Things to do in Gwalior– Welcome back to our blog on the city of Gwalior. I’m an Indian who regionally belongs to the heritage city ‘Gwalior’, also known as ‘Tansen ki Nagari’. If you are a visitor planning a trip to Gwalior, you’ve landed at the correct place.
To make your trip a memorable experience, I’ve got a guide for this city, so that you don’t miss out on anything. We at travel escape have attempted to provide you with the most important information about the places to visit and things to do in Gwalior.
Bifurcated into categories of your interest, these places are also divided into places you must visit and other places if you want to explore the city thoroughly. So, let’s get started!
1. The Majestic Gwalior Fort
Gwalior Fort is the heart of Gwalior and a must place to visit. You should certainly not miss this out. Named ‘Gibraltar of India’ by the Mughal Emperor Babur, this fort was built by Rajput King Suraj Sen. Nested with intricate architecture, this fort houses many structures like palaces, temples, and water reservoirs.
The Main structures include Saas Bahu temple, Teli ka Mandir, Manmandir Palace, Gujari Mahal, Jain sculptures, Suraj Kund, Jauhar Kund, etc.
Having its solid footprints in Indian history, this fort is famous for its extensively defensive structure. The fort is located on a high hill named ‘Gopachal’. From the top of Fort, you can witness the scenic beauty of the city of Gwalior.
Also read our blog on “Gwalior Fort: The Gibraltar of India and the Heart of Gwalior”
2. Sun Temple
Sun Temple or Surya Mandir is built on the model of the famous Sun temple in Konark Orissa. Made of the ravishing red sandstone, it was built by the famous industrialist G.D. Birla in 1988, hence, also known as Birla Mandir Gwalior.
With a beautiful idol of Lord Surya in its sanctum, the temple is shaped like a chariot pulled by 7 horses. This temple lies in the Morar area at around 6 km from the Gwalior railway station.
To spend some quality time with your loved ones and nature, you can sit in the garden around the temple. The garden is very well maintained. This place is apt for a small family picnic and has free entry.
3 Jai Vilas Palace
After the Gwalior Fort, this is the next place you should definitely plan a trip to. Jai Vilas Palace is the epitome of royalty and is the current residence of the Scindia family. A part of the palace is open for tourism purposes. Built in 1874, this palace cost INR 1 Crore back then.
This palace is mainly embellished with European architecture styles especially with Italianate structure. Once you enter inside the palace, your eyes cannot go for rest then. The royal collection of personal belongings of former rulers of Gwalior, the imperial ambiance, those unique decoratives, will leave you stunned!
Jai Vilas has a famous banquet hall with a more famous silver toy train which was used to serve the meal at the time of royal feasts. The palace also has a royal kitchen and a museum with a collection of arms, battle dresses, guns, and a lot of other unique compilations. Besides, the palace is ornamented with eye-catching chandeliers and other treasures.
Dive into the royal lifestyle of the Scindias. Adore the wonderfully architectured palace and the well-maintained lush green lawns.
4 Tomb of Ghaus Mohammed and Tomb of Tansen
Mohammed Ghaus was an Afgan prince who later turned into a Sufi saint and dedicated his life to music. One of the most respected musicians during Mughal emperor Akbar’s reign, Ghaus was also the guru of Mian Tansen. This tomb has a rustic sandstone building with artistic latticework and lush green gardens.
Mian Tansen, one of the Navratnas (nine gems) of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, belonged to the region of Gwalior. Hence, Gwalior is also known as Tansen ki Nagari’. After his demise, Tansen was buried near the tomb of his music guru Ghaus Mohammed. Currently, both of these are located in Tansen Nagar, at a distance of around 3.5 km from the Gwalior Railway station.
Being a resident, I’ve heard the bulk of his legends mentioning the power of his singing. History has it that his voice was so powerful that he could automatically bring down the rains and light up the candles/Deepak.
