Have you come across a massive fort being tagged as the pearl of the royal heritage of Hind castles? Have you ever seen stones articulating human emotions? Can you think and admire the rock cut caves directing you toward enlightenment? Well, all these matchless secrets are the perpetual gems of Madhya Pradesh, the state acting as the heart of India and offering natural, cultural, and adventurous attractions for tourists, my holidays in Gwalior & Khajuraho was one of the best in India, accommodation was also good as we found a homestay in Gwalior and a holiday home in Khajuraho .
The state is a hodgepodge of diverse religions as well as architectural acumen. It is only in this enchanting Indian state where several cities form the backbone for making tourism an opportunity to explore something new upon every visit. While Bhopal is the capital and Sanchi is the Buddhist hub of enlightening caves, I decided to tour the second big city called Gwalior soaked in its royal historic past and Khajuraho known for its erotic temples.
A Day in Gorgeous Gwalior
Gwalior is amongst the largest towns in Central India and is perhaps even the tourist capital of the state. In the past, the city was the ruling seat of several Rajputs and Marathas, due to which one can enjoy a visual treat of forts, temples, and palaces, giving a unique fascination and facade. Here are the top attractions to visit:
- Gwalior Fort: Is the Gibraltar of India and Pearl of Hind castles featuring intelligent architectural design on a big hillock with the town flanking on all sides and a musical show at nights. It is the reminiscent of the King Suraj Sen whose leprosy was treated by saint Gwalipa in whose reverence the city is named Gwalior. The route to the fort holds several Jain statues, a few rising up to three storeys.
- Palaces: The Man Mandir palace inside the fort is the abode of paintings due to green, gold, and blue walls having animal figurines, music halls, paddling of ducks, and museum showing fort sculptures and carvings. While the Jas Vilas Palace is worth a visit for its Scindian grandeur, museum preserving artifacts, crystal staircase, and the planet’s largest chandeliers, the Gujari Mahal of Raja Man Singh attracts tourists with its intact state and Hindu and Jain sculptures. The Mansingh palace is a famous landmark and is known for its light and sound show in evenings.
- Enclaves and Samadhis: The Ghaus's (a Sufi and Guru of Tansen) Tomb with the Samadhi of Tansen makes you recall of Akbar’s musical jewel, while the Samadhi of Rani Laxmi Bai and Tatya Tope makes you recall of the most revered freedom fighters.
For accommodation, I recommend choosing one of the holiday homes in Gwalior because of their highest level of hospitality and comfort.
Two-day Trip in Exotic Khajuraho
From Gwalior, it takes almost 8 hours to reach Khajuraho but is worth the effort. Just as in case of Gwalior, it is best to stay in one of the holiday homes in Khajuraho. The different groups of temples already in UNESCO World Heritage list are open from sunrise to sunset are best explored through the official self-guided audio tour at your own pace.
- Western Group (Richest and Largest): The oldest is the Lakhmana Temple with a horizontal beam over the entrance illustrating the Hindu trinity gods as well as goddess Lakshmi. While the Kandariya has plenty of sculptures, the Jagdamba temple has finest sculptures through three bands. The Chaunsat Yogini is the only granite holy place, while Chitragupta is the Sun Temple. Vishwanath and Matanageswara are dedicated to Shiva, whereas the Varaha temple is the home of Lord Vishnu.
- Eastern Group: This one has the largest Jain temple called with exquisite carvings and roofs reflecting Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim patterns. Other noteworthy temples are Ghantai with a frieze showing 16 dreams of Mahavira's mother, Adinath with embellished sculpted figures, Hanuman, Brahma, and Vamana.
Above all, the most fascinating temple is the UNESCO listed Kandariya Mahadev Temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva with more than 900 sculptures illustrating the eternal glory of this holy town.
If you are travelling with your family or a group, I recommend holiday homes or homestays rather than hotel room. Best Visiting Time: October-March