Gwalior- A City With A Celebrated History! How Did The City Derive Its Name From A Hindu Sage!

Gwalior is a historic city located in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is popular because of the hilltop fort, Gwalior is full of palaces and glorious temples giving this city a majestic charm which speaks volumes of its glorious past.

Gwalior is one of the largest city of Central India and is often referred to as the tourist capital of the Madhya-Pradesh which is called as The Heart Of Incredible India.

The city was once the seat of reigning Rajputs namely Pratiharas, Kachwahas, Tomars and Marathas who have left behind their footprints in the form of palaces, forts, temples, and other monuments giving Gwalior a unique appeal and facade.

Over the centuries, Gwalior was the capital of several dynasties. In 1231 a Muslim army invaded Gwalior and the city remained under Muslim domination until the next century. In 1375, it fell to Raja Veer Singh and the Tomar dynasty. This was Gwalior’s golden age. In 1516 the city was conquered again, this time by the Delhi Sultanate under the Lodi dynasty.

How did Gwalior get its name?

Gwalior gets its name from the iconic fort that overlooks the city, in a valley surrounded by rocky hills.

According to local folklore, during the rule of the Gurjar Pratihar clan in the eighth century, a prince named Suraj Sen lost his way in the forest. Tired and thirsty, he met a sage called Gwalipa on a secluded hill. He asked the sage for some drinking water and was led to a pond. The water not only quenched his thirst but also cured him of leprosy. Grateful, Suraj Sen offered the sage something in return for his help. Gwalipa asked him to build a wall on the hill to protect the sages in the area from wild animals that disturbed pujas, havans or yajnas. Instead of a wall, Suraj Sen went on to build a fort with a palace. It was named Gwalior after sage Gwalipa.

The Gwalior Fort changed many hands, from the Tomars to the Mughals to the Marathas. In the 18th century, it went to the princely state of Scindia. It was the winter capital of Madhya Bharat before Independence. However, later it lost its status.

Gwalior is an important commercial and industrial centre that is engaged in the distribution of agricultural produce, cloth fabrics, building stone, and iron ore. The city’s major industries include the manufacture of footwear, pottery, biscuits (cookies), cigarettes, textiles, carpets, plastics, rayon, glass, and matches. cotton, flour, sugar, and oilseed milling; and stone carving. It is on a major national highway, is a railway junction, and has an airport handling domestic flights.

The great Indian musician Tansen was born in Gwalior, and the tomb of Tansen is also an important place here. Every year, in November/December, a four-day Tansen Music festival is celebrated in the city where various classical musicians from all over the country perform on the stage near the tomb itself.

Gwalior has many remains of Hindu religion in the form of great temples and shrines. There is the Saas-Bahu Temple (Sahastra Bahu Ka Mandir) dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Teli Ka Mandir, residing in the same complex, is known to be the highest building of Gwalior.

Sharanya Alva


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