Places to visit in Gwalior
The Best Places for sight seeing in Gwalior :
• Gwalior Fort
• Jai Vilas palace
• Gujari Mahal (State Archeological Museum)
• Man Mandir Palace
• Tansen ka Makbra (Tomb)
• Teli ka Mandir
• Sas Bahu temple
• Scindia Museum
• Tomb of Ghaus Mohammad
• Gwalior zoo
• Sun temple
• Padavali and Bateshwar
• Suraj Kunj
• Gwalior Trade Fair (Dec-Jan)
• Tighra Dam boating
• Shyam Vatika
• Jiyaji Chowk bazaar famous for local handicraft handloom bazaar jewellery
• Palankar Bazaarfamous for stone carving artifacts
Note : Do not miss the local delicacy – Gajak
This 8th century fortess has been integral to the history of this region and has often been described as the “pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind”, a quote originally attributed to the Mughal emperor Babur.
According to the legend,Suraj Sen,a king of the Kacchappa Dynasty, while riding through forested valleys, reached the top of an enormous bluff, jutting out a 100 m above the plains. Thirsty, he spotted a hermit on the rock and asked for some water.The hermit purportedly struck a rock and a spring of clear water gushed out, which not only quenched Suraj Sen’s thirst but also cured his leprosy. In gratitude, he is said to have constructed a tank around this place and set his capital here, named Gwaliawar, after the sage Gwalipa. The food was later built, and extended by, a succession of rulers who took control over the region.
Everything about this fort, with its jagged teeth battlements and sky kissing towers, is larger than life. It is over 3 km long and rises 91 m and above the ground.Give yourself at least one full day, if not two, to explore it in its entirety.
Urvai Jain Sculptures
Visitors approaching the fort through the Urvai Gate will be dropped by public or private transport at a certain point, after which they can either undertake an uphill climb or hire a car to get to the entrance of the fort. Walking is recommended to take in attractions such as the Jain sculptures at Urvai gate, which displays the impressive sculptural traditions of the time. Dating to the 15th century, these giant monoliths include several representations of tirthankaras ( the 24 Great Jain teachers ). The sculptures where defaced by Babur’s invading army in 1527.
Look out for the callosal seated figure of Adinatha.
Gujjari Mahal Museum
The other entrance to the Fort is through the town. Take this course especially if you are keen to visit the two archaeological museums that are located en route. The first called the State Archaeological Museum is located in the erstwhile Gujjari Mahal. This was a place that Man Singh Tomar built for his Gujjar wife Mrignayani, the only Queen who did not reside in the main palace, as she was from a lower caste. According to legend, recounted dramatically in the Sound and Light Show, Man Singh first saw her when she was controlling a rogue buffalo with her bare hands.
The museum has a varied, if somewhat scattered, collection of artifacts and sculptural fragments from Gwalior and around. The Madhya Pradesh State Archaeology Department displays over 5,000 antiquities here, which were originally owned by Maharaja Madho Rao Scindia, former ruler of the city, in 1922.
The striking artifacts in the museum include a priceless 9th century CE Shalbhanjika ( detailed sculpture of a woman standing near a tree and grasping at the branch, not always on display ,so ask the museum in charge for access ), and some stunning decorative pillars too. Also showcased here are some coins, paintings, pottery and terracotta figures, and of course, a collection of sculptures, all of it spread across 28 galleries of the palace.
Entry Indian Rs.10 Foreigners Rs 100 free for ages 15 and below Timings 10 AM to 5 PM closed Mondays and government holidays.
Man Singh Palace
After exiting the Gujjari Mahal, walk up the somewhat steep but not too difficult path that leads to the top of the bluff. The views, both of the old city and of the outer walls of the fort, are great from here. On the way are you will pass a modern Hanuman Temple, most likely blaring shlokas from a loudspeaker. Enter the ornate Hathi Pol ( Elephant Gate ), so named because it used to be adorned by a stunning elephant structure that unfortunately no longer exists, to head to Man Mandir Palace. The highlight of the complex, this magnificent palace was built by Raja Man Singh Tomar in 1508 CE during Gwalior’s cultural hayday. The palace has been built on the outer wall of the fort, at a height of 300 ft from the ground level. The outer walls of the palace make for a stunning sight, and are, in fact, the stars of the Light and Sound show. Owing to the unique blue and yellow mosaic tiling’s on the walls, which has withstood the test of time, the palace is also known as Chit Mandir ( Painted Palace ). It still has remnants of gorgeous paintings,glazed multicolour tiles and sculptures of ducks, elephants, dragons and makaras. This can also be seen in the inner courtyard of the palace complex.
