If anyone asks me what do you sum about Gwalior in two days trip? The answer would be – “A king forgotten for another, but the point is, still there is a king.”
And how did the trip happen. I have no clue. As far as I remember, I somewhere saw a photograph of Gwalior fort, huge sandstones with tint of blue design done on them. So when we were planning a trip, that picture was still in my mind. So I suggested Gwalior as our next destination. Now this is a trip where I learned something as a backpacker. Research before you visit a place to avoid being a tourist. And how did I learn. Imagine twelve hours of bus in the hottest month through some of the hottest states of India, whereas return was done by rail in 4-4.5 hours of comfortable journey. Icing on cake (read hot Indian summer) was that part of the road was through valleys of Chambal. A place once ruled by dacoits. I saw some bill boards for Crocodile river safari on Chambal river, which leads me to assume that dacoit era may be over. Though people travelled in recent times might give you correct details.
The day was a slow starter, with us walking up one side of the Gwalior fort, which is built on a plateau. And it will remind you that original king is forgotten. Trash, garbage, used liquor bottles garlanding most of the fort. However once you are immersed in the era, you will come to recognise how with such limited resources, and knowledge they were able to pull off such a grand display of architecture, science and tribute to religion. Examples- detailed architecture (see photographs), tribute to Jainism where huge portraits and intricate details have been carved of rocky plateau. Simple example of scientific knowledge would be using small channels to communicate between different parts of the fort (evident in other forts of India as well).
In contrast the palace of Scindia family who is the current and living king family, is well managed and preserved and ticket fares to visit huge as well compared to Gwalior Fort. Gwalior fort costs you Rs. 20 including a museum visit and camera, whereas City palace costs you Rs. 75 and Rs. 25 for your camera.
Another place which was not visited was ‘Tansen ki haveli’ a place where great musician of his era-Tansen used to live. Legends say that this man was so talented with singing skills that he can hypnotize you, as well as control nature with his singing.
So what are your reasons to visit Gwalior. If you want to understand what is meant by impermanence. You are not permanent. Your skills, knowledge, wealth, health, life none of them are permanent. Have I been the king of Gwalior’s old kingdom and watching up from sky now, I would have realised the same. I am not permanent!