Gwalior Fort is a 8th century fort on a hill top near to Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, state of India. The Fort was built during the 8th century.
Gwalior kila (kila means fort in Hindi Language) or Gwalior Fort complex consists mainly of 2 palaces Gurjari Mahal Palace & Man Mandir Palace and the outer fort.
Man Mandir Palace was built during the 15th century. Many structures including Palaces (Mahals) were added to the fort by different rulers. The Jahangir, the Karan, and the Shah Jahan are some of the other palaces inside the fort complex.
The fort extends over 3 square kilometers in area and is having a height of 35 feet. There are two gates to the fort; one at the northeast side and the other at southwest side. Elephant gate (Hathi Pul) is the main entry gate. Badalgarh Gate is the second gate.
There are 11 Jain temples inside the fort. Siddhachal Jain Temple Caves are believed to be built during 7th to 15th centuries. Rock cut cave temples numbering 21 are found here in the fort surroundings. There are many temples with hundreds of idols inside the fort!
The water tanks gets its water requirements from the nearby Swarnarekha river. This tank can store water to satisfy the needs of a 15,000 strong garrison (the number required to guard this fort)!
Gwalior kila was controlled by many dynasties during the course of time. 86 Kings belonging to the Pal dynasty has ruled Gwalior for the maximum period of 989 years. Others who controlled and ruled Gwalior include Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty, Turkic rulers, Tomar rulers, Suri dynasty and Hemu, Mughal dynasty, Raizada dynasty, Maratha rulers (the Scindias) and the British.
Wold’s Second oldest existing “ZERO“, which is estimated to be 1500 years old, is found in a small temple here, on the way to the fort.
Some of the historical places in Gwalior, or places to visit in Gwalior fort, are given below.
Gurjari Mahal palace Museum or Gwalior Fort Museum
This Museum has rare collection of antiquities, some of which dates back to the 1st century A.D. Rare Hindu and Jain sculptures, dating back to the 1st and 2nd centuries BC, are also kept in this Museum. Miniature Statues are also there.
Gurjari Mahal palace, which is now an archaeological museum. This museum is also known as Gwalior Fort Museum. It was built by Raja Man Singh for the Queen Mrignayan. This palace gets its water supply through an aqueduct from the Rai River, situated close to the fort.
Teli ka Mandir, Lord Vishnu temple inside the Gwalior Fort
Teli ka Mandir is a Lord Vishnu temple located within the Gwalior Fort. It is the oldest and loftiest surviving structure within the fort. This is believed to be constructed around 850 AD, during the reign of Mihira Bhoja, the Pratihara king. It is a combination of Nagara and Dravida style of architecture along with a little bit of Buddhist architecture styles. Gopuram is of Dravidan style, whereas the temple base is in Nagara style of architecture. Extensively carved outer walls of the temple with its excellent sculptures are a rare treat to the eyes.
HH Maharaja Sir Jiwajirao Scindia Museum at Jai Vilas Palace Gwalior
Jai Vilas Palace or Jai Vilas Mahal is a 19th century palace spread over 1,240,771 square feet in area, in European style of architecture at Gwalior, situated close to the fort complex. Around 35 rooms of the palace now houses a Museum called HH Maharaja Sir Jiwajirao Scindia Museum or Scindia Museum. There is an entry fee to be paid to visit this Museum.
Jai Vilas Mahal is one of the best palaces with ultra modern facilities. There is a silver train was was used to bring items to the dinner table! (The details of the palace and the train are descried in detail in the book “Freedom at Midnight” written by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre.) There are two gigantic 12.5 meter high, 3.5 tonne chandeliers, with 250 bulbs, which is believed to be the largest pair of chandeliers in the world. This palace is famous for its large Durbar Hall. It is the residence of the descendants of the former Scindia dynasty rulers.
How Do I Go to Gwalior Fort?
Gwalior is well connected by roads to all parts of the country. Gwalior Fort is situated very close to Gwalior Bus station. Gwalior Junction railway station is the nearest railway station, at a distance of 2 to 4 kilometers, depending on the route you take. ‘Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia Airport’ or Gwalior airport is at around 10 kilometers distance from the city.