Gwalior is a place which would transport one to the history classes from school. The epic battles, musical masterminds and the brave dynasties, which are all woven into the place's fabric presents an opportunity to get familiar with North India's loud history.
The place offers great shopping potentials, which start with the Chanderi and Maheshwari sarees, lacquerware, metal crafts and hand-woven carpets. Gwalior has plenty to offer to a visitor. The roads here are crowded and mostly narrow.
The scorching heat in summers may be hard to adjust with, especially since most of its sights comprise of palaces, temples, fort, tombs and bazaars, which are all out in the open. Brave the heat and you would get to see history unfold in front of your eyes as you move through the town and its surroundings.
The Magnificent Fort
The glorious Gwalior Fort has soaring towers along with barred walls that are raised up to a height of 300 ft above on a hill at the centre of the city. The fort is considered as one of the most unbeatable forts in the country and dates back to the 5th century AD, when it was known as Gopagiri.
According to a popular legend, the city was founded in the 8th century by a chieftain named Suraj Sen. Attacked by a terrible disease, the chieftain was cured by a saint named Gwalip, and as a show of gratitude, he named the city which was built near Gopagiri after the saint.
With the passage of time, the fort passed through the hands of several rulers from the Huns, Jasts and the Marathas. The place also has its share of Sikh history, as the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, was imprisoned at the Assi Khamba Bawri in the 17th century. In the 19th century, the fort and the city became the focus as a long fight arose between the Britishers and the Scindias.
Temples And Monuments
PC: Amit Sen
To the east of the fort, one can find the Saas-Bahu temple complex which dates back to the 11th century. The temple is built of sandstone and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Shiva. Archaeologists say that the temple complex might have been named as Sahasra Bahu, which means thousand armed, which is one of the names of Lord Vishnu, which in the passage of time morphed into Saas Bahu.
Nearby, one can find the 8th century Teli ka Mandir, which displays a fusion of architectural elements from the Nagara and Dravidian styles of architecture. It was originally a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, which was later renovated as a Shiva shrine.
Tucked away in the by-lanes of the town is Sarod Ghar, which is the ancestral home of Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan. The house is now a museum, which houses instruments used in Hindustani classical and North Indian folk music, apart from old documents, books and photographs.
The Palace And The Mausoleum
The Scindia family's Jai Vials Mahal, which is now a part of the Scindia Museum in Lashkar resembles an Italian palazzo and houses memorabilia of the Maharaja. The structure was built by the king Jayaji Rao in the year 1874, and part of this residence has now been converted into a museum.
One can also find the tomb of the 16th-century prince-turned-Sufi-saint Hazrar Mohammed Ghous in Hazria, which is known as the Old Town or Old Gwalior that exhibits the typical Mughal architecture with hexagonal towers, small domes, lattice work, etc., on the walls and a large central dome.
PC: Shobhit Gosain
To the right of the tomb is small and simple samadhi of Tansen, the famed singer and composer of Akbar's court. Next to the tomb is a tamarind tree, which is believed to have miraculous powers, and performers who eat its leaves are said to get the ability to sing like Tansen.