Gwalior, Or Gualior. I. A Part Of India Until Lately Nominally Independent but now subsidiary to the British, bordering on the Northwest Provinces, Bombay, etc. It stretches very irregularly between lat. 21° and 26° 40' N., and Ion. 73° 40' and 77° E.; area, 33,119 sq. m.; pop. about 3,250,000. The surface of the country in the north is level, in the centre hilly, and in the south rises into the Vindhya and Satpoora mountains. The Chumbul river bounds it on the N. W.; other rivers are the Sinde, Betwah, and Dussam, flowing generally N. into the Jumna. S. of the mountains the Nerbudda and Taptee flow W. The soil is generally very fertile. The climate in the elevated S. part is mild and healthful. In January and February the thermometer falls three or four degrees below the freezing point; in the summer it sometimes rises to 100°. The most important product of the country is opium, which is delivered by treaty at a certain price to the British authorities. Burhanpoor in the south is the chief manufacturing town, where fine muslin scarfs, gold thread, glass, and paper are made. Other chief places are Gwalior, Oojein, Mundisoor, Hindia, and Chunderee. - This state was founded after the successes obtained by the Mahrattas over the Mogul forces in 1738 by Ranojee Sindia, a chief who raised himself from obscurity to eminence.
His natural son Madhaji Sindia, who succeeded him, was an able and ambitious man, who greatly enlarged the possessions of the family, and in 1782, by the treaty of Salbye, concluded between the East India company and the peishwa, was recognized as a sovereign prince (maha-rajah). He maintained a large and well appointed army, organized and disciplined by French officers; and possessed himself of Delhi, Agra, and the person of the Mogul emperor, in whose name he subsequently acted. His dominions extended to the river Taptee on the south, and from the Ganges on the east to the gulf of Cambay on the west. His successor, Dowlut Row, became involved in war with the British, by whom his armies were totally defeated in 1803, and a considerable part of his territories taken from him, and he ceased to control the person of the Great Mogul. He died in 1827, and was succeeded by Mugut Row, on whose death without children in 1843 the country fell into confusion and anarchy, which led to the interposition of the British; they restored order, and established the authority of the legitimate sovereign, Bhagerut Row Sindia, a boy eight years of age, who attained his majority in 1853. By a treaty concluded Jan. 13, 1844, it was stipulated that Sindia might maintain a military force not exceeding 9,000 men.
Besides this, he was bound to maintain and pay about an equal number of the sepoys organized and commanded by British officers. The last body was termed the Gwalior contingent, and was mainly stationed at the fortress of Gwalior. During the sepoy mutiny in 1857 it joined in the revolt, murdered or put to flight its European officers, and demanded that Sindia should lead them against the British at Agra. The maharajah, however, remained faithful to the British, and exerted himself to prevent the contingent from taking the field; but in May, 1858, the mutineers commanded by Tantia Topee and Row Sahib, nephew of Nana Sahib, having been defeated and hard pressed by Sir Hugh Rose at Calpee, suddenly marched upon Gwalior, intending to make it a place of refuge. Sindia met them with his native troops a few miles from Gwalior, and gave them battle, June 1, but was deserted, and fled to Agra. The mutineers made Row Sahib maharajah of Gwalior. Sir Hugh Rose, however, shortly after reinstated Sindia. II. A city, capital of the district, in lat. 20° 13' N., lorn 78° 15' E., 65 m. S. of Agra, and 175 m.
S. by E. of Delhi; pop. about 30,000. It stands at the foot of a high rock crowned by the fortress, and contains the tomb of Mohammed Ghous, a famous saint of the time of the emperor Akbar, a very beautiful building of white sandstone, with a cupola covered with blue porcelain tiles. Gunpowder and fireworks are made here, and there are cannon founderies. The rock, on the summit of which the fortress is built, is of sandstone, capped in some places with basalt. The face is perpendicular, and in some places the upper part overhangs the lower. The greatest length of the rock from N. E. to S. W. is 1 1/2 m., the greatest breadth 300 yards. The height where it is greatest at the N. end is 342 ft. On the E. face several colossal figures are sculptured in bold relief. The entrance to the fortress is toward the N. end of the E. side : first, by means of a steep road, and higher up by steps cut in the face of the rock, of such a size and inclination that elephants can ascend them. This staircase is protected on the outer side by a massive stone wall, and is swept by several cannon pointing down it. The passage to the interior is through a succession of seven gates. The fort contains a palace and two remarkable pyramidal buildings of red stone in the most ancient style of Hindoo architecture.
The fortress of Gwalior was built in 773 by Surya Sena, rajah of the adjacent territory. In 1023 it was unsuccessfully besieged by Mah-moud of Ghuznee. After many sieges and passing through various hands, it was taken by stratagem by Baber in 1526. Subsequently Akbar made it a state prison. After the dismemberment of the empire of Delhi it fell into the hands of the Sindia family, from whom it was taken by the English in 1780. It was recovered by Sindia in 1784, was again taken by the British in 1803, and again restored in 1805, and from 1844 garrisoned by the Gwalior contingent under British officers.