Best known for its impressive hilltop fort, Gwalior is home to a rich and storied cultural, spiritual, and musical heritage. History comes alive in its lanes, forts, palaces, temples, and tombs.
As you stroll through the narrow, dusty, and mostly busy streets of Gwalior; the epic tales of illustrious battles, gutsy empires, divergent rulers, and legendary musicians intertwined in the fabric of the city unfurl, one at a time.
Did you know? The ancient name of Gwalior was Gopagiri or Gopadri.
Gwalior has some amazing things to see and do for all kinds of travelers and tourists and that’s the reason it’s recognized as the tourist capital of Madhya Pradesh, India.
Also, it’s one of those perfect destinations to explore with kids, as it not only brings the class history lessons alive but turns them from boring to fascinating.
Pressed for time? Pin the post to read it later!
Places to Visit in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
Here’s our take on what to do while in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.
The imposing Gwalior Fort rises dramatically above the city of Gwalior on a central hillock, Gopachal. It’s thought-out to be one of the most invincible forts in India and thus was rightfully called the Gibraltar of India.
I prefer to read about the history of a place before I make a visit there. I’d recommend you to get a bit of insight into the city of Gwalior and its history. It makes your trip more fun and meaningful.
If reading isn’t what you like, go watch the sound and light show at Gwalior Fort the night before you plan to explore the fort. Amitabh Bachchan successfully makes history interesting with his profound voice and captivating way of storytelling.
Most of the famous attractions in Gwalior are in fact inside the Gwalior Fort premises. Inside the fort are numerous palaces, temples, and other historical structures built by different rulers.
The fort has two entrances. Urwahi Gate is accessible by car and Qila Gate or Gwalior Gate is accessible only by a walk along the ramp.
If you enter the fort through Urwahi Gate, don’t miss the sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras carved into the rock face on the way to the fort. The sculptures, set up within caves (Gopachal and Siddhanchal caves) and alcoves in seated (Padmasana) and standing (Kayotsarga) postures depict all 24 Tirthankaras.
Just at the entrance of the Gwalior Fort Complex is an ancient step-well with 80 pillars, Assi Khamba ki Baori.
Man Singh Palace, Raja Man Singh Tomar’s abode during his reign with its blue and yellow tiles stone lattice-screens and lovely mosaic work is the most impressive of all the attractions inside the fort.
The 11th-century Saas-Bahu Temple, dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva is the architectural brilliance.
The 8th-century Teli-Ka-Mandir dedicated to Vishnu is unique because of its architectural style that marries the elements of north India (Nagara) and south India (Dravidian).
Gurudwara Data Bandi Chhor within the fort is a memorial to the sixth guru of the Sikhs, Guru Hargobind Sahib who was imprisoned by Mughal Emperor Jahangir at Gwalior fort.
Chaturbhuj Temple at the Hathi Pol dedicated to Lord Vishnu with the stone inscription comprises the first-ever recorded description of zero in the 7th-century and thus is called the Temple of Zero.
Gujari Mahal, a separate palace built for Raja Man Singh’s love and 9th wife, Mriganayani is a bit away from the fort near the Qila Gate. It has been converted into an Archeological Museum that houses rare sculptures, coins, weapons, pottery, and so much more.
Karan Mahal, Vikram Mahal, Jahangir Mahal, Shahjahan Mahal, Chhatri of Bhim Singh Rana, and Suraj Kund are the other attractions inside the fort that are worth visiting.
Built on the lines of famous Konark’s Sun Temple, Gwalior’s Sun Temple was constructed quite recently (1988) by the prominent industrialist G.D.Birla.
As the name says it all, the temple is dedicated to the Sun God and attracts devotees from all over the country.
The temple boasts the exquisite red sandstone exteriors with well-carved sculptures of various Hindi Gods and milky white marble interiors with Sun God’s idol and the green and peaceful surroundings.
Sarod Ghar aka Kala Vithika, a museum housed in the ancestral home of a sarod maestro, Amjad Ali Khan exhibits the ancient musical instruments that belong to geniuses of Hindustani classical music and old books, documents, and portraits.
Tombs of Muhammad Ghaus and Tansen
The mausoleum of Muhammad Ghaus, a 16th-century Sufi saint and mentor of a celebrated singer, and composer of his times and one of the Navratnas (nine jewels) in Akbar’s court, Tansen is situated in Hazira aka Old Town.
In the same garden complex, right next to the tomb is a Samadhi of Tansen (Tansen Memorial). Come December, the complex becomes the site for the famed musical event, Tansen Samaroh or Tansen Sangeet Samaroh that attracts music lovers from all across the country.
A tamarind tree near Tansen’s grave is a special one. A saint sitting near the tree told us that if you eat a leaf or two from the tree, your voice becomes as melodious as Tansen’s. That’s another thing you should definitely do while you’re here because you never know 🙂
Samadhi Rani Laxmi Bai
Located in the Phool Bagh complex, the Samadhi of Rani Laxmi Bai is a tribute to the great woman warrior of Jhansi, Rani Laxmi Bai famously known as Jhansi ki Rani who bravely fought with British in 1857.
Looking at the tall statue of Jhansi ki Rani filled me with pride and I saluted the undaunting spirit and sacrifice of the great queen warrior.
About 23 km from Gwalior, Tighra Dam or Tig Dam on the Sank River is a nice recreation or picnic spot. There are many activities on and off the water like boating, jalpari cruise, river rafting, parasailing, rock climbing for adventure lovers.
Or you can just sit and relax while appreciating the serenity and beauty of the region.
Jai Vilas Palace makes it to the list of things to do in Gwalior, mostly. But I didn’t find it worthy enough for the amount of time and entrance price it demands.
