Facts

Jora Alapur / जौरा अलापुर

क्या आप जानते हैं , इब्नबतूता 1342ई मैं मुरेना जिले के जोरा- अलापुर आया था 

जौरा ग्वालियर स्टेट के दौरान सन 1904 तक सिकरवारी का सूबा अर्थात ज़िला मुख्यालय रहा है। सन 1905 में ग्वालियर स्टेट में जिला पुनर्गठन आयोग की सिफारिश पर तंवरघार सिकरवारी ज़िले को मिलाकर एक ज़िला बनाया गया जिसका मुख्यालय जौरा में रखा गया।

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Sabalgarh / सबलगढ़

सबलगढ़ का इतिहास अत्यन्त प्राचीन है। महाभारत काल मे यह क्षेत्र ” चेदि ” राजाओं के अधीन रहा। प्राचीन भारत मे यह अलग अलग काल खण्डों में क्रमशः मौर्य , कुषाण एवं गुप्त राजाओं के अधीन रहा। 8वी से 12 सदी के बीच इस क्षेत्र पर गुर्जर प्रतिहार , चंदेल और कच्छपघात वंश के राजाओं ने शासन किया। मुगलों के आने के पूर्व यह क्षेत्र ऐसाह एवं ग्वालियर के तोमर राजाओं के अधीन रहा।अकबर के शासनकाल में यह क्षेत्र आगरा सूबा के अंतर्गत मंडरायल सरकार अधीन था। 17 वी सदी के अंतिम दशक में यहाँ नरवर के प्रधानमंत्री और सेनापति खाण्डेराव के नबल सिंह खंडेराव का शासन रहा।
18 सदी के आरंभ में यह सिकरवारों के अधीन था तदुपरांत करौली के जादौनो के अधीन रहा। ग्वालियर स्टेट गज़ेटियर के अनुसार सबलगढ़ को साबला गुर्जर ने बसाया था किंतु मौजूदा किले का निर्माण करौली के राजा गोपालसिंह द्वारा कराया गया।
सन 1750 ई. में यूरोपियन यात्री ट्रीफन थ्रेलर यहां होकर गुजरा। उसने अपने यात्रा वृतांत में ” सबलगढ़ किले को एक मजबूत किला ” होने का उल्लेख किया है।
सन 1795 में यह किला मराठाओं ने करौली के जदौनों से छीन लिया और मराठा सरदार खाण्डेराव को यहॉं का प्रशासक नियुक्त किया। सन 1809 में “जीन बैपेरिस्ट ” द्वारा इसे अपने अधिपत्य में ले लिया गया किन्तु कुछ समय पश्चात इसे मराठाओं को फिर बापस कर दिया गया।
ग्वालियर स्टेट के दौरान सर दिनकर राव (1859-62) की देखरेख में ब्रिटिश प्रशासनिक ब्यबस्था को अपनाया गया। ग्वालियर राज्य को ग्वालियर ,ईशागढ और मालवा तीन प्रान्तों में विभाजित किया गया। इन प्रान्तों को 19 जिलों और 62 परगनो में विभाजित किया गया।
इस प्रशासनिक ब्यबस्था में सबलगढ़ जिला बना , किन्तु स न 1904 में पुनर्गठन में प्रान्तों की संख्या तीन से घटा कर दो ग्वालियर और मालवा कर दी गई। इसी पुनर्गठन में जिलों की संख्या 19 से घटा कर 13 कर दी गई। सबलगढ़ ज़िले को श्योपुर ज़िले में सम्मलित कर दिया गया और सबलगढ़ परगना मुख्यालय रह गया।
ग्वालियर स्टेट के दौरान सबलगढ़ बहुत तरक्की हुई। नए ढंग का बाज़ार संतरों के नाम से बनाया गया। मदरसा , अस्पताल और रियासत का डाक खाना कायम किया गया।
सन 1880 में रेस्ट हाउस बनाया गया जो आज भी चम्बल डिवीजन का सबसे बेहतरीन रेस्ट हाउस है।सिंचाई की सुविधा के लिए सबलगढ़ , टोंगा जैसे कई तालाब बनबाये गए।
सन 1904 में ग्वालियर लाइट रेल्बे की ग्वालियर सबलगढ़ शाखा पर नैरोगेज ट्रेन चलाई गई जो यात्रियों की सुविधा के साथ – साथ अकाल के समय पानी और चारा आदि लाने ले जाने काम भी करती थी।
सन 1906 में राहत कार्यों के दौरान इसका निर्माण श्योपुरकलां तक किया गया।यह ट्रेन आज भी पिछले 114 साल से लगातार चल रही है जो एक ज़माने में इस क्षेत्र की जीवन रेखा रही है।
स न 1891 में सबलगढ़ कस्बे की आवादी 6111 थी ,1901 में आवादी 6039 रह गई जिसमें 3080 पुरुष एवं 2959 महिलाये थी।

