The high perched fort of Gwalior is known as the “Gibraltar of India” this fort is visible from larger part of the Gwalior city, the fort has a long and enviable history, it’s a majestic structure standing tall on a solitary rock protrusion.
Location of Gwalior Fort: - The Fort Gwalior is located in Gwalior city which lies in central part of India just 120 kms south to the Agra city. Gwalior is 320 kms from national capital Delhi.
Gwalior By Road: - Gwalior is very well connected by a network of four lane highways. The highways connect Gwalior with Agra in north to Indore in south, further all the way to Mumbai. Gwalior is also well connected with Jhansi. Gwalior has an interstate bus stand with buses connecting it to all the neighboring cities.
Gwalior By Air: - Gwalior has an air terminal in name of “Raj Mata Vijay Raje Scindia air terminal” Gwalior. This airport has direct flights to indore, Mumbai, Delhi etc.
Gwalior fort Timings: - As usual in other parts of India the Gwalior fort opens at sunrise and closes again at sunset. The sunrise and sunset varies with season in Gwalior. Gwalior fort is open on all days of the week while the Gurjari Mahal is closed on Monday.
Entrances : - There is not entry ticket to enter the Gwalior fort but respective tickets are levied upon the visit of palaces like Man Mandir/ Jahangiri palace etc.
Man Mandir Palace- Indians 25/- INR per person
Foreigner -100 INR per person
Children below 15 are free.
The man mandir is maintained by the archeological survey of India while the Jahangiri palace and the Shahjahan Mahal are maintained by the M P state archaeological department.
Jahan Giri Mahal & Shahjahan Mahal- Indian – 10 INR
Foreigner – 250 INR per person
Light and sound show : - Every day in the evening a light and sound show is held very near the Man mandir Palace at a spot from where the entire Gwalior city is visible .
The tickets for the light and sound show can be purchased from the Man mandir café inside the fort, the entrance are as follows;-
Indian – 100 INR Child (5-12)- 50 INR
Foreigner – 250 INR Child (5-12) 150 INR
Best time to visit: - The winters are a perfect time to visit the Gwalior fort (November-March) the summers are exceptionally hot in this part of India with temperatures soaring over 40 degree Celsius. The rainy season is also high temperature coupled with very high humidity.
History and architecture: - Gwalior fort has a very long and illustrious history spanning last 1600 years. The fort was ruled by many dynasties. The name Gwalior seems to be arising from a folk lore of a 5th century King Suraj sen who suffered leprosy and was cured by a mystic named Gwalipa, in his name the king named the city Gwalior and the fort as Gwalior fort.
The high standing solitary rock is called as “Gopachal” this rock makes the fort a formidable defense structure The fort is 2.5 kms in length and 725 metres in breath. There are six bastions on the high walls guarding the fort.
The Pal rulers ruled over the Gwalior for 84 generations till king Tej Karan the 84th generation lost the fort. The Chandelas ruled over the fort in the 10th century.
Mahmud of Ghazni won the fort in 1398 and ruled till Sultan Ibrahim lodhi won the fort in 1505, the fort changed hands from Ibrahim lodhi to Babur to Shershah Suri - Hemu – Jahangir- Shahjahan- Aurangjeb. The Jat Ranas of Gohad won the fort after the death of Aurangzeb in 1708 again the fort changed hands from the Jat Rana to the Marathas and finally to the British empire until its assimilation to the Indian union in 1947, The Scindia were handed over the reign of the fort by the British. The fort at Gwalior was used as a prison by the Mughal emperors. It’s a folk lore the people said who ever was put to the dungeons of Gwalior fort never escaped. Even the Mughal scions who were a threat to the Mughal throne were imprisoned over here. The sons of Dara shikoh, Suleiman, Sipher, Akbar’s cousin Kamran all were executed at the Gwalior fort.
