North façade of the first court of the Man Mandir Palace, Gwalior 10031438
Photographer: Bourne and Shepherd
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Man Mandir in Gwalior, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections, taken by Bourne and Shepherd in c.1883. Since the eighth century Gwalior has had a succession of rulers including the Rajputs, Mughals and Marathas. It rose to great prominence during the period of Tomar Rajput rule between 1398 and 1518, particularly during the reign of Raja Man Singh (r.1486-1517). The Man Mandir is a remarkable Hindu palace built by Man Singh inside the fort at Gwalior. The fort stands on a long, narrow, sheer-sided hill almost 100 m (300 feet) high. A long ramp on the eastern side leads up through six gates to the summit of the hill to the main entrance. The palace dominates the east flank of the fort with its impressive façade forming part of the curtain wall, regularly spaced by circular towers with domed pavilions. The walls of the southern facade are covered in blue, yellow and green tiles applied in friezes of geometric patterns or geese and crocodiles with entwined tails. On the solid part of the parapet are further friezes of elephants, peacocks and trees. The interior of the palace comprises a series of apartments arranged around two inner courts whose walls are decorated with intricate carving. This view shows the carved geometric relief patterns that cover the wall of the north façade of the first court.