Gohad

The rule of Jaats started at Gohad in the reign of Sinhan Dev Pratham of Pachokhara . The independent authority of Jaat rulers on Gohad belongs to Sikandar Lodhi (1489-1517 AD) and Maansingh tomar of Gwalior. But the jaat rulers were very positive and gets supports from each and every one. Almost 15 rulers ruled from this dynasty in which noteworthy are Sinhan dev 2 , rana bheem singh , rana chatra singh . As per the tales of Jaagaa the fortress of Gohad was built by Sinhan Dev 2 around 16th century .

The main entrance door of Gohad is called Itayali Gate which is in good condition but the plaster from inside is almost damaged . The main Gate of Gohad fortress is called Sankal Darwaja (gate) which is the main gate to enter the gohad fort covered with a security wall.Old fort and new forrt both are inside the wall and in which tehsil office is running.

Old forts ramparts are damaged from many places and buildings ceiling is almost broken. We one can get only pillars and walls of the monument.For the greed of secret money many local peoples also excavated this fort and damaged this gohad fort from many places.Carvings on the arch doors of the Darbaar Hall is high class mixed with hindu and muslim cultures.For example scenery of Battle of Medhe on the top of the gate, foxes chasing reindeer , flagstones of vase on the pillars with creepers all over and a parrots bending and eating flowers , the figures of peacocks and swans are incredibly equivalent as excellent are the mosaics carved here.Even now flashes of these colors are safe and attractive. Sheesh mahal has excellent lime plaster on it with mirrors enclosed in it. After looking the paintings and carvings here it seems that during the climax of power the castle was glaring in the lavish and luxury of splendour and caliber.

Alampur

Alampur was built on the name of Alam Shah Pavar who came here as the governor of province. No one knows about the origin of the Alampur Fortress but we can make supposition according to its architecture that this must be built around 14-15th century.

There are two entrance one at East and other one at North,however the door at the east was the main entrance of the fortress and it seems that Door at the north was built later.The ramparts of the fortress are damaged at present but it can be supposed that the Fortress was very strong in the past.Shala bhavan inside the fortress which looks similar to darbaar is having cracks at many places but can be reinforced again after little maintenance. Currently a trust office is running at the second Building which is in nice condition and possibly this was the residence of the governor of the province.A Shrine and a Shiv temple is situated just in front of this building.

Every other building of this fortress got damaged and if no one pays concentration the remaining will also get damaged and we will loose one of our heritage again.

Chatri Alampur Of Malhar rao – This canopy is located on the left side of the entrance of Alampur in 1766 AD Malhar rao Holkar camped here during there battle with Jaat Rulers during which he died here and a Spectacular canopy was built here in his memory and its currently known as “Malhar Rao Holkar Chatrii “.Chatri is built on a 6ft high scaffold on the with a sanctorum in the middle and encompass path around it founded on the pillars. Nice carvings filled with colors are on the roof of the encompassing path and vines are carved on the walls of sanctorum inspired by Iranian Style. Carvings are also there on the balcony of the sanctorum (गर्भगृह) with sun on the middle of north,east and south while a tortoise on the west balcony. Sanctorium remain above the main peak which is oval in shape amra vase (आम्र कलश) at its top. Lot of other peaks are around the main peak.The sanctorum also has windows all around. The wall on the left side of canopy has statues of the ruling family with five panels of such. Some statues are also there on the walls of the canopy . At present a trust is looking after the Chatri.

