Gwalior Fort is much more than just a fort! It’s enormous and impregnable. It’s beyond your stretch of imagination. It has many palaces, baolis, temples and much more. Let’s explore gorgeous temples of Gwalior Fort!
While you make your way towards the glorious historic temples of Gwalior fort; they razzle-dazzle your senses. The carvings, the avenues and everything that you witness here imprisons a grandeur and as one looks intensely, each and every stone breathes a story.
You can either take your car up through Urwahi Gate or walk up ( I would recommend you to walk) if time is not an issue. It’s not too rough a climb and you can have a glimpse of stunning terrains on your way up.
Halfway on the hills of the fort on either side of Urwahi road, there are many huge rock-cut Jain statues to discover. They represent the Jain Tirthankaras. The largest statue (approx. 17 meters in height) is an imposing figure of Parshvanath seated on a lotus. These sculptures are slightly way down into the arboraceous valley called the Urwahi valley. You can take steps leading down to get a good perspective of them. The pathways are alive with huge lovely Jain sculptures which move you with their poised touch of godliness. These sculptures are speculated to be carved during the 15th century under the aegis of a Tomar king. However, some of them are thought to be possibly dated around the 7th century. Damages are apparent and again Mughals are to be blamed for their irreverent act of vandalism on the temple.
We moved to Saas-Bahu Mandir, later in the day. The temple was constructed by King Mahipala of the Kachchhwaha dynasty. The pair of temples made entirely of sandstone looks awesome! Sheer architectural brilliance, I must say! Both the temples are located adjoining each other and are more or less analogous. It feels as if divinity and spirit of God live in these beautiful temples. The temple was built around the 9th century. Its name is derived from Sahastra-Bahu, another name of the ‘thousand-armed’ Lord Vishnu.
These temples too were misconducted by the Mughals. Britishers gave new life to the temples.
As per the folklore, the wife of the King was a devotee of Lord Vishnu while her daughter-in-law worshipped Lord Shiva. Thus, ultimately two temples were built, one after the another. The Large temple is intricately adorned with exquisite carvings and sculptures of the deity and the roof is decorated with beautiful lotus carving.
Teli Ka Mandir
Another architectural marvel is a rock carved temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Teli ka Mandir was built around the 9th century and is supposed to have been made by the Teli community (oil traders). The temple is unique because of its Dravidian and Buddhist architectural style, especially the domed roof. It is decorated with sculptures from Hinduism. I spent quite some time admiring the details of the carvings.
When you walk down the path from Man-Mandir Palace to about halfway towards the Gwalior gate, there’s a small temple called Chaturbhuj Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple has an inscription in the ancient language near the deity. This stone inscription includes the first ever recorded description of zero (around 7th century). So, mathematicians also call it a Temple of Zero.
The Surya Mandir is the recent addition to the temples of Gwalior Fort. It was built in 1988 by G.D Birla. It has been inspired by the Sun Temple at Konark in Orissa. The temple is adorned with a lovely sculpture of Lord Surya. I couldn’t help but adore the spellbinding architecture!
Most of the time, we visit temples and really don’t bother to know the stories behind them but this trip was unlike that. I auscultate the sounds of past these places are still breathing.
I really had no idea that Gwalior would leave me awe-struck. I stood in silent awe, too amazed to say anything. We ended our day with a sense of delight.
Visiting these gems made me wonder why people always dream about sojourning foreign destinations when such ethereal places are hidden in our own backyard. Truly, Incredible India!
After all, the past is our only real guide to the future, and historical analogies are instruments for distilling and organising the past and converting it to a map by which we can navigate.
~ Michael Mandelbaum
So, go explore the past to understand the future!