Thursday, 21 November 2019

An architectural tour through Madhya Pradesh’s empires

Stuck in the middle of the mighty Indian subcontinent, Madhya Pradesh was always a prime target for conquest. Every empire worth its arrows made incursions into these dusty plains, leaving an indelible mark on the region’s architecture, culture and people.

There are stories here to rival the romance of Rajasthan and the siren song of the south, but most travellers zip through the state, pausing just long enough for a tiger safari in one of the state’s famous national marks but missing its myriad human marvels.

We encourage you to linger a while on the journey south from Rajasthan or Uttar Pradesh, in backwater towns with all the grandeur of Agra and Udaipur but few of the crowds. Madhya Pradesh has temples dripping with erotic carvings, ghost cities forged by several conquerors, Buddhist stupas raised by a penitent emperor and the mighty palaces of millionaire maharajas lording it over the plains, all telling a tale of warring empires and the ultimate futility of the pursuit of power.

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Gwalior: Madhya Pradesh’s great prize

The empires to rise and fall on the plains of Madhya Pradesh left an unusually rich imprint on the cities they left behind, creating a stone-hewn map of their ideas and identity. In the ancient city of Gwalior, a short hop across the state border from Agra, that identity was all about grandeur and power. The Hindu kings of the powerful Tomar dynasty raised mighty Gwalior fort to project their status, but they soon attracted the attention of the sultans of Delhi, who stormed into town and remodelled the fort in their image in 1517.

 



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via Lonely Planet India

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