Gujari Mahal, an archaeological museum in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
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 Gwalior Fort Walls as we walk down to the Gujari Palace below and outside the fort.
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.
Lintel of a gateway from the 5th Century, Gupta Period (Pawaya) depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, and a dance accompanied by music
Pillars & Door jamb from the 10th century
Railing of a 11th century stupa (Besnagar)
Beautiful artefacts from 2nd century on wards are on display in Gujari Mahal
Looks like one piece? But its an apt assembly of various sculptures like Sadhus (10th Century), Hanumanji (15th Century), Lintel (11th Century), Utarang Patt (10th Century)
Glimpse of Gwalior Fort from Gujari Mahal
Part of the monolithic Palm capital (5th century) of Pawaya.
L-R: Vishnu in his kumra (turtle) incarnation – 8th century; Lord Vishnu riding his vahana Garuda; Lord Vishnu in his Varaha (boar) incarnation – 7th century
Sati Stambh of various centuries
The surasundaris and in the center 10th century Panchagni Parvati
Dancing Ganesh; Shiv Parvati; Surya riding his chariot
Its definitely a must visit for all travelers to the Gwalior City and its Fort.
Salabhanjika or the Indian Mona Lisa, which one can see on request. Pic courtesy google search
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Monika Ohson / TravelerInMe