A flight of stairs leads to the palaces open court, encircled by apartments. They feature some interesting carved pillars and brackets,fretted ceilings as well as a dance hall that includes a latticed balcony through which the woman of the court watched performances.
There are a total of four storeys of the palace, of which two are underground. The most important rooms in the complex are the Jhulaghar ( a room of swings ),Kesar Kunda and Phansighar.An underground chamber that was once a Jhulaghar in Man Singh’s time became a jail under Mughal rule. This is the room in which Aurangzeb ordered the hanging of his brother, Murad.
A notable feature of the palace is the natural air conditioning in the two subterranean floors. An impressive system of ventilation allowed free movement of fresh air in the rooms that are otherwise dark, musty and cold. The system of lighting is also very intricate, allowing enough sunlight without the heat.
The underground rooms are surrounded by a series of stairs, and are referred to as a Bhool Bhulaiya ( maze ). It is advisable to take a tour guide with you, especially since there are no mapped routes inside the palace, other than the brief introduction to the complex near the entrance.
Also, of note, is the telephone system, as it where – the construction of long tunnels between the Jhulaghar and the Jauharkund ( a bathing chamber for the royal women ,which was converted into a place for mass suicide in the event of defeat in a war ). It is said that a message sent from one end could be heard clearly on the other. You could try this out for yourself, but remember that no technology is perfect.
It’s recommended to get the assistance of a tour guide for a more colorful description of the palace and it’s legends.
The archaeological museum, the second museum along this way, is located before the entrance to Man Singh Palace. It was established by the ASI in 1993, in the building, which is colonial times served as a jail and hospital. The museum comprises a big hall, an adjacent room and two verandahs. Sculptures displayed here date from the 1st century BCE to 17th century CE, spanning many sculptural traditions. These have been collected from Gwalior as well as the adjoining areas, including Amrol, Pawaya, Kherat, Ater, Mitawali, Shivpuri and Morena.
The sculptures are displayed in somewhat dark room, with scant details other than the name of the figure and the location where they were discovered. Unlike the State Archaeological Museum in the Gujjari Mahal,though,there are LCD screens here with descriptions of the figures as well as the history of the region, for the benefit of those inclined towards a history lesson.
Look out for the Kutwar display case, the most interesting display in the museum. The ancient town of Kutwar has been linked with Kunti, the mother of the Pandavasin the Mahabharata. The case displays some interesting artefacts found to during excavations conducted by the ASI in 1996 – 97, including terracotta beads, antimony rods, bone joints,and many more.
Photography is not allowed. Entry is Rs.5 timings 9 AM to 5 PM closed on Fridays.
State Protected Monuments
Past the gate of the Man Singh Palace is a gate and ticket booth for a connected set of monuments that nevertheless are managed separately, by MP State Tourism. You will need to get another ticket and pay an additional camera fee to be able to take pictures.
Though much larger than the Man Singh Palace,in terms of space to walk around in, the monuments look somewhat unkempt and their maintenance leaves much to be desired. The compound is usually desolate except for group of young men. Solo travelers are adviced to be extra cautious, but it is really the wisest course to head here with a group especially if you want to go inside. The ticket counter can help provide a guide ( costing Rs 100 approx )but it may not be worth the effort unless you are very interested in historical monuments.
Vikram Mahal is a prominent Mahal here,and was constructed by Raja Man Singh’s son and heir Vikramaditya. The Palace is rather simple in its architecture;there is a baradari ( a pavilion with 12 doors ) in the middle, with a room on each side and an upper storey. Opposite it, Karan Mahal was constructed by Kirti Singh,the second ruler of the Tomar Dynasty. Features of the palace include a rectangular hall in the middle of the structure, which was probably the court of the king, as well as well as a hamam.
Other monuments in the complex include the Jauharkund, Dhondapur Gate, Jehangir Palace and Shah Jahan Palace.
Sound and Light Show of Gwalior
Narrated by Amitabh Bacchan, the Light and Sound show at Gwalior makes good use of the fantastic blue and green tiles adorning the outside walls of the palace. For around 45 minutes, every evening after sundown, first in Hindi and then in English, the story of Gwalior is dramatically retold, accompanied by impressive light effects.
