THE SUMMER CAPITAL of the Scindia rulers of Gwalior , Shivpuri was once a thickly forested region, and a favourite hunting ground of the Mughais. Most of the elephants in Emperor Akhar’s army were taken from these forests. Today, the main attractions are the 19th-century white marble cenotaphs of Madhavrao Scindia and his mother, which stand facing each other in a formal Mughalstyle garden. With their mix of shikharas (spires), domes and cupolas, they epitoize Indo-Islamic architecture. Madhavrao cenotaph is decorated with pietra dura work in lapis lazuli and onyx. There are life-size statues of the ruler and his mother and, in accordance with family tradition, their favourite foods are brought and left here every day. The colonial-style Madhav Vilas Palace has airy terraces overlooking the town. The 156-sq km (60 sqmile) Madhav National Park is a mixed deciduous forest with an artificial lake, surrounded by grasslands. George Castle, a hunting lodge, was built by Jiyajirao Scindia in honour of King George V, who stayed here in 1911.

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