One legend also narrates that he had the ability to control the wild animals that he once calmed down a raging wild elephant that couldn’t be tamed. The interesting legends of Mian Tansen, the chirp of birds, and serenity in the environment of this place deliver a unique experience making this place a must-visit.
Those interesting legends, the chirp of birds, and the serenity in the environment of this place engrave me completely whenever I visit these places!
5. Chhatris of the Scindia Dynasty
These are memorials built in the honor of the rulers of the Scindia family. Not only this, but the chhatris are also famous for their artistic architecture among the locals and travelers.
If you want to explore some more history of this city and if the time permits, you can take a visit to the Samadhi of Rani Laxmi Bai (Queen of Jhansi), Sarod Ghar, and Motimahal.
6 Gopachal Parvat
To experience peace and natural beauty, Gopachal Parvat is highly recommended. Jain temples and huge rock-cut idols are nestled here. It’s a crowd-free spot with immense peace and eloquence, hence, a good site for meditation in the lap of nature.
The best time to visit here is the rainy season to enjoy the lush greenery. This place is highly sacred and religious, so one should maintain discipline, and to keep the place clean, avoid taking edibles.
Being a nature lover, this place is my personal favorite. Gopachal Parvat is a good preference for the painters who like to capture nature with their art and for the ones looking to have some “Me-time”. A parking facility is available here and it’s easily reachable with public transport.
7 Tighra dam
Water till your vision, breeze all around, cool water touching your feet…Yes! That’s what you feel when you are at Tighra Dam.
It is a freshwater reservoir on Sank River and is used to supply water to the city. It is also a tourism spot in Gwalior. A perfect place for fun, picnic, and relaxation.
The boat ride is a must when you visit Tighra. The speed of the boat in the middle of the dam awakens your inner child that you can’t stop yourself from playing with the water during the boat ride. But, playing with dam water is not advised as the reservoir is home to many crocodiles.
It is situated about 25 km from the main city. Taking your own vehicle is recommended while planning a trip to Tighra, the place has ample parking facilities.
Please take utmost caution. DON’T go inside the water as the depth has taken many lives.
8 Cancer hills
Covered with greenery, Cancer hills are good for small rides with your loved ones! Cancer hills are named after the only cancer hospital in Gwalior, which is situated there. Filled with lavish greenery, cancer hills deliver the scenic beauty of the city at multiple spots. It also has a cafeteria named ‘Hill’s cafeteria’, where you can munch something.
9 Phool Bagh
Phool Bagh is a beautiful public park and gardens popular among the locals for morning walks, picnics, and a place to chill out. The Park also has a mosque and the Gwalior Zoo in its vicinity. The dinosaurs’ sculptures in the park are a center of attraction among kids.
10 Italian Garden
This garden is built in Italian style, embedded with beautiful water fountains. The water ponds inside the garden house many fishes and also has a separate space to feed birds. With the blue sky, the water, floating fishes, the coo of pigeons, and trees, a visit to this garden is a perfect blend of nature around you.
PS: While visiting, carry some feed for birds and fishes.
It doesn’t end here, this city is also nested with lakes like Baijatal, Katoratal, Sagar Tal, and Janak Tal. If you are a lake lover, these places are for you. Some of them offer boating also.
11 Data Bandi Chor Gurudwara
Dedicated to the sixth guru of Sikhs, Guru Hargobind Singh Ji, this gurudwara is located in the vicinity of Gwalior Fort. Its name is connected with a historic incident, ‘Bandi’ means imprisonment and ‘Chor’ means release.
Guru Hargobind Singh fought against the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and released himself along with 52 other Indian Kings from the capture of Jahangir at Gwalior Fort.
This place is filled with divinity and eloquence. People from all over the country visit here to pay homage to Guru Hargobind Singh Ji.
PS: Don’t forget to have the delicious langar.
You can visit other holy places like Phoolbagh gurudwara, Achleshwar Temple, Dargah Khwaja Kanoon Sahib, and Carmel Convent Church. These are the most favorite among the local devotees.
