Saturday, 14 February 2009

Mighty Fort of Gwalior

The hill-fort of Gwalior overlooks the town at night

For Nitoli's birthday I decided to surprise her with a trip out of Delhi. In the week before we had a Thursday off, so I called her boss and got permission for her to miss work on Friday. So Wednesday afternoon when she came home I told her that it was time to pack, and then very early Thursday morning we left for our second trip to the state of Madhya Pradesh. First stop was the town of Gwalior, which is most famous for it's impressive hilltop fort and for being the home of the powerful Scindia family, which have a spectacular palace in town.

We started our time in Gwalior by walking up to the fort via a long winding road on the west-side leading past forest and cliffs, with huge, fantastic Jain sculptures in them. When we reached the fort we spend several hours walking around and exploring everything. Unlike the image some Westerners might have, the biggest Indian forts are not like old European castles, but rather a huge sprawling complex of palaces, parks, ordinary houses and even wild nature surrounded by the walls of the fort. We ended the night by watching a pretty cool light and sound show, before descending directly down to torn through the shorter and steeper eastern gate.

The long western road to the fort (Nitoli uses the umbrella to shield her from the sun, not because she is fearing rain)

Nitoli checks out the awesome Jain sculptures carved into the cliff beneath the fort

Sikh pilgrims, who were checking out another Jain sculpture (below the heads of the two middle guys)

A nice porch somewhere inside the fort

The most beautiful of the palaces inside the fort: The Man Mandir built between 1486 and 1517 for the Hindu ruler Man Singh, standing by the East gate of the fort

Segment of the highly ornate and - relatively - well preserved tilework of Man Mandir Palace. Notice the yellow duck tiles.

Courtyard inside Man Mandir

Man Mandir standing over the road leading to the eastern gate of the fort

A palace in a remote part of the enormous fort overlooks Gwalior town

A water tank in another remote part of the fort

Nitoli and a local boy who joined us (the two little dots in the middle) pass one of the huge abandoned, and partly ruined palaces of the fort to come join me on the outer ramparts

Nitoli on the ramparts overlooking the old town

View of the old town. The big square palace was allegedly built for a concubine of the local rules. He must have liked her a lot

Huge depleted tank in one of the old crumbling palaces

A local boy we met in the ruins

This looks like a dangerous occupation

A scene from the light & sound show with the towers of Man Mandir illuminated in different colours

5 comments:

deewane said...

Great pictures! I do look forward to your posts so much, have been to so many places through your blog :)

oreneta said...

You always so make me want to go travelling....oh oh ohohoh...

Esben said...

@Dewane

Thanks for the comment. I hope my blog posts will inspire you to go and see some of these places for yourself also. India is a fantastic country to travel in.

@oreneta

You know, I really take that as the ultimate compliment. Thanks :)

Oħomiya Jeet said...

Hey Esben,

It's been a while since I've visited your blog. But like always, am moved by your sense of wonder at my homeland and how you manage to convey what's best and brightest about it.

Shivam namdev said...

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