Gwalior Fort Travel Guide– Known and famous for its majesty all over India, Gwalior Fort is also called the ‘Gibraltar of India’. It was named ‘Gibraltar of India’ by the Mughal emperor Babur owing to the reason that it delivers a panoramic view of the heritage city of Gwalior and has a solid defensive structure.
What makes the Fort special?
It is estimated to have its history since the 6th century. This fortress is built on solid rocky high hill ‘Gopachal’. As it is made of Vindhayan Sandstone, it has a robust defensive structure that can stand still even after the various attacks.
Gwalior Fort has many attractions of northern and southern Indian architectural styles. The magnificent view of the Gwalior city witnessed from the top of the fort is an undeniable reason to visit it.
The fortress also evidences the second oldest record of “ZERO” in its Chaturbhuj temple. Hmm…Isn’t it interesting?
Loaded with majesty and a solid defensive structure, it has two main palaces along with other palaces and temples in its estate. Well, India is blessed to have majestic forts that you shouldn’t miss out on, check about Mehrangarh Fort from our collection
What You will get from this guide?
- What makes it so special?
- The intriguing history behind Gwalior Fort
- Gwalior Fort and Rani Laxmi Bai (Queen of Jhansi)
- Architecture at its best
- Attractions at Gwalior Fort
- Light and Sound show
- Gurudwara Data Bandi Chor Sahib
- Movies shot at Gwalior Fort
- Tickets and timings
- Best time to visit Gwalior Fort
- How to reach Gwalior Fort?
- Recommended stays nearby
- Delicacies at Gwalior Fort
- Dos and Don’ts while visiting the Gwalior Fort
- My takeaways from the Gwalior Fort
The intriguing history behind Gwalior Fort
We were fascinated to know that this fort has not just one, but is associated with many interesting stories of its ancient past.
The fort was built by King Suraj Sen, a Sikarwar Rajput. History says that Suraj Sen made this fort in honor of a sage named ‘Gwalipa’. Once upon a time, when Suraj Sen was seeking water to quench his extreme thirst, he met sage Gwalipa. Sage directed him towards a water reservoir, later named ‘Suraj Kund’.
The water did not just quench his thirst but also cured his disease ‘Leprosy’ (non-curable at that time). I wondered why did I waste so much bucks on my skin treatment? Lol…
Jokes apart, King Suraj Sen built Gwalior Fort to show his gratitude to Sage Gwalipa who saved his life.
The sage gave Suraj Sen, the title of ‘Pal’ which means the ‘protector’. He blessed him that his successors would conquer the fort as long as they use the title of ‘Pal’. Since then, King Suraj Sen was known as ‘King Suraj Sen Pal’.
There’s another interesting tale linked with this fort. The great musician ‘Tansen’ (one of the Navratnas of Mughal Emperor Akbar), had planted a tamarind tree inside the fort estate. It is said that whosoever eats the leaves of that tree will get a sweet voice. Okay! So, all the ones who don’t have a good voice, you must try this tree out!
Gwalior Fort and Rani Laxmi Bai (Queen of Jhansi)
During 1857, the first revolution for independence, this fort witnessed the battles of Rani Laxmi Bai with the foreign invaders. It’s interesting to know that she took her last breath in Gwalior Fort, not in Jhansi fort.
Queen of Jhansi rescued herself in Gwalior Fort to escape from the attack of Britishers. Partnering with other kings, she sought shelter here and stood bravely against the Britishers. Samadhi of Rani Laxmi Bai in Gwalior displays the tales of her bravery and valor.
Intrigued to know more about the Queen of Jhansi? Watch Manikarnika (2019 film), where her character was portrayed by Kangana Ranaut. The movie beautifully captures her journey as a warrior, her connection with the Gwalior Fort, and how she created history.
When walking on the path from which Raniji embarked inside the fort, we couldn’t resist admiring her for being such an exceptional lady.
Architecture at its best
Gwalior Fort is one of the majestic forts of India. Built on sandstone, the Gwalior Fort is known for its robust defensive structure. Consisting of various palaces, temples, and water reservoirs, it has two main palaces called Gujari Mahal and Man Singh Palace.
We were left numb glaring at its architecture. The structures having intricate designs with a combination of north and south-Indian architectural styles. The Exterior of Man Singh palace is ornamented with eye-catching blue-colored tiles. Almost all the structures are beautifully crafted with stone carvings of minute detailing.
Its hilltop location makes it a must place to visit in Gwalior. We were stunned to have the awe-inspiring view of Gwalior city from the top of the fort.
Attractions at Gwalior Fort
This fortress is highly loaded with several attractions inside its area. We’ve covered the most popular of them and which merit a must-visit. Go ahead with our recommendations!
The sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras
You will discover these sculptures while entering via Urvai Gate. Inside the fortress, there are various rock-cut idols of Jain Tithankars. These astonishing sculptures grab the attention of tourists while heading inside the fort. A designated Jain pilgrim center has also been developed as ‘Gopachal Parvat’. A place of sheer peace and a sense of divinity regularly visited by locals of the city.
