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Madhya Pradesh - Gwalior - Jewel in the Crown
The prime city of Madhya Pradesh, previously known as Pourab, Gwalior, had derived its popular name from the saint ‘Gwalipa’. Opinion varies in large extent though. Morar, Lashkar and Gwalior together form the entire city territory.
The ancient fort is the foremost attraction of the historical Gwalior. Bus stand, shopping complexes and new town are spread across the southern side of the captivating Gwalior fort in Lashkar. The railway station is located in the south- east side of the beguiling fort where as the city airport is about 9 km away towards the north- east side of Gwalior.
Gwalior is popularly known as “The pearl in the necklace of the castles of Hind” during the golden period in 1486. Located at an elevation of 212 meters, Gwalior is located towards the north- west side of Madhya Pradesh, at the border of Uttar Pradesh. Gwalior is enriched with the agreeable stately palace, divine temples, beguiling chattis and astonishing shrines.
The archeological charm of Gwalior makes this place singular and unique. Dasahra and the annual fair, celebrated in Gwalior, are the festivities which are truly very special to the city dwellers.
Hiring an auto or taxi would be a wise option to enjoy the trip of Gwalior. Taxi, however, would be the only available option for the holiday makers who want to witness the historical charisma of the primeval fort. Move around the gratifying destinations of Gwalior hiring a tempo.
The praiseworthy Gwalior fort had received recognitions from a number of reputed personalities. One of them was Babar, the adroit architect of Mughal dynasty. It’s truly a bright pearl.
The divine Suraj Kund contains the holy water which had been really beneficial for the emperor Suraj Sen as it had eradicated leprosy of the ruler. The saint, Gwalipa, had made the water of the kund holy. It was due to his saintly blessings that the kings of Pal dynasty had successfully and invincibly ruled Gwalior for many years. The emperors of Pal dynasty had flourished year after year because of the blessings of sacred saint, Gwalipa.
Suraj Sen or Suraj Pal had fulfilled the desire of Gwalipa and had constructed the astounding fort in 525, atop the Gopachal hill. The famous and wonderful fort was reconstructed and offered a new shape during the ruling period of the emperor Man Sigh of Tomar dynasty.
The intrepid leader, Rani Lakshmi Bai, was buried on the south- eastern premise of the fort. Tourists would be motivated to know more about the brave Rani Lakshmi Bai when they get to see the idol of the leader on a running horse with an uplifted sword.
The secured Gwalior fort, built at an elevation of 303 meters, was built with sandstones and was well shielded with a 9 meters tall fortification. The length of the astounding fort is 2.8 km where as the width of the fort varies from 200 to 800 meters on the steep and undulating hilly territory. It was a den of brave leader. So, the protection was a huge concern. It was known as one of the most secured forts of India during that period. The stunning fort can only be accessed through two doorways, placed at the south- west and north- east sides of the fort. The long tract through the uneven soil would take you to the fort. Hire a taxi and travel through the tough road to the historical fort. Tourists who mark their ways to the fort through the fascinating south- west road would be able to watch the splendor of the colorful Jain mythological wall paintings and 22 carved idols of Jain Tirthankars. Take a look at 6 inscriptions along with the divine idol of the parents of Mahavir. Located at the western side of the fort, at the entrance, the 19 meters tall idol of Adinath, the 20th Jain Tirthankar, built way back in 15th century, is standing tall on the lotus. 10 meters tall idol of Neminath, the 22th Jain Tirthankar, is accompanying Adinath in the close proximity. Plenty of Jain devotees flock to the place to worship the Jain Tirthankars and their devotions are notable. Apart from the idols of the divine powers, the walls of the fort look enthralling with the embossed idols of deities and angels. Plenty of idols, however, had been destroyed during 1527 by Mughal emperors as they had marked these excellent idols as the symbols of nudity. To maintain its overwhelming magnificence the edifices of the fort had been reconstructed and renovated. The fort is open for all during 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Remember that the fort is closed only on Mondays.
1 km long uneven road marks the way to the fort through the north- eastern side of the Archeological Museum. 5 consequent doorways or Mahals are there on the way to the fort. The first gateway namely Alamgir gate, was built in 1660 to pay an honor to the emperor Aurangzeb. The second doorway, Hindol gate, was named after Badal singh. The third gateway namely Archery gate is now demolished with time. Built long back in 1660, the forth gate, namely Ganesha gate, has multiple trinkets. Kabutarkhana, Petite temple dedicated to the saint Gwalipa and the quadrilateral Vishnu temple of 876 are the impressive historical evidences in the vicinity of Ganesha gate. Built long back in 1516 by Man Sigh, the Hasti Gate is the name of the charming 5th gateway. According to the historical belief, the members of the royal family used to travel through the north- eastern side of the gate riding on the elephants. The tradition is still on. Elephants are still carrying visitors through this road. History says that the ruler, Muhammad Khan, way back in 1664, had built a mosque on the ruins of the holy temple. These small incidents and monuments depict the momentous cultures of that period as well. To enjoy the tour of the striking fort to the fullest, swarms of holiday makers should walk into the fort through the South- western side of the fort and get down at the Museum. Besides museum, tourists would also be able to entertain themselves in watching and knowing the historical values of Maqbara.
