Gwalior: A Home to Most Beautiful Palaces, Temples and Forts

Table of Contents

About Gwalior

Gwalior is an ancient and a major city of Madhya Pradesh and the largest city in the Gird region of the state. It is located 343KM south of Delhi, 120KM from Agra, and 414KM from Bhopal, and occupies a strategic location. Recently, it has been selected as one of the 100 Indian cities to be developed into a Smart City.

Located 343 kilometres (213 mi) south of Delhi, the capital city of India, 120 kilometres (75 mi) from Agra and 414 kilometres (257 mi) from Bhopal, the state capital, the city occupies a strategic location in the Gird region of India. The city is surrounded by steep rocky hills on all sides and is bordered by the Ganga-Yamuna drainage basin on the north. 

What is Gwalior famous for?

A land of majestic palaces and ancient temples, it is the historical places in Gwalior that the city is famous for. The Gwalior Fort, is the city’s fame and signature monument, and also the best place to visit in Gwalior. 

The history of the fort is what makes it so popular. It was regarded as the “pearl among fortresses in India” by Babur. One of the most impenetrable fortresses across northern and southern kingdoms, it sits on a hilltop on a rocky mountain and looks over the entire city.

The imposing structure was built by the Tomara dynasty in the 6th century. The entire premise covers a main temple, and palaces named after legendary rulers. It was also called the Gibraltar of India. The fort houses carving that show the second oldest reference to the number zero. Gwalior fort was constructed in two parts, in two different eras. Hence, the architecture is a blend of different time periods. 

History of Gwalior

The historical city of Gwalior is said to be founded by King Suraj Sen in 8AD. Local legends say that Suraj Sen, a local chieftain, was cured of leprosy by a holy man named Gwalip. To honor him, Suraj Sen established the city and named it Gwalior.

Gwalior has seen many changes of rulers, from the Kachchhapaghatas in the 10th century to the Tomars in the 13th century, the Mughal Empire, the Marathas in the 18th century and finally the Scindias in the 18th century, the last royal family of Madhya Pradesh. 

During the colonial era, this city used to be the winter capital of the state and remained a princely state under the Scindia rulers. During the Rebellion of 1857, the city formed an important site, held by the rebels. After India’s independence in 1947, Gwalior was merged with a number of princely states and consolidated into Madhya Bharat, and finally stated as Madhya Pradesh in 1956. 

Hidden Facts about Gwalior

While the tourist places in Gwalior define the city, there are some interesting facts that make this city more interesting. For instance, it is one of those few cities where the most eminent royalty of India once ruled. Another interesting trivia on Gwalior is the carpet at the Jai Vilas Palace. It is believed to be the largest carpet in the world and took almost 12 years to weave it. The palace also has two massive chandeliers, the two biggest in the world, each weighing nearly 3.5 tons.

Famous Forts and Palaces in Gwalior

The forts, palaces, and ancient mansions are the most popular tourist attractions in Gwalior. Here’s a handy guide to some of the must-see and must-visit Gwalior forts – 

Gwalior Fort

  • How to Reach – The fort area is located at 3.3KM from the railway station. You can get an auto, bus, or book a cab to reach.
  • Timings – 6AM-5.30PM 
  • Entry Fee – INR 75, Free for children below 15 years
  • Time Required – 3-4 Hours
  • Tips – Don’t miss the 9th-century temple on the premise and the light and sound show held in the evenings.

Jai Vilas Palace

  • How to Reach – The palace is located nearly 3KM from the city railway station. You can book a cab, local auto, bus to reach.
  • Timings -10AM – 4:45PM (April to September), 10AM – 4:30PM (October to March) (Closed on Wednesdays)
  • Entry Fee – 
    • Indians: INR 100
    • Camera/Mobile: INR 70
    • Video Camera: INR 150
    • Children (up to 5 years): Free
    • Physically Challenged People: Free
  • Time Required – 2-3 hours
  • Tips – Visit the art gallery and the library on premise that houses over 5000 books from different eras.

Tansen’s Mausoleum 

  • How to Reach – The mausoleum and tomb is located at 5KM from the city center. You can book a local cab or take the city bus or auto to reach.
  • Timings – 9AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours
  • Tips – Attend the Tansen Music Festival, held every November-December near the tomb.

