rendered using hewn stones –moulded forms and carvings and coloured
glazed tiles, columns, lintel pieces, brackets, door frames, niches,
eaves, all reveal unique beauty of formation of this castle. Mughal emperor Babar also impressed form the architecture of the palace when he passed away from Gwalior.

Sas Bahu Temple
The most ornate and fully sculpted twin temples on the Gwalior fort, one larger and other smaller, are known as Sas-Bahu temples. With terms ‘Sas’ meaning mother-in-law – the senior, and ‘Bahu’, daughter-in-law – the junior, suggest that the term ‘Sas’ is denotative of bigger temple, while ‘Bahu’, of smaller temple. Some scholars incline to opine that the terms Sas-Bahu is the corrupt form of the term ‘Sahastrabahu’, and thus two temples are Sahastrabahu temple. The temples have not Sahastrabahu icon in any of the temples whereas their dedication to Vishnu is doubtless. In any case the example of the highest perfection on a sculpted architecture, the two temples present the most evolved model of Kachchhapaghata temple style. They are also the example of the unique skill of local sculptors. According to the inscription the construction of the Sas temple was begun by Padam Pal and completed by his successor Mahi Pal in Vikram Samvat 1150 which comes to 1093 C.E. The Bahu temple was constructed by Mahipal’s successor in the early part of the 12th century.
Teli ka Mandir
The most ambitious architectural work of Gurjar-Pratiharas, Teli ka Mandir is contended to have been built by Kanauj’s Gurjar king Yashovardhana in 750 C.E. around the last days of his life. Yashovardhana passed away in 752 C.E. Teli ka Mandir is a rectangular plan with a ‘valabhi shikhara’ – an elephant back like shaped superstructure, the characterisic feature of South Indian temples. Temple’s massive height, huge dimensions and the open space around suggest that the temple must have been built with subsidiary shrines or structure, but now none survives and it stands in isolated grandeur. Teli ka Madir is unique artifact having great art merit such as hardly a few temple can claim.
Jai Vilas Palace

--This palace was built from 1864 to 1874 by Maratha Maharaja Jiyaji RaoScindhia and was designed by Lt Col Sir Michael Filose. The palace is
a great combination of the Tuscan Corinthian architectural styles and Hindu style of architecture. Now days, a big part of the palace has been converted in a museum and open for public.
Durbar-hall of the palace very big in size and their wall are covered with gold polish,
Persian carpet, moving silver dying train, jhhumar and the building’s symmetrical planning are its outstanding features.

