Hathi Pol Gate, Man Mandir Palace, [Gwalior]
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Hathi Pol Gate at Gwalior Fort in Madhya Pradesh, taken by an unknown photographer in c.1882, part of the Gladstone Collection. 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 Hindu, Muslim and British rulers. It rose to great prominence during the period of Tomara Rajput rule between 1398 and 1518, particularly during the reign of Raja Man Singh (1486-1517). The fort stands on a long, narrow, sheer-sided hill with the main entrance on the eastern side, where a long ramp leads up through six gates to the summit of the rock. The Hathi Pol Gate (or Hathiya Paur) is the last of the series and forms the principal entrance of the Man Mandir, built by Man Singh and considered to be one of the most remarkable Hindu palaces. It takes its name from a life-sized statue of an elephant (hathi) which once stood outside the stone gate. The gate is set between cylindrical towers crowned with cupola domes linked by carved parapets, at the south-east corner of the palace’s long east façade. The palace is also known as Chit Mandir or 'Painted Palace' for its exterior is decorated with ornamental friezes of bright blue, green and yellow tiles, traces of which can be seen around the gateway.