Gwalior, city in central state of Madhya Pradesh, is a popular tourist spot due to its history and location. About 122km or 2.5hrs drive from Agra, Gwalior offers lot to spend two days if not three. Gwalior is famous for its fort, and palace. However, tombs of famous musician Tansen should not be missed. Typically done from Agra as one day or one night trip, it is advisable to stop here for two to three nights and then proceed ahead to Khajurao or Jhansi / Datia / Orcha if you have time.
Key / Quick Facts
|On Tourist Circuit||Yes|
|Weather||Sub-tropical, hot summers, light winters|
|Best time to go||November – February|
|Why Go?||History, Fort, Palace|
|Location of Sites||Center of City|
|Location of Hotels||Center and West of City|
Points of Interest:
- Gwalior Fort:
- Fort – The main attraction, fort was built in 8th century and quickly developed reputation of impregnable fort due to its strong defense structure and extreme difficulty in penetrating or conquering it. In terms to artwork, the paint work on its outer wall is unique and not seen on any other fort anywhere. Before starting the climb up there are statues of Buddha and Jain Mahavir which must be seen for they workmanship.
- Temples and Gurdwara – Fort houses a gurdwara and two temples. Both are historically important. Architecture of temples is a nice blend of north and south architecture designs.
- Museum – Opposite Man Singh Palace, it houses sculptures and artifacts dating back to 1 AD century.
- Light and Sound Show – Must watch show. It lasts 45mins and tells you the history of the fort in very captivating manner. It is held after sunset.
- Jai Villas Palace – 19th century palace, built by then King, Jayajirao Scindia, has now being turned into a museum for visitors. Palace, built with European design / architecture, has 400 rooms of which 40 rooms have been converted into a museum. Do not forget to see the train on dining table. The Belgian chandeliers are believed to be the biggest / heaviest in the world.
- Tomb of Tansen and Mh Ghaus – Adjacent to the Gwalior Fort, is the Tansen tomb to be discovered in the winding lanes of old Gwalior. Tansen was the most popular and accomplished music composer, singer and vocalist of his time and remains till date. No one till date has been able to reach near his compositions and his compositions are the mainstay of Hindustani Classical music. Built next to the tomb of a Sufi, his spiritual mentor, it is a the place to see good architecture, and open gardens, which though can be crowded. It is said that chewing of tamarind leaves of this tomb enriches your voice. So if you are a wanna be singer then … 😉
Hotels and Stay:
Most of the hotels are in the Center of the city, with few in West. Fort is in the old Gwalior, north part of Center and so is the Tomb which is adjacent to the fort. The Palace is in the center of the city. Gwalior is more of business center hence hostel might be difficult to find. Budget hotels with rooms under Rs. 1,500 per night will be in plenty.
Food & Eating:
Fried snack food is the specialty of Gwalior and available in abundance. Do not forget to try and walk after snacks in order to have appetite for dinner J Gwalior does not have any other special cuisine of its own. Regular north Indian food (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) is easily available. Volga restaurant in particular is a good place to eat.
Reaching Gwalior / Connectivity:
Gwalior is well connected to other cities by road, rail, and air. Being business center of this part of India, reaching Gwalior from north India is not a hassle. Agra is at about 122kms distance, while Delhi is 330km. Bhopal is 450km and Lucknow is 350km. Regular flights from cities such as Delhi and Mumbai are also available.
Commuting within the City:
If you do not have your own transport, commuting within the city can be bothersome during off peak hours and for far off destinations. Auto-rickshaws though do ply but they tend to charge premium for far off / not so popular places eg. Fort, and in night they will charge premium that is if they decide to go. It is possible to hire a taxi for a day for ~Rs. 1400/- (before negotiation) for 8hrs or 80km whichever is earlier. App based cab such as Ola also ply in Gwalior are much more economical, however you will need to book through a mobile app.
Madhya Pradesh has one of the best and organized tourism departments in India. Website is very informative, and tourist offices are well spread out and are stocked with literature / brochures.
One Day Trip – Shivpuri / Jhansi
Next Destinations – Orchha / Datia / Khajuraho / Lucknow