The city was once the seat of reigning Rajputs namely Pratiharas, Kachwahas, and Tomars and Marathas who have left behind their footprints in the form of palaces, forts, temples, and other monuments giving Gwalior a unique appeal and facade.
History of Gwalior can be divided into three different ages.
Ancient Times In ancient times the city was known as Gopgiri or Gopadri. The central hillock over which the fort of Gwalior is situated was referred to as Gopachal. During the later period of the 2nd century the Nagvansh clan established themselves in the region with the administrative headquarters in Vidisha however later the capital was shifted to Padmavati (modern Pawaya) by Bhimnag. Coins asserting the administrative rights of the clan have been found here , later they were defeated by Samudragupta as per a pillar inscription found in Allahabad.
Medieval Times The city was attacked by Mohammad Ghori who appointed his commander Sallachan as the administrative ruler of Gwalior. Later during the rule of Slave dynasty Iltutmish was appointed as the in-charge of fort. During the later period of 14th century the Tomars established themselves as the ruler of the region. This period saw the ascension of one of the most famous Tomar rulers namely Man Singh Tomar. After the first battle of Panipat , Gwalior became part of Mughal Empire. A description of the fort of Gwalior can be found in the biography of Babur.
Modern Times In the aftermath of third battle of Panipat the Jats were able to ascertain their supremacy but in 1765 Mahadaji Shinde, took over the throne. In 1948 the states of Indore and Gwalior were merged along with some other small states to form Madhya Bharat. Present Madhya Pradesh was formed on 1st November 1956 after merging Madhya Bharat, Bhopal, Vindhya and Mahakoshal.
Gwalior airport has some scheduled domestic services however they are not available daily.
Gwalior is very well connected to major cities across India by direct train links. You can reach Gwalior from India's capital New Delhi, in 3 hours by New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express(India's fastest train). This city is directly connected to Jammu, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Dehradun, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Kanyakumari, Vishakhapattnam, Patna, Kolkata, etc.Gwalior railway station is a major Railway station and comes under the jurisdiction of Jhansi Rail Divison. Train ticket reservation is fully computerized and can be done at railway station itself. Another convenient way of getting reservation is online reservation facility provided by the site of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation ]. Auto Rickshaw and Tempos (Shared Auto Rickshaw) are available from the station to most parts of the city 24 hours. There is a pre-paid booth at railway station for hiring Auto-Rickshaw. It is advised to negotiate fare before hiring one. Taxis are also available at railway station.
Gwalior is situated on the North-South corridor of National Express Highway. National highway No.3(Agra-Mumbai road) connects Gwalior To Delhi,Agra,Indore and Mumbai. National Highway No.75 connects Gwalior to Jhansi, while National Highway No.92 links Bhongaon with the city.
For moving in the area around Gwalior Fort, either autos or bike rickshaws work. Walking is also viable if you have time. A huge crowd of morning joggers may be seen specially during summer.
The cheapest way to move inside the city, but you may need to share it with other passengers and they run on fixed routes.
Costlier than tempos but convinent for going to internal parts of city. Remember, auto rickshaws in Gwalior do not have fare meters. So, never forget to negotiate fare before hiring one. Most important,drivers will take as many passengers as possible, so you can imagine how congesting it'll be.
Buses are available to visit near by places as well as for travel to different cities. These buses are available from Bus Stand near Railway Station. M.P.,Rajastahan,U.P, State Roadways Corporation have number of Bus services connecting to cities and towns around Gwalior. Some private operators also have luxury bus services on selected routes which mostly start from various parts of the city.
The fort is known as the Gibraltar of India and various rulers at different points of time has praised the architectural design and its resilience. It is situated on a hillock with the city surrounding it on all sides , the fort is a very lively one with many of the routines of the city's residents tied to it.
Muhammad Ghawth also known as Ghaus Mohammed was one of the most noted Sufis of his times and he was the guru of Tansen, one of the Navratnas of Akbar's court. The Samdhi of Tansen is also housed in the enclave. The site also doubles up as the venue for the Tansen Music Festival
This enclave provides the residents of the city to beat the summer heat and also serves as a popular picnic spot for school children. The garden has extensive network of stone fountains which lend a unique splendor. The garden is connected with Moti Mahal, a former palace of the Scindia's which serves as the commissioner's office and displays a rich gallery of wall paintings. This is also connected with BaijaTal which serves as one of the most preferred venues for cultural performances. A boat club and various food stalls catering to different tastes are also housed in the area.
Rani Lakshmibai along with Tatya Tope remains one of the most revered freedom fighters in the minds of the general populace and an annual fair is organised in her rememberance in the Phoolbagh Area. The most prominent road of the city is named after her. Alongside the Samadhi various gardens are situated namely PhoolBagh and Ambedkar which serve as the rendezvous point for the residents and tourists alike.
