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High time that the princely City of Gwalior moved up in tourist circuit

February 9, 2017

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Starting a new blog on the princely  City that I had been to last week , 300 Kms from New Delhi, very well connected via planes, trains and  buses .

Here is a list of places that must be visited while in Gwalior  . I consider  a stay of 2 days for this purpose as  quite sufficient

Gwalior Fort – Man Singh Palace – with  Teli Ka Mandir at the end of the trip to the Fort

A visit to the majestic Gwalior fort is a great experience that leaves you mesmerised. To avoid a long uphill walk, engage a vehicle that will go right up to Man Singh Palace built by Emperor Man Singh during the 15th century with 4 floors below the floor,and 3 above it. The charges for admission are Rs 15/per visitor which also includes charges for visit to the Sas Bahu Temple as Teli Ka Mandir located on the left as visitors depart from the Fort . There is also a Museum at the entrance to the Fort that has sculptures from 12th-13th century [ admission fee : Rs 10 ] . And Sound and Light show @ 18.30 hrs that is worth watching . But do consider engaging a Guide who will charge you Rs 470 for showing you around and narrating pieces from a 1000 years old history .

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                                                  Jai Vilas Palace and Museum

You cannot but be wonderstruck gazing at this magnificent Palace .The beautiful chandeliers and the painting and decorations on display simply  take your breath away .

It is a 19th century Palace which was  established in 1874 by Jayajirao Scindia , the Maharaja of Gwalior and is still the residence of his descendants from  the former royal Scindia dynasty.  The Palace is a fine example of European architecture, designed and built by Sir Michael Filose. A combination of architectural styles, the first storey is Tuscan, the second Italian-Doric and the third Corinthian. The interior of the Durbar Hall is decorated with gilt and gold furnishings and adorned with a huge carpet and gigantic chandeliers. Should be your first stop upon arrival in Gwalior.  Set apart 2-3 hours for the visit . Admission charges/person : Rs 50 .

Tombs of Mohammed Ghaus and Tansen: Tansen or Mian Tansen as he was addressed in Emperor Akbar’s Court, was a famous musician in the 16th century . It is said that Such was the power of his music that when he used to sing in the court of Akbar, candles used to light up automatically . Now his tomb is located in old Gwalior which can be reached by walking across a narrow lane where shopkeepers sell an array of different kinds of bangles.  The tomb is housed in a large park which is frequented by the locals for passing time , sitting and walking around . Muhammad Ghaus , a Sufi saint and teacher of Tansen , is also buried in the vicinity . An interesting place that is well worth spending time at .

Getting to the Park which houses the Samadhi of brave warrior Rani Lakshmi Bai and gazing at its statue mounted on a horse cast in black  stone is a moving experience, bringing back to me fond memories of my childhood . However,  for the first time  I learnt that Rani Lakshmi Bai died at the  very young age of 23 years while battling the British during the first Indian revolution in 1857 . That made my eyes rather moist and I stood motionless for a while .

SALUTATIONS TO THE BRAVE WOMAN WHO LAID DOWN HER LIFE FOR THE INDEPENDENCE OF OUR COUNTRY .

On your way back after visiting the Gwalior Fort, tell the car driver to stop over for 30 minutes for a view of the Sas Bahu Temple which is really not about Sas [ mother in law ] and Bahu [ daughter in law ] . The price of admission to the SB Temple is included in the Fort admission fee of Rs 15 .[ Rs 50 for foreigners ] . The architecture of the temple is very amazing . The intricate carvings on the walls , columns and the very high roof are so mesmerising that they takes your breath away . From the temple you can also view the smaller Shiva temple a little distance away . Athough,  I could not understand why it is named as a temple as I found no idols/deity inside it – perhaps with the passage of time it got damaged and was removed .

Nevertheless , a visit to the Sas Bahu Temple while in the princely city is highly recommended regardless of your religion or faith .

Sun Temple : It was set up in 1984 by the well known industrialist Ghanshyam Birla , known to be a close disciple of Mahatma Gandhiji . The Sun  temple resembles the famed Konark temple near Puri , Orissa , albeit smaller in size . It is devoted to Sun God and has a Chariot in front driven by 7 horses with carvings of several Gods and Goddesses on the walls . However , the huge complex needs to be properly landscaped given the huge space within it and provided with drinking water and toilet facilities . The walk to the temple is also unnecessarily too long . Regardless , a visit to the Sun Temple should be a part of every Gwalior traveller’s itinerary .

Gopachal Parvat [ mountain ] has large statues carved out of a single rock , hence the name ” Ek Patthar ki Bawdi ” .During 14th-15th century, thousands of ancient Jain idols were carved in the hill during the reign of Tomar Kings. Located on Gopachal Marg on the backside of Gwalior  Fort, it should be on all travellers’ itinerary . But climbing 50+ steps on a steep path made with stones can be difficult and stressful , esp. for ladies and senior citizens .

Moving around the city, you will find the majestic statue of  Maharaja Jivajirao Scindia in a busy Square . Belonging to the the Scindia dynasty of the Marathas , he was the last reigning Maharaja of Gwalior state in central India [ died 1961 ] , and the Rajpramukh of the erstwhile Madhya Bharat State of independent India.

And there  is the sweets shop to pamper your taste buds – Bahadura Sweets in a crowded street in Naya  Bazar . Enjoy delicious boondi ke laddoos and hot gulab jamuns that simply melt in your mouth .

For accommodation ,  I strongly recommend visitors to stay at the Ambience Hotel which is within walking distance from the Station within the Station compound [ IRs 3000 per day incl: taxes and breakfast ] . Efficient and courteous services . Spacious and well furnished room provided with tea/coffee maker and flat TV . Free wifi in rooms and public areas . Big buffet spread that doubles up for a full meal .

To get to Gwalior from the capital city, board the very comfortable high speed Shatabdi Express which departs from New Delhi Railway Station @ 0600  [1 stop –  3.5 hours ] . If this be inconvenient due to departure in early morning hours , the other alternative is to travel by the prestigeous Chennai Rajdhani Express  [ 1 stop – 3.5 hours ] which departs from Hazrat Nizamuddin  Station at 15.55 hrs .

Coming up soon : Ujjain, the eternal city .

From → My movie blogs

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