Asia India Madhya Pradesh

Temples in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh – Taste of Indian Spirituality and History

By Anjali Chawla  

Gwalior is much more than its historic Gwalior Fort. Gwalior Fort is much more than just a fort! It’s enormous and impregnable. It’s beyond your stretch of the imagination. It has palaces, baolis (water tanks), temples and much more. Let’s explore the gorgeous temples in Gwalior and its Fort in this post!

While you make your way towards the glorious historic temples in Gwalior Fort; they razzle-dazzle your senses. The carvings, the avenues and everything that you witness here imprisons a grandeur and as one looks intensely, each and every stone breathes a story.

You can either take your car up through Urwahi Gate or walk up ( I would recommend you to walk) if time is not an issue. It’s not too rough a climb and you can have a glimpse of stunning terrains on your way up.

temples in gwalior madhya pradesh

Jain Shrines

Halfway on the hills of the fort on either side of Urwahi road, there are many huge rock-cut Jain statues to discover. They represent the Jain Tirthankaras. The largest statue (approx. 17 meters in height) is an imposing figure of Parshvanath seated on a lotus. These sculptures are slightly way down into the arboraceous valley called the Urwahi valley. You can take steps leading down to get a good perspective of them. The pathways are alive with huge lovely Jain sculptures which move you with their poised touch of godliness. These sculptures are speculated to be carved during the 15th century under the aegis of a Tomar king. However, some of them are thought to be possibly dated around the 7th century. Damages are apparent and again Mughals are to be blamed for their irreverent act of vandalism on the temple.

Temples of Gwalior Fort Gopachal Hill

Rock-cut statues of Jain Tirthankaras (Teaching Gods) carved in Gopachal Hill

Sas-Bahu Temple – The most Intriguing of All the Temples in Gwalior Fort

We moved to Sas-Bahu Temple, later in the day. The temple was constructed by King Mahipala of the Kachchhwaha dynasty. The pair of temples made entirely of sandstone looks awesome! Sheer architectural brilliance, I must say! Both the temples are located adjoining each other and are more or less analogous. It feels as if divinity and spirit of God live in these beautiful temples. The temple was built around the 9th century. Its name is derived from Sahastra-Bahu, another name of the ‘thousand-armed’ Lord Vishnu.

Temples of Gwalior Fort Saas-Bahu Temple

Sas-Bahu Larger Temple

These temples of Gwalior Fort too were misconducted by the Mughals. Britishers gave new life to the temples.

Temples of Gwalior Fort Intricate work on ceiling

As per the folklore, the wife of the King was a devotee of Lord Vishnu while her daughter-in-law worshipped Lord Shiva. Thus, ultimately two temples were built, one after the another. The Large temple is intricately adorned with exquisite carvings and sculptures of the deity and the roof is decorated with beautiful lotus carving.

Temples of Gwalior Fort Saas-Bahu Small Temple

Sas-Bahu small temple

Temples of Gwalior Fort The View

The picturesque view of Gwalior fort and city from Sas-Bahu Temple.

Teli Ka Mandir – The Most Famous of All the Temples of Gwalior Fort

Another architectural marvel is a rock carved temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Teli ka Mandir was built around the 9th century and is supposed to have been made by the Teli community (oil traders). The temple is unique because of its Dravidian and Buddhist architectural style, especially the domed roof. It is decorated with sculptures from Hinduism. I spent quite some time admiring the details of the carvings.

Teli ka Mandir is known to be the oldest and tallest of all the structures in Gwalior Fort. The temple was undergoing some construction work when we visited as you can see in the picture.

Temples of Gwalior Fort Teli ka Mandir

Teli ka Mandir

Chaturbhuj Temple – The Temple of Zero

When you walk down the path from Man-Mandir Palace to about halfway towards the Gwalior gate, there’s a small temple called Chaturbhuj Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple has an inscription in the ancient language near the deity. This stone inscription includes the first ever recorded description of zero (around the 7th century). So, mathematicians also call it a Temple of Zero.

Temples of Gwalior Fort Chaturbhuj Temple

Chanturbhuj Temple

Sun Temple  – The Newest to All the Temples of Gwalior

The Sun Temple or Surya Mandir is the recent addition to the temples of Gwalior. It was built in 1988 by G.D Birla. It has been inspired by the Sun Temple at Konark in Orissa. The temple is adorned with a lovely sculpture of Lord Surya. I couldn’t help but adore the spellbinding architecture!

Temples of Gwalior Fort Sun Temple

Sun Temple Gwalior

ESSENTIALS

Location

All the temples are located in Gwalior Fort complex except Sun Temple (Surya Mandir.) It’s situated in the Morar area near Ecological Park.

Getting There

Gwalior can be easily reached by air, rail, and road. It’s well-connected by air to the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Indore, and Bhopal. Gwalior Airport is the nearest airport. All the major trains like Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Kolkata, and Delhi-Chennai make a stop at Gwalior railway station. Gwalior is strongly linked to all the major towns in Madhya Pradesh and the rest of Northern India by road.

Just 6 km away from the Gwalior city centre, Gwalior Fort can be reached by private or public transportation.

Opening/Closing Timings and Days

The temples inside Gwalior Fort are open all days of the week from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm. Surya Mandir is open all days of the week from 6:30 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. It remains closed from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm.

Time Required / Duration of Visit

It takes anywhere around 2 to 3 hours to explore all the temples in Gwalior Fort Complex. We visited the fort and the temples on the same day and witnessed the light and sound show in the evening, so it took us the entire day.

Entry Fee

While all the temples have free entry, Teli Ka Mandir costs somewhere around INR 20 per person for entry.

