This blog post is about the Gwalior Fort. Its history, architecture and design are detailed. It is amongst the most striking sights of the subcontinent and is a major tourist attraction. The Gwalior Fort was built by Maharajah Suraj Sen in 1724 as a part of his new capital city, which happened to be named after him. The fort has made significant marks in the history not just of India but also on architecture across the world. It also has unique designs and stands as one of India’s most distinctive landmarks.
Gwalior Fort is situated in Sarvodaya District on a large area covered with arid land that once served as hunting grounds for tigers, leopards and wild animals like antelope and peacocks. There is a big tank, in which crocodiles were bred by the king. It has a unique gate with seven arches and a moat at the base to exempt the fort from an enemy attack. The palace within the fort is now a museum and some of its artefacts are preserved there.
Architecture Of Gwalior Fort
The fort was constructed with bricks, lime and stone. It has a unique triangle-shaped structure which is rare to find among forts. The fort is divided into two parts – upper and lower. The upper part contains the palaces of the king, while the lower part holds his army barracks and a watchtower.
The fort stands at an altitude of 1,200 feet. It has a diameter of about 2 km from the north-south axis, yet it is only 1 km from the east-west axis. It is also said that there are 5584 steps to climb up to reach its watchtower, Raja Mahal.
Suraj Sen who was the founder of Gwalior Fort was appointed as the governor of Amber in 1688 by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. And got the title of Maharajah when he took control over Amber. He was a great Muslim warrior, who led a successful campaign against the Marathas.
He shifted his capital city to Gwalior in 1709 and started planning to construct a massive fort there. During his reign, he discovered iron ore in the nearby regions of Gwalior and Bela. He used iron and made some parts of his palace out of it.
After Maharajah’s death, his granddaughter Madhav Reddy took control over the Gwalior fort. His son Man Singh was also born in this fort. During the Mughal empire, Gwalior was a centre of cultural and literary activities, which attracted many people from all over the world. It was also used for trade and commerce by the residents.
Gwalior Fort Was Burned And Looted During Indian Mutiny. The idea to burn down Gwalior Fort came from British General Henry Havelock. Who led a British cavalry in 1857 during the Indian Mutiny. The general wanted to know if there were any treasures inside the fort. This plan was executed by his troops on 23rd April 1858. The troops marched into Gwalior’s fort under cover of darkness and set it on fire with full force.
Light and Sound Show
The Gwalior Fort is also famous for its light and sound show. At nightfall, the fort is lit up beautifully and remains so for about an hour. The show starts with some music and then a huge flame emerges from the mouth of one of the elephants placed on the ramparts of the fort.
It is said that this elephant has been given special powers by Apsu – the God Creator. The entire lit-up structure includes nine gates, seven arches, seven turrets, and palaces. And also watchtowers are illuminated for about an hour. It’s like a fairy tale spread over a huge land.
Afterwards, there is a laser show in front of Raja Mahal followed by musical performances by different bands. This spectacle is an unforgettable memory for the tourists.
Other Tourist Attractions
Apart from the Gwalior Fort, there are some other tourist attractions nearby including Morar Cantonment Railway Station, Sitabuldi Garrison and Qila Mubarak. The Qila Mubarak was built by Man Singh during the period of Mughal rule.
A few kilometres from this fort lie Bhimbetka caves. Which are said to have been inhabited by prehistoric men and animals. There are several places to experience local handicrafts within a short-range distance from the fort. Other tourist attractions like Panna National Park and Orchha are located near Gwalior.
Facts About Gwalior Fort
- The Gwalior Fort has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- There are 2 royal forts and palaces inside the Gwalior fort. They are the Raja Mahal Palace, the Panna National Park Palace and Jag Niwas Palace.
- The speciality of this fort is that it was built with stone and bricks, which is rare in the world.
- The elephant roundabout was constructed by Maharajah himself near the palace gate to protect his elephants against any attack. He wanted to know whether there were any elephants inside the Gwalior fort or not. So he asked an elephant named “Bahadur” to enter the fort while holding a torch in his trunk.
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