Ater

Ater is situated 30 kms north west of the Bhinds district headquarters. Its ancient name ” Udaynagari ” was acquired from the records of Bhadoria rulers. During 1700 AD the Bhadoria rulers here was on there climax period but there rulers were never remained independent .Earlier they are subordinates of Mughals and Later they remain under Scindias. Discription of around 23 rulers of ater was found in various records , texts and other sources in which Ruler Badan Singh , Maha Singh , Jai SIngh , Anirudh Singh and Bukht Singh are noteworthy. Ater fortress was built by Ruler Badan Singh and major architectures are

Mahadwar
Khooni Darwaja
Deewane Aam
Deewane Khaas
Hathiya paur
Satkhanda
Raja rani ke bangle
Worship sites of ruler family
Ratiwas Chowk
The lattice of stones carved inside the fortress have their own artistic importance.Almost all the architecture fortress have impact of Mughal Style. Lattice are carved very closely and on the upper side of those lattices flowers are carved left right and inside and “Allah Taalaa ” is engraved in Arab Language. There for when the fortress was built it was kept in mind to make their Mughal Emperors happy.The construction of this fortress was started at 1701 AD by Maharaj Badane Singh and completed b Mahraja Mahasingh at 1725 AD.This fortress has total three inscriptions present.

Mahadwar – Peoples have belief about this door that on the day of Dushehra every year a goat was slaughtered and its blood was filled in a tank just above the door which drips drops by drop from a cell or opening. But it looks that due to the red color of this door the peoples have started calling it ” Khooni Darwaza “
Deewan-e-Aam – This part of the fortress was used during local gathering or celebration of community festivals. Scaffold of 4′x50′x80′ size is there for the sitting of the king and other prestigious peoples, a catacomb is also there just below the scaffold. On all the edges of scaffold flagstones are carved with beautiful shelfs for putting lamps in it and on the right side of scaffold there is a place to tie an elephant of the king with red stones.
Deewan-e-khaas – It has a beautiful garden and fountains with a octagon scaffold right in the middle with peices of octagonal marbles and red stones. A Mughal Style sitting place of the king on the south front of this scaffold at Deewan-e-Khaas.A temple is also there just at the right side of this scaffold. Just below the temple there is a bathroom of the queens having lattices for fresh air and light with mazes in which anyone can get lost in for playing and entertainment.Porches are there in front left and right side of this part.
Satkhanda – At the south of Deewan-e-Khaas seven floor septagonal building called “Satkhanda” of which two floors are catacomb and 5 floors are normal.From the top of “Satkhanda” building one can wach miles away from Ater. North part of this buliding was used as a security checkpost which is having an amazing look of the river also. Mortar including calmshell mixture is used at every floor of the building having its shine and whitish look same at present as in the past with red stone lattices.


Bungalow or King and Queen – From the second floor of satkhanda there is a passage to reach the bungalow of King and Queen . This bungalow is founded on the pillars with lattices to look out the nature from inside with a roof.Small rooms are located on both the sides of the porch which is build up of mortar mixed with clamshell. On the left side of the porch a lamp holder shelf with Lord Laxmi carved holding a elephant upside down by its tail. There carvings are the symbol of celebration of happiness after winning another state . This part of the building was used for fun during summers and rainy season. A flagstone of Maharaja Bakht Singh adorned with designation of “Maharajadhiraaj” of 1822AD is situated on the top of this building with Mohammad Ami who was perhaps the artisan of that time.

