Gwalior is the largest city in northern Madhya Pradesh state and site of one of India’s most magnificent hilltop forts. Under Man Singh, who ascended to the throne in 1486, Gwalior’s hilltop gained the palaces and fortifications that one can still see today.
Gwalior Fort occupies an isolated rock outcrop, and is surrounded by high walls, which enclose buildings from several periods. Its mighty turreted battlements encompass palaces, Jain sculptures, and an assortment of temples, water tanks and cisterns.
Whilst there are other palaces within the fort’s confines, none are as interesting as the Man Singh Palace. An amazingly whimsical building it is also known as the Painted palace because of its tiled and painted decorations. Next to the palace is a small museum. Dotted about the grounds are the Teli Ka Mandir and Sasbahu Temples.
Beyond the fort is Jai Vilas Palace, one of India’s most grandiose and totally eccentric nineteenth century relics. The palace was built in 1875 during the reign of Maharaja Jayaji Rao Scindia. Wanting his residence to rival those of his colonial friends in Britain and Europe, he achieved his purpose but with a shamelessly over-the-top blend of styles. The Scindias, who still occupy a part of the palace, have thrown upon two wings to the public including a museum. The place is full of bizarre items including a model railway that carried port and cigars around the dining table after dinner, a room full of erotica and a durbar hall possessing the world’s biggest chandeliers and the largest handmade carpet in Asia.
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...