Photographer: Deen Dayal, Lala (1844-1905)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the main entrance to the hillfort at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, taken by Lala Deen Dayal in the 1870s. The great fortress of Gwalior is one of the most famous in India and has been described as "the pearl in the necklace of the castles of Hind". Its ancient origins and tumultuous history can be traced back to the sixth century, since when it has been the contested possession of a succession of rulers including the Rajputs, Mughals, Marathas and the British. It rose to great prominence during the period of Tonwar Rajput rule between 1398 and 1518, particularly during the reign of Raja Man Singh (1486-1517). It was first taken by Sindhia, one of the powerful Maratha chiefs, in the mid-18th century and in 1886 was ceded by the British to the dynasty in exchange for Jhansi. The fort stands on a long, narrow, sheer-sided hill almost 100 m (300 feet) high, with the main entrance on the eastern side, where a long ramp leads up through six gates to the summit of the rock. The Man Mandir, built by Man Singh at the end of the 15th century and considered to be one of the most remarkable early Hindu palaces, has a long east façade forming part of the curtain wall. This is a view looking up the road that leads to the entrance gate, with ramparts and the palace facade, with round towers at intervals, at right. The photograph is from an album containing topographical and architectural views in central India taken by Lala Deen Dayal (1844-1905). The majority of prints are signed and represent some of his earliest work.