The fort city of Gwalior is situated in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on the main New Delhi-Mumbai and New Delhi-Chennai rail link. It is around 321 km from Delhi. The city extends between latitude 26°14′ in the north to longitude 78°10′ in the east.The city derives its name from the hermit sage ‘Gwalipa’ who according to a legend cured the chieftain Suraj Sen of a deadly disease in 8 A.D.Gwalior‘s strategic position between north and south India made it an important possession and was captured by several ruling houses. The first historical holders of the city were the Huns. Between 11th to 14th century AD, Gwalior came under the influence of Kachwaha Rajputs, the Pratiharas, Qutubuddin Aibak, and Iltutmish, and remained under Muslim possession until 1398. Under the Tomars, whose most important king was Man Singh (1486-1517), Gwalior rose to prominence. Gwalior was finally surrendered to Ibrahim Lodhi in 1518. Held in succession by the Mughals, Jats, Marathas and the British, Gwalior was finally handed over to Jiyaji Rao Scindia at a formal durbar in 1885. The Scindias were the last ruling family of Gwalior and are still influential in the political arena of India.
You may visit the tombs of the great musician Tansen and Ghaus Mohammed or the memorials of freedom fighters Tatya Tope and Rani of Jhansi.Gwalior is one place which was most affected during the Revolt of 1857. It was one of the centers which experienced fierce encounters between the British and the ‘Rebels’. The Maharaja of Gwalior was loyal to the British during the mutiny but his troops sided with the rebels who had laid their hands on the city. Towards the end of mutiny, Gwalior was subject to heavy fighting, after which British gained complete control over India. Among those who laid down their lives here in their attempt to capture the fort were Tatiya Tope and Rani of Jhansi.Gwalior has it all and more. The Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Indian Institute of Travel and Tourism Management, Scindia School and Laxmibai National Institute of Physical Education are examples of the modern day scholarly tourist attractions of the city.
Today, the city is also famous for the educational institutions like Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Indian Institute of Travel and Tourism Management, Scindia School, and Laxmibai National Institute of Physical Education attracting students from every nook and corner of the country.
Gwalior Fort : The city’s most renowned landmark Positioned at a height of 100m above the main town of Gwalior around 3 kms in length, this staggering citadel dominates the skyline of the place and is acknowledged as the most impregnable fort in the whole of Central and Northern India. The fort was built by Raja Man Singh Tomar as a token of love for his wife, in the 15th century,The great Mughal Emperor Babur reputedly quote it as, “The pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind”. The fort is girdled by sandstone walls and stretches over an area of 3 sq km. It houses three temples, six palaces and a large number of water tanks. Among the temples are the beautifully adorned ‘Sas Bahu Ka Mandir’, Sikh Gurudwara, Jain Temple which has been also been praised as a mosque and the Teli-ka-Mandir. The massive fortress of the Gwalior fort signifies the manifold dynasties of Mughals, Tomars, Britishers and Scindias.This fort have seen the the life of the Buddhist saint Lord Buddha and anecdotes related to the spread of Buddhism. The Chinese dragons that have been crafted at the hilt of the pillars depicts the mutual trade between China and India.
Tansen’s Tomb : The father of Hindustani classical music and one of the nine jewels of Akbar’s court, legendary singer Tansen is buried in Gwalior. Built in the memory of Tansen,the great musician during the time of Mughal. This tomb is situated near the tomb of Saint Hazrat Ghaus and is a part of Gwalior’s cultural heritage .The headstone is surrounded by beautiful gardens on all its sides. Apart from being an ancient monument, the site also underlines the rich cultural heritage of Gwalior.
Man Mandir is the Fort’s piece de resistance. The palace built by Man Singh Tomar is a delicate structure exhibiting a sense of joy and abandon through use of color, motif, and design. There are chambers for affairs of state as well as those for relaxation, adorned appropriately and ornately with carved animals, flowers, and the human form.
If Man Mandir reflects Man Singh‘s aesthetic sensibilities, Gujari Mahal speaks of his love. The courage and beauty of Mrignayani and her love with Raja Mansingh are now a part of popular folk tradition. The palace has been now converted in a museum and houses very good collection of Jain and Hindu artifacts.
Contrasting with the predominant north Indian style of architecture is the Teli-ka-Mandir. This temple is believed to the oldest in the Fort, built in the ninth century and Dravidian in form. The sculptures are distinctly north Indian. Some believed it was so named because it was built in the Telangana style; others say this was because it was built by telis (oil merchants). A more recent study ascribes it to Telap Raj, a prime minister of the region.
The Saas-Bahu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is also a major landmark of Gwalior. Built in 11th century, the name of the temple can be quite misleading. The temple, as many people believe, is not dedicated to ‘Saas’ (mother-in-law) and ‘Bahu’ (daughter-in-law). The name metaphorically and traditionally implies to two temples of different sizes adjoined to each other.
The chhatris, memorials to former Scindia rulers, are executed in the typical Bundelkhandi style with conical spires and heavily carved exteriors.
At another point in the city is the tomb of Mohammad Ghaus. 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.
Adjacent is a small white, austere tomb. This is the memorial to Tansen, a famed musician, and one of the nine gems of the Mughal emperor Akbar’s court.
Jai Vilas Palace
Built in 1809, this palace is located in new city of Gwalior. Though Jai Vilas Palace is the current residence of the Scindia family;about 35 of its palatial rooms have been converted into the ‘Scindia Museum’. The architectural style of this imperial structure is dominantly Italian, with a fine blend of Corinthian and Tuscan architectural modes. Handpicked royal treasures and historical artifacts from different countries are displayed in the museum. The most striking one is a silver train, with cut-glass wagons and miniature rails, which chugged along dinner tables and was used to serve food to the guests.
This newly constructed temple is based on the lines of the Konark temple. It is located near the Residency at Morar.
HOW TO REACH
BY AIR – Gwalior is connected by Indian Airlines to Bombay, Bhopal, Indore, and Delhi.
BY RAIL – Gwalior is on the main Delhi-Bombay and Delhi-Madras rail link. Among major trains, the Taj and Shatabdi Express connect Gwalior with Delhi and Agra. Gwalior is well linked with Agra (118 km), Mathura, Jaipur (350 km), Delhi (321 km), Lucknow, Bhopal (423 km), Chanderi (239 km), Indore (486 km), Jhansi (101 km), Khajuraho (275 km), Ujjain (455 km), and Shivpuri (114 km).
BY ROAD –Gwalior is fairly well connected to other parts of Madhya Pradesh and India with national and state highways. The Agra-Bombay national highway (NH3) passes through Gwalior. The Agra-Bombay Road runs though the city connecting it to Shivpuri on one end and Agra on the other. The city is connected to the Jhansi by the National Highway 75, towards the south of the city. In the Northern, the city is connected to the holy city of Mathura via National Highway 3. There are bus services to and from all major and minor cities near Gwalior. The prominent one being Bhopal, Agra, Delhi, Jabalpur, Jhansi, Bhind, Morena, Datia, Jaipur and Indore.