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Gwalior
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Gwalior Fort: Nestled on an enormous sandstone hill, the fort is definitely the most recognized structures in Gwalior. The walls of the fort that encircle it stand over 10 m high and are absolutely solid - hence impenetrable. The fort is accessible by a steep road, whose sides are marked by beautiful Jain statues. Out of the three main entrances, only the eastern and western are accessible. The eastern end is guarded by the Urwahi Gate and six gates guard the western entrance. The Urwahi Rock inside, has two sides leading to a sharp fall in the valley and which is home to almost 22 Jain rock carvings. Among the most interesting structures is the Gujari Mahal, now converted to an Archaeological Museum. This museum has on display an extensive collection of rare and exquisite stone carvings. Particularly worth seeing is the statue of Shalbhanjika the tree goddess from Gyraspur. This statue is made visible only on request. The Man Mandir Palace is another impressive structure showcasing extensive use of bright colours, motifs and design. This palace is also known as the Chitra Mandir or the Palace of Paintings because of the tiled and painted decorations of peacocks and other birds. Most of the designs and patters are adorned appropriately and ornately with carved animals, flowers, and the human form. Also within this palace is the dancing hall bounded by a balcony and a courtyard. Suraj Kund is particularly noted as the place where Sage Gwalipa cured Suraj Sen of leprosy from the waters of this pond. Interestingly made are the Saas-Bahu Temples, which are a group of two temples located adjacent to each other and derive their names from the difference in their sizes. The larger of the two (Saas Temple) is profusely sculpted with graceful figures and intricate patterns. Both are designed in a similar style and date between the 9th and 11th centuries. The Saas Temple with its ornate base is dedicated to Vishnu while the Bahu Temple is dedicated to Shiva. The Teli-ka-Mandir is believed to be the oldest in the fort. It exhibits a Dravidian style of architecture and the sculptures are distinctly North Indian. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the Garuda bird can be seen on top of the 10-metre-high doorway. The fort also houses the beautiful Scindia School, which is one of India's finest educational institutions. Open from: Temples & Palaces within - 8.00 am-5.00 pm (Saturday - Thursday) Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus: This famous structure is dedicated to the Islamic saint Mohammad Ghaus. The stone carving for which the skilled artisans of Gwalior were justly famous is apparent in the huge panels of lacy screen work, which combine with an interesting architectural design to create a delicate, ethereal appeal. Memorial of Tansen: Adjacent to the tomb of Ghaus is another small white, austere tomb dedicated to Tansen, a famed musician, and one of the nine gems in Akbar's court. Held annually here is the Tansen Sangeet Samaroh, a world-renowned music festival, which draws in scores of tourists. Surya Mandir: This famous temple is said to have been built in a similar design as the famed Sun Temple at Konark in Orissa. Jai Vilas Palace and Museum: This is an opulent structure, set in carefully laid lawns. Part of the palace functions as residence of the royal family while the other has been converted into a museum that effectively documents a more leisurely and princely lifestyle. The museum exhibits, consisting of collections of the Scindia family, include such things as chandeliers weighing several tons, a silver toy train whose wagons were used as serving dishes and a glass cradle from Italy used for Lord Krishna at Janmashtami. Open from: 10.00 am-5.00 pm (Wednesday Closed) Kala Vithika: Situated near the Gwalior Railway Station in the heart of the city, Kala Vithika is a good place to venture into if you are looking for some information on the history and culture of Gwalior.