Gwalior Fort Gwalior Madhya Pradesh: Superior Architecture and Beauty 

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Gwalior fort
Famous indian landmark - Gwalior fort in daytime. Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India

About

Gwalior fort stands atop the Gopanchal Hill. The Gwalior Fort of Madhya Pradesh has stood strong and proud for over 1200 years! Covering an area of around 3 square kilometers, the Gwalior fort stands to be one of the most beguiling forts in India! 

The inscriptions made, the monuments built, and the ruins all together depict the rich history of Gwalior Fort. Its grandeur and splendor had attracted many invaders. Gwalior Fort represents the former culture of Ancient Bharat.

The Gwalior fort is renowned as the “Gibraltar of India”. The name is a tribute to the panoramic beauty and view that is offered by the Gwalior Fort. 

Gwalior Fort is famous for its alluring architecture, temples, amazing and long history, which the scratched walls of this fort render on their own.

Gwalior Fort History

It is widely believed that the king ruling this fort was healed from leprosy by sage Gwalipa. In the sage’s honor, this site was then coined to be called the “Gwalior Fort”.

There are numerous questions concerning the factuality of the time of Gwalior Fort ‘s construction, but many historians assume that a provincial king, Surya Sen, founded this fort in 727 CE. 

He was a part of a village called “Singhonia” that is 22 kilometers from Gwalior. The 83 descendants of Surya Sen ruled this fort However, the 84th descendant named Tej Karan lost it.

In 1022 CE, Mahmud of Ghazni invaded the fort, but he was futile in capturing it. After a long blockade, Qutub-al-din Aibak seized the fort, in 1196 but in 1211 CE, he had to lose the fort.

Iltutmish, ruler of Shamsi Vans, reacquired the fort in 1232 CE.

The year of 1398 witnessed the change in leadership as the Tomars established their dominance on the fort. The most powerful ruler of Tomars was Maan Singh.

 He ruled the fort from 1486-1516. In 1516 he was martyred in a war with Ibrahim Lodhi, and the Fort capitulated to the Delhi Sultanate. Numerous monuments inside the fort were constructed during the reign of Maan Singh.

Mughals invaded and captured the fort within a decade, and lost it in 1542 to Sher Shah Suri. The fort was subsequently under Hemu(Hem Chandra Vikramaditya), who later escalated its power to Delhi. Hemu was a Hindu king who served as Adil Shah Suri’s  General as well as Chief Minister. 

Hemu fought 22 battles and triumphed all of these battles. However, he lost to Akbar in the 2nd Battle of Panipat. Akbar turned this beautiful fort into a prison, and it was used for execution and life sentence afterward. Various Sikh Gurus and their sons were captured and jailed in this fort.

In 1736, Jaat King  Bhim Singh Rana ruled the state until 1756. The Maratha General Mahadaji Scindia seized the fort from Gohad Rana Chhatar Singh. Unfortunately, he soon lost it to the British East India Company.

British Governor Warren Hastings reinstated the fort to Gohad Ranas in 1780. Later the Marathas recaptured the fortress. 

Throughout the 19th century, there were numerous changes in the administration of the fort. By 1886, the British were in full control of India. The fort was no longer of strategic significance to them. The Gwalior fort was given over to the Scindia family. The Scindia continued to rule the Gwalior Fort till independence in 1947 and built several monuments at this time.

Gwalior fort view

Traveler Tips

There are two entry gates. One on the Northeastern side and the other gate on the Southwestern side. If your goal is to explore all the alluring monuments, then enter from the Northeastern gate and exit from the Southwestern gate. It is quite easier to find a taxi or cab from this gate to your accommodation.

If you have chosen to enter through the Northeastern gate, we will be helping you navigate your way to make the best of the trip.

Gwalior Fort Architecture

The Gwalior Fort encompasses a total of six palaces, three temples, and many water tanks. Through the various temples and palaces encompassed with the Gwalior Fort one will be sure to appreciate and acknowledge the architectural precision and beauty. 

