Glorious Gems of MP - The Gwalior Fort and Man Singh Palace
Most of what I remembered about the great city of Gwalior came from my 5th or 6th grade history textbook. And my memories were as foggy as the evening of the day I landed in MP.
Excited to be in Gwalior for the first time, I was just in time to catch the Light and Sound show at the Man Singh Palace also known as the Man Mandir Palace. And what a majestic show it was - under the open sky, the palace lit up in wonderful colours, the history of the city rendered in the baritone of Amitabh Bachchan! It was nothing less than a grand theatre!
Built in 8th century, the fort stands tall upon the Gopachal hill. The exact period of the fort’s construction is not clear, but historians say that it started in the 8th Century. According to the folklore, one day Suraj Sen who suffered from leprosy, found himself very thirsty atop the hill. Sant Gwalipa offered him sacred water from a pond, which cured him of the disease. Out of gratitude, Suraj Sen fortified the hilltop and named the citadel Gwalior to honour the saint.
Around the 15th century, the fort came under Man Singh Tomar, a king who was known as one of the greatest connoisseur of art and music. He transformed the fort into a grand architectural marvel that even Babur referred it as the “pearl amongst the fortresses of India”. After being captured by the Mughals, the fort was used as a jail. By the end of their reign, they had destroyed almost everything precious. Finally, in 18th Century, it flourished again in the hands of Maharaja Scindia.
Today, the monument is a huge fortress sprawling across an area of 3 square km surrounded by a concrete wall of sandstone. It comprises of six palaces, three temples, and several water tanks. One of its most famous temples is Teli-ka-Mandir built in the Dravidian style with an exquisite sculpted exterior. Another fascinating temple is the Saas-Bahu Temple, with two asymmetrical pillars. The other palaces are Jahangir Mahal, the Karan Palace, the Shah Jahan Mahal and the Gurjari Mahal, built by Man Singh for Mrignayani, his favourite wife. Gurjari Mahal currently is an archeological museum with an impressive collection, some of which dates back to 1st century AD.
Totally engrossed in the stories, I had walked down the lanes of history. I looked around to see the most beautiful view - a modern cityscape of Gwalior. The city was lit up!
Early next morning, I returned to witness the monument and relive all the stories I had heard the night before. We started off our visit with the Man Mandir palace or the Chit Mandir for the rich ceramic mosaics encrusting its facade. It was absolutely breathtaking made out of sandstone with stunning motifs on coloured tiles- everything speaking volumes about craftsmanship beyond time. My guide Puneet ji narrated many more wonderful tales that described the symbolism of the motifs as well as showed me the secret little telephonic tunnel the king used to converse with his queens.
The Diwan-e-aam and Diwan-e-khas music halls made for the queens to see performances while honouring the purdah system, have some exquisite grillwork. Lotus, which signifies Lord Brahma is a motif that keeps re-appearing across numerous places.
The royal seal can also be seen in the main hall.
Raja Man Singh’s bedroom has beautiful brackets which once held stunning mirror work like a Sheesh Mahal. Taking cue from this, I began reimagining the grandeur of the place.
I could also see the Gurjari Mahal situated below the palace, which was built as one of the conditions set by Mrignayani to marry Raja Man Singh. The other two conditions were that she should get water from her village river (which was the secret of her strength and beauty) at the new palace, and that she would fight each war alongside the King.
A leap into history, the Man Singh Palace has left me inspired in many many ways.
About the artist
Neethi Goldhawk is an independent illustrator and textile print designer who loves drawing all things dreamy, inspired by nature and life. She has illustrated for platforms like Redbull Amaphiko and Launchora. Her pen name (Goldhawk) was concocted in the crowded space of her mind full of absurd characters, who are but little children at heart. She is an avid Tumblr blogger and can be found here
annoying white ppl want to talk about how “backwards” indian culture is and use my identity as a pawn like “you don’t know how good you have it here, try being gay in india” but homosexuality wasn’t criminalized in india until 1860, anti-homosexual sentiment was specifically put in place BY WHITE BRITISH OCCUPIERS so you know. go to hell
A/N: This is the first kalagang fic i’ve ever written??? So like??? i’m just nervous. Enjoy. xx
When Kala married Rajan, she wasn’t exactly happy - it was a marriage of love for Rajan but not for Kala. Feelings would come later, that’s what she told herself. She married him because that’s what seemed right for them. For him. Feelings would come later. It would be easier with time. Rajan prompted Kala, helping her continue her work and be an important element in the work force. Though she loved the job she was promoted to, there was a voice inside her telling her that maybe she didn’t earn it. Then, logic took over and knew she deserved every bit of that promotion. She knew she was smart enough; Kala wasn’t going to let an insecurity take her down.
