Gwalior

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General Info of Gwalior

History of Gwalior

Gwalior is a city in Madhya Pradesh, India, lying 76 miles (122 km) south of Agra, and known as the tourist capital of Madhya Pradesh. The city has a population of over 1.2 million; its greater metropolitan area is the 46th most populous area in the country. Gwalior occupies a strategic location in the Gird region of India, and the city and its fortress have served as the center of several of historic northern Indian kingdoms. That the location of the city still is considered militarily important is signaled by the presence of a major air force base at Maharajpura.

According to local tradition, Gwalior owes its name to a sage of former times. Suraj Sen, a prince of the Kachhwaha clan of the eighth century, is said to have lost his way in the jungle. On a secluded hill he met an old man, the sage Gwalipa, whose influence almost took him by surprise. Upon asking the sage for some drinking water he was led to a pond; the waters not only quenched his thirst but cured him of leprosy. Out of gratefulness, the prince wished to offer the sage something in return, and the sage asked him to build a wall on the hill in order to protect the other sages from wild animals which often disturbed their yagnas (or pujas). Suraj Sen later built a palace inside the fort, which had been named "Gwalior" after the sage; eventually the city which grew around the fort took the same name.

Gwalior has a sub-tropical climate with hot summers from late March to early July, the humid monsoon season from late June to early October and a cool dry winter from early November to late February. Under Koppen's climate classification the city has a humid subtropical climate. The highest recorded temperature was 53oC and the lowest was -1oC. Summers start in late March, and along with other cities like Nagpur and Delhi are among the hottest in India and the world. They peak in May and June with average daily temperatures being around 33-35oC (93-95oF) , and end in late June with the onset of the monsoon. Gwalior gets 970 mm (39 in) of rain every year, most of which is concentrated in the monsoon months from late June to early October. August is the wettest month with about 310 mm (12 in) of rain. Winter in Gwalior starts in late October, and is generally very mild with daily temperatures averaging in the 14-16oC (58-62oF) range, and mostly dry and sunny conditions. January is the coldest month with average lows in the 5-7oC range (40-45oF) and occasional cold snaps that plummet temperatures to close to freezing.

Gwalior can be visited from late October to early March without much discomfort, but the months from April to June should be avoided due to the extreme heat. The monsoon months see sustained, torrential rainfall and risk of disease, and should also generally be avoided. Gwalior's main station is one of the major commercial railway stations of the North Central Railway of Indian Railways, whose zonal headquarters is in Allahabad. The station has won awards from Indian Railways for clean infrastructure in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1992. Express trains such as the Bhopal Express, Taj Express and Bhopal Shatabdi stop at Gwalior.

Gwalior is, perhaps, one of the few places where both narrow gauge and broad gauge railways tracks are still operational. The Gwalior narrow gauge track is the narrowest in India. Gwalior is well connected by train services to all parts of the country, including 4 metros. There are direct trains to Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata (Howrah), Chennai, Trivandrum, Indore, Jaipur, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Pune, Jammu, Lucknow, Bhopal, Bangalore and other major towns. Gwalior is the main station serving most of the important and long distance trains. There are two other stations within the city limits, named Gwalior Birla Nagar and Gwalior Sithouli. These stations interconnect to other stations and also serve the short distance trains connecting Gwalior to nearby towns and villages. There are other narrow gauge stations within the city, named Gwalior Grasim Factory and Motijheel. Gwalior lies on the longest functional broad gauge line in India between Delhi and Mumbai.

Roads

Gwalior is fairly well connected to other parts of Madhya Pradesh and India with national and state highways. The proposed North-south-Corridor of the Golden-Quadrilateral Highway project passes through the city. The Agra-Bombay national highway (NH3) passes through Gwalior, connecting it to Shivpuri on one end and Agra on the other. The city is connected to the Jhansi by the National Highway 75, towards the south of the city. In the Northern, the city is connected to the holy city of Mathura via National Highway. There are bus services to and from all major and minor cities near Gwalior, including Bhopal, Agra, Delhi, Jabalpur, Jhansi, Bhind, Morena, Datia, Jaipur and Indore.