It all begins with the arrival of Suraj Sen,and continues all the way to Gwalior’s golden period under the Tomar’s. Later,Mughal and Colonial control over the fort is also recounted. The music features luminaries such as Pandit Jasraj,Bhimsen Joshi and Kumar Gandharva,who regale the audience with their mesmerizing compositions, as a tribute to Baiju Bawra and Tansen. The history of the fort is dramatized with music, commentary, over the top sound effects and coloured flood lighting of the fort as well as its surroundings.
The story ends with a history of the Scindias,characterizing them as the rescuers of Gwalior’heritage and glory.On a clear evening, seated in stone bleachers that extends from the battlement, the sound and light show provides a rich perspective to end your trip to the fort.
Only head back down the Urvai Gate if you have a vehicle waiting for you there; the road is dimly lit, and the chances of getting a ride are slim. Take the Elephant Gate and walk down to the town, instead. There is ample transportation available from here. And do remember to carry a flashlight.
Entry Indian adult 75, child 40, 250, 50 timings Hindi 6:30 PM, English 7:30 PM, booking start an hour before the for sure.
Saas Bahu Temple
Walk down the road that is adjacent to the Fort wall,away from the palace complex, to reach one of the two prominent temples in the area. The name “Saas Bahu” means mother in law and daughter in law, and though the locals will entertain you with stories about how the two are supposed to come and pray here together, that is just active imaginations at work. The temple’s actual name is Sahastra, which refers to a multi armed Vishnu. The famous temple was built during the reign of Kachhawaha ruler Mahipal.The complex comprises two shrines, one now called Saas and the other Bahu,dedicated to Vishnu. There is a Sanskrit inscription, which mentions it’s construction by a Rajput prince in 1093 CE. The main Saas temple is wonderfully embellished, with circular decorations on the pillars and sculptures of Vishnu,Brahma and Shiva with their consorts at the entrance. The Bahu temple, on a raised platform, is smaller and does not feature any prominent carved figures, except for elephants and some monster like creatures. The platform on which the Bahu temple stands affords a fantastic view of the walls of the walls of the fort as well as Gwalior city. Entry with the same ticket as Man Singh Palace, valid on the same day.
Data Bandi Chod Gurudwara
Sikh Guru Hargovind Singh was kept as a prisoner in the Gwalior Fort during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Jhangir, though he was later released. Through the effort of the Guru, 52 other prisoners were also supposedly released. A Gurudwara called Data Bandi Chod was built by the Sikh community to commemorate this important event, which also finds special mention during the light and sound show. This Gurudwara is located down the road from the Saas Bahu temple,and is often crowded.The architecture of this building is resplendent and a visit inside will be worth The detour from the other sites. Entry is free.
Teli Ka Mandir
Head back up the road going towards the Saas bahu temple till the,Gurudwara, and take a right past the water tank to visit Teli Ka Mandir, the tallest and the most stunning monument in the Gwalior Fort compound. It is also presumably the oldest structure, archaeologists having dated the site to the 9th century. According to local lore, it was built from donations given by an oil merchant ( hence the name ‘teli’, while another legend states that it was built by a princess from the Telangana region.Whichever story you may choose to believe, the architecture of the temple is unparalleled. It has a unique shape, owing to the fact that halfway up, its rectangular form turns into a pyramid,crowned by the barrel roof of a typical Buddhist shrine.
While the tall tower of the temple is adorned with rich carvings and the doorway is flanked by sculptures,the interiors is relatively bare. There is also, strangely enough,a panel with a seated Buddha on the door away. This leads credence to the belief that this may have been originally a Vishnu temple,as according to the Hindu tradition, the Buddha is believed to be the ninth incarnation of Vishnu. Entry with the same ticket as Man Singh Palace, the same day.
His Highness Maharaja Sir Jiwaji Rao Scindia Museum
Situated in the middle of the city, this museum officer fascinating peek into the lives of royalty. A well-known site, it is housed within the palatial residence of the Scindia family,known as Jai Vilas,built during the reign of Jayaji Rao, the Scindia scion loyal to the British. Autos and other transport are stopped at a barricade from where the museum is a short walk away. Security checks and ticket purchases later, you are ready to be swooped into the grandeur of the Royal Dynasty.
