On the way up to the fort, from the town massed at its feet, the road climbs through a wooded gorge called the Urwahi valley. Facing it, and carved into the soaring sandstone cliff, are the imposing Jain monoliths. They depict the Tirthankars, or enlightened souls, who came into this World to help their fellow men 'ford the river of existence'.
According to an authoritative historian of Gwalior, Arthur Hughes, the statues were carved in the 15th century when Gwalior was ruled by the tolerant Tomar king Dungar Singh or by his son and successor, Kirti Singh. Legend has it that the skilled creators of these giant nude sculptures worked under the patronage of a Tomar queen who was either a Jain herself, or was a great admirer of this austerely non-violent religion.
There is a parking lot at the base of these statues and a flight of steps leading up to them. If, however, you take time off to view them, make sure that you wait for the one-way traffic to flow in your chosen direction before you drive out of the parking lot.