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Gwalior (Hindi: ग्वालियर ) (Marathi: ग्वाल्हेर), is a city in Madhya Pradeshmarker in Indiamarker. It lies 76 miles (122 km) south of Agramarker and has a population of over 1.2 million. Gwalior was the Capital City of Great Maratha Sardar (Knight) & Warrior Maharaja Shrimant Madhavraoji Shinde - Sawstant Gwalior. The Gwalior metropolitan area is the 46th most populated area in the country.

Gwalior occupies a strategic location in the Girdmarker region of North India, and the city and its fortress have served as the center of several of North India's historic kingdoms. At present also its strategic location is marked by the presence of major air base at Maharajpura. Gwalior is the administrative headquarters of Gwalior district and Gwalior division.

Origin of name

History about Gwalior says that it owes its name to a sage of former times. The story goes thus - Suraj Sen, a prince of the Kachhwaha clan of the 8th century had lost his way in the jungle and ultimately wandered up to a secluded hill. Thereafter he met an old man, Sage Gwalipa, whose influence almost took him by surprise. On asking the sage for some drinking water he was led to a pond. The pool waters not only quenched his thirst but cured him of leprosy as well. Out of gratefulness he wished to offer something in return to the sage and the sage asked him to build a fort on the hill. Thus came up the fort named Gwalior, and eventually the city that developed around it got its name.

Demographics

 India census, Gwalior had a population of 826,919. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Gwalior has an average literacy rate of 70%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 76%, and female literacy is 63%. In Gwalior, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.


Geography

Gwalior is located at . It has an average elevation of 197 metres (646 feet).Gwalior is a historical Indian city - is located on the periphery of Madhya Pradesh State, 321 km (199.5 Miles) from Delhi and 100 km (62 Miles) from Jhansi.

Climate

Gwalior has a sub-tropical climate with hot summers from late March to early July, the humid monsoon season from late June to early October and a cool dry winter from early November to late February. The highest recorded temperature was 47oC and the lowest was -1oC.

Summers start in late March, and along with other cities like Nagpurmarker and Delhi are among the hottest in Indiamarker and the world. They peak in May and June with average daily temperatures being around 33-35oC (93-95oF) , and end in late June with the onset of the monsoon. Gwalior gets 970 mm (39 in) of rain every year, most of which is concentrated in the monsoon months from late June to early October. August is the wettest month with about 380 mm (15 in) of rain. Winter in Gwalior starts in late October, and is generally very mild with daily temperatures averaging in the 14-16oC (58-62oF) range, and mostly dry and sunny conditions. January is the coldest month with average lows in the 5-7oC range (40-45oF) and occasional cold snaps that plummet temperatures to close to freezing.

Gwalior can be visited from late October to early March without much discomfort, but the months from April to June should be avoided due to the extreme heat. The monsoon months see sustained, torrential rainfall and risk of disease, they should also generally be avoided.

Transportation infrastructure

The city is well connected via rail, road and air transport services.

Air

Air Deccan to and from Delhimarker, Indoremarker and Bhopalmarker to Gwalior's airport. Indian Airlines Delhi to Jabalpur line also stops at Gwalior.

Railways

Gwalior Railway station
The Gwalior Junction GWL is part of the Jhansi Division of the North Central Railways.

Gwalior's main station is one of the major commercial railway stations of the North Central Railway of Indian Railways, which zonal Head Quarter is centered in Allahabadmarker. The station has won awards from Indian Railways for clean infrastructure in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1992. Express trains such as the Bhopal Express, Taj Express and Bhopal Shatabdi stop at Gwalior.

Gwalior is, perhaps, one of the few places where both narrow gauge and broad gauge railways tracks are still operational. The Gwalior narrow gauge track is the narrowest in Indiamarker.