The Dravidian framework of the Gwalior fort depicted in the 9th-century Teli-ka-Mandir blends a south Indian architectural model with the fusion of north Indian decorative patterns to create a structure with a grand exterior.

The wondrous carvings on the fort represent the second oldest known reference to the number “zero”. The great Gwalior fort represents more than just beauty lined with exquisite blue ceramic tiles. This great fort also represents the sweat and hard work of the fine artisans and masons that came together to create such a structure.  

Gujari Mahal Archaeological Museum

 Raja Man Singh Tomar constructed his palace for his beloved wife, Mrignayini. This palace was separated from his other queens’ abode to prevent quarrels and fights between them as Mrignayini was a commoner.

Now this palace holds rare artifacts and both Hindu and Jain sculptures that date back to 1st and 2nd century BC. 

Gujari Mahal Archaeological Museum can be visited on all the days except Friday from 10 am to 5 pm. There is an entrance fee that has to be paid. Gujari Mahal Museum is a state-owned museum.

Category Rate Charged
Indians INR 20
Foreigners INR 200
Photography INR 100
Videography INR 400

 

A ramp from the museum leads to the top of the fort. It is a 30-minute walk full of scenic views of the city sprawled across the vicinity.

The Archaeological Survey of India Museum

You can find this museum opposite the Hathi Pol Gate. This is a central government museum. You can find rare artifacts here as well.

We recommend that you only visit one of the two museums to save time. This museum is closed every Monday and a ticket of Rupees 10 has to be purchased to visit the museum.

Man Singh Palace

 

This palace lies to the right of the Hathi Pol Gate. The palace name suggests that this palace was built by Man Singh, who hails from the Tomar dynasty.  It also has a sobriquet of Painted Palace. For this fort has extensive usage of turquoise, yellow and green tiles. The fusion of these colors makes Man Singh Palace stand out.

There are four levels in the palace. The lower levels were occupied by the queens and their chambers were connected to speaking tubes from upper levels. Now you might wonder the reason. It is quite simple. It was used by the king to communicate with his queens, avoiding traveling time.

The upper levels consist of a public and private hall. These were the platforms where cultural events such as dancing and singing were organized. 

Maan Singh Palace
Mughal architecture – Man Singh Palace. Gwalior Fort, Madhya Pradesh, India

Shah Jahan Mahal & other monuments

Once you are done visiting the Man Singh Palace, you can head right and find another seven state-owned monuments. Shah Jahan Mahal, Jahangir Mahal, Karna Mandir, Vikram Mandir, Jauhar Kund, Dhorapur Gate, and Chhatri of Bhim Singh Rana are the seven monuments that lay in a dilapidated state. However, one can wander and explore the intricacy of the architecture of ancient India.

Assi Khamba ki Baori

This structure was built by Man Singh Tomar for his queens to bathe and consists of 80 pillars. Later it was also used to imprison the 6th Sikh Guru, Hargobind Sahib by the Mughal emperor, Jahangir.

Sahastrabahu (Sas-Bahu) Temple

Sahastrabahu Temple is a twin temple that means 1000 arms. This enchanting temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his Padmanabha form. This temple was built by king Mahipal of the Kachchhapaghata dynasty. It is believed that his wife was a devotee of Lord Shiva while his mother was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. The dynamics of this temple satisfy both his wife and mother. It is a clever technique of the architect’s mind indeed. 

Teli ka Mandir

 Between the 8th and 9th centuries AD, king Mihira Bhoja built this Hindu temple. This temple is a fusion of both the Northern and Southern styles of architecture. This temple was initially dedicated to Lord Vishnu. However, it was destroyed by the Mughals and, upon restoration, Lord Shiva was installed inside the temple Garbhagriha. 

Gurdwara Data Bandi Chhor

This gurudwara can be found opposite to Teli ka Mandir. Gwalior Fort gurudwara has a rich history associated with Guru Har Gobind Sahib, who escaped along with 52 other kings from imprisonment. The words “Bandi” and “Chhor” mean imprisoned and release respectively. 

