Gwalior Journals

Gwalior's Many Histories

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An August 2010 trip to Gwalior by phileasfogg

The Fort Photo, Gwalior, India More Photos
Quote: This busy town in central India is home to one of the country’s most imposing fortresses. It has some fine baroque palaces. It also boasts of the tomb of medieval India’s greatest musician. And has a past that lies deeply embedded in legend. Gwalior.
The Bridge at Noorabad Photo, Gwalior, India
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A brief account of our trip to Gwalior and Khajuraho. For a detailed Khajuraho trip journal, click here.Day 1: Delhi to Gwalior321 km, 8 hours. We leave Delhi at 8.30 AM, and crawling through Faridabad, realise we should have started off earlier. The traffic is horrendous.It takes us over 30 minutes to plough our way through Faridabad, and then we’re on our way. This is National Highway (NH) 2. A broad smooth tarred road, flanked by green fields, and the occasional interesting sign (A miniature mall named Pappan Plaza in Palwal; an Institute for Research in Goats ...Read More

Usha Kiran Palace, Gwailor

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Hotel | "First Guest: The Prince of Wales"

Usha Kiran Palace, Gwailor Photo, Gwalior, India
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The Usha Kiran Palace is the place to stay in Gwalior if you’re finicky and not really counting the rupees. We’ve gone without a holiday for so long, we’ve decided we can afford to splurge a bit—therefore the booking at Usha Kiran, which costs us Rs 8,360 for two nights, for a double room. Meals and other services extra.There’s so much to be said for this hotel, I’ll split my review up into sections.First, the history. The Usha Kiran Palace was built 120 years ago (all the literature at the hotel uses that phrase, without mentioning what year it was built—so I’m assuming it was around 1890). At any rate, the palace was built by the reigning Scindia rulers of Gwalior in h...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 7, 2010

Usha Kiran Palace, Gwailor
Jayendraganj Lashkar
Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh 474 009
91 751 2444 000

Silver Saloon at Usha Kiran Palace

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Restaurant | "Nothing to Write Home About"

Silver Saloon at Usha Kiran Palace Photo, Gwalior, India
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The Silver Saloon is the restaurant at the Usha Kiran Palace. This is where all your meals at the hotel come from (even if you order room service), and though they’ve tried to cater to a variety of tastes, it manages to make it only to the so-so mark. Since Gwalior’s options for eating out are limited to the predictable and/or mundane, we end up having all our meals at the Silver Saloon, and from the very first meal—dinner on the day we arrive—it isn’t anything to write home about.The way to the restaurant is alluring: a broad corridor on the ground floor, leading past a display of fascinating old photographs of the Scindias: the celebrations of Jiwaji Rao Scindia’s wedding; a banquet hosted by the...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 7, 2010

Silver Saloon at Usha Kiran Palace
Jayendraganj Lashkar
Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India 474 009
91 751 2444 000

Tomb of Tansen

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Attraction | "The Mausoleums of a Musician and his Mentor"

Tomb of Tansen Photo, Gwalior, India
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Tansen was one of India’s legendary singers, a man credited with a voice so melodious it’s supposed to have lit lamps and caused clouds to pour rain. The 16th century singer was one of the reputed ‘nine gems’ of the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (the ‘nine gems’ were nine men of particular worth to Akbar—they included Akbar’s financial minister, Raja Todar Mal, and his witty adviser Birbal).The story goes that in the 1500’s, there was a much venerated Sufi saint in Gwalior named Ghaus Mohammad. A childless couple, Lakshmibai and Makrand Pandey, came to Ghaus Mohammad to seek his blessings, and subsequently became parents—of the baby who would grow up to be Tansen. Tansen’s parents copped it sho...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 7, 2010

Tomb of Tansen
Tansen Road
Gwalior, India

The Fort

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Attraction | "A Fort From Across the Ages"

The Fort Photo, Gwalior, India
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If you have only one day in which to see Gwalior, the fort is the one sight you must see. It sits up on the hill overlooking Gwalior, with the fort, the Scindia Boys’ School, and the TV tower sharing space with 10th century Hindu temples and 15th century palaces. The palaces and temples are pretty, the TV tower crassly 20th century. But this is one of India’s most impressive and historic forts, also the country’s second largest, with a circumference of 10 kms.The road up to the fort winds past a series of monolithic Jain statues cut into the hillside: fascinating gigantic figures of naked saints that stand in rock-cut niches, many of the faces and bodies defaced by ‘righteous’ Mughals in the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 7, 2010

The Fort
Gwalior
Gwalior, India

Jai Vilas Palace Museum

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Attraction | "Erstwhile Royal Residence, Modern Museum"

Jai Vilas Palace Museum Photo, Gwalior, India
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One advantage of staying at Usha Kiran Palace is that the Jai Vilas Palace Museum is a stone’s throw away. A leisurely stroll of ten minutes down quiet tree-lined lanes, and we come to a crossing. A sleepy guard sitting on a rickety stool outside a very fancy gate, crawling with the serpent-and-sun coat of arms of the Scindias, gestures to our right when we ask him where Jai Vilas Palace is. And what is he guarding? The maharaja sahib stays here when in town.But: the Jai Vilas Palace. This, a large and impressive palace designed by an Italian architect, was built in 1874 and was occupied by the royal family for a long time. Today, certain sections of it are still retained by the Scind...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 7, 2010

Jai Vilas Palace Museum
Jayendraganj, Lashkar
Gwalior, India