I’m not too sure if Gwalior was the ugliest place I ever saw in the world (Hurghada, for instance, was a great challenger) but it was, for sure, the dirtiest.
Absolutely unforgettable the vision of people, cows, chicken and pigs in slaloms around (and in) the mud, all with the according smell, but the visit to the historic complex, was a good compensation.
For the first (and hopefully last) time in my life I was attacked by a cow. You should have seen it! Bicycles in the air, enormous confusion, and no one got hurt, but the tension of that “sacred horn” will remain forever.
India was a strong impression, but walking through Gwalior topped everything, and is hard to describe. Maybe because it is not a top destination in India, the bad side of the country showed at its best. People lying in the pavement, dead or alive, amidst bikes, cows, pigs and all you can imagine, dirt everywhere, I even was attacked by a cow. Atop the hill a large park houses several monuments of different dates and types, all of them deserving the visit, helping to quickly forget the bad experience in my way uphill. Preservation, however, is something strongly needed.
The Mughal Emperor Babar referred to the Gwalior Fort as “the pearl amongst fortresses in India”. And since he knew India much better than me, I’m forced to agree. Easily. The Fort it’s a huge complex. Being its walls and towers a marvel, it also includes well integrated palaces, temples, tombs, gardens, and splendorous sights. It really worths the trip.
Man Mandir palace
The most impressive construction in Gwalior’s fort is Man Mandir palace.
Built in the 15th century it as a delicate building, where, despite some already missing tiles, the colors are strong and the shapes harmonious.
Two different pillared temples close to each other, dating from the 7th century.
I couldn’t read much about it, but it really confirmed the idea we took from Portugal about the Indian art, with reliefs reproduction human scenes everywhere. And eroticism couldn’t be absent.
For my european eyes unable to identify the different indian stiles, it only impressed by the size and proportins, where the details are easily vanished. But indiasite knows more than me:
“According to one surmise Rashtrakuta Govinda III occupied the Fort in 794, and appointed the Telang Brahmins (check Religion for details on Brahmins) to supervise all religious ceremonies.
The temple got its name from them. According to another version, the monument is called the Teli Temple, because men of the Teli caste or oil merchants handled its construction.
A third conjecture is that the name suggests a link with the Telangana region in modern Andhra Pradesh, suggesting the fusion of Dravidian and North Indian architectural styles.”
As we descent from the Urwahi Gate, we stopped by the Jain statues, carved in the rock about 1300 years ago, right beside the road.
They are more than 20 statues, with several sizes and figures and they were under recuperation when we saw them.