Gwalior, the ancient capital city has been a cradle of great dynasties and a living heritage of heroism. Its antiquity dates back to 8th century, when Suraj Sen, a chieftain, founded the city and named it after Gwalipa, a legendary saint who cured him of a deadly disease. Gwalior, the city of palaces, temples and monuments witnessed the rule of great Rajput clans like Partiharas Kacchwahas and Tomars. Its tradition as a royal capital continued until the formation of independent India, with the Scindia’s having their dynastic seat here.
Situated in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Gwalior is an ancient city, on the Mumbai-Delhi railroad, and is located at a distance of about 300km from Delhi. Gwalior is a city situated in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is located at a distance of only 118km from Agra and is well connected by road rail. Gwalior is located between 26.14°N latitude and 78.10°E longitude.
The climate of Gwalior is extreme with hot summers and cold winters. The maximum temperature during the summer months can though a high of 46°C, while in the winters, it can go down to below 5°C. Monsoon begins from the first week of June and remains till August/September. The best time to visit Gwalior is from October to March.
The city of Gwalior was the capital of the princely state of Gwalior until 1948 and the summer captal of Madhya Bharat State from 1948 to 1956. When Madhya Bharat became part f Madhya Pradesh, it become a separate district. The history is traced back to a legend in the 8th century AD, when a chief tain known as Suraj Sen was struck by a deadly disease and cured by a hermit-saint, Gwalipa. As a gratitude for that incidence, he founded this city by his name. The cradle of great dynasties ruled the city Gwalior. With different Dynasty, the city gained a new dimension from the warrior kings, poets, musicians, and saints who contributed to making it renowned throughout the country. The city is also the setting for the memorials of freedom fighters such as Tatya Tope and the indomitable Rani of Jhansi. Today the old settings stand side by side with the trappings of modernity.
Gwalior Tourism Information
Gwalior, the capital of Madhya Pradesh is well-known for its majestic fort. Modern Gwalior is divided into four sections: the Old Town, the New Town, Lashwar, and Morar which is the cantonment area. Gwalior is the city of true royals, the Scindias. The city has been named after the hermitz saint, Gwalipa.
This magnificent fort atop Gopachal, a sandstone precipice 91 metres above the surrounding plain was built by Raja Mansingh Tomar. It dominates the city like a great monolith and was described as ‘the pearl amongst the fortresses of Hind’, by Mughal emperor Babur. The imposing outer walls still stand, two miles in length and 35 feet high. A steep road winds upwards to the fort, flanked by statues of the jain tirthankaras, carved into the rock face. The fort is dotted with various monuments which are marvels of medieval architecture.
Man Mandir Palace
Lest the unwary might sometimes suppose, the Man Mandir is not a temple but a palace. It is the fort's 'piece de resistance'. The palace built by Man Singh Tomar between 1486 and 1516 is a delicate structure exhibiting a sense of joy through the use of color, motif, and design. This palace is also known a the Chitra Mandir or the 'Palace of Paintings' because of the tiled and painted decorations of peacocks and other birds. There are chambers for affairs of state as well as those for relaxation, adorned appropriately and ornately with carved animals, flowers, and he human form. It witnessed amny battle, Jauhars and imprisonments.
The 9th century Pratihar Vishnu temple has a peculiar plan and design. Its roof is in Dravidian style, while the decorations inside are in Indo-Aryan style.
Sas Bahu ka Mandir
The 9th and 11th century ‘Mother and Daughter-in-law’ pair of temples is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Sas-Bahu temples, in another part of the fort, are not dedicated to a mother-in-law(Sas) and daughter-in-law (Bahu) as is sometimes supposed. Sas-Bahu is the name traditionally given to two adjoining temples of different sizes. The larger of the two is profusely sculpted with graceful figues and intricate patterns. This is apparent in the interior where, above the sculpted walls and pillars, an elaborately carved lotus adorns the roof.
This elegant palace was buklt in 15th century by Raja Mansingh Tomar for his ‘Gujar’ queen, Mrignayani. Today, it houses an archaeological museum.
One of the finest schools in India.
The tomb of Tansen, one of the nine gems at Emperor Akbar’s court, is a fien example of early Mughal architecture and a part of Gwalior’s living cultural heritage. Annual music festival is held here on a national scale in November – December.
Jai Vilas Palace
The palace designed on the plan of an Italian palazzo is a fine blend of the Italian, the Tuscan and the Corinthian styles.
Jai Vilas Museum
It offers an unparalleled glimpse into the rich culture and lifestyle of princely India. Some of the rich treasures exhibited here are Napoleon’s golden table (one of the three in the world); a carpet showing Rana Pratap on horseback; a siler mini train with cut-glass wagons, which served guests as it chugged around on miniature rails on the table; a glass cradle from Italy used for baby Krishna on Janamashtami festival; silver dinner sets and swords of Aurangzeb and Shah Jahan.
