On 3 August 1780, the British led by Captains Popham and Bruce captured the Gwalior Fort (Gwalior Qila) from the Maratha general Mahadaji Shinde. This article will give brief details about the event withing the context of the IAS Exam.
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Background of the Caputre of Gwalior
- In a daring raid, Captains Popham and Bruce led a few soldiers of the East India Company to capture the strategically important Gwalior Fort, which was held by the Maratha general Mahadaji Shinde.
- The Marathas had, in turn, captured it from the Ranas of Gohad.
- The Fort was originally built in the fifth century AD or perhaps even earlier in present-day Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.
- It has been held by many dynasties like the Hunas, the Gurjara – Pratiharas, the Kachchhapaghatas, the Tomars, the Lodis and the Mughals.
- The Fort was also sieged by Mahmud of Ghazni for 4 days.
- Tomar ruler Maan Singh had commissioned many monuments within the Fort.
- Mughal Emperor Akbar had used this Fort as a prison for political prisoners.
- Despite capturing the Fort with relative ease, the British under Governor Warren Hastings restored the Fort to the Ranas of Gohad. The Marathas recaptured it from the Ranas and finally lost it to the British during the second Anglo-Maratha War.
- In 1844, the Maratha Scindias took control of the Fort as a protectorate of the British government.
- During the Indian Revolt of 1857, 6500 sepoys who were stationed at the Gwalior Fort joined the rebels, which prompted the British to regain control of the Fort in 1858.
- After 1886, it was handed over to the Scindias as the Fort no longer held any significance for the British. The Scindias held it till independence.
About the Gwalior Fort
- The Fort contains several temples and structures.
- The oldest temple is Teli ka Mandir (8th century). This temple has a Valabhi shikhara on a Nagara base.
- Another important temple is the Chaturbhuj Temple built in 875 AD. It is the only monolithic rock cut temple in the whole region.
- The Sas Bahu Temple or Sahastrabahu Temple was built by King Mahipala of the Kachchhapaghata dynasty in 1092. It is a beautiful structure embellished with ornate carvings.
- The temples and the Fort are built with limestone and sandstone.
- The Fort contains many Jain temples as well. The Siddhachal Jain Temple Caves house a 58-feet tall statue of the first Tirthankara, Adinatha or Rishabhanatha.
- There are several other palaces, structures and idols within the Fort. The palace of Raja Maan Singh is a great example of Hindu architecture assimilated with aspects of Islamic architecture.
- Other important structures are Ganesha Gate, Alamgiri Gate, Badal Mahal, Urwai Gate, Gujari Mahal Museum, Karn Mahal, etc.
- A stamp was issued on 3 August 1984 by India Post in honour of the Fort.