Deo Bagh

16th February 2014 (Day 8) Gwalior

After our long rough drive from Agra we received a most pleasant surprise with our accommodation for the night in Gwalior. This was Deo Bagh, an historic residence open as a hotel for two years only.

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Deo Bagh is a charbagh which is a Persian garden layout with the garden divided into four quarters.  Mogul Emperors camped here in the sixteenth century and this is the chhattis-dari (36-pillared pavilion) at its centre.  It is surrounded by a moat and there is a room beneath.  The women of the court would take refuge in that room as a cool place to hide out in the summer heat.

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In the grounds of the hotel are two Hindu Temples from the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries in a very fine state of preservation.  Unlike many other places we visited where we were obliged to rush through under time constraints, here we could consider these temples at our leisure and use tripods.  They are private family temples and date to the eighteenth century when the Marathas took over Gwalior.

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These are some of the details on the outside of one of the temples.

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To put this remarkable place in context I need to say something of the history of Gwalior.  There has been human activity in this area for a very long time.   Paleolithic implements have been unearthed in the region.  There are many cave paintings in the area and also iron age pottery has been found in Gwalior.

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A city here dates back to at least the second century AD and the area is dominated by the mighty fortified massif, of which we shall see more in the next post.

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For much of its history, Gwalior was controlled by the Kachwacha rajputs and from time to time the Sultans of Delhi then the Moguls for about two centuries.  From 1754 a Scindia family of the Marathas took over.  They came to be closely allied with the British and there is still a Scindia Mahajarah of Gwalior.

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