With more time in Gwalior, you can add Chhatris of the Scindia dynasty, Gwalior Zoo, Padavali and Bateshwar to your Gwalior itinerary.
Shopping in Gwalior
Gwalior’s bazaars are utterly noisy, and chaotic but great places to shop for unique traditional handicrafts and handlooms.
Have you been yearning to possess a pure Chanderi saree for long? What better place to grab one than Gwalior. Gwalior exports Chanderi and Maheshwari silk fabric to all across the world.
There are also a variety of handicrafts you can shop for like Dhokra or metalcraft, woodcraft, and leatherware.
Patankar Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar, Maharaj Bada, and Topi Bazaar are the best markets for shopping in Gwalior.
Mrignayanee emporium, a state government-run emporium at Sarafa Bazaar is a reliable shop as the price and purity of the product is guaranteed.
Best Time to Visit Gwalior
Winter (October to February) is the best time to explore Gwalior. Days are comfortable though be prepared for subzero temperatures at night.
Summers are harsh here. The exploration becomes almost impossible with day temperatures soaring as high as 45 degrees celsius.
Spring (March to May) can also be considered as the weather is comfortably warm and pleasant mostly.
How to Get to Gwalior
Gwalior is located in the northern part of the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India and is well-connected by air, by rail, and by road to Delhi and other major cities in India.
The nearest airport is Gwalior Airport. Air India has a direct flight from Delhi to Gwalior that takes an hour to reach.
SpiceJet runs direct flights from Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Jammu, and Kolkata to Gwalior.
The second nearest airport, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Airport, Agra has more regular connections from other major cities in India and is 126 km from Gwalior.
Gwalior Junction (main railways station) has direct trains from Delhi. The train journey takes about 5 hours. Grand Trunk Express from New Delhi to Chennai, Kerala Express from New Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram, Kalinga Utkal Express from Hazrat Nizammudin to Puri, Dehradun Indore Express, and Shridham Express from New Delhi to Jabalpur are some of the regular trains.
Habibganj New Delhi Shatabdi Express is the fastest that takes less than 4 hours to reach Gwalior. Also, it leaves Delhi quite early in the morning and saves your day.
Driving is a great option to travel to Gwalior from Delhi or Agra. Roads are well-maintained and smooth. It takes around 7 hours from Delhi to Gwalior via Taj Express Highway aka the Yamuna Expressway and NH44.
How to Get Around Gwalior
Gwalior is best explored on your own car. Car rentals are also available in Gwalior.
Else autorickshaws, tempos, Ola cabs, and metered taxis are easily available in the city.
Taking the guided tours is another great option to explore the city. Everything is preplanned and prebooked for you. Just enjoy the sights, smells, and colors of the place.
Best Gwalior Tours
Where to Stay in Gwalior
We stayed at Deo Bagh, a 17th-century heritage property renovated to perfection by Neemrana Group of Hotels and loved every second of our stay there. What makes it unique is the presence of ancient structures like Maratha temples, Mughal char bagh and a Baradari (pavilion).
Once inside the property, the commotion of the city fades away. The quietness, solitude and the old world charm – Neemrana’s Deo Bagh has all.
Where to Eat in Gwalior
Gwalior is historically and culturally rich. You know right. But do you know that it’s gastronomically rich too? The divergent rulers not only left behind their legacy in the form of various monuments but also influenced the culinary scene in Gwalior.
You can experience the culinary culture in Gwalior in its variety of cuisines.
Have Bedai (a poori or kachori stuffed with spicy lentils) and Jalebi for the hearty breakfast at S.S.Kachori Wala, an 80-year old iconic hole-in-the-wall in Naya Bazaar.
Walk down to Bahadura Sweets to relish the best boondi ladoos in Gwalior or if you have a stuffed tummy just parcel them to eat later. Anywhichways you gotta taste them!
Lunch? Sorted. How about hot, huge, crispy, and delicious Parathas (layers of dough with your favorite fillings cooked in pure ghee) with achar and sabzi for lunch? Already hungry? Head to Dilli Parathewala in Sarafa Bazaar for the mouthwatering parathas.
You can’t leave Gwalior before you eat at one of its Kwality Restaurants. So, make your way towards this simple yet awesome fine dining restaurant that serves finger-licking’ food for dinner.
Kwality has two outlets in Gwalior – City Center and Lashkar. Paneer malmal and chicken tikka masala are their must-try dishes.
Buy a box or two of Morena gajak from Daulat Ram Gupta Gajak Bhandaar at Nai Sadak, Lashkar before you leave Gwalior. Bring back home the finest gajak in the country for friends, relatives, and of course yourself.
Have you ever been to Gwalior? How was your experience? We love talking to our readers.
Have you explored Delhi yet? If not, our posts on Delhi might help you plan a perfect itinerary for Delhi.
- The Ultimate List of Places to Visit in Delhi
- Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi
- Shankar’s International Dolls Museum in Delhi
- Tughlaqabad Fort in Delhi
- Tomb of Safdarjung in Delhi
There’s so much to see and do around Delhi too:
- Lansdowne in Uttrakhand – A Perfect Weekend Getaway from Delhi
- Keerganga Trek in Kasol, Himachal Pradesh
- Manali, Himachal Pradesh
- Rohtang Pass, Manali
- Leh Manali Highway – One of the most Riskiest Highways in the World
- Road Trip to Leh Ladakh with Kids
- Road Trip to Leh Ladakh from Delhi
This post contains affiliate links. Please read the Disclaimer for more details.
Sharing is nice:) If you have liked our post please share it with your friends and family and feel free to subscribe to our mailing list or you can also follow our stories on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.