Gwalior (Hindi: ग्वालियर ) is a city in Madhya Pradesh in India. It lies 76 miles (122 km) south of Agra and has a population of over 12 lakh (1,200,000). The Gwalior metropolitan area is the 46th most populated area in the country.
Gwalior occupies a strategic location in the Gird region of North India, and the city and its fortress have served as the center of several of North India's historic kingdoms. At present also its strategic location is marked by the presence of major air base at Maharajpura. Gwalior is the administrative headquarters of Gwalior district and Gwalior division.
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Gwalior is, perhaps, one of the only few places where there are both narrow gauge and broad gauge railways tracks are still operational. A unique aspect about Gwalior narrow gauge is that the width of the track is smallest among all the narrow gauge tracks in India.
Gwalior is well connected via train services to all parts of the country including 4 metros. There are direct trains to Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata (Howrah), Chennai, Trivandrum, Ahmedabad, Pune, Jammu, Lucknow, Bhopal and other major towns. Gwalior is the main station serving most of the important and long distance trains. There are two other stations within the city limits, named Birla nagar and Sithouli. These stations interconnect to other stations and also serve the short distance trains connecting Gwalior to nearby towns and villages.
The other means of public commuting are the mini-buses (Nagar sevas in local language) and Tempos, which are often overcrowded and uncomfortable. You can also hire an auto-rickshaw to get around places in the city which are not covered by bus routes.
The tempos and auto-rickshaws, are rather infamous for pollution, and the local government has plans to replace the tempos with vans that shall run on Liquefied Petroleum Gas.
Today Gwalior includes the former city of Lashkar. Laskar was the capital of Gwalior state one of the princely states of India during the British Raj. It then served as the capital of Madhya Bharat from 1950-1956.
At the heart of Gwalior is its fortress (Gwalior Fort), built by Raja Man Singh Tomar, of the Tomar dynasty. This formidable structure had the reputation of being one of the most invincible forts of India. It occupies an isolated rock outcrop. The hill is steepended to make it virtually unscalable and is surrounded by high walls which enclose buildings from several periods. The old town of Gwalior lies at the eastern base of the fortress. Lashkar, formerly a separate town that originated as a military camp, lies to the south, and Morar, also a formerly separate town, lies to the east . Gwalior, Lashkar and Morar are presently part of Gwalior Municipality.
Massive Gwalior Fort, popularly called Gibraltar of India overlooks the city. The great Mughal Emperor Babur reputedly described it as, "The pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind". This forts architecture is the only one in India , which shows Chinese influence , as Chinese dragons that have been crafted at the hilt of the pillars. This influence was due to trade between china and India.
In the east of the city are two magnificent examples of early Mughal architecture. One is mausoleum of, 16th century Sufi saint Ghous Mohammed, and another is tomb of Mian Tansen, a great singer and one of the 'Nine Jewels' of Emperor Akbar's court. Right next to them is the Gujari Mahal, which according to the local stories says that the maharaj made for his 9th queen, he was married to eight queens, but none were able to produce a heir for him, thus he finally married a milkman’s daughter called “naani”, later she was renamed “mrignani” (meaning beautiful eyes), since she wasn’t of royal heritage, the maharaj had to make a separate palace for her, which is now called “gujari mahal”.
Close to the heart of the city is splendid Jai Vilas Palace, patterned on the style of the 'Palais de Versailles' in France combines Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian styles of architecture.
Rich in cultural heritage and architectural marvels, Gwalior has the added advantage of its proximity to Agra, the city of Taj Mahal, Khajuraho, the city of great temples and Delhi, the national capital.
Historically and architecturally, Gwalior is interesting first as a very ancient seat of Jain worship; secondly for its example of palace architecture of the best Hindu period (1486-1516); and thirdly as an historic fortress. Many historical places are found near the Dabra-Bhitarwar Road. Prior to the founding of Gwalior the region was also known by its ancient name of Gopasetra. The great Apabhramsha poet Pandit Raighu lived in Gwalior. Gwalior had an institutional seat of the Bhattarakas of Kashtha Sangh and later Mula Sangh.
According to local legend, the original fort of Gwalior was founded by the Kachwaha chief, Suraj Sen. His palace is the most interesting example of early Hindu work of its class in India. Another palace of even greater extent was added to this in 1516. The Mughal emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan added palaces to these two, the whole making a group of edifices unequalled for picturesqueness and interest by anything of their class in central India. Among the apartments in the palace was the celebrated chamber, named the Baradari, supported on 12 columns, and 45 ft (15 m) square, with a stone roof, forming one of the most beautiful palace-halls in the world. It was, besides, singularly interesting from the expedients to which the Hindu architect was forced to resort to imitate the vaults of the Muslims. Of the buildings, however, which so excited the admiration of the first Mughal emperor Babur, probably little now remains.
