Jain rock-cut figures, Gwalior.
Photographer: Bourne, Samuel
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph with a vista of the Jain statues in the rocky cliffs at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1880s, part of the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views in India. Gwalior in central India is the site of a magnificent fort, perched on a rocky plateau, which changed hands several times over the centuries. The site was occupied since the 6th century AD and even earlier, and by the 9th century the citadel was the stronghold of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty. Between the late 9th and early 10th century, a number of rock-cut shrines to Jaina saints were carved in the sandstone cliffs of Gwalior. Again in the 15th century, large Jaina sculptures were carved in the plateau at the base of the Fort. Most of the sculpture of these two main groups of Jaina shrines depict the 24 Jaina Tirthankaras or Fordmakers, saints who have succeeded in crossing the stream of rebirths and have forged a path for others to follow.