Tomb of Mohmmad Gous & Greatest Singer Tansen
 Tomb of Mohmmad Gous & Greatest Singer Tansen
the tomb of Mohammad Gaus, a Sufi saint, the inspirer and aesthetic
teacher of Mughal Emperor Akbar and the timeless singer Tansen and
tomb of Tansen himself are excellent examples of Indo-Mughal
architecture. The tomb of Mohammad Gaus was built in 16th century,
while Tansen’s, in early 17th.  Architecture of the tomb of Mohammad
Gaus presents a synthesis of Indo-Islamic traditions, while Tansen’s
is more on Islamic pattern of mausoleum architecture. The tomb of
Mohammad Gaus is known for its fine carving and jali-work and for a
highly evolved building form.
Amarol
Amarol a large size of village is situated some 20 Kms from Gwalior on its south east . The village is well connected from Gwalior by an asphalt road. This road is known by Shitla Mata Mandir road . There are two temples in Amarol , ONE THE Rameshvare Mahadev Mandir , and other ,the Danebaba Mandir. The two temples are away from each other by about two three km. Scholars assigns to the temples 8th century C.E. Rameshvara Mahadev Mandir and Danebaba Mandir of Amarol and Teli ka Mandir of Gwalior Fort represent broadly two stylistic extremes of the temple architecture in the region its early phase manifesting in the temple at Amarol and its most developed or matured in the Teli ka Mandir.
Naresra
A temple site without habitation of any kind is situated in a gorge some 20 Kms from Gwalior on Gwalior-Bhind road. Temples at Naresra, datable to the period from 725 C.E. to 950 C.E., are considered as the earliest examples of Pratihara temple architecture. Naresara has twenty three extant temples and definite signs of another thirteen lost with time. Not in dynastic style, Naresara temples are certainly was not a kings’ world or a dynasty’s work. An investigating eye suggests that these were some unknown or locally celebrated hands –minor chieftains, art loving and faithful courtiers, or common men seeking to immortalize the memories of their dead that created these temples.
Batesara, Padaoli and Mitaoli
Batesara, Padaoli and Mitaoli, the ancient temples’ sites in Morena district are some 35 Kms away from Gwalior. Located within a radius of about ten Kilometers, all three sites are situated to the north-west of Gwalior, some 15-16 Km south to Malanpur, Gwalior’s industrial development area on Gwalior-Bhind State Highway. About 20 Km from Gwalior, just after Malanpur’s road side habitation has passed, there branches on the left a well developed four lane road with a divider in between. With Rithaura being the largest village on it the road is popularly known as Rithaura road. Some 5-6 km ahead to Rithaura there is a cross road one on the right going to Mitaoli and the other on the left to Padaoli .Batesara is about one km to Padaoli’s south-west. To reach Padaoli temple site and Batesara one has to cross Padaoli village, going round which he finds first the Padaoli temple and about a km ahead to further south he finds Batesara group of temples
Batesara

Batesara temples, except one situated outside of the main temple-cluster, are datable to the period from the 7th to the 9th century. The isolated temple outside the cluster is datable to around 950-970 C.E. On the basis of the temple-components found from the site, the archaeologists contend that the number of temples originally built on the site was over two hundred. ASI has undertaken their renovation and about a hundred of them have already restored to their original forms. Situated in a valley with hills on three sides the site gives an unearthly feeling.

Bhuteshwara Mahadeva temple is the main shrine at Batesara, and it is perhaps from it that place got its Batesara name, a corrupt form of Bhuteshwara. Bhuteshwara Mahadeva temple is sometimes considered as the earliest temple to be constructed at Batesara but it seems to represent a subsequent phase. The transition from single sanctum temple type to a multi shrines type, which reflects in Bhuteshwara temple and had its best exposition in a Panchayatana temple of the later days, suggests its subsequent character. The range of subordinate icons also widens from mere conventional mithunas, celestial beings and divinities to include also the non-conventional and aesthetically conceived human and animal forms. It was a journey from a static and lesser developed form which presented the initial type to the ultimate medieval temple the examples of which Lakshmana or Kandariya Mahadeva temples at Khajuraho, Lingaraja temple at Bhubaneswar or Sun-temple at Konark presented

Padaoli

Padaoli, Suhania and Mitaoli are considered broadly the sites of Kachchhapaghata style of architecture. Padaoli is one of the finest temples of 10th century in central India. When the Padaoli temple might have been built, the Kachchhapaghata dynasty might be ruling the region around; and, hence, such contention.

Padaoli temple is known for the quality of its sculpture, the figures’ anatomical perfection, modeling, plasticity, rhythmic vibrancy and a lot of sensualism which reflects even in divine icons whether those of the Puranic narratives or those, evolved in worship tradition. Unfortunately, the temple’s sanctum and southern gavaksha – balconied pavilion, have completely vanished, with not even a fragment surviving. Towards the temple’s north a garhi – a small fortress-cum-royal mansion, occupies a larger part of the hill’s outcrop. This garhi-structure is not older than 18th century which might have been re-built in place of a prior one. Maybe, this was the abode of the temple’s royal patron.