A striking part of the Jain remains at Gwalior is a series caves or rock-cut sculptures, excavated in the rock on all sides, and numbering nearly a hundred, great and small. Most of them are mere niches to contain statues, though some are cells that may have been originally intended for residences. One curious fact regarding them is that, according to inscriptions, they were all excavated within the short period of about thirty-three years, between 1441 and 1474. One of the colossal figures is 57 ft (17 m) high, which is taller than any other in northern India.
Gwalior fort also has the Gurudwara Data Bandi built in the memory of the sixth Sikh Guru Har Gobind. This Gurudwara is particularly large and grand, built entirely of marble with coloured glass decorating the main building. Recital of the Guru Granth Sahib creates a peaceful and sacred atmosphere. Moghul kings used to visit gwalior usually.
Gwalior is a well acknowledged place of art, associated with historic as well as contemporary evidence. In August 2005 a mural created by Aasutosh Panigrahi along with five other artist, was acknowledged as World's Largest Indoor Mural by Guinness Book of Records.
Gwalior holds an unparalleled reputation in Sangeet Greatest ever classical singer (Dhrupadiya) was Baijnath Prasad alias Baiju Bawra lived in Gwalior for his whole life under the patronage of Man Singh. Baiju was born in Chanderi and was cremated there only, got the training of music in Brindaban Under great Swami Guru Haridas ji. He was Court Musician of Gwalior along with Nayak Charju, Bakshu, and others.
Tansen, Born in Behat, trained in music at Vrindavan, Served to Raja Ramchandra Waghela of Bandhawgarh, then went to Agra under the patronage of Akbar. After the death of Tansen in Fatehpur Sikri and crimation in Agra the ashes were buried in Gwalior. Tansen Samaroh is held every year in Gwalior.
Ustad Natthu Khan, Hassu ?Khan, Haddu Khan , Nissar Hussain, Rehmat Khan, Shankarrao Vishnu Pandit, RamkrishnaBuwa Vaze, Rajabhaiyya Poonchhwale, Krishnarao Pandit, lived here and spread the magic of music. Renowned artiste Mrs. Malini Rajurkar, who is keeping the flame of Hindustani music alive today, also belongs to Gwalior.
Now, one of the great Hindustani classical singer Dr. Ishwar Chandra Karkare who is fourth generation of artists poets and musician family lives here and his classical music is full of spiritual joyousness.
Culturally Gwalior is the confluence of two rich cultures Bundeli and Braj. Bundelkhand covers Gwalior, Bhind, Morena, Sagar, Shivpuri, Guna, Sheopur and adjoining areas.
This dance is related to people who have traditionally been in the business of cattle herding. In different parts of the state these people are known by different castes such as Ahir, Baredi, Gwal, Rawat, Raut, Gwala etc. These people believe that they are the descendents of Lord Krishna. Since this site is about Gwalior, here I am giving description of Baredi or Yadav dance of Bundelkhand only. If you wish to know more about dances in other parts of the state you are most welcome to contact me.
This dance has been associated with the biggest Hindu festival "Diwali". On the night of Diwali people worship Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and cattle. Next day on the occasion of "Padva" or "Parva" cattle are sent to jungles or ranches after being decorated with flowers and garlands. They are given special dishes as food. Yadav dance is performed on the same occasion.
Dancers dance in a circular path while singing songs. Sometimes they sit or lie down on earth and suddenly they restart their dance. Rhythm of the song is very low in starting and increases with time. Music instruments are started only when two lines of the song are finished. Primarily these are two line couplets. Sometimes these are in form of questions and answers. This dance continues till Kartik Purnima.
Dress Dancers, instrument beaters and their associates wear a clean turban on head. Some people like to put on Dhoti up to knees (long cloth wore by men enwrapping their waist). Some people specially dancers wear colorful shorts. Dancers also keep bunch of peacock feathers.
Music Instruments Mradang, Dholak, Ramtula, Dhapli, Manzira, Jhanz etc. are used in this dance.
Saharias are tribal people who live in jungles. They work in farms and also collect medicinal plants from jungles. There are several dances of Saharias. Some of the important ones are: Lur Dance, Lanhgi Dance, Dul-Dul Ghodi Dance, Raya Dance, Ada-Khada Dance.
This dance is performed on the occasion of marriage starting from the day of ritual of "Haldi" (In this ritual whole body is pasted with turmeric and after sometime it is removed so the body is cleaned) till the arrival of Barat (Bridegroom comes to the house of the bride with his relatives and friends for marriage ceremony).
