Gwalior – The Royal Abode of Valor

Valor consists, not only in blindly overlooking danger, but in seeing and conquering it. India owes it diverse culture because of different feudal rulers who ruled their respective states during the Mughal as well as the British rule. Besides providing safety and security, they played important roles in the social life of the contemporary India populace. Gwalior, in Madhya Pradesh, was the capital of the princely state of the Royal dynasty of the Scindias. Their valor could be marked from the fact that during British India, it enjoyed 21 gun salutes along with Hyderabad, Mysore, Baroda and Jammu & Kashmir.

The people of Sovereign independent India are always curious to know about the life, stature and valor of the erstwhile Indian rulers. In this context, Gwalior has a special attraction because even after Independence the royal families of the Scindias have been playing significant roles in the political arena of India. Madhav Rao Scindia had significant place in the political scenarios of India. After his untimely death in an air crash, his son Jyotiendriya Scindia is presently the youngest central cabinet minister.

Located in the Chambal region, Gwalior is the fourth largest city of Madhya Pradesh because of its industrial and commercial importance. It is enriched by two cultures, namely Bundeli and Braj. Tourists get attracted to Gwalior for witnessing the traditional male dance of the Ahir, the cowherd community, just after a day of Diwali. The theme of the dance is based on the legend of Lord Krishna.

Gwalior gets crowded with visitors during festive occasions such as Diwali, Holi, Navratri, Dussera and Durga Puja. Rang Panchami or the festival of colors has a special celebration in Gwalior. Exchanging and throwing colors at each other fun making, poking, teasing add to the hilarious environment of the city. This festival is celebrated five days after Dhulendi or Holi. Celebration of Ganesh Puj has yet another exclusive feature of arranging a carnival of floats that are known as Jhanki or tableaux, taken around the city.

Besides entertaining, music aids to spiritual realization. As an accomplished musician, Tansen was one of the ‘Navratna’ or nine jewels in Akbar’s court. Legend has it that when he sang the raga ‘Malhar’, it is said, the clouds would get heavy with rain. When he sang the raga ‘Deepak’, earthen lamps would begin to glow with life. Tansen’s guru Haridas caste magical spell on Akbar and transported him to a state of spiritual bliss when he visited Haridas to his hut in the jungle. To commemorate this, Tansen Samaroh is held in December every year at the tomb of Tansen in Gwalior.

A visit to the Gwalior Fort reminds the valor and vigor of Great freedom fighters, Tantia Tope and Rani Laksmi Bai who used it for a brief period. Other objects of tourists’ interest are Man Mandir Palace, the Belgian Chandelier at the Jai Vilas Palace of the Scindias, Suraj Kund, inside the Gwalior Fort, Tomb of Ghaus Mohammed, an Afghan Sufi, Sarod Ghar, founded by the Sarod maestro Ustad Amzad Ali Khan, Teli Ka Mandir, Gurudwara, Data Bandhi Chhod and Gujari Mahal Archaeological Museum.

Besides witnessing royal valor, visitors to Gwalior can witness the royal choice of magnificence and excellence.