Best Time to Visit

It’s best to visit during the months of October to February. Try to visit early in the morning if you are combining the visit with the fort.

Most of the time, we visit temples and really don’t bother to know the stories behind them but this trip was unlike that. I auscultate the sounds of past these places are still breathing.

I really had no idea that Gwalior would leave me awe-struck. I stood in silent awe, too amazed to say anything. We ended our day with a sense of delight.

Visiting these gems made me wonder why people always dream about sojourning foreign destinations when such ethereal places are hidden in our own backyard. Truly, Incredible India!

After all, the past is our only real guide to the future, and historical analogies are instruments for distilling and organizing the past and converting it to a map by which we can navigate.

~ Michael Mandelbaum

So, go explore the past to understand the future!

 

Temples of Gwalior Fort in Madhya Pradesh

What’s your take on visiting religious shrines? Ain’t they spiritually renew you? Have you ever got a chance to explore these awe-inspiring temples of Gwalior Fort?

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Alexandra
    August 16, 2017 at 3:08 am

    The temples look really interesting would love to visit someone where like this one day.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 19, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Thank you for reading, Alexandra. I am sure you’d totally love the temples.

  • Reply
    Howtodiyempire
    August 16, 2017 at 5:34 am

    I’m feeling Indiana Jones vibes, I’d totally visit.
    My favourite out of your post is definitely Teli ka Mandir, it seems so detailed

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 19, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      You should certainly visit then 🙂 Teli ka mandir stands out because of its intricate detailing and eerie vibes.

  • Reply
    karizking
    August 16, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Great travels you’ve made here. I am also fond of travelling and these exotic destinations with the quaint mountains and culture is just fantastic. Amazing! I should visit Gwalior Fort one day! 🙂

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 19, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      Thank you so much. You must plan to visit Gwalior someday soon. Do let me know about your experience when you get to visit.

  • Reply
    Diane Hoffmaster
    August 16, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    What absolutely beautiful photography. The details in some of the carvings absolutely astounds me!

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      Thank you, Diane. I’m glad you liked it.

  • Reply
    Jhilmil
    August 17, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Splendid! Have not visited Gwalior anytime yet but now would love to looking at those beautiful shrines with history and stories.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks, Jhilmil. You must plan a visit to Gwalior. You gonna love it!

  • Reply
    Aditi
    August 17, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Wow! It makes me sad that I haven’t explored much of India, very few cities. 🙁 When I was young, I would only like to go to my grandparents during holidays hence couldn’t plan to go anywhere else. Now, whenever we come to India, all the time is up with family. Thanks for sharing this post and all the information. I hope to visit someday. 🙂

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 19, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Thanks, Aditi! I know, It gets difficult to plan for other things when you make a short visit to your home country because of family commitments. And, obviously they are rightful in their own way. Hope you visit Gwalior someday with your family members in India 🙂

  • Reply
    Yukti
    August 17, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Gwalior is adorned with beautiful, ancient architecture and sculpture. Loved the story of Saas-bahu temple and also the view of fort with this temple is really splendid.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 19, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      Thanks, Yukti. Yeah, Gwalior is a gem when comes to history. Gwalior fort and its temples are brimming with stories of past.

  • Reply
    Middle Eats
    August 17, 2017 at 8:28 am

    This looks absolutely amazing! I am so jealous right now I wish I could be there exploring. I adore ancient history, I think it’s so fascinating.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 19, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Thank you for the read 🙂 I too find history intriguing. Temples of Gwalior are the real treat for history lovers!

  • Reply
    London Mumma
    August 17, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    These temples are gorgeous, loved how you captured them all in its beauty.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 19, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Thank you so much! So glad to know that you liked the pics!

  • Reply
    fashionenzymes
    August 17, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Wow! I haven’t explored much of India, very few cities. 🙁 This post is an inspiration to travel a lot, learn and explore. 🙂

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 19, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks for reading! India has a rich history and I’m sure you’d love exploring stunning historical places here. It’s a learning on the go.

  • Reply
    Hayley Drummond
    August 18, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Omg, It really looks a beautiful temple and it makes me want to go there and I love all the photos

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks, Hayley. I’m glad you liked it. You should definitely visit these temples whenever you find yourself in India 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer L
    August 19, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Omg what extraordinary temples! I literally could sit down and just look at every small detail for weeks on end. So much history too.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 19, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks, Jennifer. I am sure you’d love visiting these beautiful and historical temples.

  • Reply
    Ma. Charmaine Ness, Hinampas Nioda
    August 19, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    I’m so glad how the history of other countries are so rich and people like you keep on sharing this to us. This eventually helps others know and understand your country, your history and your people. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 20, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      Yeah, true. One of the reason that I love this platform where we share our travels is that we get to know so much about the culture, history and people of different countries through others’ experiences. Thank you so much for dropping by. I appreciate it 🙂

  • Reply
    Via Bella
    August 20, 2017 at 1:31 am

    Those temples are absolutely beautiful. I would love to go visit one day. Some of the detail in the carvings amaze me!
    XO Via Bella Blog

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 20, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks for your words of appreciation 🙂 Hope you get to visit temples of Gwalior soon! XO

  • Reply
    Veethee Dixit
    August 21, 2017 at 9:31 am

    I have been to the Gwalior fort and it was the best trip ever! I loved the artwork! The carvings are truly amazing. Would love to visit again sometime!

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      August 21, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Thank you for dropping by, Veethee. True, Gwalior fort is certainly “The pearl amongst fortresses in India” and one time isn’t enough to explore all its glory. I too would love to visit again whenever I get a chance.

  • Reply
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