This dance is also known as Danda(baton) dance because Saharias dance with small batons in their hands with which they strike at each other and perform Lanhgi dance. Only men are allowed in it. This dance is performed on the occasion of Bhujarias, Teja ji puja and Aekadashi etc.
This dance is performed on the occasion of marriage by males. In this dance a hollow case of ghori (mare) is prepared of bamboo sticks. The dancer stands in the hollow place and dances.(depicts various movements of mare.) There is also a joker in women clothing. People sing folk songs during the dance.
Jagnik was a folk poet of 11th-12th century. At that time some poets used to write biographies of folk warriors. These biographies were called "Raso". Jagnik wrote "Parmal raso" or "Alha khan" Which contains the description of 52 battles fought by Bundeli war heroes Alha and Oodal. The style of singing alha khand has a unique distinction and it is very popular in the region. Dholak, timaki, jhinka, and majira are its musical instruments. People who sing alha are called "Alhet". Lalloo vajpayi is a very famous alhet.
घर घोड चले
तीर चलावे बीन
थती धरे दामादे घर
जग मे भकुआ तीन
Ghar chod paidal chale Teer chalave been Thati dhare damade ghar Jag mai bhakua teen
In this poem Ghag is saying there are three types of fools in this world. First who would walk on foot even if they have a horse i.e. not using the resources. Second who would use Been (a sort of music instrument) in lieu of arrow i.e. doing wrong work. Third who would keep their savings in the house of a son-in-law because son in laws demand dowry in India.
Cheel Pata Pat Ghaghar Gholi This is a game of girls. This game is particularly played in moonlight. In this game girls sit in courtyard in such a way that their ankles and the feet meet together. In this position they sing "cheel pata pat ghaghar gholi" and clap once then they move a bit aside. Suddenly a girl say "furra" and all the girls climb to the courtyard wall the girl who does this in the last has to give "dav". Giving "dav" means the girl has to touch some other girl. Other girls try to run away from that girl. This game continues till that girl touches some other girl.
This is a game of boys. All the boys stand in a circular path and choose a leader of the group. The leader of the group puts his hand on the chest of the boys one by one while saying " Aati-pati mar gadha ki chhati, Tera ladka mera nati, Ja le aa babul ki pati". On whomsoever this line end, needs to bring a leaf of Babul (Acacia Arabica). In the mean time rest of the boys hide themselves. When the boy returns with a leaf, he needs to find a boy. If he does then the boy who got discovered will go to bring new leaf and so on.
Gwalior also celebrates Rang Panchami quite differently. This festival is celebrated five days after Dulendi or Holi. This is also celebrated like Dulendi, but colors are mixed with water and then either sprinkled or poured on others.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in a unique way in Gwalior city. Gwalior's Peoples were arrange a carnival of floats (known as "Jhanki" in local Hindi language) in various places of city.
Makar Sankranit - is a 'Kite Festival' where people fly kites and competitions are held to cut each other's kites in sky on 14th January each year.
Gwalior boasts the sports university, Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (LNIPE) Gwalior is also home to the cricket stadium Roop Singh Stadium, named after the hockey player Roop Singh. The ground has witnessed many One Day International (ODI) Cricket matches including several Day-night encounters. It has an international swimming pool named Taran Puskar.
Close to the heart of the city is splendid Jai Vilas Palace, patterned on the French palace of Versailles. The town has a museum situated in the Gujari Mahal.
Lashkar is derived from the Persian lashkar, meaning army, or camp, as it was originally the camp, and later the permanent capital, of the Scindia dynasty of Gwalior state. Jayaji Chowk is the central focus of Lashkar, with a large square, a former opera house, banks, tea, coffee and juice stands and a municipal market building. Thriving bazaars surround the chowk.
Many jewellery shops are situated near Jayaji Chowk aka Maharaj bada. A source of water for the city Tighra is 10 km north of here. The Gajra Raja Medical College, founded in 1946 by the Maharaja Jiwaji Rao Scindia and the Maharani Vijayaraje Scindia, is situated in Lashkar on Palace Road, near Katora Taal, together with a group of many hospitals.
The second Temple of the Sun in India is situated in Morar at Residency Road after The Konark Sun Temple. This Sun Temple was built by the Aditya Birla Trust.
The cantonment area makes up a large area of Morar which is official residences for the Indian Army. It has many canteens for Army personnel. Near it is located one of the best known schools in Gwalior: The St. Paul's School.
Morar is generally a rural farming town. There is a big Galla Mandi. There are some beautiful places in Morar also and the area is known as the green part of Gwalior because much of the area is still rural.