Before stepping into the museum, give the entire complex a cursory glance and let the sheer size of Jai Vilas Palace overwhelm you. Decorated with Tuscan,Italianate and Corinthian columns, the palace is still inhabited by the members of the Scindia royal family. It dates back to 1874, while the Scindia Dynasty can be traced as far back as 1761. The museum, which constitutes only a small part of this Palace, was opened in the year 1964, in the memory of Jiwaji Rao Scindia, who passed away in 1961.Upon entering, you are greeted by his statue as well as framed photos of the entire dynasty displayed on the walls of the front room.
The exhibits are arranged on two levels. After tracing the family tree, walk to the second Hall on the ground floor. Right in the center of this room, Is a 110 ft pheta or pagdi ( Marathi turban ). At least 55 m of cloth was used to make this turban. However, it wasn’t exactly used for decorative purposes. It is said that the turban could absorb a lot of water, which would be used for drinking during prolonged battle in the scorching heat. However, the authenticity of such a claim is questionable, to say the least. This massive headgear also served as a noose that could be tied around an army to drag him down. Apart from the ingenues turban, other displays heir include the well preserved clothes of former kings and queens. Encased with glass are stunning saris woven with thread made of real gold and boxes for jewels and trinkets, angarakhas worn by the princes; wedding dresses and the Raj Singhasans or Royal thrones made for the Scindia’s as well as British rulers. Interestingly the thrones of the Scindias are accompanied by cushioned food stalls. It is said that while sitting on his throne, a king always rested his one foot on the ground and the other on stools such as these. This reminded him to remain grounded regardless of the powers and privileges he enjoyed.
The corridor that leads to another section features uniforms adorned with symbols, emblems and insignia that where a way for the British to assert their colonial authority upon the erstwhile king. Also stationed here is the spectacular Royal Buggy that was constructed using 50 kg of pure silver- just one of the perks of having plenty of precious metals at your disposal. Additionally, the walls of this hall are adorned with black-and-white photographs of the Scindia family.
Spare at least two hours for a thorough tour of this museum. While the section on the ground floor has rooms with artifacts that have been collected and then displayed, most of the first floor has been preserved in its original state as the living quarters of the queens. Accessed by a flight of steps, the first floor bifurcated into two areas – one is a hall dedicated to the Late Jiwaji Rao Scindia and the second section features rooms that were used by the wives of Madho Rao Scindia.
What was once a conference hall of the Queens is now an area dedicated entirely to the memory of Madhav Rao Scindia, who lost his life in a fatal plane crash in 2001. The walls of this pillared hall displays photographs from both his personal and political life. The table from his Delhi office was also brought in to be placed here. Documents such as his passport, diplomatic visa for Nepal, college degrees – all signs of life lived, have been preserved. Light streams in from little balconies that overlook the living quarters of the present decedents of the Scindia clan. The chipped flooring of this hall, however needs restoration, specially considering the sentimental value of the exhibit.
The formal living quarters of the Queens seem as though they are still in use. Everything has been kept in its original state. The areas spans a living room,a baby room, bedrooms and a dressing rooms, dining areas,Jiwaji Rao’s study,a mandir, the music room, weapons display room and even a Victorian dining room. Each is exquisitely decorated with the finest of materials and carvings. You will notice that some of the furniture is much smaller in size than the rest. This was meant for the petite Chinku Rani, a queen who was only 4 feet and 2 inches tall. In her living quarters everything is small in scale – from the dining table and cheers to the stool she rested her feet on. Enclosed behind glass is a noteworthy carpet. Images of Indian Maharajas have been woven into the fabric. After creating this one of a kind carpet, which took 13 years to complete, the craftsmen were all put behind bars to ensure that they would not be able to replicate this work.
The famous Durbar Hall is located in a separate section on the first floor.As you walk down towards it, beautiful windows with stained-glass, Chinese porcelain tableware, a giant incense stick in the shape of dragon, a fountain from Belgium made entirely of glass, and other artifacts will catch your eye. Nothing however, compares to the sheer pomp and size of the two chandeliers in the Darbar Hall. But before you venture here, visit the dining sections that are still used by the royal family and their guests. The most notable feature is the little train with coaches laden with dried fruit, ice and even brandy and cigars, which chugs along a miniature track laid along the dining table during dinner hosted by the royal family.
