Hin: ग्वालियर gvāliyara

‘Cowherds’ Hill’ [Gopadri, Goaliar, Gwaliar, Gopachal, Gopagiri] City/District, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

From Skt: गोप gopā, ‘cowherd’; and adri,  ‘rock’, ‘hill’

Legends associate the name with Gwalipa, an ascetic who cured a local chieftain of leprosy. But it’s much more likely that Gwalior was named after its fort which in turn was named after the hill on which it was built.

The city and the fort have been controlled by several historical dynasties: Rajputs in the 10th century, the Mamluk in the 13th, Tomars in the 14th, Mughals from the 16th, and the Marathas briefly in the mid-18th. The Scindias ruled Gwalior as a princely state during the British era.

Gwalior Fort dates back to the 10th century at least,  although excavations have revealed a structure which is a few hundred years older. The modern 3 sq km fort has defensive ramparts, six bastions, two gateways, five palaces, nunerous water tanks, eleven Jain temples, and twenty-one rock cut temples outside the fort in the Siddhachal Caves.

Gopachal Parvat, on the slopes of Gwalior Fort, houses 10th century monolithic carvings of Jain Tirthankaras. This includes the lotus-seated Parshvanath idol, the largest of its kind in the world (14m x 9 m).