Guru Hargobind ji the sixth sikh Guru was imprisoned at this fort. Its said the king Jahangir after being tormented in sleep finally relented to release the Guru sahib who stayed here as a prisoner for 12 long years. Guru sahib refused to leave the fort without the 52 Rajput prisoners the King said anyone who clings to the robe of Guru Hargobind will be released. Guru hargobind ji wore a dress with 52 tassels which were hold respectively by the Rajput rulers and hence all were released. Gurudwara Data bandi chod in the precincts of Gwalior fort reminds us of this incident. Guru sahib after release reached Amritsar Darbar Sahib on the Diwali night and thus Diwali was celebrated there. Since then the Sikhs celebrate Diwali and special lighting is done at Sri Darbar Sahib Amritsar on the Diwali night.
Gwalior fort has three gates, the gate overlooking the Gwalior city is known as the Hathipol you can reach the fort using this gate but no vehicles are allowed on this route and it’s a steep trek of around 1 kms. The one is south is called the Urwai gate, though the road has a steep incline still you can drive through this gate all the way to the Man mandir palace. As you drive up you can notice many idols belonging to the “Jain teerthankaras” these were carved during the fourteenth century, many of them have been destroyed on the orders of the Mughal emperors. There is a 42 feet high statue of Lord Parsvanath which s 30 feet wide. These idols are excellent example of the period art and architecture. Total there are around 1500 jain idols on the Gwalior hill Gopachal.
1. Man mandir palace: - This palace was built by the Tomar king Man singh tomar in the 15th century The palace has been constructed with sand stone, the palace has unique featured use of glazed tile adorning the outer façade though much of the tile work has been worn out but it is visible at some places The inside palace is very similar to the jahangiri Mahal of Agra fort actually the man mandir palace is the motivation behind the Jahangiri Mahal of Agra fort. The sand stone bears excellent artistic stone craftsmanship. Man mandir Palace is multi storied and the lower portion of the palace was used as the infamous prison of gwalior. The dungeon is scary and there is no scope and provision for the sunlight. There is a canon placed in front of the entry gate of the man mandir palace.
2. Jahangiri Mahal: - This palace was built during the Mughal rule and was built to welcome the mughal emperor Jahangir who came on a royal visit to the Gwalior fort. The series of rooms were built for welcoming and providing accommodation to the royal monarch.
3. Baori: - A huge well which was the source of water can be seen inside the fort this well is near a pavilion with 80 columns, it is said the prisoners were tied to these columns.
4. Temples inside the Gwalior fort: - There are some very old Hindu temples inside the Gwalior fort.
Teli ka mandir - A distinct blend of south Indian and north Indian architectural style, this temple was made by the Pratihara emperor Mihir bhoja in 8th and 9th century ACE, the temple has been crafted from sand stone, the ceiling of the temple is of the shape of a pyramid combined with a vault and barrel shape. This temple probably was dedicated to lord Vishnu though now the idols are missing another theory of it being a centre of Shakti Worship.
Garuda Stambha -A tower near the teli ka mandir crafted from sand stone is the garuda stambha.
Saas-Bahu-Mandir- Another classical architecture inside the Gwalior Fort is that of the Sahastra Bahu Temple which in common language today is known as the Saas Bahu temple. It was built around one thousand years ago in year 1092-93 during the Kachchhapaghata dynasty. The temple is dedicated to the lord Vishnu. This temple is also pyramidal in shape and made from the sand stone.
Data bandi Chod Gurudwara – In remembrance to the sixth Guru Hargobind ji who was imprisoned in the fort of Gwalior by the order of Mughal King Jahangir a Gurudwara has been constructed, this Gurudwara is a grand structure where two flags of Miri and Piri depicting the spiritual and temporal authority of the Guru fly high. There are rooms for the devotees to stay. The community kitchen serves food to the devotees 24x7. There is also a huge sarovar for the devotees to bathe. The Darbar sahib is grand and houses the Sri Guru Granth sahib where the devotees pay reverence to the Guru. The Gurudwara celebrates diwali in remembrance to the release of Guru Hargobind ji from the Gwalior prison. Another major religious communion is held on the moon less night (Amavas)of the month of September-october. On your way to the Gwalior fort is the palace of the Gurjari queen “Mrignayani” she was queen of Man singh Tomar, this palace has been converted into an archeological museum and houses rare artifacts dating back to 1st and 2nd century BCE.