The zoo of the city is well known for its proper upkeep and kind treatment to animals. The zoo is known for its stellar medical care to animals. The main attractions of the zoo are Krishnamrigs (Blackbucks) and Tiger cubs.
This is the ancestral house of Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan which now has been converted into a museum. A must for all music lovers.
The chhatris are situated in the Lakshmiganj area midst a bustling marketplace. The area also houses a Stadium which also serves as the venue for various community food festivals.
Places of Worship The city of Gwalior is a city of many faiths with Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism dominating the landscape. The town is dotted with temples dating from various periods of time.
The famed gurudwara is frequented by a lot of foreign tourists who wish to experience the serene surroundings of a place of worship. The gurudwara is famous throughout the country and houses many facilites for the pilgrims. The ongoing Langar, offers free food service to all who visit the holy place. One of the other prominent gurudwaras is located in the Nadi gate area of Phoolbagh from which a shuttle service can be utilised to reach the more famous shrine over the hilltop.
One of the holiest places for the people following the Jain faith in the city. It is said to house the biggest statue of parsvanath in sitting posture in the world. During the evening the lighting of the area provides a unique picturesque hue.
These two are arguably the most famous temples of the city located nearby each other. Sanatana Dharma Mandir is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is governed by the Sanatana Dharma Mandala, which is the most powerful religious body of the city. The achaleshwar temple is dedicated to lord Shiva and devotees from all of the surrounding areas come to pay their respects. The temple complex at present is undergoing expansion and the temple trust is also known for celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi celebration with unmatched exuberance and extravagance.
This temple is one of the oldest temples in the city and has one of the biggest temple premises in the city. The temple is dedicated to lord Shiva and a huge fair is organized on the day of Mahashivratri which sees participation from not only the city but the surrounding villages as well. The temple is governed by the Devsthan trust and the Monday prayers during the month of Savan are a sight to behold and cherish.
The temple dedicated to lord Rama is situated in one of the busiest market places of the city. The regular evening prayers are serene, sincere and the devotion of the devotees is inspiring. The temple is also known for the beauty of its idols.
The temple is dedicated to the Sun god Vivaswan and was constructed as a replica to the more famous Konark Sun Temple. The temple is constructed using Red sand stone and white marble. It was constructed in 1988 by G.D. Birla , one of the prominent industrialists of the country.
The temple is dedicated to the divine mother and is situated near Gajra Raja Medical College atop a hillock. The temple was constructed in 1715 by Anand Rao Mandare.
Other prominent temples in the region include Garagaj Ke Hanuman temple which is dedicated to lord Hanuman situated in the Bahodapur region of the city, Khedapati temple which is situated near the Phoolbagh area is also dedicated to lord Hanuman. Other famous temples include Sheetla Mata mandir dedicated to the divine goddess and Sai Baba temple in Sevanagar. Many other small but old temples dot the landscape of the city.
Gwalior is known for extreme climate. In winters, mercury may dip to 1 degree Celcius and on hottest summer day, it may rise to 48°C. But normally, winter temperature ranges between 6 degress Celcius and 21°C. While summer temperature hovers between 24°C and 45°C. Rainy season starts in the third week of June with Monsoon raains washing the central India. Monsoon rains gradually become weak in September and the season ends in the last week of September.
The best season to visit Gwalior is pre-winter and spring. And the best months to visit this place are September to November, February to March. April to August, it is very hot and unadvisable for sightseeing in the heat.
Fairs and Festivals
Gwalior Annual Trade Fair If you are visiting in winters you can go to the famous Annual Trade Fair for shopping as well as experiencing the native culture.
Tansen Music Festival You can also enjoy beautiful Indian classical music both (vocal and instrumental) at 'Tansen Music Festival' during winters which is held in honor of Tansen who hailed from the city.
Gwalior Carnival Recently the Gwalior district tourism development council has started the carnival in the month of December boost tourism. This is an all encompassing event which includes sports activities, spiritual camps, dance and music festival and food grubs.
Din Dayal Mall It is the biggest mall of the region catering to all the shopping needs of an average household. It also doubled as one of the most favored hang-out places among the youth of the city.
Heritage Walk The fort of Gwalior is centrally located and to witness it in its full splendor a walk around is a must. The fort includes a plethora of monuments namely:
Other monuments included in the fort premises are Karan Mahal which served as royal quarters, Teli ka mandir which is a unique blend of different architectural designs , Surajkund, Ek Pathar ki Bawadi which houses several holy Jain statues carved into the fort walls and various other huge Jain statues throughout the premises.