Road traffic in Gwalior

Gwalior's public transport system consists of tempos, horse-drawn tongas (which run fixed routes much like a bus system) and auto rickshaw taxis. Recently the municipal corporation has launched Gwalior City Bus covering some routes in the city. The tempos and auto-rickshaws are often cited as a cause of pollution and road congestion, and the local government has plans to replace the tempos with vans that shall run on Liquefied Petroleum Gas. However, taken in itself, this solution ignores the congestion and pollution caused by private cars, which are far more significant especially considering that the impact of private cars is actually caused for the benefit of a very small section of the city's population.

History

Gwalior may have been held by the Guptas or some of their subordinates, but the oldest historical evidence shows the fort was conquered by the Hunas in the early sixth century. The evidence for this is a stone inscription of the time of Mihirakula recording the construction of a temple to the sun god. It is now in India Museum, Calcutta. Subsequently, the Gwalior was taken by Gurjar Pratihars of Kannauj. From inscription found such as Rakhetra stone inscription, scholars assert that Gwalior was under the possession of Gurjara Pratiharas till at least 942-43 A.D.

In the 10th century, after Gurjara Pratiharas, Gwalior was taken by the Kachwaha Rajputs. Qutb-ud-din Aybak captured the city in 1196. Shamsud-din Altamsh took control of the area in 1232. By the 15th century the city had a noted singing school which was attended by Tansen. It first fell to the British in 1780, but was one of the cities taken during the Sepoy Rebellion.

Today Gwalior includes the former city of Lashkar. Laskar was the capital of Gwalior state, one of the princely states of India during the British Raj. It then served as the capital of Madhya Bharat from 1950 to 1956.

At the heart of Gwalior is Gwalior Fort, built by Raja Man Singh Tomar, of the Tomar dynasty. This formidable structure was reputed to be one of the most invincible forts of India. It occupies an isolated rock outcrop. The hill is steepened to make it virtually unscalable and is surrounded by high walls which enclose buildings from several periods. The old town of Gwalior lies at the eastern base of the fortress. Lashkar, formerly a separate town that originated as a military camp, lies to the south, and Morar, also a formerly separate town, lies to the east. Gwalior, Lashkar and Morar are presently part of Gwalior Municipality.

Revolt of 1857

Gwalior is also known for its share in 1857 revolt mainly due to Rani Lakshmi Bai's heroic resistance and death. After Kalpi (Jhansi) fell into the hands of the British on May 24, 1858, Lakshmibai sought shelter at the Gwalior fort. The king of Gwalior was not willing to give up his fort without a fight as he was afraid of the British. But the soldiers laid down their arms in respect for the Rani of Jhansi. Thus the freedom fighters entered Gwalior without a fight.

The British wasted no time in attacking Gwalior. It was the fiercest, bloodiest battle ever fought on Indian soil. Lakshmibai's courage, strength, and ability as she valiantly fought the British army's vastly superior forces, are remembered to this day. She dies fighting and Gwalior was captured. Tantya Tope was hanged and Rao Sahib escaped.

Art and culture

Gwalior is a well acknowledged place of art, associated with historic as well as contemporary evidence. In August 2005 a mural created by Aasutosh Panigrahi and five other artists was acknowledged as World's Largest Indoor Mural by the Guinness Book of Records.

Gwalior holds an unparalleled reputation in Sangeet. Greatest ever classical singer (Dhrupadiya) was Baijnath Prasad alias Baiju Bawra, who lived in Gwalior for his whole life under the patronage of Man Singh. Baiju was born in Chanderi and was cremated there only, got the training of music in Brindaban under great Swami Guru Haridas ji. He was Court Musician of Gwalior along with Nayak Charju, Bakshu, and others.

Tansen, born in Behat, trained in music at Vrindavan, served Raja Ramchandra Waghela of Bandhawgarh, and then went to Agra under the patronage of Akbar. After the death of Tansen in Fatehpur Sikri and cremation in Agra, the ashes were buried in Gwalior. Tansen Samaroh is held every year in Gwalior.