The most outstanding feature of the Padaoli temple is the interior of rang-mandapa – main hall, mainly the carvings on entablatures architraves, freezes etc. This space from the connecting beam to the ceiling height has been adorned with four to six rows of figures representing Brahmanical trinity, member of Shiva family, Surya, Shiva’s marriage, rows of Shaivite devotees and ascetics worshipping Shiva linga, Vishnu’s ten incarnation, episode from Krishna lila, multi armed goddess Chamunda and many register of Vidyadharas,, Gandharvas, dancers, musicians, mithunas. In sophistication, figural proportion, minuteness of details, emotional bearing and adherence of texts and tradition, temple presents some outstanding examples of early medieval relief-carving.

Mitaoli

The village Mitaoli is some three-four kilometers north-east of Padaoli. The village is situated just around the foot of a hill with a flat top. This hill, some 35-40 feet high, houses on its top a large circular structure of around 13th century, almost the proto-model of India’s Parliament. This circular structure with flat roof and without a tower, is one of the most evolved Yogini temple, popularly known as Chausatha Yogini temple – temple of sixty-four yoginis. The temple is linked with Tantrika Yogini-cult of 9th-10th centuries.

In slight deviation to the established tradition of consisting of sixty-four, the temple has been conceived with 65 cells in the peripheral structure, besides the central shrine for the main deity in the centre of the courtyard. The Yogini cult, which led to creation of Yogini temples and related occult practices, had its roots in early Tantrism and cult of Matrikas. The Tantra was to a practiser the philosophy as well as the technique of harnessing inherent energies of body which he does by accepting them, not in their rejection. The union of Shiva and Shakti manifesting as union of ‘ling’ and ‘yoni’, the votive form of which the Shiva-ling presents, which metaphysicians have perceived as the union of Purusha and Prakriti, matter and spirit, the source of entire creation, evolution and of all manifest and unmanifest things, was the Tantrika’s basic principle and the point to take off from. Hence, in Chausatha Yogini temples the votive icon in the central shrine is as a rule a Shiva-ling while in sixty-four cells around, the Yoginis icons, representing being’s various attributes. In the course of time in the Mitaoli temple Yoginis’ all sensuous images have been removed by rigid minds and now modern Shiva-ling icons enshrine them.

Suhania
Suhania, Simphapania of early days, is situated in Morena district, some 70 Kms north of Gwalior and 37 Km south-east of Morena. There is on Morena-Mehgaon road, about 18 Km from Morena railway station, a village named Badagaon. In the middle of the village, towards the right of Morena-Mehgaon road, there braches a single lane asphalt road. This road takes to Suhania, about 18 Km away from the junction. Suhania temple is one of finest examples of the tenth-eleventh century sculpted temples constructed using Nagara style of temple-architecture. Though largely destroyed, it still has a towering ‘shikhara’ certifying the claim that originally the temple’s height must have been over 150 feet. It is built on a large ‘pitha’ – platform suggesting that it must be having subordinate shrines too and was a Panchayatana style temple. Though its tower partly vanished, the temple has a large colonnaded ‘rang-mandapa’ – central hall, and other components. An inscription claims it as a work of a Kachchhapaghata ruler but it has strong character of the art of Chandelas, the builders of Khajuraho temples. Known as Kakanmath, the Suhania temple has a wide range of large size sculptures : Tri-murti, Vishnu’s various incarnations, gods, goddesses, apsaras, gandharvas, vidyadharas, dikpalas, other celestial beings, ascetics, amorous couples, sura-sundaries, various nayikas, dancers, musician, mythical creations, various forms of vyalas – besides a very wide range of decorative motifs and patterns .
Jain temple of Suhania
There is about a kilometer to the south east of the suhania village a contemporary Jain temple, though the Tirthankara icons that it enshrines are old. Along with these images was found from their site an inscription, dated samvat 1467, which decisively suggests that these images were once the presiding images of the temple. In Jain inscriptions, the year was recorded usually as the Veer Samvat which predates the Common Era by about 560 year. Accordingly Samvat 1467 converts into A.D.907. The temple has bee rebuilt by Jain followers and the temple’s antique identity, diluted; however, the antiquity of the images remains as before.
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