• Fri. Sep 23rd, 2022

How to reach, what to do, when to travel

ByKeith M. Jones

Aug 7, 2022

If you are looking for a heritage trip, look no further than Gwalior. This historic city of Madhya Pradesh will leave you in awe of its incredible architectural heritage. Here is a practical guide. By Karan Kaushik

Here’s everything you need to know before planning a heritage trip to Gwalior

The destination

Gwalior as a city was established in the 9th century and was ruled by different rulers. Some of these rulers were Baghel Kachvaho, Gurjar Pratihar Rajvansh, Tomar and the Scindias. Apart from the Gwalior Fort, which offers stunning views of the city, Gwalior is also home to several other palaces and temples. Some of them like Sas Bahu Ka Mandir Temple and Gujari Mahal Palace enjoy great popularity among travelers. The historic walled city was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Cities in 2020.

The path

By plane

Gwalior is served by a domestic airport. Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia Air Terminal or Gwalior Airport enjoys regular connectivity with Delhi, Mumbai, Indore and Bhopal. If you are coming from other parts of the country, you can book a connecting flight from Delhi. Popular cities from which you can get daily flights to Gwalior include Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Kochi and Kolkata. Gwalior Airport is located at Maharajpur Air Base, 10 km from Gwalior.

By the road

Being a major city in Madhya Pradesh, Gwalior has excellent road connectivity. It is easily accessible from Delhi (321 km), Lucknow (423 km), Bhopal (423 km) and Agra (118 km). You can either hire a taxi or travel with your car. Public road transport and private buses are also available to Gwalior. Other important tourist destinations in Madhya Pradesh that offer easy access to Gwalior are Khajuraho (275 km), Ujjain (455 km) and Shivpuri (114 km).

By rail

Gwalior shares a direct railway line with New Delhi, Jammu, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Dehradun, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Vizag, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram, Kanyakumari and Kolkata, among other major cities in India. From Delhi, take the New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express. Auto rickshaws and taxis are readily available at the station.

Things to do in Gwalior

Gwalior Fort

Called “the pearl in the necklace of Hind Forts” by Mughal Emperor Babur, Gwalior Fort is located on a secluded rock along the “Sun Tank” or Suraj Kund with a whole history attached to it. Arguably one of the largest forts in the country, Gwalior Fort was overrun by Mughals, Turkic rulers and Tomars, until the British took over. Among the many historical feats was the great victory of Hem Chand Vikramaditya who defeated Akbar in Delhi and Agra to establish the ‘Hindu Raj’. Don’t miss the evening sound and light show at the fort’s amphitheater.

Parvat of Gopachal

This hill near Gwalior Fort is famous for its amazing Jain rock carvings. The Parvat of Gopachal Jaina monuments are believed to have existed since the period between the 7th and 15th centuries. They were carved during the reign of the Tomar dynasty. Among the imposing Jain statues tirthankaras, the most amazing are those of Adinath and Parshvanath which face the fort.

Sas Bahu Ka Mandir

The problem with temples named Sas Bahu in India is that they were originally called Sahastrabahu temples. Sahastrabahu is considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Over the centuries, the name of the temples has been corrupted into Sas Bahu. The Sahastrabahu Temple in Gwalior is a must visit. Built by King Mahipala of the Kachwaha dynasty in the 11th century, the temple is a fine specimen of Hindu temple architecture. Built in red ashlar, the temple has a pyramidal shape without arches. The carvings of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Saraswati are remarkable.

Read more on: https://www.nativeplanet.com/gwalior/attractions/sas-bahu-temple/#overview

Teli Ka Mandir

This temple is an excellent example of the concept of musical harmonies in architecture. Designed in the Gurjara Pratihara-Gopagiri style of North Indian architecture, the temple is a treasure trove of late Gupta-era Indian art. Said to have been built during the reign of Mihira Bhoj, the old Teli Ka Mandir is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Matrikas.

Jai Vilas Palace

This grand palace serves as the current residence of the Scindia royal family. Part of the Jai Vilas Palace has been transformed into the Jivaji Rao Scindia Museum. The museum offers a glimpse into the ultra-luxurious and opulent life of the Scindia. From Persian rugs to towering chandeliers and vintage furniture, the palace is a true reflection of the glorious past of princely India. The main attractions of the museum include a silver train with a cut glass carriage, an Italian glass cradle, the jeweled slippers of Chinkoo Rani and hunting trophies.

Gujari Mahal Archaeological Museum

Located at the eastern gate of the fort, Gujari Mahal was built by King Man Singh for his beloved queen Mrignayani, who belonged to the Gujjar clan. Today the palace houses a museum, inaugurated in 1922. The museum features an amazing collection of sculptural art, terracotta figurines, stone and copper plate inscriptions, coins, weapons and other finds.

Mausoleum of Tansen

Gwalior was blessed with the legendary Tansen in its royal courts. He is considered one of the greatest musicians India has ever had. Tansen was among the nine jewels of the Mughal court and propagated the Dhrupad style of Hindustani classical music. He also developed the Gwalior Gharana style of music. His mausoleum is located near the tomb of the Sufi saint Mohammed Ghaus.

Best time to go

Gwalior experiences extreme temperatures in both summer and winter. This makes October to March the most suitable time to visit the city. Monsoon is a good time too. For the best experience, try to plan your trip in November-December when the city hosts the Tansen Music Festival.

Feature and Hero Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Related: Why Pravaas’ trip to Gwalior was a lesson in luxury experiences and gastronomy