Like the Taj Mahal, Gujari Mahal was also built as a token of love. Raja Mansingh Tomar built this mahal for his most loving wife, Mrignayani. She was a Gujar queen; hence, it was named Gujari Mahal. This palace is now turned into an Archaeological Museum.
Man Mandir Palace
Man Singh Palace is considered as a Gem of Gwalior Fort among other palaces. Between 1486 and 1517, the palace was built by Raja Mansingh inside the Fortress which portrays beautiful Hindu architecture. Decorated with blue tiles and stone art, it has an impressive exterior design. Man Singh Palace also features a special light and sound show organized every evening at the fort.
The palace is also accompanied by other palaces like Shah Jahan Mahal, the Gujari Mahal, Karan Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, etc.
Remember the movie Padmaavat? This kund has the same history of ‘Jauhar Pratha’ as shown in that movie. The Jauhar Kund at Gwalior Fort witnessed self-immolation by numerous Rajput women. They committed suicide in Jauhar Kund to avoid oppression, capture, and rape by invading the army during various battles.
Older than Man Singh Palace, Karan Palace was built by Kirti Singh (2nd king of Tomar dynasty). Karan Mahal has a simple structure with lattice screens and some stone arts. Once reach there, you will find the Vikram Mahal in front.
Vikram Mahal was built by Vikramaditya Singh, the elder brother of Man Singh. A temple of Lord Shiva was built in this palace which was later destroyed by Mughals.
Saas Bahu Temple
Saas-Bahu Temple? doesn’t it sound interesting, so is the history behind this temple. This is a twin temple constructed due to a conflict between a royal mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. They both conflicted on which deity to worship, Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu.
To satisfy both of them, the twin temples were built with lord Vishnu in his Padmanabha form. We were amazed to see the Saas temple (the bigger one for mother-in-law) and the Bahu temple (the smaller one for daughter-in-law). No idols can be seen now, as it has been destroyed by invaders in the past.
It is also famous as the “Sahasra Bahu Temple”. Even with the destroyed tower and sanctum, its intricated architecture and detailed stone art can’t be left unnoticed.
The Scindia School
After Saas Bahu temple and towards Teli ka Mandir, there comes the Scindia School. In 1897, it was built by Madho Rao Scindia after the British had transferred the fort to Scindias. The school has several famous personalities as its alumni, like Sooraj R. Barjatya; Salman Khan; Arbaaz Khan; Anurag Kashyap, and many others. The Scindia School has been ranked as the top boarding school by EW in 2019-20.
Teli Ka Mandir
Saas Bahu temple is followed by Teli ka mandir. This temple is built with the northern and southern architectural styles of India. Another masterpiece in the Gwalior Fort, Teli ka Mandir was constructed in the 9th century and is the tallest temple in Gwalior Fort. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is the oldest temple in Gwalior Fort with Dravidian style Shikhar
With ornamentation of Nagara Style (a well-known Northern Indian art form), the complex of Teli Ka Mandir has a structure of flying Garuda on the doorway. We didn’t buy the ticket this time, so clicked a picture outside. But, it’s highly recommended to buy the ticket and explore the temple from inside.
It is a definitely good picture spot!!
On your way to the Gurudwara, an old water reservoir must be glared at. Developed by King Suraj Sen Pal, this reservoir is known for its water with medicinal features. Once, Suraj Singh was feeling thirsty and seeking water, a sage named Gwalipa directed him to Suraj Kund.
Magically, after drinking its water King Suraj got relief from leprosy he was suffering from (incurable at that time). A small lord shiva temple can be seen in the middle of the kund.
Having a glimpse of the lotuses in this kund is undoubtedly so peaceful! Especially when your leg muscles are screaming with pain… Yes! It happened with us.
Light and Sound show
When tired, we always need a break, a state of peace and eloquence. Light and Sound show is all about it. This show at Gwalior Fort fills our evening with royal and historical pursuits. 45 minutes of the engaging history of Gwalior and Gwalior Fort in the mesmerizing voice of Amitabh Bachchan, get us a soothing experience. The show plays in both English and Hindi dialects.
Note: Tickets for the Light and Sound show are charged separately and are not included in the entry fees of visiting the fort.
Gurudwara Data Bandi Chor Sahib
It is the destiny of eternal peace in Gwalior, ‘Gurudwara Data Bandi Chor Sahib’. Situated in the vicinity of Gwalior Fort, this is a must place to visit. Just like the ancient history of the Gwalior Fort, this gurudwara also has historical footprints in the Battle between Mughals and Sikh gurus.
It is built in the memory of sixth guru Guru Hargobind Singh Ji who released himself and other 52 Indian kings from the imprisonment of Mughal Emperor Jahangir at Gwalior Fort.
It has been named after this incident. ‘Bandi Chor’ literally means ‘release of imprisonment’. People from all over India come to pay for their pilgrimage to Guru Hargobind Singh Ji.
Yes! Don’t forget to have the delicious langar.
