Gwalior is one of the largest cities in central India, filled with palaces, forts, temples and monuments of old juxtaposed alongside the upcoming development of industrial and commercial zones. Well acknowledged as a place of art, historically and in modern times, Gwalior has produced by many famed local artists, musicians, actors and writers. Many classical Indian music pieces remain intact over the years. Gwalior is also known for having one of the biggest cloth markets in the region which produce a unique style of saree, as well as for its prominently vegetarian-friendly fare. Located just south of Agra, Gwalior is one of Madhya Pradesh’s easily accessible cities for travelers doing the Rajasthan route and visiting the Taj Mahal. Gwalior’s extreme climate in winter and summer make spring and fall the best times to visit.
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The historic Gwalior Fort, once called the ‘Gibraltar of India,’ sits proudly on top of a hill overlooking the city. Said to be constructed as early as the 3 CE, it has long endured many dynasties that ruled over the area from Mongols and Mughal to British. Today the well-maintained fort is an archaeological museum. The fort complex includes several temples, palaces, and water tanks spread over 1.1 square miles. The unique Jain temples are intricately carved rock-cut caves with thousands of idols which were defaced during the Mughal invasion.
The Jai Vilas Palace was constructed in 1874 by Jayajirao Scindia, the Maharaja of Gwalior. A popular British architect to design and build the palace, combining Tuscan, Italian-Doric, and Corinthian styles. Considered one of the most opulent buildings of the time, the large palace features gilded furnishings, large area carpets, and gigantic chandeliers. Visitors can marvel at the world’s largest pair of chandeliers, a silver carriage, a ladies-only swimming pool with its own boat, old royal photographs and clothing, a vast collection of arts and artifacts of the 19th and 20th century, and a variety of Malabar, Jacobean, Napoleon, and even cut-glass furniture. The dining room displays a railway with a silver train that carried after-dinner brandy and cigars around the table.
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