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Gwalior is the princely city of Madhya Pradesh. Dominated by the majestic hill fort, this royal city derives its name from a great sage, Gwalipa, who cured the chieftain Suraj Sen from leprosy in 8 AD. The city has played a very significant role in the Indian history from ancient times, through the medieval era, and later during the Mughal and British colonial rule.
According to ancient history, Gwalior was known as Gopalkash. It is also believed to be the same place where Bheem (one of Pandava brothers) attained victory. Being located strategically at the center of north India and south India, Gwalior was invaded many times and ruled by various dynasties including To mars, Lodhis, Mughals and Marathas. Amazing monuments and buildings ooze interesting history of Gwalior and reveal the charm of the yester years of this royal city.
Gwalior has gained new dimensions from its great tradition and remarkable heritage, which have contributed in making it one of the fastest growing cities of Madhya Pradesh. Today, the bustling city of Gwalior is the most visited tourist destination and boasts of architecturally modern education centers like Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, Scindia School and Laxmi Bai National Institute of Physical Education to name a few. Gwalior is also renowned for its Music Gharana, which is one of the oldest Khayal Gharanas of India.
Gwalior becomes a favorite haunt among the music lovers every year in the month of November and December. The grand Tansen Music Festival is organized in the memory of notable musician, Tansen as a mark of respect and appreciation to his great contribution to the Indian classical music. The beautiful Tomb of Tansen serves as the venue of the music festival. The renowned singers and musician form all over the world perform in this grand extravaganza.
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What to buy –Chanderi Sarees, lacquer ware, dolls, hand-woven carpets, wall hangings, pearl jwellery, stone idols of gods and goddesses. You can buy the authentic souvenirs and gift items at Government Emporium, “Mirgnayani”. A good range of art and craft items can be bought from the famous local markets like Bara, Lashkar, Rajwara and Patankar Bazaar.
Gwalior Fort
Standing on a steep mass of sandstone in the heart of Gwalior is the majestic Gwalior Fort. Built by Raja Man Singh Tomar of the Tomar dynasty in the 15th century, it is considered as one of the invincible forts of North and Central India. The great Mughal Emporer referred it as “The pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind”. Gwalior fort has been the witness of many momentous events of Indian history like imprisonments, battles and jauhars. With in the fort are some great medieval structures that include Gujari Mahal, which has now been converted into an archeological museum, Man Mandir Palace and Suraj Kund. Enjoy the interesting Sound and Light Show at the Man Mandir Palace, which gives the glimpse of Gwalior’s glorious past.
Pilgrimage Attractions Best Time to Visit - October to March
Mausoleum of Ghaus Mohammed This sandstone mausoleum was built in the memory of the Afghan prince, Ghaus Mohammed. Designed on the early Mughal lines, the tomb is inlaid with exquisite and delicate jali screens, which were created by applying the amazing pierced stone technique.
Tansen Tomb Tansen, the father of Hindustani classical music lies buried here in the tomb of his mentor Hazrat Ghaus whose teaching influenced him to convert to Islam. He was one of the 'Nine Jewels' of great Mughal Emporer Akbar's courts. The tomb is built in the early Mughal architectural style. Near to it is a tamarind tree, which is said to be as old as the tomb itself. It is believed that if a person chews the leaves of this tamarind tree in full faith, he would be blessed with the great musical qualities.
Teli ka Mandir The 30-meter tall Teli ka Mandir is a Pratihara Vishnu temple built in the 9th century. The temple has massive walls and a huge rectangular tower crowned with a unique arched roof. The sanctuary doorway is elaborate and adorned with the customary auspicious figures of the river goddesses, amorous couples, and serpents.
Saas Bahu ka Mandir These two adjoining temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built in 11th century, the temples are traditionally named as Saas Bahu due to their different sizes. The walls and the interiors of the temples are profusely sculpted with graceful figures and intricate patterns.
Sun Temple This newly constructed sun temple is dedicated to Sun God. The architecture of the temple is inspired by the famous Sun temple of Orrisa.
Gurudwara Bandi Chhod The huge gold tipped white domed marble Gurudwara was built in the memory of Guru Hargobind Sahib, the 6th Sikh Guru who was imprisoned here by Jehangir for over two years.
Jami Masjid Jami Masjid is located near the entrance of the Gwalior Fort. Erected in 1661 by Muhammad Khan, this sandstone mosque has two soaring minarets and three bulbous domes crowned with golden spires.
Jai Vilas Palace Jai Vilas Palace is one of the most grand and astounding pieces of architecture. Built in 1875, this gleaming white palace was designed by Lt Col. Sir Michael Filose. It is the current residence of Scindia family. The opulent structure of the palace displays an amazing blend of Doric, Tuscan and Corinthian architecture. A part of the palace has been converted in to a museum that exhibit many eye-catching treasures culled from all over the world and the personal mementoes of past members of the Scindia family. The museum opens everyday except Monday from 10 am to 5 pm.
Gopachal This hilly area of Gwalior is noted for its 26 imposing rock cut statues of Jain Trithankaras. Carved between the 7th and 15th century, most of the figures were defaced by the marauding armies of Babur in 1527. The idol of Bhagwan Parshwanath on Lotus is the largest statue in the world that is 47 feet high and 30 feet in width. Other Prime attraction of this place is an ancient temple called Goapachal Atishaya Kshetra.
Other Attractions – Gurjari Mahal Archeological Museum, Kala Vithika, Gwalior Zoological Park, The Municipal Corporation Museum, Sarod Ghar , Man Mandir Palace, Moti Mahal palace
Excursions – Tigra Dam ( 23km), Datia ( 69km), Sonagiri ( 72km) , Pawaya ( 68 km)
How to Get There
By Air: Gwalior Airport (8km from the city) is connected with regular flights from Delhi and Bhopal.
By Rail: Gwalior Railway Station is conveniently located on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Chennai lines. Shatabdi Express and Taj Express connect Gwalior with Delhi and Agra.
By Road: Gwalior is very well connected with Agra, Mathura, Jaipur, Delhi, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Bhopal, Chanderi, Indore, Jhansi, Khajuraho, Rewa, Jabalpur, Ujjain and Shivpuri.