Gujari Mahal, is a palace built by Raja Man Singh of Gwalior for his beloved queen Mrignayni. There are a few folklore attached to making of this beautiful palace. As per one, the palace was built away from the massive Gwalior Fort as the queen belonged to a lower caste (gujar, a pastoral community) and there were protests from the king’s other queens and people from his court & kingdom. As per another version, Mrignayni had demanded a separate palace with constant water supply from river which flowed in her village.
Their love story was a tragic one. It speaks about how Raja Man Singh was smitten by the beauty, innocence and valour of this simple village girl and went on to marry her amidst opposition. Mrignayni married him after he agreed to two conditions she had laid. One being the river water bit as shared above and the other being that they shall always be together whether at home or the battlefield. As fate would have it, their marriage led to kingdoms distancing themselves from the Gwalior regime making it vulnerable to its enemies. Man Singh and his lady love Mrignayni breathed their last during a battle.
The palace was converted into an Archaeological Museum in 1922, housing beautiful, rare sculptures and artefacts of great historical importance from as early as the 1st century. The museum has 28 galleries and 6000+ artefacts, and is known for its collection of sculptures, coins, pottery, terracotta, paintings, inscriptions and weapons. Each piece is a marvel and its commendable how they have been maintained / preserved. The statue of Salabhanjika (often referred to as the Indian Mona Lisa), a marvelous miniature can be seen on request.
What follows below is an extremely brief virtual tour of what the archaeological museum has in store.
Its definitely a must visit for all travelers to the Gwalior City and its Fort.
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Monika Ohson / TravelerInMe