Gwalior is well connected via train services to all parts of the country including 4 metros. There are direct trains to Mumbaimarker, Delhimarker, Kolkatamarker (Howrah), Chennaimarker, Trivandrummarker, Indoremarker, Ahmedabadmarker, Punemarker, Jammu, Lucknowmarker, Bhopalmarker and other major towns. Gwalior is the main station serving most of the important and long distance trains. There are two other stations within the city limits, named Birla nagar and Sithouli. These stations interconnect to other stations and also serve the short distance trains connecting Gwalior to nearby towns and villages.

There are other narrow gauge stations within the city, named and Motijheel. Gwalior lies on the longest functional broad gauge line in India between Delhimarker and Mumbaimarker.

Roads

Gwalior is fairly well connected to other parts of Madhya Pradesh and India with national and state highways. The Agra-Bombay national highway (NH3) passes through Gwalior.The Agra-Bombay Road runs though the city connecting it to Shivpuri on one end and Agra on the other. The city is connected to the Jhansimarker by the National Highway 75, towards the south of the city. In the Northern, the city is connected to the holy city of Mathuramarker via National Highway 3. There are bus services to and from all major and minor cities near Gwalior. The prominent one being Bhopalmarker, Agramarker, Delhimarker, Jabalpurmarker, Jhansimarker, Bhind, Morena, Datia, Jaipurmarker and Indoremarker.

Local transport

Gwalior's public transport system consists of tempos and horse drawn tongas (which run fixed routes much like a bus system) and auto rickshaw taxis. Recently the municipal corporation has launched Gwalior City Bus covering some routes in the city.

The tempos and auto-rickshaws, are often cited as a cause of pollution and road congestion, and the local government has plans to replace the tempos with vans that shall run on Liquefied Petroleum Gas. However, taken in itself, this solution ignores the congestion and pollution caused by private cars, which is far more significant especially considering that the impact of private cars is actually caused for the benefit of a very small section of the city's population.

History

In the 10th Century it was taken by the Kachwaha Rajputs. Qutb-ud-din Aybak captured the city in 1196. Shamsud-din Altamsh took control of the area in 1232. By the 15th century the city had a noted singing school which was attended by Tansen. It first fell to the British in 1780, but was one of the cities taken during the Sepoy Rebellion.

Today Gwalior includes the former city of Lashkar. Laskar was the capital of Gwalior state one of the princely states of India during the British Raj. It then served as the capital of Madhya Bharat from 1950-1956.

Buildings and Architecture

At the heart of Gwalior is its fortress (Gwalior Fortmarker), built by Raja Man Singh Tomar, of the Tomar dynasty. This formidable structure had the reputation of being one of the most invincible forts of Indiamarker. It occupies an isolated rock outcrop. The hill is steepended to make it virtually unscalable and is surrounded by high walls which enclose buildings from several periods. The old town of Gwalior lies at the eastern base of the fortress. Lashkar, formerly a separate town that originated as a military camp, lies to the south, and Morarmarker, also a formerly separate town, lies to the east . Gwalior, Lashkar and Morar are presently part of Gwalior Municipality.

Massive Gwalior Fort, popularly called Gibraltar of India overlooks the city. The great Mughal Emperor Babur reputedly described it as, "The pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind". This forts architecture is the only one in India, which shows Chinese influence, as Chinese dragons that have been crafted at the hilt of the pillars. This influence was due to trade between china and India.

In the east of the city are two magnificent examples of early Mughal architecture. One is mausoleum of, 16th century Sufi saint Ghous Mohammed, and another is tomb of Mian Tansen, a great singer and one of the 'Nine Jewels' of Emperor Akbar's court. Right next to them is the Gujari Mahal, which according to the local stories says that the maharaj made for his 9th queen, he was married to eight queens, but none were able to produce an heir for him, thus he finally married a milkman’s daughter called “naani”, later she was renamed “mrignayani” (meaning having eyes like deer), since she wasn’t of royal heritage, the maharaj had to make a separate palace for her, which is now called “Gujari Mahal”.

Close to the heart of the city is splendid Jai Vilas Palace, patterned on the style of the 'Palais de Versailles' in France combines Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian styles of architecture.