The epitome of love, the shrine namely Gujari Mahal, is easily accessible through the Gwalior gate, at the north- eastern side of the fort. The monument, Gujari Mahal, is established strongly on the minarets, made up of sandstones. The architectural magnificence of the surrounding walls along with the scattered sculptures has always been the appeal and joy of Gujari Mahal. The well adorned minarets look magical with the colorful depictions of elephants, human beings, ducks, fruits, flowers and birds. Yellow, Green, Blue and Golden ornamentations are examples of the impressive creativeness. Archeological research center and museum have been built in the proximity recently. The fresco architectures of the Gujari Mahal showcase a truly amazing commingling of Jain and Hindu fine arts. The tigers, portrayed on the fresco, are full of life. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to witness the splendid innovativeness of the Tree Goddess or Shalabanjika, the stylized female figure, in Gyaraspur, Gwalior.
Cross the Hasti Gate and you would hit the Man Singh Palace, constructed artistically on the crest of 6 domes, at the north- east side of the Hasti gateway. Built by the architect, Man Singh, the majestic monument, had been revamped in 1881. The Balcony is delimiting the dazzling dancing hall. The ornamentations of the performance room had been done placing colorful tiles of different shapes and styles. The jafri architectures on the stones uplift the arty city traditions. Two of the 6 stories of the palace were built under the ground. These two floors were known to be the summer resort of the emperor Man Singh. Confinement room, Strangling room and Bathroom were there in the dimness of the underground floors. This is the place where Murad Baksh, the brother of the ruler Aurangzeb, had been killed in Decemper, 1658. The scented water in the ancient bath tub is not available anymore but the octagonal bath tub of the palace is still drawing attention of the holiday makers and historians. The process of ventilation which was used in the palace is praiseworthy even today in the era of the advanced science and technology. It is recommended to carry a torch when tourists enter into the shadowy underground floors.
The neighboring Vikramditya Palace, built in 1516, was named after the son of Man Singh. According to the popular belief, a priceless diamond was gifted to the emperor, Humayun, in this historic palace. Another overwhelming monument with immense historical values in the vicinity is two storied hallowed Karana temple, also identified as Kirti Temple, constructed by Karan Singh during 1454-1479.
In the proximity, an interesting exhibition, called Son-ei-Lumiere, takes place every day in evening (Not in rainy seasons). The exposition would show you the bright past life of the sumptuous emperors and their primeval traditions. The access to the auditorium is restricted to the audience who buy a ticket spending 50 though. The exhibition takes place in both Hindi and English languages but definitely the starting time of each show varies.
Jauhar Kund, located at the opposite side of the exhibition hall, standing on 80 contiguous pillars, was a very deep tank which was a place for the royal ladies to commit sati (Jauhar) after the defeat. Located at the back end of the Man temple, Jahangir Mahal and Shahjahan Mahal, are the Muslim monuments, placed in the Hindu palace. The grandeur and splendor of the palace, however, have been diminishing gradually.
Holy Saas and Bahu temples are not very far away. Even though the opinions about these temples vary but these are actually Vishnu temples. Built in 1093 by the king Mahipal, these temples, showcase excellent architecture in absence of the sacred deities. The idol of Vishnu, right atop the chief entrance, would greet the temple lovers. The nearby pavilion of the temple offers tourists a panoramic view of the city.
Located at the western side of the fort, the oldest Teli-Ka-Mandir (8th century), is a pleasing site which shows the majesty and radiance of both Dravidian and Arya architectures. The holy temple is dedicated to the pious deity, Vishnu. The ceiling entices the temple lovers with the Dravidian architectural touch. The Arya fine arts bedeck the walls of the temple. Few poems of love have been imprinted on the walls of the temple. The peak of the temple has 33 meters tall dome. This is the tallest temple on the premise of the fort. The idol of Garur welcomes the temple lovers sitting right at the entrance of the temple. Long back in 1858, a Soda Factory was built on the premise by British.
