One of the oldest forts in Madhya Pradesh as well as in India, the magnificent Gwalior Fort is renowned for its stunning architecture and a fascinating account of history. Sprawled over a vast expanse and offering enchanting cityscape from above, this hill fortress has seen kingdoms rise and fall and has been ruled by different dynasties and kingdoms over the decades. Constructed during the 3rd century CE by the Kachchhapaghata dynasty, the fort is considered as one of the most impenetrable forts in the country.
The fort has been a witness to several battles and sieges throughout history, including the battle between the Marathas and the Mughals in the 18th century. The fort was also used as a prison during the British era, and several freedom fighters were imprisoned here, including Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi. If you wish to indulge in our countryâ€™s rich past architectural history and would like to be taken back in time, a visit to Gwalior Fort is a great place to start. The fort is open to anyone who wish to witness the great architecture and bask in the grandeur of medieval artefacts and designs. To showcase its rich and fascinating history, a light and sound show is also organized here every evening which is a definite sight to see.
Timings and Entry Fee
Timings â€“ 7am to 5:30pm
Entry Fee â€“ INR75 for Indians and INR250 for Foreigners
Light and Sound Show â€“ INR75
According to the local legends, the magnificent fort was constructed in 3rd CE and was the result of the imagination of the then ruling monarch Raja Suraj Sen Pal. It is also believed that the name of the fort was devised to honour sage â€˜Gwalipaâ€™ who helped to cure the kingâ€™s leprosy condition. The Gwalior Fort is one of the most historic forts in north and central India and has a long and interesting history. It was not only Suraj Sen and his family who ruled in the fort, who was most probably a Kachchhapaghata, but changed hands several times throughout history.
According to some historical records, Suraj Sen and his family lost possession of the fort during the 16th century and it went under the reign of Mughals and then Marathas for a certain period. Furthermore, the fort established as the Gwalior Kingdom during the British regime which was erstwhile a province of the large Maratha empire. The fort gained immense popularity and during 1022 CE, it was attacked for four consecutive days by Mahmud of Ghazni. Many other Mughal rulers also fought wars to take possession of this majestic fort. After the Indian independence, the fort came under the ownership of the Central Government and has been protected ever since.
The Gwalior Fort was built by the Kachchhapaghata dynasty in the 8th century and has been ruled by many dynasties, including the Tomars, Mughals, Marathas, and Scindias. The fort covers an area of 3 square kilometers and has a perimeter of 2.5 kilometers with more than 10m of height. The fort is built on a rocky hill that rises 100 meters above the surrounding plains and offers a 360-degree view of the stunning landscape around it. The architecture of the Gwalior Fort is a blend of Hindu, Islamic, and Mughal styles and has several gates, temples, palaces, and water tanks. The huge water tanks were specifically designed to store water for months long.
The stunning structure is mainly constructed using sandstones, however, the several other structures inside the fort complex like palaces and temples are made using other materials as well. Some of the most famous structures that you wouldnâ€™t want to miss inside the complex are Teli ka Mandir, Man Singh Palace, Jain Temple Caves, which are beautifully sculpted and are a treat to the eyes.
Monuments in the Fort / Things to See Inside the Fort
Here are some of the prominent features of the Gwalior Fort's architecture which you must explore in the fort complex:
- Man Singh Palace: The Man Singh Palace was built by Man Singh Tomar in the 15th century. The palace has two levels and is made of sandstone. The lower level has a series of courtyards, while the upper level has a series of rooms and balconies. The palace has a fusion of Rajput and Islamic architectural styles.
- Gujari Mahal: The Gujari Mahal was built by Raja Man Singh Tomar for his queen, Mrignayani. The palace was built in the 15th century and has a fusion of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles. The palace is now a museum that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the region.
- Teli-ka-Mandir: The Teli-ka-Mandir is a Hindu temple built in the 9th century. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and has a unique blend of North Indian and South Indian architectural styles.
- Saas-Bahu Temple: The Saas-Bahu Temple is a group of two temples built in the 11th century. The temples are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and have a fusion of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles.
- Jai Vilas Palace: The Jai Vilas Palace was built by the Scindia family in the 19th century. The palace has a fusion of European and Indian architectural styles and is now a museum.
- Suraj Kund: The Suraj Kund is a water tank located within the fort. The tank is fed by a natural spring and has a unique architectural style.
- Chaturbhuj Temple: The Chaturbhuj Temple is a Hindu temple built in the 9th century. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and has a fusion of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles.
Gwalior Fort Entrances
There are two entrances to the fort, one from the east and other from the west. One can drive through the west entrance while from the east, you will have to hike up the hill as no vehicles are allowed. The route to eastern gate is advisable as it leads you to a series of fives other gates and several other architectures inside it. There were two other gates initially which have now been disappeared.
- Gwalior Gate (where you can get an auto rickshaw to).
- Badalgarh Gate (immediately afterwards and where the State Archaeological Museum is).
- The Ganesh Gate
- The Lakshman Gate
- The Hathi Gate (a two towered affair that gets you into the Palace area).
Some Interesting Facts About Gwalior Fort
- The fort was used as a prison during the British era, and several freedom fighters were imprisoned here, including Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi.
- The fort has been a witness to several battles and sieges throughout history, including the battle between the Marathas and the Mughals in the 18th century.