Rich in cultural heritage and architectural marvels, Gwalior has the added advantage of its proximity to Agra, the city of Taj Mahal, Khajuraho, the city of great temples and Delhi, the national capital.

Historically and architecturally, Gwalior is interesting first as a very ancient seat of Jain worship; secondly for its example of palace architecture of the best Hindu period (1486-1516); and thirdly as an historic fortress. Many historical places are found near the Dabramarker-Bhitarwarmarker Road. Prior to the founding of Gwalior the region was also known by its ancient name of Gopasetra. The great Apabhramsha poet Pandit Raighu lived in Gwalior. Gwalior had an institutional seat of the Bhattarakas of Kashtha Sangh and later Mula Sangh.



According to history, the original fort of Gwalior was founded by the Bargujar Kings during the 34th /35th centuary of Kali yuga as per puranas available with them. His palace is the most interesting example of early Hindu work of its class in India. Another palace of even greater extent was added to this in 1516. The Mughal emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan added palaces to these two, the whole making a group of edifices unequalled for picturesqueness and interest by anything of their class in central India. Among the apartments in the palace was the celebrated chamber, named the Baradari, supported on 12 columns, and 45 ft (15 m) square, with a stone roof, forming one of the most beautiful palace-halls in the world. It was, besides, singularly interesting from the expedients to which the Hindu architect was forced to resort to imitate the vaults of the Muslims. Of the buildings, however, which so excited the admiration of the first Mughal emperor Babur, probably little now remains.

Jai Vilas palace, in Lashkar is a marvellous palace museum, part of which is open to the public and gives a glimpse into the life of the royal family. The Fort area is also home of the Scindia School, a well regarded institution founded by the late Maratha Maharaja Madhavraoji Shinde of Gwalior in 1897.
Teli-ka-Mandir


A striking part of the Jain remains at Gwalior is a series caves or rock-cut sculptures, excavated in the rock on all sides, and numbering nearly a hundred, great and small. Most of them are mere niches to contain statues, though some are cells that may have been originally intended for residences. One curious fact regarding them is that, according to inscriptions, they were all excavated within the short period of about thirty-three years, between 1441 and 1474. One of the colossal figures is 57 ft (17 m) high, which is taller than any other in northern India.

Gwalior fort also has the Gurudwara Data Bandi built in the memory of the sixth Sikh Guru Har Gobind. This Gurudwara is particularly large and grand, built entirely of marble with coloured glass decorating the main building. Recital of the Guru Granth Sahib creates a peaceful and sacred atmosphere. Mughal kings used to visit Gwalior usually.

Art and culture

Gwalior is a well acknowledged place of art, associated with historic as well as contemporary evidence. In August 2005 a mural created by Aasutosh Panigrahi along with five other artist, was acknowledged as World's Largest Indoor Mural by Guinness Book of Records.

Gwalior holds an unparalleled reputation in Sangeet Greatest ever classical singer (Dhrupadiya) was Baijnath Prasad alias Baiju Bawra lived in Gwalior for his whole life under the patronage of Man Singh. Baiju was born in Chanderi and was cremated there only, got the training of music in Brindaban Under great Swami Guru Haridas ji. He was Court Musician of Gwalior along with Nayak Charju, Bakshu, and others.

Tansen, Born in Behat, trained in music at Vrindavanmarker, Served to Raja Ramchandra Waghela of Bandhawgarh, then went to Agramarker under the patronage of Akbar. After the death of Tansen in Fatehpur Sikrimarker and crimation in Agra the ashes were buried in Gwalior. Tansen Samaroh is held every year in Gwalior.

Ustad Natthu Khan, Hassu Khan, Haddu Khan, Nissar Hussain, Rehmat Khan, Shankarrao Vishnu Pandit, Ramkrishna Buwa Vaze, Rajabhaiyya Poonchhwale, Krishnarao Pandit, lived here and spread the magic of music. Renowned artiste Mrs. Malini Rajurkar, who is keeping the flame of Hindustani music alive today, also belongs to Gwalior.

Sarod Maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is also from the royal city of Gwalior. His grandfather Ghulam Ali Khan Bangash became a court musician in Gwalior.

