One of the most popular tourist destinations of northern India is the city of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. Better known for its forts, palaces, temples, Gwalior is a place of historical and archeological significance. Housing one of the most invincible forts of India – the Gwalior Fort, Gwalior is the largest city of Central India. The city is also popularly referred to as the tourism capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh. The city is situated about 122 kms away from Agra and 423 kms from Bhopal.
The best time to visit Gwalior is from October to March. However, one can also visit between July and September. The four-day Tansen Music Festival (Nov/Dec) is also a good time to visit Gwalior.
How to Reach
The city is well connected by air, rail and road transport as Gwalior is a major intersection.
There are many places of tourist interests in Gwalior. Apart from the exquisite and invincible fort of North and Central India, the Gwalior Fort, there is Sanchi Stupas, built on the top of hill and are crowned by the chhatra.
Famous as a great Jain pilgrimage center are the Udayagiri caves. The caves bear some exquisite carvings and sculptures. The Queen’s cave or Rani Gumpha has some complicated and interesting carved sculptures. Some of the caves are double storied with some eye-catching sculptures of animals like elephants with snakes, lion holding its prey and pillars decorated with some unusual winged animals.
Another major attraction within the Gwalior fort is the palace built by Man Singh Tomar, the Man Mandir. The palace has many beautiful paintings and some exquisite carvings and hence is also known as the Chitra Mandir or the Palace of paintings. Gujari Mahal is now converted onto a museum and is known for its collection of Jain and Hindu artifacts. The Fort is also known for the temples in its precincts.
Telika Mandir is a fascinating temple built in the 9th century and is striking with its Dravidian style of architecture. The Saas-Bahu Temple is interestingly a misnomer. It is the name given to two adjoining temples of different sizes, the larger one displaying elaborate carvings and sculptures with intricate work. The Chhatris with conical spires and heavily carved interiors in typical Bundhelkhandi style are memorial which were built to commemorate the former Scindia rulers.
Other tourist attractions in Gwalior are the Surya Mandir, a replica of the famous Sun Temple in Orissa. For those interested in the history and culture of Gwalior a visit to Kala Vithika is a must.
Another must see museum is the Scindia Museum , which was once the royal palace of the Scindias, the erstwhile royalty of Gwalior. The place is a paragon of opulence with rare collections like a silver toy train whose wagons were used as serving dishes and a glass cradle from Italy used for Lord Krishna at Janmashtami.
Datia is an interesting nearby destination about 74 km from Gwalior and is famous for its Bundela paintings. For archaeology enthusiasts a visit to Pawaya is a must, which was known as Padmavati in ancient times where one can find archaeological remains of the first and eight centuries.
The Dhoomeshwar Mahadeo temple, situated 3 km away, is a fine example of Bundela architecture. Sonagiri is a famous Jain pilgrimage site. If you wish to go on a picnic not far from Gwalior, then Tigra Dam will be an ideal option.
Gwalior hosts the Tansen Music Festival every winter in the months of November/ December. The festival in memory of the illustrious singer Tansen of Emperor Akbar’s time attracts musicians and music lovers from across the country.
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