Bhind Behind Screen

Todays Bhind whose identity is of Guns and Docoits was not the same in ancient times. This region was pious and filled with the penance of Saints and wed chants. The history bhind is related to Era of “Ramayana” and “Mahabharata”.

The city Bhind was named after vimandaks apbhransh Sage named “Bhindi”.Burial of Saint Bhindi is located on the right side of Fort of Bhind and has the faith of the people of Bhind. Lankadheesh Ravana stayed in the Sage Bhindis Ashram while going to the swayamvar of Sita and the “Kuan of Ravan” is the symbol of that. According to the opinion of various peoples here ” Pandavas ” arrived here during there agyatwas ( time duration where peoples have to stay without there identity ). The actuality of this event is based on the opinion of Bhinds nearness to Chakarnagar a Tahsil In Etawah District of Uttar Pradesh where pandavas stayed during there agyatvaas.

The relics of gorgeous and pious temples of ancient Hindu and Jain henchman of Gupt ,Rajpoot and Mughal Period was found all over the bhind and which we are getting yet are the evidence of Bhinds relation with Saints , Sages and a prosperous region.Todays Bhind which is synonomous to terror was once a religious , pious and calm region.

Prithviraj Chauhan made his debut in this region for a battle with centurion Malkhaan of Chandel prince Parmardidev varman . Pratchviraj Chaunhan installed 100 shivlingas and statues of family of Lord Shiva and Gauri Saravar during that period.If he was able to establish one more Shivlinga here then this place will be a pilgrimage like batesar of Hindu Religion. Prithviraj Chauhan also established a mound of the tilage which came out during the excavation of ” Gauri Sarovar ” and established a security checkpoint on it ,later “Mevatis” ruled this check point , after them rulers of Bhadoria reign built it as a fortress to get secured from the apprehensive attacks from the Jaat Rulers of Gohad and also established a temple called “Gopal Mandir” for the worship done by their family. The marble statues of this temple are very attractive . The court hall “Darbaar Hall ” situated inside the fortress (presently a museum) as built up by Scindias later on. Its totally western style and all the buildings around are of same size.

Oldest Record Of Zero In India

The Gwalior city is now both sprawling and crowded, with a population of perhaps 2,000,000, but until recently it was relatively small, and designed to be small.

The Gwalior fort occupies a plateau in what is now the center of the city, but was once on its western boundary. The plateau is about 300 feet high built of basalt, rising steeply from the plain below. It is a bit less than two miles in length from north to south, maybe an average of a half mile from west to east.

The site is of mathematical interest because of what is written on a tablet recording the establishment of a small 9th century Hindu temple on the eastern side of the plateau (marked by the '' on the nineteenth century map at the left). By accident, it records the oldest zero “0” in India for which one can assign a definite date.

The Temple

The temple is dated to 876 A. D. and is much older than the current fort, whose construction was begun in the late 15th century, although it was built quite a while after the original one constructed on the plateau. It is, like many temples in India, monolithic – that is to say, originally carved out of one single chunk of stone. It was dedicated to Vishnu, but is no longer an active site of worship.

The temple is named Chatur-bhuja, that of the four-armed god. Who was reponsible for the (literal) defacement of the statue is not known to me.

The Tablet

Just inside the inner chamber, on Vishnu’s right hand side, is the dedication tablet. The tablet records the date (in the local era, which started in 57 B. C.), the dimension of a land grant to a neighbouring temple, and the size of a daily gift of flowers to be paid for from an endowment made to this temple.

Om. Adoration to Vishnu! In the year 933, on the second day of the bright half of the month of Magha …

… the whole town gave to the temple … which Alla, the son of Vaillabhatta, had caused to be built … a piece of land … 270 hastas in length …

… and 187 hastas in breadth, for a  flower garden …

… the town gave in perpetual endowment … for a daily gift of 50garlands of flowers …

What is surprising about these numbers is that they are so similar to what modern civilization uses currently. The more you learn about how our current number symbols developed – transmitted from the Hindus to the Persians, then to Mediterranean Islam, and differently in East and West – the more remarkable this appears. Here, for comparison, are some numbers from the bus system of Mumbai:

The background

What the Gwalior tablet shows is that by 876 A. D. our current place-value system with a base of 10 had become part of popular culture in at least one region of India.

