GWALIOR - According to local tradition, Gwalior owes its name to a sage called Gwalipa. In the 8th century, a chieftain called Suraj Sen was stricken by a deadly disease. He was cured by the hermit saint Gwalipa, and in gratitude founded a city which he named after the saint who had given him the gift of new life.
A historic city, Gwalior, the former princely state is famed for its outstanding palaces, sacred temples and glorious monuments. Gwalior's history is as fascinating as the attractions in the city. A cradle of great dynasties, this fabulous city was in existence over the centuries. The magnificent momentoes of a glorious past have been preserved with care, giving Gwalior an appeal unique and timeless. Gwalior is considered to be a city where a rich cultural tradition has been interwoven into the fabric of modern life.
Gujari Mahal Archaeological Museum
It 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.
(It remains closed on Mondays).
Laid by Raja Suraj Sen on the orders of Sage Gwalipa some 1,000 years ago, the Gwalior Fort stands on a hill by a pool the waters of which are supposed to have cured his leprosy. The outer wall of the fort measures 3.2 km in length and 35 m in height and a steep road leads up to the fort. On both sides of this road are situated several beautifully cut Jain statues
Jai Vilas Palace
The Jai Vilas Palace , built in 1875, and the current residence of the Scindia Royal family, provides an insight into the lifestyle of the erstwhile Maharajas. 35 rooms in the Palace have been converted into a museum where there is an interesting collection of family memorabilia including royal robes, thrones and even a crystal train that chugged around an enormous dining table with condiments and other delicacies for royal guests. In the Durbar Hall of the Palace is a pair of chandeliers said to be the world's largest, each 12.8m high and weighing 3 tons. The palace guides tell visitors that the chandeliers were installed only after the ceiling had been tested to take the weight of ten elephants.
Jai Vilas Palace & Scindia Museum
It was built in the 19th century by Lt. Col. Sir Michael Filose and resembled an Italian palazzo. It was constructed to welcome the 'Prince of Wales' on his visit to the country. The museum displays a remarkable collection of artifacts and royal memorabilia from across the World. It has a crystal staircase, two of the World's largest chandeleirs, weighing over three tones and an arched ceiling with captivating gold leaf work.
(It remains closed on Wednesdays).
Man Mandir Palace
Built by Man Singh Tomar between 1486 and 1516, the Man Mandir is a huge palace. It is supposedly the fort's prized possession. Also known as the Chitra Mandir or the Palace of Paintings, it exhibits tiled and painted decorations of peacocks and several other birds.
Sas - Bahu – Temples
As the name suggests, the Sas-Bahu temples, located on the other part of the fort, are not dedicated to a mother-in-law (Sas) and daughter-in-law (Bahu). Sas-Bahu is the name given to two adjacent temples of different sizes. The larger of the two is ornately decorated and sculpted with beautiful statuettes and intricate patterns.
The father of Hindustani classical music, the great Tansen, one of the 'nine Jewels' of Akbar's court, lies buried in Gwalior. The memorial to this great musician has a pristine simplicity about it, and is built in the early Mughal architectural style. More than a monument, the Tansen's Tomb is part of Gwalior's living cultural heritage; it is the venue of a music festival on a national scale held annually in November-December. Leading musicians of the country gather here to give performances during the festival.
Teli - ka – Mandir
The ninth century temple of Teli-ka-Mandir, built in Dravidian form, is believed to be the oldest in the fort. The sculptures are particularly North Indian. Devoted to Lord Vishnu, a figure of garuda (mythical bird) resides on top of the 10-metre-high doorway.