You will be surprised at the myriad options for things to do in Gwalior when you plan your vacation to this historical city. With one of the most beautiful forts in the country, magnificent rock-cut temples, palaces and museums, Gwalior has many aces up its sleeve.
Being home to one of the oldest musical gharanas in India and the mausoleum of music’s greatest icon Tansen, Gwalior’s musical roots go deep. Add some great shopping options, a water park, ample eating joints and you have the recipe for a perfect holiday for the family. Here are some of the best things to do in this city with many charms:
1. Visit the glorious Gwalior Fort
Rightly called the pearl of fortresses in India by Babur, the majestic Gwalior fort is perched on an isolated rock outcrop towering over the old city. The turquoise tessellations on the facade make it stand out even from a distance. With 6 palaces, rock-cut temples and unique architectural elements like Chinese dragons, exploring this magnificent hill fort is one of the top things to do in Gwalior. The riveting light and sound show every evening takes you through the fort’s history and must not be missed.
Timings: 6AM to 5:30PM every day
Entry fee: INR 75/adult for Indians; INR 250/adult for foreign nationals.
Suggested Read: 10 Places To Visit In Gwalior For Its History & Culture
2. Get mesmerised by the Sasbahu Temple
Located right inside the fort is this remarkable 11th century temple complex, with the larger temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the smaller one to Lord Shiva. These ornately carved twin temples in sandstone are an exquisite example of exceptional architectural beauty. The detailing and craftsmanship of the edifice, pillars as well as the dome are sure to leave you spellbound. The four sculptures of Lords Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and goddess Saraswati at the entrance are the finest amongst many adorning the walls. Perched on a cliff, the temple also offers panoramic views of the city below.
Timings: 6AM to 5:30PM
Entry fee: INR 15 for Indians; INR 200 for foreign nationals.
3. Get bedazzled by the grandeur of Jai Vilas Palace Museum
This grand palace built by Jayajirao Scindia offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the royal family. With 35 of the rooms converted to a museum, it is one of the best places to witness some rare and impressive pieces of art. From lavish to quirky to spectacular artefacts and furniture, the erstwhile residence of the Scindia’s is a scintillating display of their luxurious lifestyle. The durbar hall with some of the grandest chandeliers in the world and glittering gold detailing will take your breath away. Do not miss the silver train in the magnificent dining hall that served after-dinner cigar and brandy!
Timings: 10AM to 4:45PM (April to September); 10AM to 4:30PM (October to March). Closed on Wednesdays.
Entry fee: INR 120 for Indians; INR 800 for foreign nationals.
4. Shop at Patankar and Sarafa Bazaars
At the end of your sightseeing around the city, one of the most satisfying things to do in Gwalior is to stroll through the local markets. The Patankar and Sarafa bazaars offer a range of local handicrafts, traditional handlooms and exquisite stone carved artefacts to take back home with you. When done with your retail therapy, the bazaars also offer some yummy soul food like sweet imartis and crunchy kachoris to satiate the foodie within.
5. Spend time at the Gujari Mahal Archaeological Museum
Built by king Man Singh Tomar for his beloved wife Mrignayanee, the Gujari Mahal is now home to the archaeological museum displaying an enviable collection of artefacts and sculptures. The impressive entrance is guarded by mythological man-lion figures and the museum also proudly showcases the Indian Mona Lisa in stone, Shalabhanjika. You may have to ask the curator to unlock the room to view this .With sculptures dating back to Gupta period (Varaha avatar statue), the museum is a treasure trove of historical masterpieces.
Timings: 10AM to 5PM, Tuesday to Sunday.
Entry Fee: INR10 for Indians; INR 100 for foreign nationals.
6. Pay homage to the music maestro at Tansen’s mausoleum
To walk amidst the gardens where the legendary musical genius Tansen walked many years ago, is a delightful experience for music lovers. Laying close by is the tomb of his teacher and sufi saint Muhammad Ghaus. With beautiful mughal styled latticed screens, this is a tranquil site for contemplation and stepping into the pages of the history of music. Come December, this historical site is transformed into a great stage for music aficionados during the Tansen Music Festival. Lit up and reverberating with the ragas, it is an experience to remember.
Timings: 8AM to 6PM
7. Beat the heat at Splash The Suncity
Indulge in some unadulterated fun moments with friends and family at this amusement park right in the heart of the city. With 18 thrilling rides for adventure seekers and more than 10 water rides, Splash the Sun City is great way to spend a few exciting hours. The water park has 3 huge pools with play area and many cool slides.
Timings: 10AM to 7PM
Entry fee: Amusement Park- INR 200/adult; INR 150/child. Water Park – INR 400/adult; INR300/child
Suggested Read: 10 Honeymoon Places In Madhya Pradesh Every Couple Should Visit
8. Marvel at Gopachal Parvat Rock-cut Sculptures
Located along the slopes near the Gwalior fort and nestled amidst lush foliage is the Gopachal parvat with stunning rock-cut sculptures of the 24 Jain tirthankars (spiritual teachers). Amongst the best things to do in Gwalior, visiting these impressive sculptures carved out of the cliff is a spiritual and awe-inspiring experience. The 47-feet high towering monolithic image of Adinath seated on a lotus is a sight to behold. Built between by the Tomar kings between 14th and 15th centuries, these magnificent statues are one of a kind architectural marvel.
9. Admire the architectural splendour of Teli Ka Mandir
With its architecture as interesting as its name, this 30-metre high temple is the loftiest and oldest monument inside the fort. With a Dravidian style carved shikhara and many Nagar style elements, the temple beautifully blends the northern and southern temple architecture styles. With an eye-catching display of unique sculptures of coiling snakes, river goddesses and garuda, this is a fantastic site for lovers of history and architecture.
Timings: 6AM to 5:30PM
Entry fee: INR 15 for Indians; INR 200 for foreign nationals. Ticket also covers entry to Sahastrabahu temple and Man Singh Palace
10. Get enthralled by the beauty of the Sun Temple
The striking structural beauty of the Sun Temple makes it one of the top things to do in Gwalior. Inspired by the ancient sun temple at Konark, this captivating architectural marvel boasts of one of the best statues of sun god which is lit up by the rays of the sun from any one of the four sides. The bright red sandstone exteriors beautifully contrast with the sparkling white marble interiors to make this a must-see site in Gwalior. Plan to visit just before sunset to be rewarded with some splendid views.
Timings: 6:30AM to 6PM
Gwalior has so much more you can do before you wrap up your visit to the city with some wonderful memories.