Ustad Natthu Khan, Hassu Khan, Haddu Khan, Nissar Hussain, Rehmat Khan, Shankarrao Vishnu Pandit, Ramkrishna Buwa Vaze, Rajabhaiyya Poonchhwale, Krishnarao Pandit, lived here and spread the magic of music. Renowned artiste Mrs. Malini Rajurkar, who is keeping the flame of Hindustani music alive today, also belongs to Gwalior.

Sarod Maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is also from the royal city of Gwalior. His grandfather Ghulam Ali Khan Bangash became a court musician in Gwalior.

'Late Vijay Singh Akolkar' (died in 1969) one of the best satirist in that time. He is belonging to shahi pariwar (Jhagirdar) Now, one of the great Hindustani classical singers, Dr. Ishwar Chandra Karkare who is fourth generation of artist’s poets and musician family, lives here and his classical music is full of spiritual joyousness.

Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, the conference on Marathi Literature was held once in Gwalior city. It was presided by President of the Conference writer Kusumavati Deshpande (and wife of Kavi Anil) in 1961. She was the first female president of the annual Sammelan since its inception in 1878.

Culturally Gwalior is the confluence of two rich cultures Bundeli and Braj. Bundelkhand covers Gwalior, Bhind, Morena, Sagar, Shivpuri, Guna, Sheopur and adjoining areas.

Ahiri dance

This dance is related to people who have traditionally been in the business of cattle herding. In different parts of the state these people are known by different castes such as Ahir, Baredi, Gwal, Rawat, Raut, Gwala etc. These people believe that they are descendants of Krishna.

Main festivals

All national festivals, Diwali, Holi, Makara Sankranti, Eid-ul-Fitr, Rakhi,Mahavir jayanti and other local ones like Nag-Panchmi, Ahilya Utsav, Ganesh Utsav, Gudi Padwa (Marathi new year), Navratri, Dussehara, Durga Puja are celebrated with equal enthusiasm. Last decade has seen a rise in celebration of events like Valentine's Day, Rose Day and New Year's Eve.

Gwalior also celebrates Rang Panchami quite differently. This festival is celebrated five days after Dulendi or Holi. This is also celebrated like Dulendi, but colors are mixed with water and then either sprinkled or poured on others.

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in a unique way in Gwalior city. People of Gwalior arrange a carnival of floats (known as "Jhanki" in local Hindi language) in various places of city.

Makar Sankranti is a 'Kite Festival' on 14 January each year; people fly kites and compete to cut each other's kites in sky.

Places Of Tourist Attraction

Gwalior Fort

Massive Gwalior Fort, popularly called the Gibraltar of India, overlooks the city. Emperor Babur reputedly described it as "the pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind." This fort's architecture is unique. It shows Chinese influence on Indian architecture, as Chinese dragons have been crafted at the hilt of the pillars. This influence was because of trade between China and India during that period.

After the death of Sher Shah Suri in 1545, who was ruling the North India at that time, his son Islam Shah shifted his capital from Delhi to Gwalior and constructed 'Sher Shah Mandir' or Palace/Fort in the memory of his father Sher Shah Suri. Islam Shah operated from Gwalior till his death in 1553. Islam Shah had appointed the Hindu warrior 'Hemu' or Hem Chandra Vikramaditya as his Prime Minister in Sher Shah Fort for the first time, who later on became the Vikramaditya king at Delhi and established 'Hindu Raj' in North India, by virtue of winning 22 battles continuously from Punjab to Bengal and defeating Akbar's army in Agra and Delhi on 6 October 1556. He is also known in history as Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya.