We know almost nothing of how this decimal place-value notation came about, although there are many suggestive facts. One feature of Hindu culture in the middle centuries of the first millennium was that its texts were largely in verse, and preserved through oral tradition. It is hard to fit a useful numerical notation into such a scheme, and in fact what we see is a large literature, written down only much later than it originated, with numbers – often very, very large numbers – written in a kind of decimal place-value notation, but in words instead of symbols. Furthermore, the demands of the metric of the verses required that the exact words chosen to represent a given digit might vary from one point to another, so as to scan correctly. Whether this usage overlay more convenient calculation with symbols is not known to us, although it is almost inconceivable that it did not.

Another problem is that the climate of India is harsh. Paper was introduced to India late, and until then the materials on which things were written were birch bark in the north and palm leaves in the south. These are both extremely fragile. There are many extant manuscripts written on these, but nearly all of relatively recent date.

One of the more intriguing questions about the origin of decimal place-value notation is what connection it had to a much older tradition from a nearby region. The Babylonians began writing in about 3000 B.C., and had the good fortune to write on clay tablets, which can last for a very long time. We have extensive records from several thousand years of their development. They used an extremely sophisticated place-value system, remarkably much the one we use today, from very roughly 2000 B.C. on, but with a base of 60 instead of 10, and without “0”. All the evidence that I am aware of suggests that this was technology acquired only by an elite group through rigourous training. This somewhat ambiguous notation persisted to about 300 B.C. when Babylonian astronomical tables started to incorporate a symbol that to some extent performed as zero, that is to say as a sign to indicate a space between two “digits”. This was adopted in modified form by Greek astronomers after the conquests of Alexander, and this science in turn was transmitted (along with astrology!) to India sometime in the first few centuries of the current era. Exactly how these transmissions occurred is lost to us.

References

    • Alexander Cunningham, Four reports made during the years 1862-63-64-65, Archaeological Survey of India, 1865.

Section XVI of volume II contains the only substantial history of the city and principality of Gwalior that I have been able to locate. Cunningham mentions the temple and the tablet as well as its date 933, but does not mention the other numbers.

    • E. Hultsch, The two inscriptions of the Vaillabhattasvamin temple at GwaliorEpigraphia Indica I, pages 154–161.

There are two inscriptions in the temple at Gwalior, one just above the entrance in a small domed porch, and the other on the left inside wall. The first is, as Hultsch says, written in a more attractive style (and, he also says, a more stylish Sanskrit), but has no mathematical interest, contrary to what is sometimes said.

Hultsch’s article contains a transcription of the tablet into modern Sanskrit script, an English translation, and a reproduction of a rubbing of the tablet. Aside from the numerals, the tablet does not seem to be of much historical interest.

    • George Ifrah, The universal history of numbers, Penguin, 2000.

This book is useful, perhaps even indispensable, for someone interested in the history of numbers. It is a huge compendium of material, some fascinating and much – alas – of very little interest. One problem is that the author fails to warn you when he is relying on secondary material and when on first hand. This problem actually arises in his account of the temple of Gwalior – he has apparently misread Hultsch’s transliteration and thought that the numbering of the Sanskrit verses found there was part of the inscription. One very valuable feature of Ifrah’s books is the extensive bibliography.

    • Robert Kaplan, The nothing that is, Oxford University Press, 1999.

This book mentions Gwalior, but it is an uninteresting account, and seems to be passing on only third-hand information (as I have said, a frequent phenomnon in popular accounts of the history of science). I doubt that he has bothered to read Hultsch’s article. but instead seems to rely principally on Ifrah. Even taking this into account, the sketches of the numerals at Gwalior have strangely little resemblance to the originals.

