Everybody has been a prey to history and even this beautiful place in Gwalior is not an exception. Decades of negligence, unawareness of its own people has thrown this magnificence into the dark pages of history. When somebody stands at the center of this Grand Maharaj Bada Circle of Gwalior , I am sure that they would freeze with awe if they are told what really this splendor means in terms of architecture. I can even bet and say that finding a circle of this architectural importance in contemporary world would nearly be impossible.
Lashkar is one of the prominent areas of Gwalior. Lashkar means army or camp in Persian language, which was originally a camp was made a permanent capital of the Scindia Dynasty of Gwalior State. Lashkar was also once the capital city of Central India or Madhya Bharat.
Maharaj Bada – The Architectural Marvel of India is also called Jayaji Chowk in Gwalior. Jayaji Chowk is famous as Bada is the most significant places of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, India is the central focus of Lashkar. This phenomenal grand square is surrounded by various heritage buildings like general post office, State bank of India, SBI ATM building, Town Hall, Government Press, Victoria Market and Devghar Mandir. Buildings are constructed in different architectural style and this unequal feature makes Bada to stand out singular of all the squares of India centered with a well regarded Jayaji Rao Scindia ji’s statute on grand white marble platform. This significant statue is surrounded by different petite business outlets and private stalls.
The Building which would hold someone’s attention a midst of all the hustle is the white & red General post office at Maharaj Bada Gwalior. Its magnificence lies in its style of construction. The long steps leading to its entrance are followed by tall pillars on which rested is the triangular architrave, an important feature of Greek architecture. General post office projects the fundamental aspect of Greek architecture – post and lintel (also called prop & lintel or trabeate) system. It is a system with a lintel, header or architrave as the horizontal layer over a building which is supported at its ends by two vertical columns pillars or posts.
This method is used even today to support the weight of the structure above the entrance or the opening for windows and doors in a bearing wall.
Few meters ahead of the Post Office building at Maharaj bada there lies State Bank of India Building. The state bank of India building has enormous triumphal arches, a unique feature of British architecture. Two massive piers are connected by an arch. The Arch is extended by a flat entablature a super structure above columns resting on capitals. This type of architectural buildings bear ornamentation and commemorative inscriptions but to one’s surprise, the State Bank of India building in plain with no such work. Lotus flowers on either side of the triumphal arch are the chief constituents of Indian Architecture.
Opposite to this grand British Architectural structure is the SBI ATM Building, an edifice with roman Tuscans. Giant pillars are employed in making this picturesque building. These columns are known as architectural orders of ancient classical architecture distinguished by its proportions, forms one of the most solid structures and least ornate among all other pillars. The literature also hints that this architectural form is the older primitive Italic form which precedes Greek Doric and Ionic styles.
On the east of this majestic Square, Jiwaji Chowk is the structure with French work consisting of pointed arches, finials, ribbed vaults and flying buttresses all of which adorn this Gothic architecture marvel once an Opera house is now popularly known as Town hall. This prominent building of Bada is rich in Corinthian capitals and Luxurious foliage of Corinthian designs too.
On the left hand side of the Town Hall is the Government press which exhibits the flagship qualities of Mughal Architecture which is a combination of Islamic, Persian and Indian architectural styles. The Government press building has a uniform pattern of structure and character with large bulbous domes and small minarets at the corners above the roof. This style usually has gateways with a compartment at the entrance with an arch.
The abandoned Victoria market half of which collapsed in a fire accident is under renovation by INTACH, ASI and Madhya Pradesh Government is a best imitation of Indo-Saracenic architecture with a clock tower, a feature of English architecture, Indian Gateways, Brackets, ornate structures, columned domes and parapet slabs.
Devghar Mandir beside Gorkhi gate is an high example of Rajput Architecture with fine balconies, lattice work, Triangular shaped friezes, towers with cupolas, elongated Domes, fancy octagonal bay windows, domed Canopies, fluted pillars, lotus and floral patterns and Jharokhas. Devghar temple at Maharaj bada has statue of Bal Krishan , Jyotiba and shivlinga . Khadau ( wooden sleepers ) of Baba Mansoor Shah is Kept here as well.
Among all these incomparable architectural marvels, there stands the grand Jayaji Rao Scindia Ji Statue which is an amalgam of Various architectural styles like Russian, Rajputana and Marathi. The tower and finials of this structure resembles the Spasskaya Tower of Moscow in Russia. Protruded eaves of this construction are of Rajputana style. Scindias were predominantly a Maratha Warrior Clan so there is a touch of it in this complex in the guards standing on the plinth are fine examples. English architectural features like angels, finials and ornamentation are of Indian style. Notable western feature in the Statue of Jayaji Rao Scindia Ji is the “Robe”.
There cannot be a fitting tribute given through such a melange of intricacy and stunning art work in the contemporary world. Maharaj Bada, a home for such an architectural heritage finds no place in the Itinerary of the tourists, not even in the heritage walks conducted now and then.
— Ramakrishna Kongalla —