On either side of the dining hall’s entrance are staircases that lead to the Darbar Hall. The red chandelier in the foyer glows brightly and holds 100 bulbs. Lack of modern day equipment never stopped the king from getting the worlds largest pair of chandeliers installed in this vast hall. It is said that eight elephants were suspended from the halls ceiling to assess if it would sustain the combined weight of the chandeliers. After this bizarre experiment, they were installed. Made in Belgium, bought in Paris,these chandeliers truly represented the opulence that defined Indian royalty.Back when titles existed, it is apparent that citizens of a princely state expected their rulers to live a life filled with opulence and grandeur. The museum at Jai Vilas is evocative of that luxurious past and deems a visit.
The Darbar Hall is the last stop on the tour. After exploring the museum, you can walk back to the entrance. There is the small eatery that serves nothing spectacular. But after a two hour walk, it is good idea to stop here for a quick snack of noodles, cutlets or bread pakodas. Next to the ticket booth is a Play Clan store that sells T-shirts and stationery.
Entry Indian Rs.70, foreigners Rs.4 50. Timings. 10 AM to 5 PM closed on Mondays guide rupees hundred fauxtography Rs.70 video Graffi Rs.1 50. If you are taking a guided tour, while while buying the tickets. Guides tend to charge. Over and above the official rates, so bargain hard.
Maharani Laxmi Bai Memorial
“Khoob ladi mardani wo to Jhansi wali Rani thi”
( How gallantly she fought, just like a man, the Queen of Jhansi”eternalized Lakshmi Bai in the common parlance. A true braveheart, she is considered one of the heroes of India’s struggle for independence, and her stories of valour are well known. Trained in the martial arts, fencing and horse riding, this warrior queen was considered a threat by the British officers. A general named Sir Hugh Rose even called her “The most dangerous of all the rebel leaders”. Queen of the state of Jhansi,Maharani Laxshmi Bai had no relation to Gwalior. She was, in fact, known to be hesitant with regard to revolting against the British forces, at least 1858. When the British troops carried out an attack on Jhansi, Laxmi Bai’s forces lost to the well-prepared enemy. Somehow, she managed to escape, and join the rebel force of Tatya Tope to defeat the Maharaja of Gwalior ( who had deserted in an hour of need ),Laxmi Bai lost her life while protecting the Gwalior Fort from the British.
This fearless warrior has been immortalized in the form of bronze statue in both Jhansi and Gwalior. The statue at Gwalior is positioned in the middle of what probably was a pond, although it is mostly dry. Around it are benches and a garden that is now a little overrun. The statue self is quite large and portrays the Maharani riding her house.The memorial is located aptly on the Maharani Laxmi Bai Marg and,if keen, you can make a stop to pay your respects to this mighty, patriotic rebel.
Entry free timings 9 AM to 5 PM
Tombs of Tansen and Ghaus Mohammed
Situated in an old residential colony are the mausoleums of legendary musician Tansen and his teacher,Ghaus Mohammad,long with other small tombs that are not as prominant. Owing to his legendary stature of being one of the nine Navaratnas (jewels ) of Akbar’s court, there are several legends associated with Tansen.
One of them states that when Tansen sang the Raga Megh Malhar, his voice was magical enough to bring about rain.
The approach to this monument, through a narrow lane, may seem a bit suspect but the site itself is well maintained featuring beautiful architecture and sprawling gardens. It is also on these grounds that an annual music festival called Tansen Sangeet Samaroh is held in the month of December.
A place of worship for the Muslims, this complex is also frequented by locals to come here quiet frequently. Both the mausoleums are made of stone. The 16th century tomb of Ghaus Muhammad is the very first building you will see. This exquisite tomb dating from Akbar’s time is encased in stone screenwork and is at its most fetching in the late afternoon and at night. It is been built in the form of a square with the central dome.Surrounded on all four sides by carved lattices, it features exquisitely cut stone grilles in intricate patterns. Sunlight streams through this very patterns on the grave of the Sufi saint. One also comes across musicians who sit outside the tomb and sing ghazals( poetic couplets ). A few steps away is Tansen’s tomb – much too simple and devoid of any grandeur, if one was to compare it with that of his teacher,Ghaus Muhammad. It is simply a raised restaurant pavilion with white marble on the platform.A tamarind tree grows on one side of the platform, who’s leaves, if chewed upon, supposedly improve the quality of one’s voice. Now quiet barren, the tree does not look like much but as it seems to have been assaulted by the believers of this legend.