Note : This is a research work done by Bill Casselman
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
cass at math.ubc.ca

The Musical Glory of Gwalior

Abdul Fazal’s ‘AIN-E-AKBARI’ have detailes that in the Darbar of Akbar out of 36 highest ranking singers 15 artists were of Gwalior parampara . Out of them “Sangeet Samraat Tansen” of behat nearby Gwalior hardly needs any introduction. Similarly in reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Gwalior was undoubtedly the highest cultural center because thens Mughal Governor of Kashmir “Fakeerullah Khan” has described Gwalior as “Shiraz” of India in his musical boo ” Raag Darpan”.

In 15th century Raja Man singh of Tomar dynasty of Gwalior has been attributed giviing popularity to music in Gwalior. He invented Dhrupad style of Indian Classical and established first Sangeet Vidyapeeth (Music Training School)  all over the world at Gwalior Fort and by establishing many creation of Dhrupads extended his great contribution.

In another study in the first chapter of “FRISHTA- KE ITHAS” there is an interesting mention of development and progress of music. Malchand whoes poetry is famous in Malwa, brought music from south to Gwalior.It is mentioned the book that music was propagated by Malchand in India.

Malchand remained in Gwalior for very long and dynasty of Talingi music family reached all over India from Gwalior.  Gwalior’s music tradition is quite old, Helping hands of Tomar dynasty in the develppment of music is described in  Tabat-e-Akbari written by khwaja Nazimudin Ahmed in which it is mentioned that exchange of musical books between Doongar Singh Tomar and Jain-ul Abedin of Kashmir.

Raja Man Singh was a great adjudge of art of music. Queen Mrignaini was helpful to King Mansingh in his music recitals; Mrignaini has become ever lasting in music grafted in the name of Gujri, Bahul Gujri, Maal Gujri and Mangal Gujri.

Raja Man Singh has credit for writing “Maan Koutuhal” a music book which was later translated by Fakirulla. Its manuscripts are available in Raja Library Rampur (U.P). This book contains the version of  Sangeet Sammelan (Musical Convention ) held by King Man singh Tomar of gwalior. This fact is corroborated by Abul Fajal.He described that  Bakhshu, Charju, Karan and Bhanu were the four artists of Man singh. They had assembled such songs which were liked by all sections of society.

Especiality of Gwalior Gharana lies in its various styles of Indian Classical Music ie, Dhrupud, Dhamaar, Khyal, Tappa, Thumri, Daadra, Leda, Tarana, Triput and Chaturang. Speciality of Man Singh’s music was that he accepted the popular music of Northern India and grafted it into high class music.

Abul Fajal in “Aine Akbara ” has written about poet Laureate Tansen that singer of his caliber was not there for thousands of years . Tansen was the first person, who in his Malhar had combined Komal Gandhar and Nishad; apart from this he was author of “MIAN KI TODI”.

Local people describes  that after listening the music of Tansen, not only trees and hills started moving; even candles used to get lighted by his song is asserted by old musicians of Gwalior area. About him it is popularly famous ” VIDHANA YES JIYA JANE KE SESHAM DIYAI NA KAN, DHARA MERU SUB DOLI HAI TANSEN KI TAAN.”

Secret Chambers Of Gwalior Fort

Every fort, has its own share of interesting and intriguing stories too. And what stories may the old fort walls tell! Stories of princes and princesses; of warriors and traitors; and of Badshahs and Maharajas. Some are lost with time and some have been documented. One such fascinating story associated with the Gwalior fort is mentioned in the autobiography of M.M Kaye, author of the book “The Far Pavillions”. Her father Sir Cecil Kaye was a close confidante ofMaharaja Madhav Rao Scindia of Gwalior, father of Sir Jiwajirao Scindia and grandfather of Madhavrao Scindia , Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Yashodhara Raje Scindia. This story as described below was told to Sir Cecil Kayne by the Maharaja Madhav rao Scindia himself. The story of Gwalior fort and its Chambers of Secrets is as follows:

