Situated on the northernmost fringe of MP, barely 120 km south of Agra and five hours from Delhi, Gwalior is a perfect place to start a trip to Madhya Pradesh. The magnificent Gwalior Fort, perched on an enormous rock massif, dominates the skyline of the city. Gwalior lived through Indian history, page by page. It was the seat of a powerful dynasty, ruled by great kings as the kingdom of Gwalior dominated the military and trade routes between north and south India.
Gwalior has a strong cultural heritage with some of the finest Indian Classical musicians claiming it as home. The long tradition of Hindustani classical music spans medieval to modern times as it flourished under royal patronage. The eminent musicians associated with Gwalior include Tansen, one of Mughal Emperor Akbar’s ‘nine jewels’ (17th century), vocalist Onkarnath Thakur (1897-1967) and ‘sarod’ maestro Amjad Ali Khan and his forefathers who trace their unbroken lineage three centuries back and whose sons enthrall audiences around the world with their musical heritage.
Tansen’s Tomb, part of the city’s living cultural heritage, is the venue for an All India Annual Music Festival (November-December) when India’s leading artistes gather to pay tribute to the greatest musician of all.
How to Reach Gwalior?
By Air : Gwalior is well connected by air from Bhopal, Mumbai, Delhi and Indore.
By Rail : The easiest way to get to Gwalior is definitely by train. Gwalior lies on the main rail routes between Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Chennai and is a halt for a number of north-south and north-west bound trains. The journey to Gwalior from Delhi is comfortably short as two superfast trains, the Taj Express and the Shatabdi Express have daily morning services to Gwalior. Both trains return to Delhi each night, making it ideal for day-trippers. The ride by the Shatabdi takes around 3 hours from Delhi and by the Taj Express, approximately 41/2 hours. Both trains travel via Agra, which is just an hour and half away.
By Road : You could drive into Gwalior from the rest of India and Madhya Pradesh. There are regular bus services connecting major cities including Agra (118 km), Bhopal (423 km), Delhi (318 km), Indore (486 km), Khajuraho (280 km) and Sanchi (344 km) to Gwalior. But the state run transport buses are not very comfortable or quick, though the low cost of fares often compensates the budget traveller.
Best Time to Visit Gwalior
The best time to visit Gwalior are the winter months from end October to early March. The last weeks of December and early January are the coldest time of the year here.
Since Gwalior experiences extreme summer it is best to avoid visiting Gwalior in summer months (March to June) when the sun is scorching hot making it unbearable to be outdoors.
Things to do in Gwalior
Lovers of history and tradition will find a great many things to see and do in Gwalior. Gwalior has been the seat of power of a great many dynasties through the ages. So forts and palaces abound and will keep you enthralled. Rich in cultural traditions, Gwalior was also the hometown of Tansen the musical genius in the court of the Mughal King Akbar, so Hindustani music lovers have a treat in store for them in the museums of the city. Temples are also aplenty in this very interesting town, so come hither and explore!
Places Near Gwalior
Gwalior’s excellent road and rail connections with other interesting destinations in Madhya Pradesh, as well as its central location with respect to these centres make it an ideal base.
Shivpuri, the summer capital of the former Scindia rulers (112 km southwest), has several cenotaphs of the Scindias in the setting of the Madhav National Park.
The Karera Bustard Sanctuary (40 km east of Shivpuri) is one of the few remaining habitats of the great Indian Bustard.
Pawaya (68 km south) has 1st and 3rd century ruins of the Nag kings as well as a medieval fort built by the Parmaras.
Hotels in Gwalior – Choice is Yours
There are numerous hotels in Gwalior ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.