12 Gwalior Zoo
Established by Madhav Rao Scindia back in 1922, the zoo is popular as “Gandhi Prani Udhyan”. A visit to Gwalior Zoo brings out the kid inside you. The combination of wildlife and greenery will make you fall in love with this place. Especially known for its white tigers, the Zoo also encompasses other fascinating creatures.
When visiting Gwalior, don’t skip to adore the flora and fauna at the Gwalior Zoo. You can also visit the famous Madhav National Park, which is around 120 km from Gwalior and roughly 100 Km from the famous Gwalior Fort.
13 Splash the Sun City Water Park
It is the most popular water park in the city. The roller coasters, slides, water rides, etc. are a smash hit among the kids and adults of the city. The tropical climate of Gwalior makes it a preferred choice among the locals for having a refreshing break. The water park is a first-class entertainment spot to relax with friends and family.
14 Taj Usha Kiran palace
One of the most luxurious stays in Gwalior, this 5-star hotel was built by H Maharaj Jayaji Rao Scindia in 1988. Every corner of the hotel flaunts the beauty of stone carvings and delicate artworks. Filled with majesty and grandeur, experience the royal hospitality at the Taj Usha Kiran Palace!
15 Bamboo restaurant
Bamboo restaurant: As the name suggests, the structure of this restaurant is entirely made of bamboos and scattered over a large area. Situated in lush green surroundings, the restaurant delivers a beautiful view of the Captain Roop Singh Stadium. Apart from serving a wide range of delicacies, this restaurant also serves the feeling of peace and tranquillity.
Besides, there are various theme-based restaurants in Gwalior, like Captain’s Cafe (based on the theme of a ship), Café Prison (on the theme of jail), Bollywood Cafe, and a lot more. You can try any of them, with spectacular ambiance, they serve mouth-watering dishes in many cuisines.
16 Maharaj Bada
Any place is well-explored when you hit its local market. Maharaj Bada or Bada, the local market of Gwalior is located in the Lashkar area. This place has various vintage buildings around a huge circle in the middle.
Having almost all types of shops, Maharaj Bada offers cheap and best products. Bada is segregated in different markets namely Topi Bazar, Subash Market, Nazarbag Market, Sarafa Bazar, Dahi Mandi, Gandhi Market, More Bazar, and so on.
A perfect spot where shoppers can spree and build a collection of products with local specialties.
To choose from the branded collections, one can visit DD Mall and DB Mall.
17 Watch a match at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium
Watching a cricket match in a stadium with no ad breaks is an unparallel and finest experience. This stadium is named after the great hockey player, Captain Roop Singh, and was originally a hockey stadium that was later transformed into a cricket stadium.
The stadium is linked with an unforgettable record in ODI history. The God of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar hit the first-ever double century of ODI against Proteas.
The stadium has floodlights and has hosted various ODI matches. If you get a chance to eyewitness a cricket match, don’t miss it!
18 Have fun at the Gwalior trade fair
“Lokplaza… Lokplaza… Electronics ki Duniya me aaa jaiyee, Lokplaza k sang Sapne Apne… sajaiye….” Scratching your head, that what is it? Ahh! It’s a jingle that will hit your ears the moment you enter the Mela aka “Gwalior Trade Fair”.
Local vendors and vendors from different parts of the country participate in this fair. A broad collection of products is offered here. ‘Gandhi Shilp Bazar’ is famous for its unique handicrafts and artworks. Products of sectors like electronics, automobiles, textiles, travel accessories, sports, and toys, etc. are prominently provided by different sellers at the best prices.
Jhoola sector, Maut ka Kuan (Wall of death), Jhanki (tableau), mele ka papad (a type of snack), softy, soapy bubbles all around, Guddu Bhaiya (a local anchor who promotes talent in Mela through a program “Aao Mela Chalein”), Chattris (huge canopies describing the layout of Mela), etc. are the major attractions of Gwalior Mela.