Hello! I was wondering what's this whole thing about Dionysus having influence from India? I haven't heard of it but it sounds interesting.
The ancient Greeks had a fair number of myths about Dionysos traveling to other nations, and even myths placing His place of origin in India. His myths about the Indian Wars are some of the most extensive about His time in India. Philostratus writes about Dionysos being known and worshiped in India, and he also makes a good number of references to the mythical mountain of Nysa, birthplace of Dionysos, being located in India. Euripides writes about Dionysos starting His cults in India as well:
Euripides, Bacchae 14 ff (trans. Buckley) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) : “I [Dionysos] have left the wealthy lands of the Lydians and Phrygians, the sun-parched plains of the Persians, and the Bactrian walls, and have passed over the wintry land of the Medes, and blessed Arabia, and all of Asia [Anatolia] which lies along the coast of the salt sea with its beautifully-towered cities full of Hellenes and barbarians mingled together; and I have come to this Hellene city [Thebes] first, having already set those other lands [of the East] to dance and established my mysteries (telete) there, so that I might be a deity manifest among men.”
And there are plenty of other mentions of Dionysos and His time in India by other authors of the time.
Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 2. 6-10 : “Now the Hellenes disagree with the Indians, and the Indians among themselves, concerning this Dionysos [the wine-god worshipped in India]. For we declare that the Theban Dionysos made an expedition to India in the role of soldier and reveller, and we base our arguments, among other things, on the offering at Delphoi, which is preserved in the treasuries there. And it is a disc of Indian silver bearing the inscription : ‘Dionysos the son of Semele and of Zeus, from the men of India to the Apollon of Delphoi.’”
Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 20 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) : “You [Dionysos] hold in thrall the Orient, even those remotest lands where Ganges waters dusky India.”
Seneca, Phaedra 753 ff : “Thou, Bacchus [Dionysos], from thyrsus-bearing India, with unshorn locks, perpetually young, thou who frightenest tigers with thy vine-clad spear, and with a turban bindest thy hornèd head.”
And, because of the importance of His role outside of Greece in myth, you get art work of Dionysos that holds influences from those different places as well. You can find some really lovely Greco-Indian art, which is Hellenistic in nature, rather than strictly Hellenic, and shows some beautiful and clear influence of both cultures.
Drinking scene, with Dionysus and Ariadne on his lap, Greek drinking cups, Greek dress. Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara. Dated 3rd century CE. :
It’s all pretty neat stuff and well worth looking into if that’s your thing
How did u know u were bi ?? Cause I live in India where being gay is illegal and heteronormativity is the norm . I don't if what what i feel for girls is attraction or just friendship From ur confused possibly bi follower
Oh yeah isn’t our country a fun place when it comes to being lgbtq? 20 years of my life was spent thinking that I have “girl crushes”. I stopped being heteronormative years before that (No thanks to my homophobic family though. Although they are not aggressive). But didn’t think that deeply about myself. A lot of things happened at once. I started to question my sexuality after reading some articles and stuff and watching movies.Then realized my roommate was kinda coming on to me and I am kinda into her. So we secretly dated for a bit. And I was sure. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment. But in most cases, if you think you are bi, you are possibly bi.
i have people like that in my life it's quite infuriating. also yeah school really does suck the life out of you (i'm homeschooled this year but in my opinion it is Worse). what is your favorite/ least favorite subject? ~anon bestie
i really like history, only now history class is more about the exam than actually learning??? like. we got a list of colonized lands and we have to choose one to research and write a paper on, about how they were affected by it, but anyways.
i wanted to do india, because my whole family is from pakistan/bangladesh (grandparents+ from india but obviously they had to immigrate). fun fact: bangladesh wasnt independent until the 70s!! my aunt used to collect bullets from the roof when she was a kid.
only, guess what country wasn’t on the list????? INDIA (nor any south asian country). which, i can kind of see the logic in the fact that india is actually kind of powerful, and definitely more powerful than bangladesh. and the countries on the list included latin american and african and middle eastern countries, the former two happen to have suffered genocide, and the latter is being murderd by us rn. but i think there’s a flawed logic in being like, “these are the obvious choices, and my pain is greater than yours” WHEN WE ALL SUFFERED FROM (p much) THE SAME FORCE.
do you think the british were like “nah fam we can’t colonize india now. bc The Whites already colonized too many people so it wont make the sophomore essay topic list. guess we gotta pack up and make haste” ???? NOPE