Had an awesome trip to Gwalior, few days back (July 14, 2012). I had the constraint of time. I generally don’t have Saturdays as offs. Hence, I returned home on Saturday evening, packed my bag and headed towards Hazrat Nizamuddin to board Dakshin Express at around 11 pm. i had a cozy sleep. Got down at Gwalior station at 3:30 am in the morning. It was drizzling. Had hot tea and munched some “pakodas” at the station. Had to wait till Sunrise. Grabbed a “Dainik Bhaskar” (Hindi Daily Newspaper) and started reading it, with some more hot sips of local tea. Gwalior Station looks great in early morning.
Around 7 am, I went outside the railway station premises to have stroll in Station Road. You can not afford to miss the local breakfast of Gwalior: “Poha” (Flattened Rice) and “Jalebi” (Can be termed as National Dessert). I had 2 plates of both. Each of them osts 10-15 bucks per plate. Jain Poha Bhandar near railway station is a good option. Try it out next time you visit Gwalior.
However, booked one Cab (Tata Indica) for a 7 hr journey, which would take me to the Gwalior Fort(Man Mandir Palace, Sas-Bahu Temple, Gujjari Mahal, Suraj Kind, Teli ka Mandir), Jai Vilas Palace (aka Jiwaji Rao Scindia Museum), Sun temple, Mohd. Ghauz Monument, Tansen Monument, Gwalior Zoo for 700 bucks. It was decided that the cab would be there by 9 am. I had another 1 hr. 30 mins in hand. The reason for the delay was, neither the fort or museum gates open before 9 am. Had no option but to wait. Tried Bhutte ki Kees with roti at “Chotiwala” (one of the best place to get Veg. food near Gwalior railway station).
My Gwalior darshan started sharp at 9 am. Went to the majestic Sun Temple first. Not much to see, but amazing work or architecture and art. If you are an art lover, don’t dare to miss it.
My next destination was Jai Vilas Palace. You need to devote at least an hour and a half for this gigantic museum. Its better to have a guide. He’ll charge you not more than 100-120 bucks. However, that excludes the entry fee of Rs. 60 and Still Camera charges of 70 INR. You can’t afford to enter this museum without your camera. Please ensure that you have some extra cell for your camera, if it runs out of charge. If you need to have a glimpse of the Royal Scindia Family and their history, this is THE place. So, load your camera and start clicking. I did the same. I am still thankful to myself for carrying 2 extra duracell cells with me.
After the guide left us at the gate of Jai Vilas Palce, my cab headed towards, Md. Ghauz Tomb. The tomb is an ancient magical wonder of craftsmanship and beauty. After clicking some pics, I came across the tomb of the disciple of Md. Ghauz, whom almost every Indian considers as an Institution of Music ever. Renowned Mughal Emperor Akbar also had similar thinking and this might be the reason for his presence in Akbar’s nine gems. Yes, it was the tomb of Tansen. Some kids were playing a contemporary bollywood song on their cell phones, nearby. I laughed at the dramatic downfall of music and did bid a goodbye to the monuments of Master and Disciple.
It was around 12:40 pm and I was hungry. Sher-e-Punjab (on Nai Sadak, Lashkar City, near Delight Cinema) is a good place to have lunch irrespective of your veg or non-veg choice of food. I ordered their Sher-e-Punjab Thali, which was quite tough for me to finish. If you are a foodie and in case you are dying to have a stomach full of tasty foods, with 2 scoops of ice creams as desserts, order their special thali. It will cost you around 120-140 INR
After having food to my stomach and heart’s content, I headed towards the Fort. Though I would not recommend to visit the fort during summers, but I was here at the fort during monsoons. Drizzles of rain made my day. Entry fee is of Rs. 5 per Indian. A gigantic fort with a bigger history attached to it. I got hold of a guide. Its advisable to have a guide to understand the never ening history and facts of the fort. He’ll charge you approx. 70-80 bucks. Its worth spending that much. Useless to say, that do’t dare to turn off the lens of your camera. I spent around 2.5 hrs in the fort. While leaving, I could not resist the Sound and Light show that had timing of 7:30 pm. I got myself a ticket of 75 INR for the 7:30 show. It’s 250 bucks for Foreigners.
I came out of the fort and negotiated with my cab driver to get me to the fort at around 7:15pm for additional 50 bucks.
Then I went to the Zoo. Though its quite similar to any other zoo of any Indian city, but I was thrilled to visit a man made wildlife in the Chambal range. My cab driver dropped me at the zoo at around 4:15 pm. Around 5pm, I cam out the zoo and headed towards the local market: Bada. You can get some good metal items and wooden sculptures for your home. It’s one of the renowned markets of Gwalior. I could not stop myself from purchasing few.
At around 6:50, my cab driver called me to confirm my location. He picked me up from Bada and dropped me at the Fort. He informed me to stay near the gate after show gets over. I had an excellent time listening to some real time history with voice over by Mr. Amitabh Bachchchan as Gopachal Parvat. After the show, my cab driver: Jitender Ji came to escort me to the railway station. I paid him, his cab fare after enjoying evening tea with him near the station premises. Now, I had 1 hr. in hand before my train. I enjoyed some food at Indian Coffee House (adjacent to station wall) and boarded my train at 10:30 am. Had a peaceful sleep and was at Nizamuddin Railway Station by 5:00 am.
Though it was the same old work life, which spoiled my mood as soon as I stepped out of the train; yet I was happy to spend my Sunday slightly different from an usual one. I am sure Gwalior, by now must have won many hearts with its enormous beauty. But, I was happy to see my HEART listed among the few million hearts. After all, its all about seeing “HINDUSTAN KA DIL”