View from the summit of the Gwalior Fort showing the palace of the Maharajah of Scindia. Circa 1882. According to history, the original fort of Gwalior was founded by the Bargujar Kings during the 34th/35th century of Kali yuga as per puranas available with them. His palace is the most interesting example of early Hindu work of its class in India. Another palace of even greater extent was added to this in 1516. The Mughal emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan added palaces to these two, the whole making a group of edifices unequalled for picture sequences and interest by anything of their class in central India. Among the apartments in the palace was the celebrated chamber, named the Baradari, supported on 12 columns, and 45 ft (15 m) square, with a stone roof, forming one of the most beautiful palace-halls in the world. It was, besides, singularly interesting from the expedients to which the Hindu architect was forced to resort to imitate the vaults of the Muslims. Of the buildings, however, which so excited the admiration of the first Mughal emperor Babur, probably little now remains.

Telikā Mandir, 8th century.

The Telikā Mandir or 'oil-man's temple', owes its name to Teli, a term for an oil grinder or oil dealer. Many suggestions have been put forward to explain this name historically, but in actual fact the name is not old, the temple being used for processing oil before the British occupied the fort and used the building, albeit temporarily, as a coffee shop. The Telikā Mandir is the loftiest temple among all the buildings in Gwalior fort with a height of about 30m. The temple consists of a garbagriha, that is sanctum proper for the deity, and an antarala to enter into the temple. It can be approached by a flight of steps provided on the eastern side. The most striking feature of the temple is the wagon-vaulted roof, a form used over rectangular shrines which normally accommodated a row of Mother Goddesses.[8] The goddesses from the interior vanished centuries ago and have not been traced, even in fragments. The exterior walls of the temple are richly decorated with sculptures many of which are damaged; the niches, shaped like temples, are empty. The building carries a dedicatory inscription to the goddess in a niche on the southern side, but otherwise does not have any history. The architectural style, discussed by a number of architectural historians, points to a date in the late eighth century. The building was thus erected just as the Gurjara Pratihāras were asserting their power over central India. The entrance gateway on the eastern side is a later addition of the British period, made by Major Keith in 1881. It was erected as a way of saving various historic pillars and other pieces no longer in their original context.

Teli-ka-Mandir

A striking part of the Jain remains at Gwalior is a series of caves or rock-cut sculptures, excavated in the rock on all sides, and numbering nearly a hundred, great and small. Most of them are mere niches to contain statues, though some are cells that may have been originally intended for residences. According to inscriptions, they were all excavated within a short period of about thirty-three years, between 1441 and 1474. One of the colossal figures is 57 ft (17 m) high, taller than any other in northern India. GGGwalior fort also has the Gurudwara Data Bandi built in the memory of the sixth Sikh Guru Har Gobind. This Gurudwara is particularly large and grand, built entirely of marble with colored glass decorating the main building. Recital of the Guru Granth Sahib creates a peaceful and sacred atmosphere. Mughal kings used to visit Gwalior regularly.

Gujari Mahal

Within the fort are some marvels of medieval architecture. The 15th century Gujari Mahal is a monument to the love of Raja Mansingh Tomar for his intrepid Gujar Queen, Mrignayani. The outer structure of Gujari Mahal has survived in an almost total state of preservation; the interior has been converted into Archaeological Museum housing rare antiquities, some of them dating back to the 1st century A.D. Even though many of these have been defaced by the iconoclastic Mughals, their perfection of form has survived the ravages of time. Particularly worth seeing is the statue of Shalbhanjika from Gyraspur, the tree goddess, the epitome of perfection in miniature. The statue is kept in the custody of the museum's curator, and can be seen on request.

Man Mandir Palace

Built between 1486 and 1517 by Raja Mansingh.The tiles that once adorned its exterior have not survived, but at the entrance , traces of these still remain. Within the palace room’s stand bare, stripped of their former glory, testifying to the passing of the centuries. Vast chambers with fine stone screens were once the music halls, and behind these screens, the royal ladies would learn music from the great masters of the day. Below, circular dungeons housed the state prisoners of the Mughals. Emperor Aurangzeb had his brother , Murad imprisoned , and later executed here. Close by is Jauhar Pond, where in the Rajput tradition, the Ranis committed mass sati after their consorts had been defeated in battle. At Man Mandir Palace, a poignant ambience of those days of chivalry and heroism still lingers in the silent chambers. A superbly mounted Son-et-Lumiere here brings it all alive every evening.

