After the death of Daulat Rao in 1827, Jankoji Rao II succeeded the throne of Gwalior, but he passed away soon, in the month of February 1843. Since he left the world without leaving an heir, Bhagirath Shinde was adopted and he succeeded the throne in 1843, at the tender age of 8, under the name of Jayaji Rao. During the said period, the British were apprehensive about the growth of power of Gwalior. On the 13th day of December 1843 Lord Elleborough wrote to the Maharani of Gwalior to the effect that she should dismiss a usurping regent and that the size of her army should also be reduced with immediate effect. But the Maharani did not pay any heed to it. As a result, the East India Company decided to interfere and the Gwalior Campaign was launched by Lord Ellenborough, the then Governor General of India. On the 29th day of December 1843, the British opened two fronts at a time and attacked the Marathas simultaneously. General Sir Hugh Gough led the British army in the Battle of Maharajpore, while Lt. General Sir John Grey faced the Marathas in the Battle of Punniar. Both sides suffered several casualties, but finally the Maratha force was defeated and their guns and artillery were seized by the British.
In 1847, Lord Ellenborough decided to build a Cenotaph, an empty tomb, to commemorate the memory of the fallen soldiers of the Gwalior War. The octagonal cenotaph was designed in Indo-Saracenic style by Colonel H Goodwyn of Bengal Engineers, and the construction was executed by Jessop & Co. The almost sixty feet high beautiful monument is crowned with a bronze dome, supported by eight bronze pillars. The bronze dome was cast from the melted guns, seized from the Marathas.
From the entrance, a spiral marble staircase leads to the upper floor, which looks like a Mughal ‘Chhatri’. One can have a full view of the flowing Hoogly River from the top of the monument, with Howrah Bridge at one end and the Vidyasagar Setu on the other. Unfortunately the entry is restricted. There is a marble plaque reading the recent renovation of the Monument in 2012.
Location of Gwalior Monument