- The fort has been featured in several movies, including the famous Bollywood movie, Jodhaa Akbar.
- The fort has a unique feature called the 'Zero Level', which is a deep trench that was used to protect the fort from enemy attacks.
- The fort accounts for the second oldest record of â€˜zeroâ€™. It is found as an inscription in one of the temples in the complex and is said to be more than 1000 years old.
- The unique Saas Bahu Temple inside the fort complex was said to be named after arguments between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law of the royal kingdom about revering two distinct deities. After that the statues of both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva were established here.
- When the fort was under the rule of Mughal emperor Akbar, he used it as a prison and place for the execution of convicts.
Light and Sound Show
Dazzle your eyes and experience the history of the Gwalior fort with the impressive light and sound show held in the evening in the fort complex. The show represents the love story of Raja Man Singh and queen Mrignayani along with the fortâ€™s history. It is conducted in the amphitheatre in Man Mandir from 7:30pm in Hindi and from 8:30pm in English. Here are some of the things about the show:
- The show is called "Son-et-Lumiere" and it is a multimedia spectacle that tells the story of the Gwalior Fort and its history.
- The show takes place every evening, except on Mondays and during the monsoon season (usually from July to September).
- The show is conducted in Hindi and English, and it lasts for about 45 minutes.
- To watch the show, you need to purchase a separate ticket, which is available at the fort's ticket counter.
- During the show, the fort's monuments and structures are illuminated with colorful lights and there are special effects, such as music and sound effects, that make the show a memorable experience.
How to Reach
- By Air: The nearest airport to Gwalior is Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia Airport, which is located around 8 km from the city center. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the fort.
- By Train: Gwalior is well connected to major cities of India through the rail network. Gwalior Junction is the main railway station in the city, and it is well connected to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai.
- By Road: Gwalior is well connected to other cities through the national highway network. You can take a bus or hire a taxi from nearby cities like Agra, Delhi, and Jaipur to reach Gwalior Fort.
Places to Visit Nearby
- Tansen Tomb: Tansen Tomb is a mausoleum dedicated to the legendary musician Tansen. It is located around 2 km from the Gwalior Fort and is known for its beautiful architecture.
- Sun Temple: Sun Temple is a beautiful temple dedicated to the Sun God. It is located in the village of Mitawali, around 40 km from Gwalior Fort, and is known for its unique circular design.
- Bateshwar Temples: Bateshwar Temples are a group of more than 200 ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. They are located around 35 km from Gwalior Fort and are known for their beautiful architecture and intricate carvings.
- Gopachal Parvat: Gopachal Parvat is a beautiful hill located around 2 km from the Gwalior Fort. It is known for its beautiful Jain sculptures and carvings.
Hotels to Stay
- Taj Usha Kiran Palace: Taj Usha Kiran Palace is a luxurious hotel located around 4 km from Gwalior Fort. It offers world-class amenities, including a swimming pool, spa, and fine-dining restaurants.
- Hotel Suruchi: Hotel Suruchi is a budget-friendly hotel located around 2 km from Gwalior Fort. It offers comfortable rooms, 24-hour room service, and an on-site restaurant.
- Hotel Ambassador: Hotel Ambassador is a mid-range hotel located around 2 km from Gwalior Fort. It offers well-appointed rooms, a multi-cuisine restaurant, and conference facilities.
- Regency Square: Regency Square is a budget hotel located around 2 km from Gwalior Fort. It offers comfortable rooms, 24-hour room service, and an on-site restaurant.
- Hotel Adityaz: Hotel Adityaz is a mid-range hotel located around 4 km from Gwalior Fort. It offers well-appointed rooms, a rooftop restaurant, and conference facilities.
- Kwality Restaurant: Kwality Restaurant is a popular restaurant located around 1 km from Gwalior Fort. It serves a variety of Indian, Chinese, and Continental cuisines.
- Silver Saloon: Silver Saloon is a fine-dining restaurant located around 2 km from Gwalior Fort. It serves a variety of Indian and Continental cuisines, and it is known for its beautiful ambience.
- Dilli Darbar: Dilli Darbar is a popular restaurant located around 3 km from Gwalior Fort. It serves delicious North Indian and Mughlai cuisines.
- Thaat Baat: Thaat Baat is a casual dining restaurant located around 2 km from Gwalior Fort. It serves a variety of Indian and Chinese cuisines, and it is known for its affordable prices.
- Indian Coffee House: Indian Coffee House is a popular chain of restaurants located around 2 km from Gwalior Fort. It serves a variety of snacks, coffee, and tea, and it is known for its historic ambience.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
What is Gwalior Fort famous for?
Gwalior fort is one of the oldest forts in India and is famous for its stunning architecture and an interesting history. It is also considered as one of the most impenetrable forts in India.
Who built Gwalior fort?
According to local tales, Suraj Sen of the Kachchhapaghata dynasty built the Gwalior fort.
What is â€˜zeroâ€™ in Gwalior fort?
As â€˜zeroâ€™ was invested in India, there are inscriptions in one of the temple walls in Gwalior fort of the circular symbol for nothing. These inscriptions are more than 1000 years old.
What is the main entrance gate to Gwalior fort?
Hathi Pol or Elephant Gate is the main gate through which tourists can enter the fort.