Ghaus Mohammed's Tomb

The sandstone mausoleum of the Afghan prince, Ghaus Mohammed, is also designed on early Mughal lines. Particularly exquisite are the screens which use the pierced stone technique as delicate as lace. It is on the way to Gwalior fort near Hazira from Railway Station.

Gurudwara Data Bandhi Chhod

Built in the memory of Guru Hargobind Saheb , the 6th Sikh Guru who was imprisoned here by Emperor Jehangir for over two years. It is located on the Gwalior Fort. Distance from Railway Station / Bus Stand: 6.00 Kms Approx.

Gopachal Parvat

Situated on the Mountain Area at slopes of Gwalior Fort carries unique statue of Jain Tirthankars. The largest Idol of Bhagwan Parshwanath on Lotus is the largest statue(in single stone piece) in the world, being 47 feet high and 30 feet in width. 26 Jain statues in a series give a beautiful and attractivce picturescue. Built between 1398 to 1536 by Tomar Kings - these Jain Tirthankars Statues are a species of Architecture and a treasure of Old Indian heritage and culture.
DDistance from Railway Station / Bus Stand: 2.00 Kms Approx.

Sun Temple

Located near the Residency at Morar, the newly constructed Sun Temple takes its inspiration from the famous Konark Sun Temple in Orissa.
DDistance from Railway Station / Bus Stand: 5.00 Kms. Approx.

Sarod Ghar

This Museum of Music has been set up in the old ancestral house of the legendary Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan. It houses ancient instruments of the great Indian Masters of yester years. It also houses an impressive collection of photographs and documents. Sarod Ghar is a unique institution devoted to promoting Indian classical music, heritage and culture. Through this 'window' to the past, music lovers can gain a better understanding of the evolution and history of our classical music and a deeper perspective and insight into the context of the art as it exists today.
Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Memorial Trust, Hafiz Ali Khan Road, Jiwaji Ganj, Lashkar, Gwalior - 474001
Timings: 10.00 AM to 5:00 PM (Lunch time: 1:30 PM to 2.00 PM)
DDistance from Railway Station / Bus Stand: 5-6 Kms. Approx.

Jai Vilas Palace and Museum

A splendor of a different kind exists in the Jai Vilas Palace, current residence of the Scindia family. Some 25 rooms have been turned into the Jivaji Rao Scindia Museum, and in these rooms, so evocative of a regal lifestyle, the past comes alive. Jai Vilas is an Italianate structure which combines the Tuscan and Corinthian architectural modes. The imposing Darbar Hall has two central chandeliers weighing a couple of tonnes, and hung only after ten elephants had tested the strength of the roof. Ceilings picked out in gilt, heavy draperies and tapestries, fine Persian carpets and antique furniture from France and Italy are the features of these spacious rooms. Eye catching treasures include: a silver train with cutglass wagons which served guests as it chugged around the table on miniature rails; a glass cradle from Italy used for the baby Krishna each Janmashtami, silver dinner services and swords that were once worn by Aurangzeb and Shah Jahan. These are, besides, personal momentoes of past members of the Scindia family: the jeweled slippers that belonged to Chinkoo Rani , four-poster beds, gifts from practically every country in the world, hunting trophies and portraits. The Scindia Museum offers an unparallel glimpse into the rich culture and lifestyle of princely India.
Timings: 10.00 AM to 5:00 PM: Wednesday Closed
DDistance from Railway Station / Bus Stand: 1.5 -2 K ms. Approx.

Art Galleries and Museums

The Gujari Mahal Archaeological Museum houses rare antiquities, some of them dating back to the 1st century AD. Even though many of these have been defaced by the iconoclastic Mughals, their perfection of form has survived the ravages of time. Particularly worth seeing is the statue of Shalbhanjika from Gyraspur, the tree goddess, epitome of perfection in miniature. The statue is kept in the custody of the museum's curator, and can be seen on request. The museum is open every day except Monday, from 10 am to 5 pm.

