Man Singh Tomar

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Man Singh Tomar
Maharaja Mansingh Tomar Gwalior 2014-07-13 18-32.jpg
Reign1486 A.D. - 1516 A.D.
PredecessorKalyanmal Tomar
SuccessorVikramaditya Tomar
Died1516 A.D.
SpouseMrignayani (Gurjari Queen) and other Rajput Queens
IssueVikramaditya Tomar and many others
HouseRajput Tomar/Tanwar Dynasty
FatherRaja Kalyanmal Tomar

Man Singh Tomar (IAST: Mānasiṃha) was a Rajput Tomar ruler of Gwalior who ascended the throne in 1486 CE.[1][2][3][4]


Raja Man Singh Tomar born to Raja Kalyanmall, the Rajput[5]Tomar ruler of Gwalior.[6] He ruled for over 30 years. In his years the Tomar were sometime at feud with and sometimes allies with the sultans of Delhi. Amongst others, he married famous Gujari rani 'Mrignayani'. Tradition has it that a queen, Mrignayni, was very beautiful and courageous woman who said no to veiling her face like other queens did and fought a few battles along with Raja Man Singh. She resided in a separate palace made exclusively for her, the Gujari Mahal and did not sit among other queens during ritual bathing or musical shows.

Raja Man Singh was a great warrior and great patron of music. One of the nine gems of his court was the Hindustani classical musician Tansen.[7] He was patron of Dhrupad Gharana.[8]

In 15th century Man Singh Tomar built Gujari Mahal,[9] a monument of love for his Gujari Queen Mrignayani.[10]

One of the nine gems of his court was Tansen. Maharaja Mansingh is credited to have been defeated Sikander Lodi , who was Delhi Sultan at that time.

Conflict with Sikander Lodi[edit]

The Man Singh (Manasimha) palace at the Gwalior fort

The newly crowned Man Singh Tomar was not prepared for an invasion from Delhi, and decided to avoid a war by paying Bahlul Lodi a tribute of 800,000 tankas (coins).[11] In 1489, Sikandar Lodi succeeded Bahlul Lodi as the Sultan of Delhi. In 1500, Manasimha provided asylum to some rebels from Delhi, who had been involved in a plot to overthrow Sikander Lodi. The Sultan, wanting to punish Manasimha, and to expand his territory, launched a punitive expedition against Gwalior. In 1501, he captured Dholpur, a dependency of Gwalior, whose ruler Vinayaka-deva fled to Gwalior.[12]

Sikander Lodi then marched towards Gwalior, but after crossing the Chambal River, an epidemic outbreak in his camp forced him to halt his march. Manasimha used this opportunity to reconcile with Lodi, and sent his son Vikramaditya to the Lodi camp with gifts for the Sultan. He promised to expel the rebels from Delhi, on the condition that Dholpur be restored to Vinayaka-deva. Sikander Lodi agreed to these terms, and left. Historian Kishori Saran Lal theorizes that Vinayaka Deva hadn't lost Dholpur at all: this narrative was created by the Delhi chroniclers to flatter the Sultan.[13]

In 1504, Sikander Lodi resumed his war against the Tomaras. First, he captured the Mandrayal fort, located to the east of Gwalior.[13] He ransacked the area around Mandrayal, but many of his soldiers lost their lives in a subsequent epidemic outbreak, forcing him to return to Delhi.[14] Sometime later, Lodi moved his base to the newly established city of Agra, which was located closer to Gwalior. He captured Dholpur, and then marched against Gwalior, characterizing the expedition as a jihad. From September 1505 to May 1506, Lodi managed to ransack the rural areas around Gwalior, but was unable to capture the Gwalior fort because of Manasimha's hit-and-run tactics. A scarcity of food resulting from Lodi's destruction of crops forced Lodi to give up the siege. During his return to Agra, Manasimha ambushed his army near Jatwar, inflicting heavy casualties on the invaders.[15]

Having failed in capturing the Gwalior fort, Lodi decided to capture the smaller forts surrounding Gwalior. Dholpur and Mandrayal were already in his control by this time. In February 1507, he captured the Uditnagar (Utgir or Avantgarh) fort lying on the Narwar-Gwalior route.[16] In September 1507, he marched against Narwar, whose ruler (a member of the Tomara clan) fluctuated his allegiance between the Tomaras of Gwalior and the Malwa Sultanate. He captured the fort after a year-long siege.[17] In December 1508, Lodi placed Narwar in charge of Raj Singh Kachchwaha, and marched to Lahar (Lahayer) located to the south-east of Gwalior. He stayed at Lahar for a few months, during which he cleared its neighbourhood of rebels.[17] Over the next few years, Lodi remained busy in other conflicts. In 1516, he made a plan to capture Gwalior, but an illness prevented him from doing so. Manasimha died in 1516, and Sikander Lodi's illness also led to his death in November 1517.[18]


The 15th century Gujari Mahal is a monument of love by Raja Man Singh Tomar for his Gurjari queen, Mrignayani. After he had wooed her after promise to fulfill his three wishes. Mrignayani demanded a separate palace with a constant water supply from the River Rai, she demanded to be always with the king in war. The outer structure of the Gurjari Mahal has survived in an almost total state of preservation, the interior has been now converted into an archaeological museum.

Within Gwalior Fort, also built by Raja Mansingh Tomar, is the Man Mandir Palace,[19] built between 1486 CE and 1517 CE. The tiles that once adorned its exterior have not survived, but at the entrance, traces of these still remain. Vast chambers with fine stone screens were once the music halls, and behind these screens, the royal ladies would learn music from the great masters of those times.


  1. ^ Chob Singh Verma , The glory of Gwalior, page 68
  2. ^ Matthew Atmore Sherring, Hindu Tribes and Castes, Volume 1, Page 139
  3. ^ Sir Alexander Cunningham, Archaeological Survey of India, Four reports made during the years, 1862-63-64-65, Volume 2, Page 387
  4. ^ Chob Singh Verma, The glory of Gwalior, page 68
  5. ^ Singh, David Emmanuel (31 August 2012). Islamization in Modern South Asia: Deobandi Reform and the Gujjar Response. ISBN 9781614511854.
  6. ^ Sir Henry Miers Elliot, Memoirs on the history, folk-lore, and distribution of the races of the northwestern provinces of India, page 164
  7. ^ Girīśa Caturvedī, Sarala Jag Mohan, Tansen, page 20
  8. ^ Ritwik Sanyal, Richard Widdess, Dhrupad: tradition and performance in Indian music, page 48
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^
  11. ^ Kishori Saran Lal 1963, p. 155.
  12. ^ Kishori Saran Lal 1963, p. 174.
  13. ^ a b Kishori Saran Lal 1963, p. 175.
  14. ^ Kishori Saran Lal 1963, p. 176.
  15. ^ Kishori Saran Lal 1963, p. 177.
  16. ^ Kishori Saran Lal 1963, pp. 177-178.
  17. ^ a b Kishori Saran Lal 1963, p. 179.
  18. ^ Kishori Saran Lal 1963, p. 184.
  19. ^ R. Nath, Islamic architecture and culture in India, page 63