This houses one of the best preserved stone monuments and figurines from all over the country. The special attraction is the figurine of Shalbhanjika which is renowned for its smile.
This is the official residence of the Scindia's who served as the rulers of the state. The major attractions include a silver serving train which runs on the dining table serving hot food to its patrons and one of the heaviest set of chandeliers in the country. Recently the museum is also opened during the evenings complete with lightings , decorations and fountains.
This is the government owned museum which is known for its fantastic display of animal skins and taxidermy specimens.
Shop around in Maharaj Bada The Maharaj Bada serves as the main shopping district for the city of Gwalior as well as nearby towns. It is a multi-product market with various lanes and by-lanes serving as a single product market. The area houses various government buildings which are situated in various grand colonial buildings. Each building follows a different pattern of architecture ranging from the Roman to Mughal house of architecture providing a feat for the eyes. The area is also known for its street market and street food.
Water Sports The water supply to the city comes from a nearby dam called Tighara. The tourism development corporation runs various water sports related activities for the adventure sports enthusiasts. It is also a popular picnic spot for families and corporate alike.
Watch a Play The Natyamandir in the Dal Bazar has excellent facilities for showcasing the talents in the house of drama. Kindly confirm the listings before planning to visit.
The Samosa (Potato filled Maida snacks) and Kachoris are a specialty and a must try for breakfast.The shop is located in the Naya Bazaar area and a moderate crowd can be found at all times.
The sweets also located in the Naya Bazaar area is famous for its sweets specially Laddoos and Gulab Jamuns, the high turnover ensures that all the raw materials are fresh and the demand for sweets is specially high during festivals.
The chowapatti fashioned after the famous Chowpatti of Mumbai is place where a wide variety of Chaat and Chinese snacks are served. The chowpatti is located in the Phoolbagh region and is highly frequented spot by students.
The area near chambers of commerce on the Achaleshwar road is famous for different varieties of food which include South Indian specialits , Maharashtrian Pav Bhaji and Punjabi dishes like Chole Bhature and Amritsari Naan. The area is highly popular spot for an evening snack which can be very well converted into dinner.
The Indian Coffee House or ICH by which it is known by the youth of the city is one of the joints serving authentic south indian varieties and filter coffee.
The restaurant is situated in the Jayendraganj area and is known for moderately comfortable ambience and piping hot non vegetarian dishes.
The restaurant is situated near Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya and is known for its different kinds of Bakery products and Chinese dishes.
The restaurant located in the Nai Sadak region is famous for its authentic Punjabi cuisine and non-vegetarian dishes.
The restaurant located near Gwalior Railway Station is famous for its hearty vegetarian meals and hygeinic surroundings.
The parathawala located in the Sarafa Bazar near Maharaj Bada region is one of the oldest restaurant famous for its stuffed parathas.
The restaurant located near katora taal and is famous for its ambiance and loality. Though the food is of average tatse but serene surrounding replete with parks, gardens and chattris lend an altogether different aura to the venue.
The restaurant located in the Patankar Bazaar area is known for its wide range of fast food varieties. It is one of the favorite spots for college goers and families alike.
The restaurant is located inside Usha Kiran Palce and is known for its impeccable ambience and great taste. The periodic food festivals are a must try.
The restaurant is located at Padav region within Shelter hotel. It is famous for its extensive breakfast menu and cool interiors.
The restaurant which is a part of the Suruchi hotel located in the Gole ka Mandir area is famous for its traditional North Indian cuisine.
This houses the Border Security Force Academy which is worth a visit. The premises include a lake, museum and various adventure sports facilites. Kindly contact the respective authorities before planning a visit for the required permissions.
The temple dedicated to lord Shiva was built by Kachchapghaat rulers located in Morena disctrict and is a magnificent piece of architecture even in its ruins.
Around 100 kms from Gwalior the city is major railway junction famous for the fort of Rani Jhansi
Around 120 km from Gwalior famous for its Temple Complex dedicated to lord Rama, ghats on the river betwa and general wildlife surroundings
60 km on the Jhansi road famous for its massive Jain Temple complex.
Aroung 75 kms away from the city, it is famous for one of the holiest temples dedicated to goddess Bagulamukhi and the adjacent fort complex.
The city of Bharatpur is best known for the Keoladeo wildlife sanctuary which houses an exotic variety of birds and is a must visit for wildlife enthusiasts.
The town of Shivpuri was a stronghold of Scindias and is famous for its Chhatri complex and the Madhav Wildlife sanctuary which houses a wide variety of wildlife unique to the region.
The world famous city of Taj is located just 130 kms away on National Highway No.3