A king named Suraj Sen once ruled the city of Gwalior. He was diagnosed with an incurable disease. But luckily a sage named Gwalipa cured the king! In gratitude to the sage, the king built a monument which was to gain immense popularity not only in Gwalior but all over the country! Yes, we are talking about the magnificent Gwalior Fort, a place that showcases a rich history and splendid architecture! Guide to Gwalior Fort.
The fort remained in the king’s family for 83 generations and was later transferred from one dynasty to another, adding more and more historical importance to itself. And during all those years under the possession of various kings, many palaces and monuments were built inside the fort complex, adding more beauty to its architecture! Today the fort stands with all its might and is definitely one of the best places to visit in India along with Gwalior.
There is so much to explore in the famous Gwalior Fort, a visit here should be in your travel diary, whether you are a history buff, architecture buff, or simply, an avid traveler! So, we say, go ahead, get flight tickets and book any hotel or resort in Gwalior. And here’s a complete guide to Gwalior Fort to help you plan!
A Complete Guide to Gwalior Fort
How to reach the Gwalior Fort?
Obviously, you have to reach Gwalior first. From Gwalior Airport as well as Gwalior Railway Station, you can take an auto-rickshaw or taxi to the fort! But, here’s the catch! The fort has two entrances, the North-East Gate and the South-West Gate. You have to decide which one you want to enter. Before you decide, here’s what you need to know!
The northeastern gate
Vehicles are not allowed to enter this gate. If you enter through this gate, you will have to get down from your vehicle and then proceed towards the fort. So, if you are feeling a little sporty, this gate is your match. Also, if you want to see all the wonderful monuments of this old Gwalior Fort, then you must definitely take this gate.
The southwestern gate
You can get into a vehicle from this gate and then get down at the fort parking area. So, you will not have to walk for long to see the fort. We suggest you enter through this gate if you are with young children or seniors. When you visit here, remember that this place is open from 5 am to 6.30 pm. If you book any hotel in Gwalior near the fort complex, we would definitely recommend you to take a morning walk to the fort. You will have a great time seeing the fort in the fresh morning air!
What place to see at the Gwalior Fort?
When you visit this Gwalior fort, make sure to keep some time in your hand as there are many places that you must visit! Plus, depending on which gate you’re entering, you can explore the places here in a certain order. For example, here we will enter through the north-east gate and trace the places leading to the south-west gate!
Gujari Mahal Archeological Museum
Enter through the northeast gate and the first attraction that welcomes you to the fort is this museum. Raja Man Singh had built the Gujari Mahal for his beautiful queen Mrignayani. The queen was a Gujar princess and hence the name. The former residence of the queen has been converted into a museum, where you will see many Jain sculptures and rare artifacts from the 1st and 2nd centuries BC.
Our next stop is this ancient temple. Carved out of a single rock in the 9th century, the temple got its name because it was dedicated to the four-armed form of Lord Vishnu. Compared to other monuments within the fort complex, this temple is small, but that doesn’t make it any less popular among tourists. And what makes it a must-see on most visitors’ lists is the oldest inscription of ‘Zero’ in the country.
Man Singh Palace
Walk a few steps from the Chaturbhuj Temple and you will be in front of a stunning palace highlighted in blue, yellow, and green. As you must have already guessed that Raja Man Singh of the Tomar dynasty had built this monument. The architecture lover in you will surely find heaven here. The monument beautifully displays Hindu architecture. And if you look closely, you can see the influence of Chinese architecture too!
Jahangir and Shah Jahan Mahal
After Man Singh Palace, you must have seen several palaces one after the other elegantly nestled inside the fort. The first two of them are Jahangir Mahal and Shah Jahan Mahal built by two Mughal emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan. You can also see the Vikram Mahal built by Raja Vikramaditya Singh and the Karan Mahal built by Raja Karan Singh. All these palaces are surely a treat for the eyes!
Assi Khamba ki Baori
Now we are moving towards the main fort complex! And the first place that awaits us is Assi Khamba Ki Baori. Bauri means well before you ask. This well is surrounded by 80 big pillars. Like the famous Man Singh Palace, this wall is painted with bright colors and looks exquisite!
Sas Bahu Temple
After exploring the stepwell and several palaces, we will be very close to the southwest gate, but we are yet to see some other gems in this fort. One of them is Saas Bahu Temple. Two temples, one named Saas Mandir and a smaller one named Bahu Mandir, are in ruins but their rustic beauty is quite pleasant!
Teli ka Mandir
There is another temple that you must visit to visit Teli Ka Mandir. The temple was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu but was later restored as a Shiva temple. The main attraction here is the striking blend of North Indian and South Indian architecture.
Gurdwara Data Bandi Chhor
Just in front of Teli Ka Mandir is another sight worth seeing! We are talking about Gurdwara Data Bandi Chhor. There is an interesting story behind this Gurudwara. It goes something like this. The sixth guru of the Sikh was taken prisoner by Jahangir. Later Jahangir decided to free the Guru. At that time 50 kings were also imprisoned inside the fort.
The Guru requested Jahangir to free the kings also. Jahangir agreed but he had one condition. The king will be free only when he can catch the master on his way out of the prison. The master had stitched a special cloak and all the kings took a part of that cloak and went out. The Gurudwara was associated with the Guru’s imprisonment and freedom.
Rock-cut sculptures of Jain Tirthankara
We are almost at the southwest entrance. But before we leave the fort complex, here is our last stop, the beautiful sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras! These sculptures completely display Jain Idols. All these sculptures, some in a standing position and some in a sitting position are quite captivating and will make your visit to Gwalior Fort a complete finish.
We are guessing that you have started packing your bags and getting ready for your visit to Gwalior Fort. So, wishing you a pleasant journey!
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