Gwalior, a city of Madhya Pradesh, is known for its majestic fort. The magnificence, scale and history of this fort has made Gwalior one of the significant travel destinations in Madhya Pradesh. As per an inscription, this fort was inhabited as back as 525 AD by ‘Hun’ invaders. Its location in central India made it appealing to different dynasties. Hence, it was attacked several times and has passed from one clan to another. Huns, Pratiharas, Rajputs, Marathas, Mughals and British have all at some time, occupied the Gwalior Fort. Apart from the fort, the elegant Jai Vilas Palace is also worth a visit. The city’s monuments also include tombs, memorials and temples.
Here is a 4 min video that will give you a quick introduction of Gwalior Fort’s origin and the important monuments inside:
And here is a 10 min video that tells you in detail about all the monuments in the city of Gwalior:
Attractions and Monuments in Gwalior:
This massive fort straddles a 100 m high sandstone and basalt hill and dominates the skyline of the Gwalior City. Its bastioned outer wall is 3 km in length and 35 feet in height. This impenetrable wall contributed in making it one of the mightiest forts in India. The fort can be accessed through two gates: Urwahi Gate and Gwalior Gate. Urwahi Gate can be reached by a driveable path. If you take this route, don’t miss to watch rock-cut Jain statues on the way. Guides can be hired from the Urwahi Gate.
Man Mandir Palace (Man Singh Palace)
This is the most impressive structure in the entire fort. The Tomar ruler Man Singh had built this palace in between 1486 and 1517. Its elegant facade, though eroded, still retains some its former glory. It is decorated with the blue, yellow and green tiles depicting birds, animals and trees. Inside the palace, the latticework and stone carvings are worth gazing at. The cellars of this palace were once used as royal quarters. Later on, Mughals converted them into dungeons for the prisoners.
The 15th-century Gujari Mahal stands at the northeastern edge of the fort. It was built by Raja Man Singh for his Gujar (tribal) wife Mriganayani. This sandstone palace has been turned into an archaelogical museum. It houses a large collection of antiquities. The statue of ‘Salabhanjika’, a tree nymph, is the most notable sculpture in the museum.
Teli Ka Mandir
This 30m-tall temple dates back to the 9th-century. It is a ‘Pratihara’ Vishnu Temple with a unique blend of architectural styles. The shape of the roof is Dravidian while the carvings remind you of the Indo-Aryan style of decoration. After the revolt of 1857, British soldiers occupied this temple and used it as a soda factory.
It is said that the 10th-century Kachhwaha chieftain Suraj Sen was stricken by leprosy. A hermit called ‘Gwalipa’ had used the water of this tank to cure the chieftain. Following this Suraj Sen named the city after the hermit as ‘Gwalior’.
Saas-Bahu (Mother and Daughter-in-law) Temple
A pair of the 11th-century Vishnu Temples, called Saas-Bahu Temples, are situated north of Teli ka Mandir. The larger one has a three-storey ‘mandapa’ (assembly hall) which is supported by four pillars. The smaller one has an open-sided porch with a pyramidal roof. Both are covered with beautiful sculptures. Their ‘shikharas’ were destroyed in an attack by Qutubuddin Aibak in the 12th-century.
This white-domed marble building is situated to the south of Saas-Bahu Temples. It is built in the memory of Guru Hargobind Singh – the 6th Sikh Guru. He was imprisoned here by Jahangir for over two years.
Jai Vilas Palace
This grand structure was built in the late 19th-century by Colonel Michael Filos for Jayaji Rao Scindia. The architecture of this palace depicts influences from Italian, Doric and Corinthian styles. The Scindia family resides in this palace; they have opened two wings for the visitors. Of the two, the first wing is a museum which has a collection of Mughal paintings, ornaments, Persian rugs and antique furniture. Across the courtyard, in the another wing, is the striking ‘Durbar Hall’. Two of the world’s largest chandeliers hang from its ceiling. Each of them is 13 m high and weigh 3 tonnes. The integrity of the ceiling was tested by making ten elephants stand on it.
Chhatris of Scindia Dynasty
Beautiful ‘Chhatris’ (cenotaphs), built in the memory of the deceased royals, are scattered on a large stretch of land. These chhatris (cenotaphs) are embellished with intricate stonework and paintings. The oldest one was built in 1817 in the memory of Jiyaji Rao Scindia. These site is just a short distance away from the Jai Vilas Palace.
Ghaus Mohammad’s Tomb
Ghaus Mohammad was an Afghan prince who had turned into a Sufi saint. This 16th-century structure was built in his memory during Akbar’s rule. This structure is a fine example of the early Mughal architecture. And its most noticeable element is the intricate latticework on the walls.
Tansen, a great singer, was one of the ‘nine jewels’ in the court of Akbar. He was buried in Gwalior. Smaller than Ghaus Mohammad’s Tomb, this tomb is the venue for the annual music festival.
This museum is housed in the ancestral home of Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan – father of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. The objective of the museum is to display the rich musical legacy of Gwalior.
Also read: Travel Destinations in Madhya Pradesh>>