In its long history, Gwalior has been a capital city for most of it. Ever since it was established in the 8th century, Gwalior has served as the capital city for all succeeding kingdoms and dynasties. Even the Scindia dynasty had their capital here till the independence of India. This royal history has left behind a rich treasure trove of historical monuments creating a city that is timeless in its appeal. Gwalior is a cradle of greatness as it gave birth to some of the greatest rulers and personalities in Indian history. As you walk through the city’s hallowed streets, you will be hard-pressed not to recall the incredible achievements of those great personages. Each of these legends added a new dimension to the already rich culture and heritage of the building. Tansen, one of the nine gems of the Mughal emperor, Akbar, was born in this glorious city. The rich history has become intricately woven into the modern lifestyle of the city. Magnificent monuments, gorgeous palaces and imposing forts lie scatted across the cityscape welcoming you to a vista of ages past.
How to Get There
By Air :
Gwalior airport also known as Maharajpur Air force base airport is situated at a distance of 8 km from the city. The Gwalior airport is well connected to Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata and other major cities.
By Rail :
There are ample of good options to reach Gwalior by train. It lies on the Delhi- Chennai route and is connected to almost all cities in India.
By Road :
Gwalior is extremely well linked by good roads and highway transport to each and every one main city of Madhya Pradesh and adjacent regions. Distance from places; Bhopal: 401 km, Agra: 120 km, Jabalpur: 319 km, Jhansi: 103 km, Khajuraho: 279 km
Rising from a mound of sandstone like a specter from the past, the awe-inspiring Gwalior Fort stands imposingly over the cityscape. The ancient passages of the fort have been a mute witness to some of the most momentous events in history. The sturdy walls of the fort made it one of the most impenetrable in India. Even Emperor Babur conceded that Gwalior Fort was a pearl amongst all forts. Legends surround the creation of the fort. Most of it was constructed in the 15th century. However, references to this immense fort date back to nearly 425 AD. The ancient Suraj Kund lies within the fort. It is pond which helped Raja Suraj Sen recover under the care of the sage, Gwailya. It was this king, who first built a fort called Gwalior in honor of the man who saved his life. The magnificent fort is a history book as many of its palaces and structures were built over the years by the succeeding kings and emperors. The architecture of the fort is fascinating and displays Chinese influences. The monumental history of the fort is brought to live by a sound and light show that takes place every evening.
Man Mandir Palace
Situated within the massive proportions of the Gwalior Fort, the Man Mandir Palace is unlike every other palace that you have seen in Gwalior or elsewhere. It is highly decorated which has earned it the name Chirta Mandir. You will be both stunned and surprised at the incredible mosaic tiling that lines the facades of the palace. Colorful representations of elephants, crocodiles and tigers in green, yellow and blue are a sight to behold. However, you are bound to be amused and awed at the frieze that depicts yellow ducks. The beautiful architecture of the palace is highly practical. Two open courts lie surrounded by apartments with two levels. Two extra stories were built underground for providing comfort when the weather got too hot. The palace may have lost most of its former glory but it is still replete with enough grandeur to regale you.
The beautiful twin Sas-bahu temples are dedicated to Lord Vishnu who was also called Sahastrabahu. In fact, that was the original name of the temple. According to legend, the daughter-in-law of a king wanted to worship Lord Shiva, so a smaller temple for Lord Shiva was built beside the Sahastrabahu Temple which was frequented by the wife of the king. This has given rise to the name Sas Bahu Temple, sas being the Hindi term for mother-in-law and bahu being the term for daughter-in-law. However, it is the architecture that is going to mesmerize you. The Holy Trinity of Hindu Mythology, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, is depicted on a fascinating sculpted image that lies above the entryway. Each of the two temples is covered with interesting sculptures and carvings.
Memorial of Tansen
Milan Tansen was a pioneer in the field of Hindustani classical music. His rich voice mesmerized even the emperor of India, Akbar. In fact, Akbar found Tansen worthy enough to being inducted as one of the nine gems of his court. The talent of Tansen was so great that on his death, Akbar himself attended the funeral procession. His skills as a composer, singer and musician enriched the Hindustani classical music genre significantly. Every year, an enthralling music fest is held near the simple memorial as a sign of respect to the legend.
One of the most incredible museums is located in Gwalior. The Sarod Ghar is unique in India and is dedicated to the genre of music. More specifically, it deals with the rich heritage of Indian classical music. The museum contains some remarkable musical instruments, some of which are quite old. There are numerous photographs that show the legendary musicians associated with the genre along with certain documents.
In order to celebrate the love he had for his wife, Gjar, Raja Man Singh built this spectacular palace. The fascinating Gujar Mahal has now been turned into a museum. The palace is decorated with some exemplary stone carvings and other fascinating works of art. You can lose track of time while exploring the mesmerism beauty of the place.
Jai Vilas Palace and Museum
A different kind of splendor can be experienced in the halls of the Jai Vilas Palace. The hall in this magnificently opulent palace contains one of the largest hall carpets in Asia. Apparently, the striking carpet took nearly 12 years to complete. Look up and you will be rewarded with the grandiose sight of the largest pair of chandeliers in the world. Each of the immense chandeliers weighs 3.5 tons and contains 250 light bulbs.
The ostentatiousness of the palace is only matched by the eccentricity of the items on display in the museum. The museum itself is spread out in 35 rooms filled with bizarre items. Stuffed tigers and cut glass furniture are just few of the unconventional items on display. The enormous dining room is home to a silver train that delivers brandy and cigars around the gigantic table. You will simply be awestruck at the lavishness and eccentricity of the palace and its rooms.