The Kala Vithika is another treasure house of the arts. It remains closed on Sunday and public holidays. The Municipal Corporation Museum, which is open all days except Mondays, has a very fine natural history section. The old ancestral house of the legendry Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan has recently been converted into 'Sarod Ghar' - Museum of Music by the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Memorial Trust under the patronage and guidance of his great son and sarod maestro Ustad Amzad Ali Khan. The museum has been rebuilt keeping in mind the old traditional architecture of Gwalior and houses in it ancient instruments of the great Indian Masters of yesteryears.

Gwalior Zoo, open every day from 8 am to 3 pm, has some rare species of Indian wildlife kept in natural surroundings.

Excursions of Gwalior

Shivpuri
hivpuri is steeped in the royal legacy of its past, when it was the summer capital of the Scindhia rulers of Gwalior. And earlier, its dense forests were the hunting grounds of the Mughals emperor when great herds of elephants were captured by Emperor Akbar. Much later, it was the Tiger that roamed the wooded hills and many a magnificent beast was 'bagged' by royal Shikaris. Today Shivpuri is a sanctuary for rare wildlife and fauna.

 

Chanderi
Chanderi is a town of historical importance in Ashoknagar District of Madhya Pradesh state in India. It is situated at a distance of 127 km from Shivpuri, 37 km from Lalitpur, 55 km from Ashok Nagar and about 45 km from Esagarh It is surrounded by hills southwest of the Betwa River. Chanderi is surrounded by hills, lakes and forests and there are several monuments of the Bundela Rajputs and Malwa sultans. Chanderi finds mention in Mahabharata. Shishupal was the king of Mahabharata period.

 

Orchha
Orchha is the erstwhile capital city of the Bundela rulers. The town is steeped in history and is famous for its palaces and temples built in the 16th and 17th centuries. The architectural splendor of the monuments in Orchha reflects the glory of its rulers. The Betwa River, on whose banks Orchha lies, and the forests around it attract tourist to this place.

 

Sonagiri
This sacred place is popular among devotees & ascetic saints to practice for self-discipline, austerity and to attain Nirvana (Salvation) since the time of BhagwanChandraprabhu (The 8th Teerthankar), Five & half Crores of ascetic saints have achived salvation (Moksha or Nirvana) from here.

 

Datia
Peetambra Peeth" is located near the city. Peetambra Peeth is the famous "Sakti-Peeth" of the country. Sh. Golokwasi Swamiji Maharaj established "Bagla Mukhi Devi" and "Dhumawati Mai" at this place. Vankhandeshwar Temple at Peetambra-Peeth is one of the Mahabharat-Kaleen temple of Shiva.

 

Jhansi
One of the most important venues of India’s first war of independence in 1857 and the erstwhile capital of Rani Lakshmibai’s kingdom. Jhansi serves as the gateway to Bundelkhand region. Along with Jhansi, Panna, Orchha and Khajuraho are some of the prominent places which fall under Bundelkhand region.

 

Tigra Dam
Tigra dam is located in the outskirts of Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) and it is the primary source of drinking water for Gwalior city. If you visited all the famous tourist places of city and want to spend some time in natural place, then you must give it a try. The dam was constructed about hundred years ago and the reservoir has a capacity of 4.8 million cubic meters.

 

Madhav National Park
Madhav National Park lies between Agra-Bombay road and Jhansi-Shivpuri Road. It is spread over an area of 157.58 Sq. Kms. A drive through the park watching animals is very exhilarating experience.The Park is heaven for wildlife and wildlife buffs. The park remains open throughout the year and boasts of large numbers of chinkara, Indian gazelle and chital.

Tour Packages of Gwalior

How to get there

By Air

Gwalior is connected with regular flights from Delhi & Bhopal.

By Rail

Gwalior is on the Central Railway's main Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Chennai lines. Among other major trains, the Shatabdi and the Taj Express connect Gwalior with Delhi and Agra daily.

By Road

Gwalior is connected by regular bus service with Agra, Mathura, Jaipur, Delhi, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Bhopal, Chanderi, Indore, Jhansi, Khajuraho, Rewa, Jabalpur, Ujjain and Shivpuri.

Map of Gwalior