The Gurudwara Data Bandi Chhod, the holy Sikh pilgrimage, was a commemorative of Har Govind. The holy 6th Sikh saint, Har Govind, was ordered to stay behind the bars as he was unable to give a hefty amount of 2 lakhs rupees to Jahangir. The Gurudwara, built with marbles, has a dome at the top of its peak. The dome entirely is wrapped with classy gold. 107*55 meters kund (well), at the western side of the Gurdwara, is another divine place for the Sikh pilgrims. Sindhia School is located at the western tip of Gurdwara. Besides the idol of Gwalipa, Mosque, Magazine, Rani Tal, EkKhambha Tal and Chedi Tal, various other coveted spots are dotted on the premise of the fort.
Situated at the north- east side of Gwalior, amidst the congested city, close to the Gwalior Gate, the memorial of one of the greatest Musicians, Tansen, is a typical depiction of Mughal architectural style. The Maqbara of Muhammad Ghaus, the Afghan prince, is another architectural wonder. It is surrounded by hexagonal tower and a dome is placed in the middle of it. Both of these famous monuments are pulling huge number of artists and crowds due to the spectacular Jafri architectures. It is a ritual to offer 2 ½ leaves of the small tamarind tree to the shrine of Tansen. It is believed that Tansen got his melodious voice due to these leaves. To recall the great music composer, Tansen, during November- December, a musical ceremony is organized every year. Uras is another renowned festival of Gwalior.
Take a walk to know the historical tales associated with the Jami mosque, located at the northern corridor the city, built by Muhammad Khan, long back in 1661. The structure of the mosque was intriguingly constructed with sandstones.
Enjoy the high aesthetic appeal of the Municipal Museum, located near the railway station, at the opposite side of Moti Mahal. In 1809, Daulat Rao Sindhia had built a camp at the opposite side of the beguiling fort and thereafter the town Laksar came into existence. The palace, located adjacent to that primeval camp, has huge collection of coins of Mughal, Rajput and Maratha dynasties. A museum with atypical and rare collections is also there in Moti Mahal.
Jai Vilas Palace, situated in the new city, is the residence of Scindia family. The beautiful palace, built by Jiwaji Rao Scindia during 1872-1874, resembles the time-honored structure of Italian Palazzo. A large amount of 19 Lakhs were spent to build this stunning palace. Doric, Tuscan and Corinthian architectural styles were mixed artistically on the age-old monument of the Jai Vilas Palace. 35 rooms in the palace are the witness of the lavish lifestyles that the family members of Rao family used to possess. The collections of old used items are upholding the panache of the scindia museum in the palace. The museum showcases singular and unique articles and items, such as items of Belgium cut glasses, poison testing plate, furniture of France and Italy, the cradle of Srikrishna (brought from Italy), various items of Chinkurani, cradle-chair, silver toy train, stuffed hunted animals, swords of Shahjahar and Aurangzeb. 2 Jhara lantern kept in Darbar hall are wrapped with 540 kg gold. 13 meters tall lantern, weighing 3 ½ tons, has a capacity of holding 248 burning candles at a time. Erotic room in the palace is another charm. A number of cars, maintained in the stable, would help you to recall the historical days. The palace is open on all days during 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. except on Mondays and holidays. Entry to the palace, however, is restricted to the visitors who purchase a ticket spending 30 rupees.
Corporation museum, zoo, picture exhibition (Kola Bithika), Gandhi Maidan, Murari Residency and Royal Chattis are other coveted enticements of Gwalior. The Surya temple, built by Birla, adjacent to Murari residency, resembles the astonishing structure of Konark temple. Plenty of commemoratives of Rani Lakshmi Bai and Tantia Topi are dotted in and around the lovely city.
Spiritual crowds should watch the façade of the divine power residing in righteous Radha Govind temple on the premise of Murari Ambedkar ground.
A special attraction on the way to Gwalior from Agra is Chambal. The famous destination looks majestic mainly due to the lifeline of the city, the Chambal River. The River flows across the stunning gorge of Chambal. Chambal River is marking its way through the scattered tiny hills around the city. The scenery around is really mesmerizing to gaze at.
Chambal National Wildlife Sanctuary, covering 635 square km of fascinating terrain, about 62 km away from the city of Chambal, crossing the riveting mouth, is truly a must visit destination for the nature lovers. Compelling greeneries around the sanctuary offers a pleasing sight. The memory of the trip to this green manor would be remembered even when you are back into your sweet home.
How to reach: Gwalior is one of the prime cities of India. It is well connected to a lot of important Indian cities, such as, Delhi, Mumbai, Jhansi, Kolkata, Bhopal, Chennai, Jabalpur, Indore, Dehradun, Agra etc by railway networks. Gwalior is accessible by bus from various cities of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.
Where to stay: Hotel Chandraloak, Bidhi Dharamsala, Hotel Grace, Tansen Residency, Hotel President, Hotel Shubam Continental, Hotel Vivek Continental, Metro Hotel, Hotel Sun Beem and Hotel Sita Manor. Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.