Standing on a steep mass of sandstone, Gwalior Fort dominates the city and is its most significant monument. It has been the scene of momentous events, imprisonment, battles and jauhars . A steep road winds upwards to the fort, flanked by statues of the Jain tirthankaras, carved into the rock face. The magnificent outer walls of the fort still stand, two miles (3 km) in length and high, bearing witness to its reputation for being one of the most invincible forts of India. This imposing structure inspired Emperor Babur to describe it as " the pearl amongst the fortresses of Hind ".the fort is called as johar tower.
Within the fort are some marvels of medieval architecture. The 15th century Gujari Mahal is a monument to the love of Raja Mansingh Tomar for his intrepid Gujar Queen, Mrignayani. The outer structure of Gujari Mahal has survived in an almost total state of preservation; the interior has been converted into Archaeological Museum housing rare antiquities,some of them dating back to the 1st century A.D. Even though many of these have been defaced by the iconoclastic Mughals , their perfection of form has survived the ravages of time. Particularly worth seeing is the statue of Shalbhanjika from Gyraspur, the tree goddess, the epitome of perfection in miniature . The statue is kept in the custody of the museum's curator, and can be seen on request.
Dargah Hazrat Khwaja Khanoon sahib R.A. is 500 years old. It is situated just bottom of the Gwalior Fort. Hzt Khwaja Khanoon Sahib was born in 1434 A.D. in Nagore shariff. His ancestors had come from Khurasan and settled in nagore shariff. The real name of Hazrat Khwaja Khanoon Sahib is Sayiduddin, but his father used to call him 'Khanoon' and the name stuck, Right from the early boyhood Hzt. Khanoon led an extremely pious and austere life. To serve the parents, to respect the elders and to obey the Pious and the Enlightened were the cherished principles of his life.
Built between 1486 and 1517 by Babur.The tiles that once adorned its exterior have not survived , but at the entrance , traces of these still remain. Within the palace rooms stand bare, stripped of their former glory, testifying to the passing of the centuries. Vast chambers with fine stone screens were once the music halls, and behind these screens, the royal ladies would learn music from the great masters of the day. Below, circular dungeons housed the state prisoners of the Mughals. Emperor Aurangzeb had his brother , Murad imprisoned , and later executed here. Close by is Jauhar Pond, where in the Rajput tradition, the Ranis committed mass sati after their consorts had been defeated in battle. At Man Mandir Palace, a poignant ambience of those days of chivalry and heroism still lingers in the silent chambers. A superbly mounted Son-et-Lumiere here brings it all alive every evening.
Built in the memory of Guru Hargobind Saheb , the 6th Sikh Guru who was imprisoned here by Emperor Jehangir for over two years. It is located on the Gwalior Fort.
Situated on the Mountain Area at slopes of Gwalior Fort carries unique statue of Jain Tirthankars. The largest Idol of Bhagwan Parshwanath on Lotus is the largest statue(in single stone piece) in the world, being high and in width. 26 Jain statues in a series give a beautiful and attractivce picturescue. Built between 1398 to 1536 by Tomar Kings - these Jain Tirthankars Statues are a species of Architecture and a treasure of Old Indian heritage and culture.
Located near the Residency at Morar, the newly constructed Sun Temple takes its inspiration from the famous Konark Sun Temple in Orissa.
This Museum of Music has been set up in the old ancestral house of the legendary Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan. It houses ancient instruments of the great Indian Masters of yesteryears.It also houses an impressive collection of photographs and documents. Sarod Ghar is a unique institution devoted to promoting Indian classical music, heritage and culture.Through this 'window' to the past , music lovers can gain a better understanding of the evolution and history of our classical music and a deeper perspective and insight into the context of the art as it exists today.
A splendor of a different kind exists in the Jai Vilas Palace, current residence of the Scindia family. Some 25 rooms have been turned into the Jivaji Rao Scindia Museum, and in these rooms , so evocative of a regal lifestyle, the past comes alive. Jai Vilas is an Italianate structure which combines the Tuscan and Corinthian architectural modes. The imposing Darbar Hall has two central chandeliers weighing a couple of tonnes, and were hung only after ten elephants had tested the strength of the roof. Ceilings picked out in gilt, heavy draperies and tapestries , fine Persian carpets and antique furniture from France and Italy are the features of these spacious rooms. Eye catching treasures include : a silver train with cutglass wagons which served guests as it chugged around the table on miniature rails; a glass cradle from Italy used for the baby Krishna each Janmashtami, silver dinner services and swords that were once worn by Aurangzeb and Shah Jahan. Also on display are gifts from practically every country in the world. These are ,besides, personal mementoes of past members of the Scindia family : the jeweled slippers that belonged to Chinkoo Rani , four-poster beds, hunting trophies and portraits. The Scindia Museum offers an unparalled glimpse into the rich culture and lifestyle of princely India.