over 100 years this fort has been over looking the city of Gwalior. One of
the most invincible forts in India, this imposing citadel has changed many
hands. It is build on a hill of sandstone and towers 100 m from the plain.
The outer wall of the fort is almost 2 miles in length and the width
varies from one kms to 200 meters. The walls of the fort gives way onto
the steep slopes. This fort has been a witness to many battles in the
turbulent times as well as as festivals in the peace time. The rulers have
imparted justice from the fort which has seen the imprisonment of many.
The ceremonies held in the fort have been spelled out grandeur but the
Jauhars have screamed distress. It was here that Tatyia tope and Rani of
Jhansi fought for their freedom. Rani of Jhansi laid down her life in an
assault by the British to capture the fort.
The structure, the placement, the architecture, every thing of the fort is unparalleled. Babur after seeing this fort had said that this is the pearl of forts in India. The fort can be accessed by a winding path which takes you up hill and is flanked by statues of Jain Tirthankars carved into the rock faces. Within its walls this citadel treasures numerous marvels of medieval architecture-- palaces, temples and other structures many of which are in ruins but some are in excellent shape. On a clear day from the walls of the fort one can have a birds eye view of the city. The fort has changed hands from the Tomars to the Mughals to the Marathas to the British.
In the 14th century Tomars came to power in Gwalior and made the fort their seat of administration. For the next few centuries the fort was witness to numerous conflicts with the neighbouring states. The greatest Tomar King Raja Man Singh in a bid to win over the Gujar princes Mrignayani built the Gujari Mahal in the 15th century. This palace has survived the time and the interior of the mahal has been converted into an archaeological museum. The Man Mandir Palace was also built by Raja Man Singh. The tiles that adorned the exteriors of the palace have not survived but the traces of its beauty still ramains. Rooms of the palace stand bare today presenting a moot testimony to the past glory which was lost with the passage of time. The intricate decorations in the rooms and the filigri work on the stone screens were once part of the music halls. Behind these screens the Royal ladies sat down and took lessons of music from the masters of those times.
Below the palace are the dungeons were the prisoners spent their imprisonment. Aurangzeb imprisoned his brother Murad here and later executed him. Near the Man Mandir is the palace were the ladies performed Jauhar after the defeat of their husbands in war. The Teli ka Mandir dates back to the 9th century. The roof of this structure is made in the Dravidian style but the decorations on walls is done in the Indo Aryan style. This strange combination of two architectural styles has been the main attraction for the visitors. The highest structure within the fort is the Garuda. Dedicated to the Pratihara Vishnu, the structure a blend of muslim and Indian architecture. The oldest structure which survives today is the Sas Bahu ka Mandir which was constructed in 11th century by Kachchwah King, Mahipala.
The poignant ambience of chivalry and heroism has been recreated through the superbly mounted Son-et-lumiere. The light and sound show recreates the glorious days. Narrated by the famous film actor Amitabh Bacchan. Assisted by the bright lights and digital sound, the saga of heroism, velour and romance floats in air every evening.