Gwalior, in North Madhya Pradesh, is dominated by massive hilltop Fort, one of the best specimens of medieval architecture. Apart from a number of interesting monuments such as the beautiful Mansingh Palace (perched on the very edge of the fort), Teli Mandir and the exquisitely carved Sas Bahu Temple (deciated to ‘Sahasrabahu’, ‘the thousand-armed’ Lord Vishnu), the Fort aslso houses one of the India’s leading public schools, The Scindia School which celebrated its centenary in 1997.
The Durbar Hall of the 19th century Jai Vilas Palace, residence of the Scindia family (the former rulers) located in the city, has a pair of chandeliers reputed to be the largest in the world. Each is 12.8 m high and wighs 3 tonnes. it is said that before installing them the Palace roof was tested by hoisting 3 elephants onto it! A part of the Palace now houses a museum of family memorabilia. The show-piece here is a model railway which carried cigars and brandy around the dining table!
Gwalior has had a very strong tradition of Hindustani classical music from medieval times. Baiju Bawara, the composer-singer at the court of Raja Man Singh Tomar in the early 16th century, ‘Sangeet Samrat’ (king of music) Tansen, one of Mughal Emperor Akbar’s ‘nine jewels’, and in more recent times, classical singer V.D.Paluskar and ‘sarod’ maestro Hafiz Ali Khan, all had their roots here (sarod= a string instrument without frests). Tansen’s Tomb in Gwalior is the venue for an annual music festival. And Hafiz Ali Khan son and celebrated disciple, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, still mesmerises audiences throughout the world with the lilting notes of his magical ‘sarod’.