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Rock cut Carvings at Urwai Gate - Gwalior Fort

Walls of Gwalior Fort have been a silent and bruised witness to tides of history. These walls have celebrated the glory, and have withstood battering by the invaders as well. Why not, earliest evidence say the Fort was built as early as 727 AD and was subsequently refurbished, expanded and provided its present shape in 15th century.

Also considered as the impenetrable Forts in India, the Western Gate of the Gwalior Fort is one of the striking parts of the Fort. However, most of the visitors unknowingly miss it out over the Gwalior Fort. Also, the local travel planners/ guides generally do not inform about this stunning Western entrance to the Gwalior Fort, known as Urwai Gate which greets the visitors with colossal rock cut architecture. 

The right-hand view from the Fort entry gate, metal road going up the hill ensures visitors miss out noticing the rock cut carvings and also roadside trees covering the view of these marvellous rock cut caricatures do not help the cause of these monuments. I too would have missed, had I not came across this view, while going up the hill and if I had not asked at the gate about these Rock-Cut sculptures.


The policeman at the gate was benevolent enough to guide me properly about the location of this spot, which was quite close to the fort entry gate. There was ample parking space in front of the sculptures to park the Activa, I was riding. It was time to take a break on left hand side and spend some time in appreciating these beautiful carvings and efforts invested in carving these king size masterpieces. Once you are here, massive rock-cut sculptures of the Jain tirthankaras line up on the mountain along the ramp. 

The Urwai group of rock-cut monuments are also known as Siddhanchal. The rock cut figures are huge in appearance. However, if you go close to these sculptures and watch carefully, the intricate designing around the Tirthankar figures is equally impressive and worth appreciation.

Rock-cut architecture is a speciality of India, unlike anywhere in the world. Depending on your interest and taste for exploring old monuments, you may spend around 30-40 minutes on the left-hand side sculptures.

When you start moving up the Urwai Valley towards the Gwalior Fort, hardly 200m. up the road there is another cluster of rock cut sculptures on right hand side, down the hill. Being downhill this section of the rock cut sculptures gets concealed from the view, you need to be careful to check the location. This is truly another architectural wonder in Gwalior.

Stop over at this point can be adventurous if you find unique ways to click the downhill monuments. Being downhill, getting an angle to capture the figures is quite a task.

After getting down from this wall, I realised if could have been dangerous. But spurt of moment and excitement brings out the crazy side of us. I can not disclose who clicked this picture? Please take caution. So I took the stairs to reach the bottom of the amazing sculpted hill. I had become Indiana Jones for sometime and then I started clicking again-

Out of all 24 rock cut sculptures, the tallest one is approx. 57-feet standing sculpture of Adinath. 

These sculptures probably date back to 6th to 8th century AD. Do not know whether they were painted by chisels or crafted by pain brush.
Damage to the sculptures due to continuous attacks by invaders along with gradual wear and tear due to water seepage can be seen on the figures. Smashed faces have a lot to say.

However, restoration is ongoing as the case with all of the ancient monuments around India. Despite that these monuments are appealing to the eyes.

Not only big ones, the continuing hill has number of lined carvings, probably unfinished ones.

The city of Gwalior has a historical lineage huge enough to compete with the big ones. 

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