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Gwalior

Famous as one of the ruling centres of India throughout medieval times, Gwalior is the repository of splendid medieval monuments, attesting to a rich and varied history. The tourist capital of Madhya Pradesh, the city is one of the oldest in India, and it contains spectacular historical, commercial and cultural attractions.

The city of Gwalior, formerly a princely state of India under the British, has long been a centre of significant political and administrative activity. 
The earliest medieval dynasty to have occupied Gwalior was the Gurjara-Pratiharas. Qutb-ud-din-Aibak took control of the city around 1196, succeeded by Shamsud-din Altamsh in 1232. Other dynasties to rule here were the Tomars and the Kachwaha Rajput. In the early 18th century, the Maratha ruler Ranoji Sindhia took possession of the city, but by early 19th century Gwalior was taken over by the British.
As a result of its strategic location, Gwalior became the seat of intricate power struggles, particularly during the medieval and early modern periods. The majestic forts, royal palaces, and military bases attest to its substantive political history, and lend to the city its distinctive grand ambience.
Presently, the city comprises three distinct sections: Gwalior, the old city; Lashkar, the new city; and Morar, the cantonment area. The old city contains the grand fort complex, the palaces and the tombs, all of which reflect a high degree of craftsmanship. The museums and temples transport the visitors to the past, when people were imprisoned here by royal decree, and some of the rulers committed honourable self-immolation in order to avoid capture and dishonour at the hands of their enemies.
Gwalior is also recognized as a rich centre of culture. The city has enthusiastically upheld its traditions in music and art. Eminent music personalities such as Miya Tansen and Baiju Bawra were born here. A grand classical music festival is organized annually in the memory of the Sangeet Samrat Tansen.
Gwalior is also known for its long-standing tradition of holding a large, well-attended trade fair. The fair has been held for over a century, and has evolved into a significant international commercial event.
Furthermore, Gwalior claims a place in the Guinness Book of Records, because the city is the home of the world’s largest indoor mural, created by a team lead by Ashutosh Panigrahi.
The city is also renowned for its Chanderi saris, whose manufacture is exclusive to Gwalior. Customers from distant places in India and abroad come here to shop for these beautiful textiles.
Gwalior offers to visitors a window into some tumultuous periods of Indian history, a showcase for wonderful music and the splendor and excitement of an international commercial market.

At Gwalior, the important places to visit are the Gwalior Fort, the Gujari Mahal, the Man Singh Palace, Teli ka Mandir, the Jai Vilas Palace and Museums, Tansen’s Tomb, the Sun Temple, Gurudwara Data Bandhi Chhod, and Gopachal Parvat.

