We had a dedicated guide for Gwalior, Rizvi. He was very helpful and pleasant, glad he was with us. He appeared to be very dedicated to the sites, and kept gently and politely chiding other tourists when he noticed any wrongdoing.
Our first stop was the Gwalior Fort and it was every bit as magnificent as I expected it to be and even more.
We entered through the Urwahi gate, same as we did last night.
It is a small wonder that Babar, who invaded India, started the Mugal Dynasty, and hated all things Indian was in such awe of the fort that he left it intact.
The fort has changed hands many times, from the Tomars to the Mughals to the Marathas and then the British.
The Gwalior fort finally went to the Scindias, the British. The Scindias are the present ruling family.
The Man Singh Palace is the best attraction in the fort. It was built by Tomar Man Singh in the 15th century. It was in the same palace where the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb imprisoned and later murdered his brother Murad. Other significant palaces within the Gwalior Fort include the Karan Palace, the Jahangir Mahal, the Shah Jahan Mahal and the Gujri Mahal.
There are two temples within the fort with beautiful carvings.
The Sas Bahu Temple and Teli-ka-Mandir. The latter is the most famous of all the temples of the Gwalior fort.
Sas means mother in law and Bahu daughter in law. Interestingly the mother in law's temple is quite a bit bigger than the one for the daughter in law.
Teli-ka-Mandir literally means the temple of oil, this was named such because the temple was built by a business man who made his money in oil trading.
Both temples were built around the 9th century.
As we came down we saw some beautiful Jain carvings on the fort wall.
We proceeded on to Gujari Mahal, this the palace built by Man Singh for his favorite queen, Mrignayani.
Gujari Mahal is now a museum with artifacts from all over MP (Madhya Pradesh). There are many beautiful ones, but the highlight was the "Mona Lisa" of India, kept under tight security.
These type of statues are typically found in the village of Gyaraspur near Vidisha.
Our next stop was Tansen's Tomb. Mian Tansen (born 1493 or 1506 as Ramtanu Misra – died 1586 or 1589 as Tansen) was a prominent Indian classical music composer, musician and vocalist, known for a large number of compositions.
He was among the Navaratnas (nine jewels) at the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Akbar gave him the title Mian, meaning learned man.
Went back to the hotel to freshen up and have lunch.
After lunch, we visited the Jai Vilas Palace established in 1874 by Jayajirao Scindia, the then Maharaja of Gwalior and is still the residence of his descendants.
The European architecture of the palace was designed and built by Sir Michael Filose, a French architect.
A part of the Palace is now a museum with the royal collection. It was an anti climax after the morning's trip, and we came back shortly to rest and pack up for tomorrow's travel to Kolkata.
Today's narrative has been the most difficult to write for me, everything we saw in the morning was beautiful, interesting and steeped in history.
The "Fort Trip" is over unfortunately and tomorrow we will fly to Kolkata to visit friends and relatives.
This has overall been a fabulous trip and I am glad we decided to do it.