The Living Legend of Gallantry
|State||: Madhya Pradesh|
|Type of Tourism||: History & Heritage Tourism|
|Area||: 5214 sq km (Gwalior District)|
|Population||: 1,053,505 (As per Indian census- 2011)|
|Altitude||: 196 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: October to March|
|Clothing recommended||: Light cotton in summer, light woolen in winter|
|Languages spoken||: Hindi, Marathi, English|
|Telephone Code||: India (0751), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 474002|
|What to buy||: Chanderi & Maheswari Saris, Tussar & Kosa Silk, Lacquer Ware, Dolls, Dokra Statuettes, Ethnic Ornaments, Wall Hangings, Handmade Carpets, Tribal Jewelry, Hand-Woven Saris, Other Fabrics, etc.|
|Food Specialties||: Bhutte Ki Kees, Chakki Ki Shaak, Tapu, Kachori, Samosa, Dal Bafla, Kadhi, Rogan Josh, Korma, Seekh Kebab, Shami Kebab, Mawa-Bati, Poha Jalebi, Khoprapak, Cashew Barfi, Moong Dal Ka Halwa, Gazak, Ladoos, Rabadi, Malpua, Shreekhand, etc.|
|Local transportation||: Auto Rickshaws, Cycle Rickshaws, Tempos, Bus, Cab|
Gwalior the fourth largest city of the state and the legislative command center of the Gwalior District and Division functioned as the administrative headquarters of ‘Madhya Bharat’ until the formation of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Often referred to as the spindle of the Chambal Region, Gwalior, rooted on the northernmost fringes of Madhya Pradesh is enclosed by the commercial and industrial sectors of the neighboring Bhind & Morena districts.
The city derives its appellation from the name of a Sage ‘Gwalipa’ who had helped a Kachhwaha prince named ‘Suraj Sen’ to get rid of his leprosy. As the parable goes, an 8th century prince Suraj Sen when lost in the woods came across a sage atop a hill and asked for drinking water. The sage directed him to a pond, the water of which apart from quenching his thirst also cured him of his leprosy. The astounded prince extended his gratitude to the sage and also offered his service in return. The sage desired for an enclosure there that would protect the hermits from wild animals while performing penances and holy rituals. Suraj Sen erected a fortification and later a palace which was christened as ‘Gwalior’ after the name of the Sage Gwalipa. In the course of time a city developed around the Gwalior Fort and came to be known as Gwalior itself.
Gwalior, the ‘living legend of heroism’ basks in the glory of its dignified legacy of valor and courage and its vital contribution in the Indian History since the ‘First War of Independence’ in 1857. This geriatric city burgeoning around the Gwalior Fort aloft an aerial hilltop has been a witness to numerous historical battles and power struggles. It was here that the great warrior queen of Jhansi; Rani Lakshmi Bai fought bravely for the Mother Land till the last drop of blood and laid her life during the final assault on the Gwalior Fort. An additional feather in the proud hat of Gwalior is that it was also the birthplace of Tansen; the celebrated proponent of the ‘Hindustani Classical Music’ who flourished during the Mughal Era. Gwalior, the chivalrous cradle of a number of conspicuous royal dynasties & preeminent personas and also the platform of many crucial episodes from the pages of history is rightly bequeathed with the laurel ‘the tourism capital of Madhya Pradesh’.
Reckoned for its rich historical, cultural, architectural as well as religious endowment, the present day Gwalior city happens to be a leading tourist destination of central India. Distinguished for its magnificent palaces, domineering forts, sacrosanct temples and other staggering architectural monuments of yesteryears Gwalior; the ‘pre-medieval pivot of Jainism’ and the ‘fort city of India’ preserves its glorious and grandiloquent character even today. The Gwalior Fort was justly described by Babar in his Babarnama as “The pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind”. The imposing rock temples, sandstone mosques and spectacular sculptures & figurines yield a unique aura to this ostentatious classical conurbation. Boasting of its illustrious past, the contemporary Gwalior City; a vivacious and advancing neo Indian urban is a supreme collage of past & present, tradition & modernism and ethnicity & industrialization.
History Of Gwalior
Originally Gwalior was known by the name ‘Gopadri’ or ‘Gopgiri’ which is believed to be coinciding with the ‘Gopalkaksh Kingdom’ mentioned in the Mahabharata as the realm conquered by Bhima. In 2nd century AD the ‘Nagvan’ dynasty flourished in Vidisha and Gwalior and the present day ‘Pawaya’ located close to Gwalior functioned as the capital city of King Bhimnag named ‘Padmavati’. The Gwalior Fort was constructed by a Kachhwaha prince ‘Suraj Sen’ in the honor of Sage Gwalipa who had cured his disease of leprosy. The stone inscriptions dating back to the epoch of a Sveta Huna emperor named Mihirakula assert that in early 6th century AD the Fort of Gwalior was subjugated by the Hunas. Mihir Bhoj ruled Gwalior in 9th century AD while the Gurjara Pratiharas governed the terrain till 943 AD. Kachwaha Rajputs succeeded the Gurjara Pratiharas in 10th century AD who were whitewashed by Qutb-ud-din Aybak in the year 1196.
Qutb-ud-din Aybak appointed Iltutmish as the in charge (Quiledar) of the Gwalior Fort who was succeeded by several monarchs of Slave and Tughlaq dynasties. Shamsud-din Altamsh assumed the throne in 1232 AD. 14th century witnessed the sovereignty of the Tomar Clan in Gwalior when Dungrandra Singh Tomar extensively supported and propagated Jainism. The most remarkable Tomar King of Gwalior was King Man Singh who restored many parts of the timed out Gwalior Fort during his tenure. In the First Battle of Panipat Tomars were overwhelmed by Ibrahim Lodhi which marked the onset of the Mughal Era in Gwalior. The great Mughal Emperor Babar has painted an eloquent word picture of Gwalior in his ‘Babarnama’. Moreover, the biography of Tansen also indicates the presence of a reputed singing school in Gwalior in 15th century AD. After the decline of the Mughals, Gwalior prospered as a princely state under the Scindia Rule in 18th and 19th century.
Following the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761 Gwalior was vanquished by a Jat ruler Lokandra Singh but Mahadji Scindia regained the reigns in 1765 AD. Gwalior was one of the Indian cities who significantly contributed in the First War of Independence of 1857; however, after Rani Lakshmi Bai’s martyrdom Gwalior fell to the British East India Co. Gwalior functioned as a princely state during the British Colonization in India when the ancient ‘Lashkar’ city acted as its administrative capital. Post Independence, ‘Malwa Union’ or Madhya Bharat was formed in 1948 AD after assimilating Gwalior, Indore, Malwa and other minor states when Gwalior served as the Capital of the Malwa Region. Finally on 1st November 1956 the current state of Madhya Pradesh was formed after combining Madhya Bharat, Bhopal, Vindhya and Maha Koshal and Bhopal was coroneted as its command post while Gwalior was made the headquarters of the Gwalior District and Division.