The Gwalior fort was a stronghold of the Scindias. In the latter part of 17th century, Scindias were virtual rulers of the entire north India and this fort was at the heart of this mighty empire. The Gwalior fort was used by the Scindias to as an armoury as well as a treasury. In those days, there were no banks or strong rooms to keep valuables or money. Hence to protect valuables and jewels, secret vaults deep beneath the fort were built to hold the Gwalior treasury. The Scindias had huge collection of wealth known as the “Gangajali”. It was said that this wealth was accumulated so that it could be used during emergencies such as wars and famines. When new ornaments were made, old ornaments were put in the Gangajali. Also, when a new land of conquered, its spoils too were added to this hoard. Then the vault or the treasure room was sealed with a secret code. Over time, this Gangajali wealth increased and newer vaults and secret chambers were created deep inside the fort. These chambers were concealed in a very clever manner and one had to unlock these chambers by a secret code called a “beejak”. Only the ruling Maharaja knew the “beejak” and this was passed on from father to son. No one else in the Gwalior durbar knew of the “beejak” or the Gangajali’s secret chambers.

In 1843, Maharaja Jayajirao Scindia became the Maharaja of Gwalior, the custodian of the Chambers of Secrets and its “beejak”. In 1857, the fort fell for a short time in hands of the rebels and was captured back by the British. When the rebels had approached Gwalior, Jayajirao Scindia was confident that his wealth in secret chambers beneath the Gwalior fort, was protected from falling into the hands of the rebels. And his estimate was true, the rebels could not find the treasure despite their strong attempts. When the fort was taken back into the British possession, there are several letters which indicate that Jayajirao Scindia was extremely worried that this treasure might accidently fall in the hands of the British.

Much to Maharaja’s relief, the Gwalior fort was handed back by the British to the Scindias in 1886. When happened later is most fascinating. To quote historian W. Forbes Mitchell:
“When the fortress was given back to the Maharaja and before British troops left the Gwalior territory, masons were brought from Benares sworn to secrecy in the “temple of the holy cow” before leaving and when they reached Gwalior station, they were put into carriages, blindfolded and driven to the place where they had to work. There they were kept, till they had opened the entrance to the secret vault and when the concealed vault was verified and the hole built up again; they were once more blindfolded, put into carriages and taken back to the railway station and re-booked for Benares under escort”.

Maharaja Jayajirao Scindia died soon after in the same year but was unable to pass on the “beejak” of these “chambers of secrets” hidden beneath the Gwalior fort as his son Madhav Rao was just a small child at the time. The royal court was now caught in a quandary. The whole wealth of the Scindias was now lost without any trace and no one in the court had any clue as to where it was hidden. As a way out of this dilemma, Colonel Bannerman, the British resident at Gwalior offered to help which the Scindia Court accepted or were forced to accept reluctantly. Colonel Bannerman carried out extensive searches of the Gwalior Fort. Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia of Gwalior in her memoirs writes how the Colonel discovered several hidden chambers which had hidden the Scindia wealth. These hoards contained Rs 62 Million rupees in gold coins. In addition there were silver coins by millions, magnificent pearls, diamonds, rubies and other gems by thousands. Colonel Bannerman remarked that the whole treasure chamber resembled an “Aladdin’s Cave”.

But this was just one chamber of secrets of Gangajali. It was generally believed that there were several such chambers still undiscovered. But their discovery had to wait till Maharaja Madhav Rao Scindia reached his majority. Once Madhav Rao Scindia came of age and inherited the kingdom, he began attempts to find the wealth hidden by his father without success. Then one day, when the Maharaja was on a hunting expedition, an old astrologer came up to him and whispered that he knew where the Scindia wealth was hidden and that he would guide him there, provided he came there alone. Intrigued, Maharaja deliberated over the matter for some time and then agreed. As a precaution, he closed the fortress to all outsiders. Then the astrologer told him that he was to come unarmed and blindfolded. The Maharaja agreed but as precaution hid a long piece of lead in his coat.