Movies shot at Gwalior Fort
Apart from being famous among travelers, the awe-inspiring beauty of Gwalior Fort is praised by Indian Cinema also. Movies like ‘Lukka chuppi’ – (2019); ‘Kalank’ (2019); ‘Revolver Rani’ (2014), etc. are shot at Gwalior Fort. It is also featured in the movie ‘Manikarnika’ (2019);
Tickets and timings
- Adults: Rs 75/- per person
- Children: Rs 40/- per person
- Foreign tourists: Rs 250/- per person
- Timings: 6:00 AM – 5:30 PM
- Time Required: 4-5 hours
Best time to visit Gwalior Fort
The climate of Gwalior faces extremes in both summer and winter. Thus, the best time to visit Gwalior Fort is in the months of February, March, and July to November. You can also have a visit in December and January, only if you like to experience the chilling and foggy weather.
How to reach Gwalior Fort?
Gwalior Fort can be reached via two main routes, Urvai Gate and Kila Gate. Vehicles are not allowed at Kila gate and the fort has to be accessed over a long footpath. Route from Urvai Gate allows access to vehicles and well-built parking is provided for the tourists. Urvai Gate also leads the way to beautiful sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras.
Distance from railway station: Urvai Gate and Kila Gate are located at 4.6 km and 4.1 km respectively from Gwalior railway station.
One can take auto rickshaws to reach out there. To have an authentic local experience, public transport (tempos) must be taken from the railway station. This is travel-friendly as well as pocket-friendly.
Recommended stays nearby
Multiple quality stays are available in the vicinity of Gwalior Fort. One can try out Taj Usha Kiran Palace; Hotel Landmark; Neemrana’s – Deo Bagh; Tansen Residency, and plenty of others.
Delicacies at Gwalior Fort
The Fortress has an amazing café, ‘Fort view café’, located inside. Try out its delicacies along with glaring at the fort view. Besides, you can also try out the local shops located near vehicle parking. The shops serve different kinds of street foods, cold drinks, packed foods, and much more.
A must mention, Pani puri, Chana jor garam, Cotton candy, tamarinds, etc. are sold by the locals inside the Fortress.
Enjoy them while exploring the paths of the fort!
Dos and Don’ts while visiting Gwalior Fort
- Take the vehicles via the Urvai Gate route and footpath via the Kila Gate route.
- Urvai Gate route: Take a well-maintained vehicle with good pick up, as this is a steep way. Please follow all the traffic rules.
- Urvai Gate route: Make sure that your riding/driving skills are considerably good to manage on a steep road. Or else hire a cab / auto-rickshaw.
- Kila Gate route: Beware of the length you can afford to walk. Because if you choose this route, you’ve to walk more than 8 km. This route is definitely not recommended for heart patients, pregnant ladies, and the like.
- It is advised to wear shoes or any footwear you can comfortably walk with. Also, carry goggles to have a more comfortable vision.
- Consider carrying your professional camera. Gwalior Fort has abundant excellent picture spots.
- Advisable to carry own water bottle, some snacks, etc. especially if traveling with kids. You can buy it from the local shops outside the fort, as there are few food joints available inside the fort.
- Beware of burglary and take care of your belongings.
- Don’t click pictures/ stand on the boundaries of the fort. This is a BIG NO! It has caused many deadly accidents.
- No vandalism, please. This is our heritage and we ought to preserve this.
- To have a good travel experience, please don’t carry much luggage/belongings.
- Don’t go after 2 pm, if you want to cover the whole Fort in a day. Plan to start at least from 2 pm to conveniently end the trip with the light and sound show in the evening.
- Don’t take your four-wheeler without the permission of guards at the Urvai Gate. As it is a two-way route, they’ll let you take the vehicle inside only if no other vehicle is returning from that route.
- Do not break discipline at Gurudwara. Some of the points to be noted while visiting the Gurudwara:
- Wear a scarf / cover your head. Saffron color scarves are available in the Gurudwara. PS: It is advisable to carry your own scarf/kerchief to avoid exposure to COVID
- Leather products, e.g. belts, wallets, etc. are not allowed inside the main shrine of Gurudwara.
- Disciplines are to be strictly followed. E.g. washing own dishes as per the protocol, respecting the meal at the langar, maintaining silence inside the shrine, etc.
My takeaways with the Gwalior Fort
As a resident of Gwalior, I’ve visited Gwalior Fort repeatedly. Each of my visits never ceased to amaze me. Every time, it’s a new experience, new discovery, and new love with this place. The thunder of battles, breath-taking views of the city, the divinity flowing from the Gurudwara, all this calls me time and time again. Have a look at our memorable clicks taken at the fort.
Besides, to have an uninterrupted experience, have a look at the Dos and Don’ts mentioned above. The bold points are must be emphasized.
Keep exploring! Because exploration is evolution.
JOIN OUR TRAVEL COMMUNITY
Before you go – A single click on the LIKE button encourages us while sharing the blog motivates thousands of people in many ways so like, share and spread the good word! Please rate my article on the Gwalior Fort by clicking stars if it helped you or comment and let me know your views!