Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sun Temple, Gwalior

Actually we started the sight seeing at Gwalior by first visiting this temple and then moved on to see the heritage sites in and around the city.

It is located 5 kms from city center. This is a very new temple and was constructed in 1988. It is inspired by architecture of the famous Konark Temple in Orissa.

The exterior of temple uses red stone while the interior uses white marble. There is a beautiful sculpture of Lord Surya in the temple. The carvings on the exterior of the temple depict various Hindu Gods and they have been carved beautifully.

Even though this temple is pretty new it attracts lot of visitors. The temple premises has a beautiful garden and is a nice place to relax.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sister Rocks, Hampi

Hampi is a rock garden where you will see rocks for miles as far as your eyes can gaze. One can see rocks of all sizes and shapes all around. Some of them have given shape to construct beautiful temples and carvings. 

There are two such natural rocks which have been not given any shape and they can be seen even today as they were from ages. These rocks can be seen on the way to Kamalapur, which is 4 kms away from Hampi . The interesting aspect of these Sister Rocks (popularly known as Akka – Thangi Betta) is they lean against each other and touch each other only at the top tip. Local legend has it that two sisters were walking towards Hampi and the were very tired and the weather was very dry. As a result they insulted Hampi and they were cursed to become rocks.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Teli Ka Mandir, Gwalior

This is the most impressive of all the temples in the Gwalior fort of Gwaior. This temple dates back to the 9th century, and is constructed by the Pratihar Kings.

front portion
This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Inside the fort this is one of the tallest structure and its height is 100ft. This temple architecture is a combination of the Dravidian (from South India) and the Indo-Aryan (North Indian). The roof is typically Dravidian but the sculptures and embellishing inside are Indo Aryan in nature.

one of the sides

Monday, February 15, 2010

Man Mandir Palace, Gwalior

This magnificent palace in Gwaior inside the Gwalior Fort was built by Raja Man Singh of the Tomar dynasty between 1486 and 1516. The palace can be reached by north eastern fort entrance. Because of the richly tiled and painted decorations with elephants and peacocks, and the exceptional fresco with the ducks paddling in turquoise waters, it is also known as Chit Mandir or Painted Palace.

This palace has four levels, two of them are underground. Six rounded towers crowned with cupolas relieve this 80 feet high structure. The beauty is further enhanced by blue ceramic mosaic and petite trellis work.
It consists of two open courts surrounded by apartments with carved stones, pillars. There are various rooms serving different purpose such as affairs of state, relaxation, decorated ornately with beautiful paintings, different figures of human beings, carved animals and flowers. The walls of these halls were decorated with triangular friezes.Even the ceilings in each room had different designs carved out as below:

This is one of the few architecture marvel in the fort that has withstood the test of time.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Save our Tigers

Tiger is India's national animal. But sadly it is becoming endangered because, it is poached for its body parts to cater to an illegal market. Another reason is habitat loss due to depletion of forest cover due to interference of humans and encroachment of forest land by people causing fragmentation. Famous Bengal tiger is already declared as endangered species.

By conserving and saving tigers the entire wilderness of ecosystem is conserved. Conserving wilderness is important and crucial to maintain the life support system. Today approximately 1400 tigers are surviving in India. There are several Tiger Reserves in India but man's greed even crosses those boundaries. Please join Save our Tiger initiative.

Above snap of tiger is taken at Bannerghatta National Park. This park is at a distance of around 21 kms from Bangalore city.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sahastrabahu Temple, Gwalior

The two graceful temples dating between 9th and 11th century stands close to the eastern wall of the Gwalior Fort in Gwaior

Similar in style but different in sizes adjoining each other are dedicated to Lord Vishnu or Sahastrabahu.

The bigger temple was built by Mahipala, a Kachhwaha Rajput Prince of Gwalior in 1093 A.D. Unique feature of this temple is that even though it is several stories high, it is balanced solely with the help of beams and pillars without arches.

In the above shot, the beams inside the temple can be seen through the main entrance sculptured doorway. The doorways, ceilings and four huge pillars are sculpted with graceful figures and intricate patterns. The temple has an ornately carved base and the ceiling is an impressively carved dome.

The smaller temple is more elegant in appearance than the bigger temple and consists of an open-sided porch with a pyramidal roof. This temple is built on a platform, where as the bigger temple is not. This temple has a single level unlike the bigger temple.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gwalior Fort

Back from Mitavali in Gwalior we went straight to Gwalior Fort after covering Jai Vilas Palace.
The magnificent Gwalior Fort is built by rulers of Tomar Dynasty in the 15th century on a sandstone cliff, which is 2.8km long from the North to the South and 200-850m wide from east to west and 91 m above the surrounding plains. A majority portions of the fort was built during the reign of Raja Man Singh. The fort walls which are 35ft high and two miles in length, has been influenced by both Hindu and Muslim architecture.

This awe-inspiring fort with two main entrances, encloses three complexes, six palaces, temples and a number of water tanks. Inside the fort there are some wonders of medieval architecture. On the eastern side the fort can be approached from Eastern Gate known as Gwalior Gate which leads pedestrian path while on the western side is Urbai Gate which is the motor able way.
The northern end has Jhangir Palace (5), Shah Jahan Palace, Karna Mahal, Vikram Mahal and Jal Johar Kund. These structures without the proper maintenance are sadly getting ruined. Gurdwara Data Bandi Chhod (6) is the new addition to the fort and has been constructed very recently. Near the Eastern Gate is Man Mandir Palace and it has been maintained quite well. Other structures that are maintained well are the temples. In the next sections we will cover the following in some detail:

  1. Man Mandir Palace (1, 2)
  2. Sahastrabahu Temple
  3. Teli-Ka Mandir
  4. Gujari Mahal

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mitavali Temple

Around Gwalior (State: Madhya Pradesh) there are plenty of places of historical importance. One among them is Mitavali located at a distance of 40 kms from Gwalior. As it is 15 kms from Padavali, we reached this place after covering Padavali.

The temple is situated on a small Hill with a small village at the foot of the hill. One has to climb approximately 150 to 200 uneven steps. The steps to the temples were carved out of the hill.
The design of this Shiva temple is incredible and unique. This is a 500 year old temple but very little is known about this temple.

The temple architecture is totally different from any other temple in India. The temple is circular shape with no overhead tower. In fact the it is believed that the design of Indian Parliament is based on this temple.

From here we moved back to Gwalior to cover other local sights.
Distance: Mitavali ---> Gwalior 40 kms

Monday, February 1, 2010

Padavali Temple

Around Gwalior (State: Madhya Pradesh) there are plenty of places of historical importance. One among them is Padavali located at a distance of 40kms from Gwalior.

Here in the fortress of Padavali there exists a magnificent temple. The premises of fort has to to be entered by climbing a set of steps. The temple and a small residential complex are the only two structures inside the fort. The temple displays classic architecture, which is as good as any of the famous temples in its time. Most of the sculptures are in the ceiling.


This temple depicts the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Ram Leela, Krishna Leela, Mahabharat, marriage of Lord Ganesha, and Samudra Manthan among various other things. The image of Lord Shiva dancing in the cemetery in Preta form is a specialty of this beautiful shrine.

An abode of numerous Hindu gods and goddesses, devotees will be enriched with devotion by the holy darshan. They all look so novel as if they were built just recently.

The carvings in the ceiling are unique and no two carvings are identical.

From here we next moved to Mitavali.
Distance: Padavali ---> Mitavali 12 kms