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INDIA | Wednesday, 22 February 2012 | Views [856]

I had decided to use Agra as a stopping off point for trips into Gwalior and Madhya Pradesh further to the south. I managed to get a early morning train with complimentary breakfast. Here's the breakfast, I've no idea what it was other than the fact that it was vegetarian:

Gwalior is a particularly useful city for backpackers as it has a major bus station serving many parts of India. The bus station is less than 5 minutes walk from the train station. Don't let any of the taxi drivers tell you it's very far away. I walked it with a 10kg rucksack in 5. The reason for coming here was to find out about buses to Jhansi and from there it's a 7.5 hour bus ride to Kajuraho to see the erotic sculptures.

With the information to Jhansi in hand, I got a taxi to take me to my hotel. I was most surprised when the drivers offered to do it for RS10. At last, a honest taxi driver. I was then driven 50 metres to my hotel. Urghhhh.

LESSON: get a map of your hotel before you leave!!!

I'd arrived in Gwalior with early enough to do some sight-seeing and I chose to do Jai Vila Palace followed by Gwalior fort.

Jai Vilas Palace Museum

The Jai Vilas Palace is the home of the Scindia family , past rulers of Gwalior. Oddly enough, the palace is more like a European stately home than typical Indian architecture:

The Scindia family still live in the palace and about 30 rooms have been opened up to the public as a museum. Each rooms provides an view into just how wealthy this family is. The function of some of the rooms showing the sheer opulence of the family. This for example was just the breakfast room:

Gwalior Fort

 The auto driver only took me as far as the foot of the fort and said I had to take a car up. As if by sheer coincidence, there's a car willing to take me. I was outraged by this turn of events and choose to walk the 1.5km. 

The fort was worth the walk.

Another attraction within the fort is the Saas Bahu Temple, another 1.5k from the main fort complex.

On the way back to the hotel, I managed to get a shared taxi with a mother and her three kids. Getting off at her destination, she'd evidently decided  to re-negotiate the taxi fare for a shared taxi when she and the driver got into an exchange over the fare with her pointing at me. When even Indians are trying to stiff the taxi drivers, no wonder the taxi drivers are trying to stiff the foreigners.

Gwalior fort is well worth a visit, not just for the sites, but also for the challenge of the walk.

Day 2 In Gwalior

The seconds day in Gwalior involved blitzing through a number of smaller attractions.

Tamsen's Tomb

The tomb of Mia Tansen, a favourite musician of the Mughal emperor Akbar and one of the nine jewels of the court:

A little friend at the Tomb:

The geometrics shapes are a dead give away of the Islamic style:

Tomb of Muhammad Ghaus

A Sufi saint and teacher of Tansen:

Gurjari Mahal

Situated at the foot of Gwalior Fort, this is a former palaces turned museum. It's also a short walk from Tansen's Tomb. Gurjari Mahal really is a poor excuse for a museum. Most of the exhibits seem to have been hobbled together with little thought to explaining anything like the meaning. Check out the pictures in the photo section. I really like this sculpture:

Tags: food, fort, gwalior, india


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