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A View of the Fortress of Gwalior

A View of the Fortress of Gwalior

Artist: Popham, Major Willm.

Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink

Date: 1780

Shelfmark: Ktop CXV

Item number: 54-a

Length: 39.3

Width: 59.9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Topographical Drawing

Drawing by Major William Popham in 1780 of the great hill fort of Gwalior, now in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. The battlements, towers and domes of the fortress on its rocky sandstone plateau create an impressive view. The fortress has a long history over many centuries and is one of the most spectacular examples of Indian architecture. Each dynasty of rulers left their mark on the hilltop but most of the monuments of the fort complex date from the 9th to the 16th centuries. The earliest inscription, indicating that Gwalior was part of the regions taken over by the Hunas (Huns), dates from the 6th century. The Teli ka Mandir temple dates from the 8th century. By the 9th century Gwalior was an important centre for the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty of central India. During this period several rock-cut Jain temples were carved into the walls of the plateau. The sultans of Delhi conquered the fort in the 13th century, but the Tomara Rajputs regained it in the late 14th century and many splendid palaces and fortifications were added under their rule. Gwalior submitted to the Delhi sultans again in 1518 and finally passed to the Mughals in 1588. In the second half of the 18th century it became a stronghold of Maratha power. The British successfully besieged the fort in 1780 and the Scindhia rulers acceded to a subordinate status under the British by means of the Treaty of Salbai in 1782.

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