Now, one of the great Hindustani classical singer Dr. Ishwar Chandra Karkare who is fourth generation of artists poets and musician family lives here and his classical music is full of spiritual joyousness.

Culturally Gwalior is the confluence of two rich cultures Bundeli and Braj. Bundelkhand covers Gwalior, Bhind, Morena, Sagar, Shivpuri, Guna, Sheopur and adjoining areas.

Ahiri Dance

This dance is related to people who have traditionally been in the business of cattle herding. In different parts of the state these people are known by different castes such as Ahir, Baredi, Gwal, Rawat, Raut, Gwala etc. These people believe that they are the descendents of Lord Krishna. Since this site is about Gwalior, here I am giving description of Baredi or Yadav dance of Bundelkhand only. If you wish to know more about dances in other parts of the state you are most welcome to contact me.

Baredi or Yadav dance of Bundelkhand

This dance has been associated with the biggest Hindu festival "Diwali". On the night of Diwali people worship Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and cattle. Next day on the occasion of "Padva" or "Parva" cattle are sent to jungles or ranches after being decorated with flowers and garlands. They are given special dishes as food. Yadav dance is performed on the same occasion.

Dancers dance in a circular path while singing songs. Sometimes they sit or lie down on earth and suddenly they restart their dance. Rhythm of the song is very low in starting and increases with time. Music instruments are started only when two lines of the song are finished. Primarily these are two line couplets. Sometimes these are in form of questions and answers. This dance continues till Kartik Purnima.

Dress, dancers, instrument beaters and their associates wear a clean turban on head. Some people like to put on Dhoti up to knees (long cloth wore by men enwrapping their waist). Some people specially dancers wear colorful shorts. Dancers also keep bunch of peacock feathers.

Music Instruments, mradang, dholak, ramtula, dhapli, manzira, jhanz etc. are used in this dance.

Saharia Dances

Saharias are tribal people who live in jungles. They work in farms and also collect medicinal plants from jungles. There are several dances of Saharias. Some of the important ones are:Lur Dance, Lanhgi Dance, Dul-Dul Ghodi Dance, Raya Dance, Ada-Khada Dance.

Lur dance of Saharias

This dance is performed on the occasion of marriage starting from the day of ritual of "Haldi" (In this ritual whole body is pasted with turmeric and after sometime it is removed so the body is cleaned) till the arrival of Barat (Bridegroom comes to the house of the bride with his relatives and friends for marriage ceremony).

Lanhgi dance of Saharias

This dance is also known as Danda (baton) dance because Saharias dance with small batons in their hands with which they strike at each other and perform Lanhgi dance. Only men are allowed in it. This dance is performed on the occasion of Bhujarias, Teja ji puja and Aekadashi etc.

Dul-Dul Ghori dance

This dance is performed on the occasion of marriage by males. In this dance a hollow case of ghori (mare) is prepared of bamboo sticks. The dancer stands in the hollow place and dances. (depicts various movements of mare) There is also a joker in women clothing. People sing folk songs during the dance.

Folk Poets

Jagnik

Jagnik was a folk poet of 11th-12th century. At that time some poets used to write biographies of folk warriors. These biographies were called "Raso". Jagnik wrote "Parmal raso" which is based on bravery of Chandel Raja Parmal and "Alha Khan" Which contains the description of 52 battles fought by Bundeli war heroes Alha and Oodal(Alha/udal were in army of chandel king Parmal). The style of singing alha khand has a unique distinction and it is very popular in the region. Dholak, timaki, jhinka, and majira are its musical instruments. People who sing alha are called "Alhet". Lalloo vajpayi is a very famous alhet.

Main festivals

All national festivals, Diwali, Holi, Makara Sankranti, Eid-ul-Fitr, Rakhi and other local ones like Nag-Panchmi, Ahilya Utsav, Ganesh Utsav, Garba (Navratri Utsav), Dussehara, Durga Puja are celebrated with equal enthusiasm. Last decade has seen a rise in celebration of events like Valentine's Day, Rose Day and New Year's Eve.