A walk around this complex will not take more than half an hour so, the tombs can we visited whenever time permits. Entry is free timings 9 AM to 5 PM
Tucked way in a narrow, but busy land is a heritage mansion that houses the Sarod Ghar – a museum dedicated to music, quite specifically to that of the Gwalior Gharana. At first glance, this quaint building may seem like an unusual sight for a museum, but it makes sense once you realise that this was the ancestral home of the world renowned Bangash family. This family has produced generations of musical masteros, including the current master of the Sarod ( stringed musical instrument ) – Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.His sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash are also trained players of the instrument. The family stays in Delhi now and they have entrusted this house to the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Trust.
To proceed for the tour, you are required to take off your shoes at the entrance. The house comprises a central courtyard at around which all the rooms are built.This courtyard resembles an open air auditorium, ideal for the live performances that are conducted here sometimes. The caretaker is a retired soldier who is more than happy to take you around the entire property. For those who are not familiar with the Sarod, the soothing tones of this instrument reverberating from the museum speakers are a wonderful initiation.
Originally an Afghan horse trader,Mohammad Hashmi Khan Bangash travelled to India with an instrument known as rahab. This was then developed into a sarod by his son Ghulam Ali Bangash. The rooms/galleries of this museum feature family history through photographs, letters and most importantly, through the exquisite instruments that are mounted on wooden stands and enclosed behind glass. These also includes the Tanpura of Krishnarao Shankar Pandit,violin of Ahmed Jaan Thirakwa. The types of Sarod will help you trace and identify how the instrument evolved over the years, at the hands of many generations of the Bangash family. Ask the manager to take you to the first floor too. This section is more personal with photos of the family members with dignitaries as well as during performances. It is heartwarming to see school medals and Bournvita Quiz Contest trophies that belong to Amaan and Ayaan Ali,displayed with pride.
Although it is not a very prominent site on the usual tourist map,a visit to the Sarod Ghar promises to be a great experience for music lovers and also a wonderful initiation for those who do not know much about North Indian Classical music.
Entry is free timings 10 AM to 5 PM
If you end up visiting all the museums in Gwalior, it will be more than apparent that they all house similar artifacts, mostly acquired from the fort area. The Municipal Museum, too, has miscellaneous sculptures from Gwalior Fort and some personal artifacts donated by the Scindia family. The entire museum can be explored in one hour. The museum may seem small and cozy from the outside, but it packs in quite a bit to see. It is a good idea to take a guided tour, but know that the guides here seem more comfortable communicating in Hindi, which might be a problem for those who do not understand the language very well. Of all the sections, the one with taxidermist animals is the most popular. They are all real and have been treated with chemicals that have helped preserve their bodies. The animals are displayed behind class chambers. A walk through this area may inspire a curious mix of reactions, alternating between fascination and fright. This section also has animals that are extinct now,and viewing those specimens are quite interesting. Watch where you walk-through, because at one point during the tour, you may find your head to be close to an alligator’s jaw. The enter display is a chock-a-block with a plethora of the creatures you may not even have heard off.Three hundred species of butterflies, bears, partridges,white stork,elephant heads,kangaroo,guinea fowl,Indian Otter,Tiger,Ostrich – you name an animal and you will spot it here. Hunting trophies that were once the Scindia family’s prized possessions are also exhibited here.
Other interesting displays at this Museum include the weapons used by Rani Laxmi Bai. There is an extensive coin collection, from the time of the Mughal rulers to the Scindias and even Russian currency. Again, you will find here sarees and jootis, bangles and turbans that are a part of the Scindia family’s personal belongings. There is also, strangely enough, a room dedicated to myriad fruits and vegetables, made of papier mache. You will also encounter knick-knacks such as playing cards, chess boards, combs made of ivory and a calendar dating back to the 4th century. This museum has just about everything imaginable and a short visit here promises to be an engaging experience.
Fauxtography is Private it inside the museum entry Rs.10. Timings 10 AM to 5 PM. Closed on Mondays guides charge between Rs.20 Rs.2.50
Officially called the Mahatma Gandhi Zoological Park,this zoo is located on the Maharani Laxmi Bai Marg, next to the Italian garden. Small and unassuming, it is really more a park than a zoo, with rides and swing sets for children, and benches for adults who watch over them, placed next to enclosures of animals who seem worse for wear. The collection includes monkeys,a popular white tiger,crocodiles,ostrich and heards of deer. There are the few signs, and the place is not that well maintained, but the intentions seems good. If you’re looking to just hang around in an open, green space, visit one of the several parts in the vicinity of the zoo instead.
