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Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India (Info: 1, 2)


Gwalior is justly famous for at least three things: its imposing fort, Mian Tansen, and the first epigraphic evidence of zero. According to legend, Gwalior began from a meeting between Suraj Sen and the hermit Gwalipa, who lived on the hilltop where the fort stands. The hermit cured Suraj Sen of leprosy with a drink of water from the Suraj Kund, which still remains in the fort. He then gave him a new name, Suhan Pal, and said his descendants would remain in power so long as they kept the name Pal. His next 83 descendants did just that, but number 84 changed his name to Tej Karan and -- you guessed it -- goodbye kingdom.

In 1398 the Tomar dynasty came to power in Gwalior and, over the next few centuries, Gwalior Fort was the scene of continual intrigue and clashes with neighboring powers. In 1516 the fort was besieged and taken by Ibrahim Lodi after a long struggle. Later the Mughals, under Babur, took the fort and held it until 1754, when the Marathas captured it. In the next 50 years the fort changed hands many times, including twice to the British, until it came into the hands of the Scindias, whose royal descendants still live in Gwalior. During the Indian Uprising in 1857 the maharaja remained loyal to the British but his troops didn't, and in the mid-1858 the fort was the scene of some of the final, and most dramatic, events of the whole Uprising. It was near here that the British finally defeated Tantia Topi and it was in the final assault on the fort that the rani of Jhansi was killed. Gwalior's most famous son of recent times is the former prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. [—Adapted from Lonely Planet India, 2003; Aug 05]
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A Place Called Home

(Going "home" can be bittersweet. In this essay, Namit Arora revisits Gwalior, where he came of age.)

‘No man ever steps in the same river twice,’ wrote Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher, ‘for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.’ Some also say this about ‘home’, making it less a place, more a state of mind. Or as Basho, the haiku master, put it, ‘Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.’ Still, in an age of physical migration like ours, one of the most bittersweet experiences in a migrant’s life is revisiting, after a long gap, the hometown where he came of age. More so perhaps if, while he was away, his neighborhood turned to ruin, crumbling and overrun with weeds, as happened in my case.

Last month, I revisited my boyhood home in Gwalior, a city in north central India, with my parents. I had grown up with my two sisters in Birlanagar, an industrial township in Gwalior, until I went away to college at age 17. After graduation, I left for the U.S. in 1989 for post-graduate studies and various jobs in the U.S. and Europe over the next two decades. I continued to think of Gwalior as my hometown until my parents also left in 1995 and I stopped going there during my India visits. By most measures I had a decent boyhood in Gwalior, yet I’m loath to idealize it or look upon it fondly. If it had its joys, it was also full of graceless anxieties, pressures, and confusions. (READ MORE)

The Tomb of Tansen (1, 2, 3)

The Tomb of Tansen (more)

Town hall, Bādā, Lashkar

Town hall, once Regal Theater (more)

Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus (1, 2, 3)

Bādā, Lashkar (1, 2)

Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus (1, 2)

MLB College

Gwalior Fort looming above

Gwalior Fort entrance

Gujiari Mahal entrance

Ganesh Chaturthi (1, 2)

Roxy Theater

Sarafa Bazar (more)

Paranthe Wale


Carmel Convent School entrance

Inside Carmel Convent school
(1, 2, 3)

Once co-ed, now girls-only
(1, 2)

Library is quite modest

With the Principal,
Sister Ann Jose

Usha Kiran Palace Hotel

MITS engineering college

Gwalior Train Station

Gwalior Train Station (1, 2, 3)

Birlanagar

 

 

 

Former home in Birlanagar

Inside the home

Front lawn

Art inside the former textile
mill Gwalior Rayon

Remains of Birla Industries Club

Once a Swimming Pool

Once a changing room

Public Heath Center

Playground

Durga Puja site

Performance hall

JC Mills gate

Assistant Line

Assistant Line

Cimmco Line

Cimmco Line

All pictures above were taken in 2014, and the ones below in 2005

Tomb of Tansen

Tomb of Tansen

Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus (in)

Kid studying

TombReadingBoy.jpg (137226 bytes)

Old town from fort (1, 2, 3)

Old town from fort

Bada, Lashkar (more)

Town hall, Bādā, Lashkar


El tempo


Rides in Gwalior mela

MelaRides.jpg (169786 bytes)

Bombay variety show

LovelyBombay.jpg (164702 bytes)

Rani of Jhansi

Gwalior Fort

     

Pedestrian entrance

Man Singh Palace (1, 2, 3)


Strongest fort in India?

Fort entrance ramp


Diwan-e-khas


Palace courtyard


Music room


Royal bedroom


Swimming room


Bat infested ceiling


Jauhar kund


Palace pillars

FortPalacePillars.jpg (116307 bytes)

Jehangir palace

JehangirPalace.jpg (107153 bytes)

Teli ka Mandir


Teli ka Mandir sculpture


Teli ka Mandir sculpture


Daata bandi chor sikh temple


Inside the sikh temple


Saas-Bahu temple (more)


Saas-Bahu temple


Saas-Bahu temple art


Saas-Bahu temple art


Saas-Bahu temple art


Saas-Bahu temple art


Agni
10th cent. CE, Sihonia, Morena
Fort Museum, Gwalior


Saptmatrikas
10th cent. CE, Surwaya, Shivpuri
Fort Museum, Gwalior


Parvati
11th cent. CE, Sihonia, Morena
Fort Museum, Gwalior


Indra and Agni
10th cent. CE, Surwaya, Shivpuri
Fort Museum, Gwalior

State Archaeology Museum (inside Gujjari Mahal), Jai Vilas Palace, and Scindia Museum


Dancing Ganesha
10th cent. CE, Padhawal, Morena
State Archaeology Museum


Mother and child
10th cent. CE, Bagh-Dhar
State Archaeology Museum


Vaman,
10th cent. CE, Narwar, Shivpuri
State Archaeology Museum


Nayika
10th cent. CE, Sihonia, Morena
State Archaeology Museum


Agni
10th cent. CE, Sihonia, Morena
State Archaeology Museum


Nayika
10th cent. CE, Sihonia, Morena
State Archaeology Museum


Mother and child
7th cent. CE, Badoh, Vidisha
State Archaeology Museum


Dancing Ganesha
10th cent. CE, Padhawal, Morena
State Archaeology Museum


Gujjari mahal, a.k.a ...


... State Archaeology museum


Jai Vilas palace (of the Scindias)


Behind the facade


Durbar hall
Scindia museum, Gwalior


Leda and the swan
Scindia museum, Gwalior


Where the tigers are
Scindia museum, Gwalior


Average room
Scindia museum, Gwalior

       

 

 

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