Gwalior, with its beautiful architecture is one of the most important historical cities of Madhya Pradesh.
Here are some places you can visit in Gwalior:
1.Man Singh Palace
This imperial style palace is one of the most unusually decorated monuments you’ll see in India: the outer walls include a frieze of yellow ducks! These – and mosaic tiling of elephants, tigers and crocodiles in blue, yellow and green – give it its alternative identity of Chit Mandir (Painted Palace).
Built by Tomar ruler Man Singh between 1486 and 1516, this is a fine example of early Hindu architecture and it consists of two open courts surrounded by apartments on two levels. The ticket counter is opposite the palace, while another ticket counter nearby sells tickets for the ruins of Shah Jahan Palace, Karan Palace and several other dilapidated palaces in the northwest of the fort. Also opposite the palace is the small Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) museum that was a hospital under British rule.
Man Singh Palace
Situated on top of a 3 km long plateau overlooking Gwalior, this hilltop fort is an imposing, eye-catching sight, with the circular towers of the dominating Man Singh Palace ringed with turquoise tiles.
There are two approaches to the fort, both steep treks. Rickshaws can drive you up to Urvai. Don’t however, miss the rock sculptures, which are a part of the way down the western side.
A sound and light show is held at night in the amphitheatre. Do not miss it.
Most of the fort is now occupied by the prestigious private Scindia School, established by Maharaja Madhavrao Scindia in 1897 for the education of Indian nobility.
3.Jai Vilas Palace & Scindia Museum
The museum occupies some 35 rooms of the Scindias’ opulent Jai Vilas Palace, built by Maharaja Jayajirao in 1874 using prisoners from the fort. The convicts were rewarded with the 12-year job of weaving the hall carpet, one of the largest in Asia.
Supposedly, eight elephants were suspended from the durbar (royal court) hall ceiling to check if it could cope with two 12.5 m-high, 3.5 tonne chandeliers with 250 lightbulbs, said to be the largest pair in the world.
Bizarre items fill the rooms: cut-glass furniture, stuffed tigers and a ladies-only swimming pool with its own boat. The cavernous dining room displays the pièce de résistance, a model railway with a silver train that carried after-dinner brandy and cigars around the table.
The gates to the north and south are locked so you have to enter the palace from the west.
4.Jain Rock Sculptures
While there are sculptures carved into the rock at a few points on the plateau, including on the way up from Gwalior Gate, the most impressive is the upper set on the western approach, between Urvai Gate and the inner fort walls. Mostly cut into the cliff face in the mid-15th century, they represent nude figures of tirthankars (the 24 great Jain teachers). They were defaced by Babur’s Muslim army in 1527 but have been more recently repaired.
From the east, a series of gates punctuates the worn steps of the path leading up to the fort. At the bottom, the first gate you pass through is the Gwalior Gate, dating back to 1660, and leading to the State Archaeological Museum. The second, Bansur (Archer’s Gate) has disappeared, so the next is Badalgarh , named after Badal Singh, Man Singh’s uncle.
Further up is Ganesh Gate, built in the 15th century. Near that is Kabutar Khana, a small pigeon house, and a small four-pillared Hindu temple to the hermit Gwalipa, after whom both fort and town are named.
You’ll pass a 9th-century Vishnu shrine known as Chatarbhuj Mandir before reaching the fifth gate, Hathiya Paur, the entrance to the palace grounds (as the sixth gate, Hawa Gate, no longer exists).
6.Tomb of Tansen
Tucked away in the winding lanes of the Old Town, is the smaller, simpler tomb of Tansen, a singer much admired by Akbar and said to be the father of Hindustani classical music. Chewing the leaves from the tamarind tree here supposedly enriches your voice. Free performances are staged during the four-day Tansen Music Festival in November/December.
7.State Archaeological Museum
This museum is within Gujari Mahal , just through Gwalior Gate at the base of the fort. Built in the 15th century by Man Singh for his favourite rani, the palace is now rather deteriorated. There is a large collection of Hindu and Jain sculptures, including the famed Salabhanjika (an exceptionally carved female figure) including copies of Bagh Caves frescoes.