Gwalior is also dotted with memorials of the earliest freedom fighters like Tantya Tope, Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi and several Scindia princes.
Kala Vithika and Municipal Museum
Kala Vithika houses a treasure of arts, while the natural history section of Municipal museum is worth visiting.
The newly constructed temple near the Residency at Morar is built on the lines of famous Sun Temple at Konark in Orissa.
Gwalior Tour Information
The medieval town was founded by Rudra Pratap along Betwa River. It retains the rich legacy of Bundela rulers, who built fine palaces and temples during 16th – 17th centuries. The magnificent fort complex is dotted with spectacular palaces and temples. The important one’s are Jehangir Mahal, Raj Mahal, Rai Praveen Mahal, Ram Raja Temple, Chaturbhuj Temple, Laxminarayan Temple etc. These are adorned with beautiful murals of the Bundela School. Nearest railhead is at Jhansi (19km).
Shivpuri, the summer capital of the Scindia rulers of Gwalior is set amidst thick wooded hills, which were once inhabited by tigers and elephants. The magnificent palaces, hunting lodges and cenotaphs reflect the grandeur of the bygone era.
Raja Suraj Sen laid the foundation of the Gwalior Fort on the advice of Sage Gwalipa some 1,000 years ago on a hill where he was supposedly cured of his leprosy. The Gwalior Fort occupies the whole of the enormous rock it sits on. Some estimates claim that it is the largest structure of its kind in the world. The outer wall of the fort stands 3.2km (2 miles) in length and 35m in height. A step road winds upwards to the fort. On both sides of the road, cut deep into the rock and towering over the proceedings, are scores of Jain statues.
Gujari Mahal and Archaeological Museum
If Man Mandir reflects Man Singh's aesthetic ensibiliies, Gujari Mahal speaks of his love for his ninth Guja wife, Mrignayni, for whom he built a special palace outside the fort. It is now a museum and houses a very extensive collection of stone carvings, many of them are and exquisite. The courage and beauty of Mrignayni and her love Raja Man Singh are now a part of popular folk tradition.
Built in the 15th century, references to the Suraj Kund complex can be traced as far back as 425AD. Suraj Kund existed much before the city of Gwalior and is considered the place where Sage Gwalipa cured Suraj Sen of leprosy from the waters of this pond.
Memorial of Tansen
Adjacent to the tomb of Ghaus, is another small white, austere tomb. This is the memorial dedicated to Tansen, a famed musician, and one of the nine gems of Akbar's court. At this place, is held the annual Tansen Sangeet Samaroh, a world-renowned music festival, which brings forth the essence of Gwalior and its rich heritage of classical music.
Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus
At another point in the city, is the tomb of Mohammad Ghaus, a saint of the Islamic faith of the 16th century. Although of little importance from a historical perspective, the sheer beauty of the tomb is breathtaking. The stone carving for which the skilled artisans of Gwalior were justly famous is apparent in the huge panels of lacy screen work, which combine with an interesting architectural design to create a delicate, ethereal appeal.
Contrasting with the predominant North Indian style of architecture is the Teli-ka-Mandir. This temple, built in the ninth century in Dravidian form, is believed to be the oldest in the fort. The sculptures are distinctly North Indian. Some believe it was so named because it was built by telis (oil merchants). A more recent study ascribes it to Telap Raj, a prime minister of the region. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, a garuda (mythical bird) can be seen on top of the 10-metre-high doorway.
Situated some 74km south-east of Gwalior, Datia is famous for its Bundle palaces and paintings. The fortress palace of Datia is considered as one of the finest of its type in India. Constructed by Raja Bir Singh Deo, a Bundela chieftain, the palace is influenced by the architectural style of Rajputs as well as the Mughals.
Dhoomeshwar Mahadeo Temple
Barely 3km from Pawaya, the Dhommeshwar Mahadeo Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and located on the banks of the Sindh River. The architectural style of this temple is very much similar to the Kandariya Mahadeo Temple of Khajuraho, though there is no evidence to prove that both temples belong to the same period.
The Tansen Music Festival
The Tansen Sangeet Sammelan or The Tansen Utsav or The Tansen Festival are the several names given to this event but the motive of the event is the same, and that is to provide conssieurs of the music with the best possible music and the best possible musicians and artists. This festival is celebrated in the memory of one of the greatest artists in the history of INdia, Tansen. Tansen was one of the nine gems in the court of one of the greatest rulers of India, Emperor Akbar.
Gwalior Distance Guide