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Published: October 8th 2013
Gwalior wasn’t a stop that planned on making, however it was either stop here, or endure a 22 hour sleeper train… in the end our decision was easy. We only booked one night into a place close to the station, however due to train timings, we would actually be in Gwalior for closer to 2 days, so we decided to try at least see some of it whilst we were there.
Before talking about what we actually did here, I think its worth mentioning that the fairly low key, humble hotel we stayed in – Hotel Grace, was fantastic. For a budget hotel, these guys went above and beyond to help make our short time there as easy as possible arranging drop offs, hailing Tuk tuks, providing us with Colgate toothpaste, and even letting have a room for the 4 hours we had left to wait for our train on the evening we left. Apologies if this information is of no use to you, however if you are a budget traveller who happens to be in Gwalior, India (probably a long shot), then we would give this place a big thumbs up!
So, whilst here, there were actually a
fair amount of things to do, however since we only really had one day to spare, we decided just to take in Gwalior’s Fort. Within the Fort is a Palace and a couple of Hindu temples as well as the much more rare Sikh temple.
Walking up the steep approach towards the fort was actually fairly tough due to the amazing weather we had (it was far hotter here than in Udaipur) but since exercise had been withdrawn from our daily lives for a while now, we welcomed the sweat. Once at the top, we wandered around the fort for a while before heading towards the rather strange Man Singh Palace. The Palace itself wasn’t strange, however some of the choices of subject for the façade were a tad random. The epitome of this being the bright yellow ducks that boldly lined the Palace like some sort of kids bedroom!
The inside of the Palace was great to wander around in with its partly bright coloured frescos and intricate carvings, however the further down you went inside the place, the darker it got, and to add to the sometimes ‘spooky’ interior there was a pungent smell of Bat
urine and guano. It really is quite an unpleasant smell that these creatures emit, and after looking up to the ceiling and seeing hundreds of the winged beasts, its obvious why the smell is so intense!
After the fort, we managed to explore three Hindu temples, all of which had their own striking features. The second temple being our favourite with its sense of peace and stunning views over Gwalior. After seeing these Temples, we made our way to the newer looking Sikh Temple within the Fort. A member of the Temple came straight to us, and rather than try sell us anything or make us pay anything, he was so welcoming explaining what was require if us before entering the Temple (washing our hands and feet as well as covering our hair) as well as explaining a little about the Sikh religion. He really was a genuine and friendly guy that we really took to, and even after we offered him a tip for his kindness, he refused and said that it wasn’t necessary. After trying to get him to take to money but to no affect (a rarity in India!), he eventually said that if we insisted,
that it go in the donation box instead to help the upkeep of the Temple and the accommodation that anyone from any religion or background are welcome to come and sleep in free of charge.
Time flew by whilst walking around the Forts temples and palace and before we knew it, it was time to get back to the hotel in order to catch yet another night train. This train was bound for Holy Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges, and despite all the hearsay and rumours we had heard about this place, I think we were finally ready for whatever it had to throw at us.
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