The mighty Gwalior Fort was built in the 15th century by Raja Mansingh Tomar on a hilltop that overlooks the city. It is build on a hill of sandstone and towers 100 m from the plain. The outer wall of the fort is almost 2 miles in length and the width varies from one kms to 200 meters. The walls of the fort gives way onto the steep slopes. This fort has been a witness to many battles in the turbulent times as well as as festivals in the peace time.
The fort can be accessed by a winding path which takes you up hill and is flanked by statues of Jain Tirthankars carved into the rock faces. Within its walls this citadel treasures numerous marvels of medieval architecture-- palaces, temples and other structures many of which are in ruins but some are in excellent shape. The fort has changed hands from the Tomars to the Mughals to the Marathas to the British.
Within the fort are some marvels of medieval architecture. The 15th century “Gujari Mahal” is a monument to the love of Raja Mansingh Tomar for his intrepid Gujar Queen, Mrignayani. The outer structure of Gujari Mahal has survived in an almost total state of preservation; the interior has been converted into Archaeological Museum housing rare antiquities,some of them dating back to the 1st century A.D. Even though many of these have been defaced by the iconoclastic Mughals , their perfection of form has survived the ravages of time. Particularly worth seeing is the statue of Shalbhanjika from Gyraspur, the tree goddess, the epitome of perfection in miniature . The statue is kept in the custody of the museum's curator, and can be seen on request.
The fort’s most eminent palaces are the amazingly ornate Man Singh Palace, built by Man Singh in the 15th century. Then there's the Jauhar Kund, which marks the spot where the women of the harem burnt themselves to death after the defeat of the king of Gwalior in 1232.The 9th century Teli Ka Mandir, towering a 1000 ft high, is a Pratihara Vishnu temple of a unique blending of architectural styles. Also dedicated to Vishnu is the graceful Sas-Bahu Ka Mandir, built in the 11th century.