Gwalior Fort
Described by Emperor Babur as “the pearl amonst the fortresses of Hind”, the Gwalior Fort is the most attractive monument of the city. The fort is built on a gigantic mass of sandstone, which is 12m high and its outer walls run 3.2 km in length. It covers an area of about 3 km2. Statues of Jain Tirthankaras are beautifully carved into the rock surfaces of the sides of the steep road leading towards the entrance of the fort. The fort contains many historic monuments including Hindu and Jain temples and palaces.
Gujari Mahal
Gujari Mahal is a palace within the fort that was built by the Tomar king Raja Man Singh for his wife, Queen Mrignayani, a Gujar princess. This 15th century monument is an example of the splendid architecture of its times. The palace has now been converted into an archaeological museum, displaying a wide range of antique artifacts. These include a rare collection of Hindu and Jain sculptures, terracotta artifacts, and a miniature statue of Shalbhanjika / the Tree Goddess (a special permit from the museum curator is required to see this rare piece of art).
Man Singh Palace
The Man Singh Palace was also built by the Tomar king Raja Man Singh around 1508. The palace is a four-storied building, of which two stories are underground. It was built on the eastern outer walls of the fort. There are open courtyards and well-decorated pillars supporting the rooms. The palace is skillfully colored in different hues such as turquoise, green and yellow, forming various motifs in geometric patterns. There are also huge apartments, formerly used as music halls. These feature screens of fine stones, and were probably used for the music lessons of the royal ladies. The huge palace hall called the Bardari (= the celebrated chamber) is another unique section of the palace. From the 16th century onwards, after the fort was captured by the Mughals, the palace was used as a state prison. Many royal prisoners were captured and killed here. Aurangazeb is said to have kept his brother Murad in this palace prison; he later had Murad killed on charges of treason. In addition to embodying a fascinating history, the palace is also one of the best examples of Hindu architecture.
Jai Vilas Palace and Museum
The Jai Vilas Palace was built between 1872 and 1874, by Maharaja Jiyaji Rao Scindia, and is one of the grand monuments in Gwalior. Unlike its counterparts in the city, the architectural style of the palace is European - a blend of Italian, Tuscan and Corinthian. It is built in white sandstone, which adds to its glamour. Most of the area of the palace has been converted into a museum, which displays a fabulous collection of antiques dating to the rule of the Scindias, as well other artefacts that speak for the lavish lifestyle of the former rulers. These include two heavyweight chandeliers hanging in the Darbar hall, the swords of Aurangazeb and Shah Jahan, an Italian glass cradle, and the silver train for dinner services.
Teli Ka Mandir
Teli ka Mandir is a Hindu temple built within the Gwalior Fort complex in the 11th century. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his mount Garuda. The temple’s architecture is a blend of Southern and Northern styles.
The Sun Temple
The Surya Mandir was constructed in 1988 by G.D Birla, and has become an important tourist destination. It was inspired by the Sun Temple of Konark in Orissa. The temple is dedicated to Lord Surya and contains a beautiful carving of the Lord. The temple is built of red sandstone on the outside, while the interior is completely constructed out of white marble.
Tomb of Tansen
Tourists may wish to pay a visit to the tomb of Tansen, the well-known, brilliant classical musician. His tomb is situated just beside the tomb of the Saint Hazrat Ghaus, whose teachings are said to have influenced Tansen to convert to Islam. The tomb is located within the heart of the city, but its main complex remains calm and tranquil. Near the tomb stands a tamarind tree, which is said to be as old as the tomb itself. Legend has it that a person, who chews its leaves, will be blessed by Sangeet Samrat himself with outstanding vocal and musical abilities.
The city is famous for the elegant Chanderi saris, which can be purchased from the Chowk (market) at Bara. Chanderi saris, made of fine cotton or silk, are very light, and have delicate motifs and zari borders. The quality of the gold thread used is unique, and its distinctive feature is the contrasting colour combination of the body of the sari with that of its border and pallav.
Popular Gwalior handicrafts can be bought from Rajwara, Lashkar and Patankar Bazaars, the other famous markets of the city. One can look here for various art and craft items such as lacquer-ware, hand-woven carpets, dolls, wall hangings, dokra figurines (metal crafts of tribal origin), and other tribal jewellery collections.
The markets of the city are the oldest in the state, dating back centuries. They are said to have received patronage from the former ruling dynasties, which lends a royal touch to the shopping experience in Gwalior.
Gwalior is well known for its exuberant celebration of numerous festivals. The city celebrates all the national festivals as well as the regional ones such as Eid-ul-Fitr, Diwali, Holi, Navaratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, Nag Panchami, Gudi Padwa (Marathi new year), etc. Besides these, Gwalior is famous for festive events such as the Tansen Musical Festival and the Gwalior International Trade Fair.
Tansen Music Festival, also known as Tansen Samaroh is a commemorative event immortalizing the illustrious medieval, classical music maestro Miya Tansen, one of the nine jewels in the court of Emperor Akbar. The event takes place in the form of five-night long classical music sessions every year in the month of December. It is organized near the tomb of Tansen and features famous contemporary classical singers from all over the country. The occasion attracts ardent music enthusiasts from across India and abroad.
Nearby places Train stations Airports
GWALIOR 8 Km 00H 07m
Gwalior Junction
Nearby major cities
Name Distance Duration
120 Km 01H 44m
120 Km 01H 44m
Around 20 km from Jhansi is Orchha, the royal abode of the Bundela rulers. This town, in the Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh, was once the seat of the former princely state of Central India. Orchha has become a major tourist attraction of Madhya Pradesh, due to the number of beautifully constructed palaces, temples and cenotaphs built in the 16th and 17th centuries, reflecting the rich Bundela art and architecture.
485 Km 07H 26m
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Weather
Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 25 °C 47 °C
Winter 16 °C 27 °C
Gwalior experiences scorching summer temperatures and moderate winter. Best time to visit is October - March.
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