Gwalior also celebrates Rang Panchami quite differently. This festival is celebrated five days after Dulendi or Holi. This is also celebrated like Dulendi, but colors are mixed with water and then either sprinkled or poured on others.

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in a unique way in Gwalior city. People of Gwalior arrange a carnival of floats (known as "Jhanki" in local Hindi language) in various places of city.

Makar Sankranit - is a 'Kite Festival' where people fly kites and competitions are held to cut each other's kites in sky on 14 January each year.

Media and Communication

Local media in Gwalior is strong and flourishes. There are a number of newspapers, magazines, local TV stations.Dainik Bhaskar is one of the oldest newspaper publication and most widely read newspaper.

Other popular newspapers published in Gwalior are Raj Express, Dainik Madhya Raj, Nav Bharat, Swadesh, Naidunia, Dainik Jagran.

Evening newspaper : Sandhya Samachaar

The city has local TV stations from various companies. Major local channels are either by Hathway win, Harsh Networks etc.

Areas of the city

The Old Town

The old town of Gwalior, commonly called Hazira, which is of considerable size, but irregularly built, lies at the eastern base of the rock. It contains the tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Khanoon & Mahommed Ghaus, erected during the early part of Mughal emperor Akbar’s reign, and the tomb of Mian Tansen, a great singer and one of the 'Nine Jewels' of Akbar's court. A town called by his name Ghauspura situated near the tomb of Mohaommed Ghaus.

Close to the heart of the city is splendid Jai Vilas Palace, patterned on the French palace of Versailles. The town has a museum situated in the Gujari Mahal.

Lashkar

Lashkar is derived from the Persian lashkar, meaning army, or camp, as it was originally the camp, and later the permanent capital, of the Scindia dynasty of Gwalior state. Jayaji Chowk is the central focus of Lashkar, with a large square, a former opera house, banks, tea, coffee and juice stands and a municipal market building. Thriving bazaars surround the chowk.

Many jewellery shops are situated near Jayaji Chowk aka Maharaj bada. A source of water for the city Tighra Dam build on Saank river is 20 km north of here. The Gajra Raja Medical College, founded in 1946 by the Maharaja Jiwaji Rao Scindia and the Maharani Vijayaraje Scindia, is situated in Lashkar on Palace Road, near Katora Taal, together with a group of many hospitals.



Morar

Morarmarker, formerly a separate town, lies three miles (5 km) east of the old city. It was formerly a British military cantonment. Morar was the scene of the most serious uprising in Central India. By 1900 it had become a centre for local trade and had an important training industry, with a population of 19,179 in 1901.

The second Temple of the Sun in India is situated in Morar at Residency Road after The Konark Sun Temple. This Sun Temple was built by the Aditya Birla Trust.

The cantonment area makes up a large area of Morar which is official residences for the Indian Army. It has many canteens for Army personnel. Near it is located one of the schools in Gwalior: The St. Paul's School.

Morar is generally a rural farming town. There is a big Galla Mandi. There are some beautiful places in Morar also and the area is known as the green part of Gwalior because much of the area is still rural.

Thatipur

Thatipur is said to have got its name from an army unit which used to be here. Gandhi road divides the Thatipur area into two. On going along the road, one enters Morar at one end and Balwant Nagar on the other.

It primarily consists of Darpan Colony, the government blocks and Suresh Nagar. The places of mention are the Dwarikadhish Mandir, the Chauhan Pyau, Petrol Pump, Ramkrishna Aashram etc.

Healthcare

Gwalior is prominent for its health care facilities with leading hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. The prominent hospitals of Gwalior include Gajraraja Medical College and associated J.A. Hospital, Kamla Raja Hospital, Sahara Hospital, Cancer Hospital & Research Institute. Cancer Hospital & Research Institute is nationally acclaimed medical center in Oncology.

See also



References

  1. Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Gwalior
  2. Columbia-Lippincott Gazeteer, p. 740


External links




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