The astrologer took the Maharaja Madhav Rao Scindia deep inside the fort. The astrologer opened a secret chamber and with aid of a kerosene lamp, led Scindia down the steps. The Maharaja could not make out exactly where they were deep inside the fortress. As they were walking down the treasure chamber, Maharaja felt that there was a third person walking behind him. Fearing an assassination attempt, the Maharaja panicked and took out the lead staff and swerved it hard. He could hear a skull cracking, the lamp falling down and the flame dying. Maharaja ran back as fast as he could back the way he thought was the correct one and reached the anxious soldiers who were waiting for him.

Recovering from the initial shock, Maharaja then realised that the footsteps he had heard were probably echoes of his own footstep and that in panic hit the astrologer by mistake. Now, the way to the treasure chamber was lost forever. Still he felt confident that he would be able to find the chamber if he searched hard. For a few years, Maharaja searched the fort extensively without any success. Despondent by failure, Maharaja thought of giving up his quest. As he made his way up from the desolate passageways for the fort, his foot slipped. To regain his balance, the Maharaja caught hold of the nearest stone pillar. And LOL! The pillar unexpectedly swung open thereby revealing a concealed chamber. The Maharaja called his soldiers for help. The chamber was extensively searched and the Maharaja came across treasure worth 20 million silver rupees or 2 million pounds sterling!

With the discovery of the treasure, Maharaja Madhav Rao Scindia’s financial position improved considerably. Having had a bad experience, Maharaja resolved never to hide his wealth in such a primitive way. He converted his treasure into liquid assets and despatched it to Bombay to be invested in various industries. In those days (1920s) , Tata Steel was a struggling company. The Tatas approached the Scindias for financial assistance. Maharaja readily agreed and soon emerged as one of the largest shareholders and financial investors of Tata Steel. It was the Scindia wealth which provided the much needed financial liquidity to the company in its initial years. It would be safe to assume that source of at least a part of the capital invested in one of India’s largest blue chip companies must have been the hoard found in one of the chambers of secrets of Gangajali. Are there other chambers still hidden, waiting to be discovered and reveal this contents? Perhaps only the ghost of the astrologer can reveal that. But the link between Tata Steel, India’s top corporate company and the treasure hidden deep inside an ancient fort is simply fascinating. Isn’t it?

Indian Hockey Association was formed in Gwalior in 1925

To promote hockey in India , Indian hockey Association was founded in 1925 during Scindia Gold Cup Tournament in Gwalior  with Head Quarters in Gwalior and was the first non Europian team to be the part of International Hockey Federation. The team was the first ever international Indian team to set foot in Australia and New Zealand (1926). In 1928, the team won their first Olympic gold medal.

Captain Roop Singh Stadium’s connection with cricket

CRICKET lovers across the country might wonder why the stadium at Gwalior is named after former Indian hockey player Roop Singh. But the history behind its christening is quite enthralling.

The Scindia Gold Cup Hockey Tournament — a national level hockey championship — was played there. But in 1988, the late Madhav Rao Scindia — a devout hockey lover — gifted the hockey association in Gwalior the Railway Hockey Stadium and the Captain Roop Singh Stadium was transformed into a full- time cricket ground.,But the name of the stadium was kept untouched as they didn’t want to disrespect the great player.

The Captain Roop Singh Stadium was initially a multi- purpose stadium made by the Scindia family to facilitate sports lovers in the region to play different games, especially hockey. At that time there were only two stands and even those were temporary structures.

Do You Know

  • In Los Angeles 1932, Roop Singh scored 10 goals in India’s 24-1 victory over USA.
  • At Los Angeles Olympics ,  Total goals of India: 35, Roop Singh: 13 Dhyan Chand: 12
  • After the final of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the Germans were so impressed with him that they named a street after him.
  • Captain Roop Singh Bais was in the armed forces of Maharaja Jiwaji Rao Scindia.