Hathiya Paur Darwaza

One of the entrances of Gwalior Fort

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The Hathi Pol gate (or Hathiya Paur Darwaza ), located on the southeast, leads to the Man Mandir Palace of Gwalior Fort. It is the last of a series of seven gates. It is named for a life-sized statue of an elephant (hathi) that once adorned the gate. The gate was built in stone with cylindrical towers crowned with cupola domes. Carved parapets link the domes.

The fort stands on a long, narrow, sheer-sided hill with the main entrance on the eastern side, where a long ramp leads up through six gates to the summit of the rock. The Hathi Pol Gate (or Hathiya Paur) is the last of the series and forms the principal entrance of the Man Mandir, built by Man Singh and considered to be one of the most remarkable Hindu palaces. It takes its name from a life-sized statue of an elephant (hathi) which once stood outside the stone gate. The gate is set between cylindrical towers crowned with cupola domes linked by carved parapets, at the south-east corner of the palace’s long east façade. The palace is also known as Chit Mandir or ‘Painted Palace’ for its exterior is decorated with ornamental friezes of bright blue, green and yellow tiles, traces of which can be seen around the gateway.

The Hathiya Paur was built by Raja Man Singh (1486-1516 CE). Its name was derived from a life-size elephant statue which formerly stood immediately outside the gate. A mahout and the king himself was shown seated on the back of that elephant. The statue was seen by Babur in 1525 during his visit to Gwalior and he described it as the perfect resemblance of an elephant in his memoirs. This statue was also mentioned by Abul Fazl in 1596 CE. Finch, an English traveler during the reign of Jahangir, also noticed this image and he described it was a curios colossal of an elephant in stone at the top gate. There is no reference of this statue in later records which made Cunningham to suggest that it was probably appropriated by Muzafar Khan who held this fortress from 1628 to 1647 CE.

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