The principal entrance of Gwalior Fortress
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 1882. 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 8th
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 is considered to be one of the most remarkable early Hindu palaces and has a long east façade forming part of the curtain wall. The facade has round towers crowned with domes and linked by carved parapets and is decorated with ornamental friezes of blue tiles. This is a view looking along the ramparts with the palace facade on the right, and the approach ramp in the foreground. The photograph is from an album containing architectural and landscape studies of various sites in central India. The majority were taken by Deen Dayal while on tour with Sir Lepel Griffin (1838-1908), who served as Resident at Indore and Agent to the Governor-General of Central India between 1881 and 1888. Many are reproduced in autotype in his ‘Famous Monuments of Central India’ (London, 1886). This photograph is similar to plate 29, 'Top ascent of fort'. The album was formerly in the collection of Sir William Lee-Warner (1846-1912), who served in the Indian Civil Service and was a Member of the Council of India between 1902 and 1912.