 Gopachal rock-cut Jain Monuments

You can take an e-rickshaw to reach the pathway that leads up to the Southwestern Gate. Walking along the pathway, you can see the Jain statues carved out of rock. These carvings depict the Tirthankaras seated in Kayotsarga posture.  42 and a 30-foot high statue of the 23rd Tirthankara Lord Parshavanth is also one of the sights that you should not miss.

Jain Thirthankaras

 Light and Sound Show

The Light and Sound Show is organized after the closure of all the monuments. All you have to do is buy the tickets and sit back in the open-air theatre and witness the play of the light across the dark sky backdrop.

The show is organized in both English and Hindi languages. Do you know the best feature? The narration of the Fort history is in the voice of Amitabh Bachchan!

The timings vary according to the season as listed below.

Show Language  March to October November to February
Hindi Show 7:30 pm to 8:15 6:30 pm to 7:15 pm
English Show 8:30 pm to 9:15 pm 7:30 pm to 8:15 pm

 

The entry fees for the Light and Sound Show are INR 128 for Indian Adults, INR 64 for Indian Children, INR 320 for Foreign Adults, and INR 192 for Foreign Children.

Fort View Cafe

Fort View Cafe is the only eatery in the whole fort complex. You can easily find it near the parking area and do not forget to purchase the Light and Sound Show tickets! 

You can also find roadside stalls near the cafe where you can satiate your appetite with beverages and snacks.

Traveler Tips

  • When you buy the tickets to enter Maan Singh Palace, it also includes the entry access to Teli ka Mandir and Sahastra Bahu Temple.
  • There are no placards. Therefore you would have to hire a guide. Negotiations of the charges are possible.

Tansen and Gwalior Fort

The fort complex houses a tamarind tree near the Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus. It is believed that Tansen sweetened his voice by eating the leaves of this tree. It is also rumored that you can sweeten your voice by eating this tree leaves!

Entry Fee

The entry fees vary according to the category you would fall in.

Foreigners – INR 250 per person

Indians Adults – INR 75 per person adults

Children  – INR 40 per person

Gwalior Fort Timings

The Gwalior Fort timings are as follows: opening at 6:00 AM and closing and 5:30 PM. The Gwalior Fort timings remain the same on all days of the week. 

Ideal Duration

The colossal size of the Gwalior Fort demands a lot of time from you. It would take you around four hours to scale the whole Fort!

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Fort Gwalior is October through March. One of the major attractions is the Four-day Tansen Music Festival that is celebrated in December. If you love the rain, the monsoon season that occurs between July and September is perfect for visiting. 

How to reach

Gwalior Fort is located on Gopanchal Hill, in Gwalior.

By Rail: Gwalior is well linked by rail to various towns. Rajdhani, Shatabdi, superfast, express, and mail trains connect Gwalior to cities such as Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and so on. There are a few trains starting at Gwalior and terminating in these cities. The town falls on the portion of the New Delhi Jhansi highway.

By Road: Gwalior is well connected by road to many of the cities. MPSRTC offers bus services to these sites. To get to your destination, catch standard buses, AC buses, deluxe, or super deluxe buses.

By Air: Gwalior only has a domestic airport, which is connected to many of the country’s major cities.  Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia Air Terminal is around 8 kilometers away from the Gwalior. Citizens will only get Air India flights that connect Gwalior to different towns.

Local Transport: Several recruiting companies have a fixed time cab or taxi. Besides, local bus service services are also available where people can fly by standard commuter bus or luxury bus.

The walls of Gwalior Fort behold the true love between the king Man Singh and a commoner Mrignayini. It symbolizes that love has no boundaries. This Indian fort depicts that love knows no caste or creed. Explore the walls of this fort and relish the architectural beauty. Gwalior Fort stands high up the hill as a symbol of our Bharat’s beauty.

 

Read More:

Explore more Glorious monuments genre articles written by Tour Bharat here!

 

Credits:

One of the Gwalior Fort Pictures used in this Tour Bharat article was provided by Aman Channa.

 The Gwalior Fort Picture provided by Aman Channa has been very helpful. 

You can check out his Instagram @ pixcellence_by_aman.channa

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