The historic city of Gwalior wears culturally rich and gallant stories on its sleeve. 310 km away from UNESCO world heritage site of Khajuraho, Gwalior has its own charm of a less chaotic, slow and relatively quieter lifestyle. Here is a handy guide with 5 must visit attractions of Gwalior.
1. Gwalior fort
It takes most of your day to visit every place of this humungous fort and the main attraction of Gwalior. Be it the elaborate Man Singh palace, the scary jauhar kund or the beautiful Gurjari mahal, every structure narrates interesting piece from history. of the complex. It is advisable to start soon after the ticket window opens. You would love the architecture and history of the Gwalior fort. Moreover, your visit to Gwalior is not complete without visiting this iconic fort.
Additionally, the following blocks are also close to the fort complex which can be clubbed with the fort or visited independently.
Teli ka Mandir
Constructed between the 8th and 9th century, Teli ka Mandir is an amalgam of Dravidian and the ancient Nagara style of architecture. What influenced the design of the temple is still a mystery. Unlike all Hindu temples’ square sanctum, Teli ka mandir has a rectangular sanctum. The main hall of the temple is dark and infested with bats. We hence we skipped it.
Entry fee– None. Photography allowed; no fee charged.
Timing– 8am to 6pm
Saas Bahu Temple
This 11th century twin temple is one of the most attractive structures within the Gwalior fort premises. The intricately carved pillars, etched ceilings and breathtaking sanctum left us spellbound. Each stone weaves a lovely a story of the Rajput architecture and tops the list of must visit attractions of Gwalior.
Entry fee– None (You should be carrying the Gwalior Fort entry ticket or Rs 15-20 is the ticket price). Photography allowed; no fee charged.
Timing– 8am to 5pm
The eastern gate of the Gwalior fort restricts entry of vehicles. This very gate encloses the famous Jain Tirthankara statues and small temples, together known as Gopachal Parvat. The rock cut statues amid the quietude of nature is soothing.
Since its a holy site, you have to hike barefoot here. Leave your shoes at a counter outside the main gate. You can use a still camera to take pictures. However, mobile photography is strictly prohibited. Guards inside would guide you on the place’s history and interesting facts.
Entry fee– None. No fee for still cameras.
Timing– 6am to 7pm
2. Jai Vilas Palace
Also known as Jai Vilas Mahal, Jai Vilas Palace was constructed in 1874 by Jayajirao Scindia, the then maharaja of Gwalior. A part of his imperial residence was thereafter converted into a museum. Besides other artistic pieces, antique furniture, rare paintings & books, heavy draperies, grand chandeliers adore the royal palace. The opulent Jai Vilas Palace is undoubtedly among the best and must visit attractions in Gwalior.
However, this was shut due to pandemic restrictions in November 2020.
Entry fee: Rs 150 for Indians, Rs 800 for international tourists
Camera/mobile fee: Rs 100 each
3. Scindia ki Chhatri
5 km away from the bus stop, the chhatris of the Scindia dynasty are a real gem of Gwalior. Set in the bylanes of the old part of the city in a blooming garden, the marble structures have remained timeless.
The oldest pavilion, recognized by yellow and pink sandstone, was constructed around 1817 C.E. Other chhatris were added later to the cluster. We couldn’t stop marvelling the structures’ architectural brilliance. With huge statues of animals and portraits of kings, the chhatris also have community wells, temples and parks. Visit these cenotaphs for the detailed stone work and their history which is the foundation of Gwalior.
Entry fee: None
Timing– 9am to 5pm
4. Sun Temple
Do you know why were we super-excited to visit this temple? Well, because Gwalior’s Sun temple borrows its architectural inspiration from the renowned Sun temple of Konark. After all, the latter is a world heritage site! Thanks to industrialist Mr. G.D.Birla for the construction of Gwalior’s Sun temple that attracts thousands of tourists everyday. Carved in red sandstone, the temple looks drop dead beautiful against the lush green gardens. And that is the beauty of this place.
Entry is free of cost. Sun temple was shut after the first wave of COVID-19 and will remain closed until further notice.
Timing: 10am to 4pm
5. Bateshwar and Padavali
35 km from north of Gwalior, lies an ancient clusters of temples named Bateshwar. Dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva and Shakti, the temples perhaps derive their name from Bhuteswar, the largest shiva temple at this site. The construction dates back to the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty rule and later ruins to the 13th century. Many years later, ASI took charge and declared it as a protected site. Eventually, the temples were reconstructed to boost tourism in the area.
We made it through the broken, dug-up roads to Bateshwar as a massive road construction project was underway. What takes 30 minutes took us two hours. Therefore, we could not visit Padavali.
Entry fee- None
Timing– Morning to evening. (Do not visit post 5pm as these are located in an isolated area, away from the city)
The list of attractions in Gwalior is exhaustive. We compiled the major and must visit ones for you in this post. Hope you enjoyed reading. This trip of ours to Gwalior was in November 2020.