It is organized every year from Dec to Feb (roughly) on the Mela ground of Gwalior and generally has free entry. Easily reachable with local transport, it also has ample parking facility.
PS: Evening visit is recommended to have that awe-inspiring late night view of the Jhoola sector full of lights and energy!
19 Musical eve at Tansen Samaroh
Tansen Samaroh is celebrated each year in memory of the Sangeet Emperor Tansen. Numerous eminent musicians and artists from all over the country unite and pay homage to Mian Tansen with their overwhelming performances in Tansen Samaroh.
It is one of the most prestigious music ceremonies in the country being organized for more than 95 years now. If you are a music lover, you can’t afford to miss this out. Witness this music festival organized in the month of December every year. The mesmerizing instrumental and classical performances will blow your mind!
20 Dhanteras night at Sarafa bazar
Lights! Crowd! Bustle! I’m talking about the Dhanteras night at Sarafa Bazar Gwalior. If something excites me more than Diwali, then it’s Dhanteras night (Two days before the main festival) at this place.
The way full of welt light décor, market bustle, and festive vibes, creates an energetic and lively ambiance all around. Various local and branded merchants sell jewelry, dishes, and a wide range of other products.
If you are in Gwalior on Dhanteras night, you should undoubtedly take a visit to this place. Trust me, this is much more exciting than sitting at home and binge-watching.
21 Munching at Chaupati, food joint at Phoolbagh and Achaleshwar
Outing goes hand in hand with food! Nothing else can match the taste of street food in India, so, if you are a street food lover, these places in Gwalior are a paradise for you! 1) Phoolbagh food joint 2) Achaleshwar food joint 3) Chaupati.
Range of various foodstuffs served by the locals here. You can try out the delicacies and I’m sure that you are gonna get an awesome feast for your taste buds.
PS: I’m a huge fan of rolls of ‘SB Rolls’.
22 Darshan at Kartik Swami temple
This temple is linked with a special incident in Hindu Mythology. According to which, it opens only once a year, i.e., on the Poornima (full moon day) of Kartik Maas. 400 years old, this temple has idols of Lord Kartikeya, Goddess Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati, Lord Hanuman, etc.
The mythology has it that once Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati asked both of their sons, that whoever amongst them returns early after orbiting all 3 worlds, he would be worshipped before all the deities. For this Lord Ganesha orbited their parents 3 times claiming that his world lies in them.
His intelligence made him the winner and Lord Shiva blessed him that he would be worshipped first on any occasion. Defeated Karthikeya was full of anger, locked himself in a cave, and cursed that no one could worship him.
Later some time, his anger subsided after Lord Shiva’s explanation. Lord Shiva also gave him a boon that whoever worships Lord Karthikey on his birthday (Kartik Poornima) will be blessed with whatever he wishes.
Hence, the temple opens up on the birthday of Lord Kartikeya. Devotees from all over the country come and offer their prayers in this temple.
23 Embrace the art at Sculpture-park
Also known as ‘Prabhat Murti Kala Kendra’, this place is the workshop of the famous sculptor, Prabhat Rai. Here, you can adore the beauty of various beautiful hand-made sculptures like the Statue of Liberty, Madhav Rao Scindia, Swami Vivekanand, Indra Gandhi, and many other famous personalities.
If you want, you can also get a hand-made sculpture of your ancestors or of whatever you want to.
So, no problem if New York City is out of your reach, you can come here and click the picture with the Statue of Liberty
From the bustle of big cities to the talks of small towns, this city has them both. That’s what makes it special among the others. Its heritage and royal history say a lot about it.
Being a local of Gwalior and a travel enthusiast, I’m obliged to impart as much information as I can. I hope you find it worthwhile to read. All the best! Have a memorable trip to Gwalior. Till then,
Keep exploring! Because exploration is evolution.