Gujari Mahal 

  • How to Reach – The ancient palace sits at 6KM from the city center. You can easily take the local auto or bus or book a taxi to reach. 
  • Timings – 10AM-5PM
  • Entry Fee– INR 10, Photography – INR 50, Videography- INR 200
  • Time Required – 2-3 Hours
  • Tips – Also visit the Jahangir Mahal nearby.

Places to visit in Gwalior

You can also include these popular tourist hotspots in your Gwalior sightseeing itinerary – 

Gwalior zoo

  • How to Reach – The zoo lies at a walking distance from the city railway station. You can take a walk or hail an auto to reach. 
  • Timings – 10.30AM-5PM
  • Entry Fee – INR 20, Kids – INR 5
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours
  • Tips – Be careful of stray monkeys that roam the protected wildlife area.

Sun Temple

  • How to Reach – The temple sits at 6KM from the city center. You can book a local cab or auto or even take the bus to reach.
  • Timings – 6:30AM – 12PM, 1PM to 6PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1 hour
  • Tips – Visit in the evening hours to see the aarti at the sunset time.

Chaturbhuj Temple

  • How to Reach – The temple is located near the Fort, 4KM from the city center. You can include this in your fort trip. 
  • Timings – 24 hours 
  • Entry Fee – Free 
  • Time Required – Less than 1 hour
  • Tips – You can also visit the nearby Gujari Mahal and the archeological museum housing ancient ruins.

Things to do in Gwalior

Apart from the historically famous places in Gwalior, you can also do other interesting activities in and around the city. 

Explore other historical places to visit near Gwalior like the Gopachal Parvat. The site is famous for ruins of rock-cut Jain monuments from the 7th and 15th century.

Shop at the popular and expansive malls in Gwalior or stop at local merchants for local handcrafted good, chanderi silk textiles, semi-precious gems and stones, and artifacts.

Take a tour of the local food trail. Stop at iconic eateries and sample some of the famous food of Gwalior like petha, kachori, poha, lambi pani poori, etc. 

Best time to visit Gwalior 

Sitting in a landlocked area with hilly landscape, Gwalior weather is typically dry. Summers are hot and harsh, while winters are cool and pleasant. Hence, the best time to visit Gwalior is between November to March. This is when the temperature in Gwalior is conducive enough to explore outdoors, visit the forts and enjoy the natural environment. The rainy season, between July and September is also good enough to travel. You can also visit during November and December, when the city hosts the four-day Tansen Music Festival, near Tansen’s tomb, in honor of the historical Indian musician. The festival attracts classical musicians from all over the country to perform.

Best Gwalior Hotels & Resorts 

Most resorts in Gwalior are transformation of old palaces and mansions, making the stay a royal experience. Check out some of these best Gwalior hotels and resorts to stay – 

  • Taj Usha Kiran Palace
  • Dera Haveli 
  • MPT Tansen Residency 
  • Empire Resorts 
  • The Golden Village Hotel & Restaurant

Places to eat in Gwalior

Being a foodie’s paradise, there’s no shortage of good restaurants and cafes in Gwalior. Explore these top-rated Gwalior restaurants on your trip – 

  • S.S. Kachoriwala 
  • Silver Saloon 
  • Pakwan
  • Rajasthani Bhojanalaya
  • Bansiwala Restaurant 
  • Captain’s Café 

How to reach Gwalior

By Train

Gwalior is well-connected by railway to all major cities across the state and rest of India. The railway station is located 3KM from the city center. There are regular trains from Indore, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, etc. 

By Road

The city lies on the north-south corridor of the National Highway and is easily accessible from nearby cities like Indore, Bhopal, Orchha, Jabalpur, etc. via NH3, NH75, and NH92. There are regular state-run and private buses from all these places to Gwalior. You can also book a cab from Delhi or other cities in Madhya Pradesh to reach Gwalior.

By Flight

Gwalior is served by Agra Airport, about 107KM from Gwalior. It is one of the four prominent airports in the state and also an Indian Air Force Base. There are frequent flights from all cities and major towns in India to the city.

Download our Savaari car Booking app for a smooth and pleasant journey. 

About the author

Reading between lines - the ones that rhyme, on a journey with no stop sign.

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