Arsenic drive through low-lying hills south-east of Gwalior leads you to Datia, an ancient town that also finds a mention in the Mahabharata. Datia is short for Dante Vakra,the Demon monarch who was killed by Lord Krishna.
At the entrance of this town is the famous Peetambara peeth, a complex of Hindu temples. You are required to deposit your shoes, bags and other leather items at the counters near the entrance. The temples inside this complex is dedicated to several gods and goddesses including Saraswati,Kali,Ganapati,Dhumavati Mai and Pashuram.The highlight of Datia,however, is the old palace, seen in the distance, even before you reach the town.
King of the Bundelas,Bir Singh Dev was responsible for beheading Abul Fazl, trusted advisor to the Mughal Emperor Akbar. It is said that he delivered Abul Fazl’s severed head to his co-conspirator Prince Salim, who was later known by his imperial name – Jehangir. in return, Bir Singh was made the ruler of Datia. However, for all his ruthless tendencies, Bir Singh Dev is also credited with creating the Bundela style of architecture. Situated atop a hill,Bir Singh’s palace or Purana Mahal has massive walls and fortifications. Built in the Indo Islamic style, the palace is marked by a large courtyard with a five storey tower in the centre. This tower itself houses 440 rooms. While the arched doorways and the dome are a mark of Mughal architecture, the sculptures and paintings of birds and animals are characteristics of Rajput style.
Despite it’s magnificent architecture, this seven story Palace is quite desolate. Local may inform you that it is closed to visitors but if you are keen on visiting them it might be worth a try to seek permission from the family, who reside in a part of this Palace.
The sacred Jain site of Sonagiri is around 15 km. north-west of Datia. The Hill has 77 Jain temples that date as far back as the 17th century, built in rows on the slopes. The large temple,Temple No 57, which has been dedicated to Chandranatha, the 8th of the of the 24 Jain tirthankaras, is considered particularly spectacular. A large animal fair is held here in the Hindu month of Chaitra (April ). At the time of going to print,a major underground work had blocked access to the only road that leads Datia to the Sonagiri temples.No date of completion of the repair project was given. If you do decide to head there, confirm that it is possible to visit the site first, either from Gwalior or Datia.
Mitawali is a village where the popular Chausath Yogini Temple lies – The temple is perched atop a hill surrounded by the lush greenery. A climb of approximately 100 steps will take you to the beauty of this splendid round temple. The striking views will definitely have you reaching for your camera too!
The Chausath Yogini Temple, Morena, also known as Ekattarso Mahadeva Temple, is an 11th-century temple located in Morena district in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the few well-preserved Yogini temples in the country. The temple is formed by a circular wall with 64 chambers and an open mandapa in the centre, separated by a courtyard which is circular in shape, where Shiva is deified
As claimed by etchings and engravings in the temple, ancient shrine is said to have been built by the Maharaja Devapala. In fact, the Parliament House in New Delhi is believed to have been inspired from the circular design and architectural intricacies of the Mitawali temple!
It is also said that Mitawali, Padavali and Bateshwar made a golden triangle in which a university existed about a 1000 years ago! The alleged teaching centre was said to be a hub to impart education in Mathematics, Astrology and Hinduism to the children with the help of sun rays !
The notable Padavali fortress was built in the 18th century by the Jat Ranas rulers of Dhaulpur. Graciously guarded by a lion and lioness, the fort also has a temple that once served as a divine place to worship Lord Shiva. Every stone used in the fortification and in the making of the temple has something to convey about the ancient era through its inscription and detailing !
The site is not just about one temple; the Bateshwar temples are a cluster of almost 200 mini grandeur made of sandstone, devoted to lords Shiva and Vishnu. Spread over 25 acres, these shrines were built across slanted hills near Padavali. The temples were constructed in the 8th to 10th century AD probably during the Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty. Interestingly, the jungle nearby is full of beautiful birds like peacocks, parakeets and kingfishers. One can often spot the national bird perching and posing on the rooftop of the temples.
All three destinations are situated in the Morena district and can be reached easily via Gwalior!