Perched on the northernmost tip of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Gwalior is a bustling town surrounded by steep cliffs, upon which an enormous thousand-year-old sandstone fort commands your attention. This is a truly magnificent structure, its imposing walls contain temples, palaces, water tanks, and gateways. Its history is turbulent and fascinating, worth at least half a day to explore and listen to stories from a bygone era. In the evening, the fort offers a completely new perspective, elegantly illuminated by a sun and moon show.
Gwalior’s Old Town is Muslim influenced with a number of beautiful monuments, including a mosque and the Ghaus Mohammed’s Mughal tomb from the 16th century with its gorgeous jaalis (pierced stone screens). Once you’ve explored the old town, pay a visit to the flamboyant and grandiose Jai Vilas Palace, still partly occupied today, and have a look at the Scindia museum. Full of magnificent antiques and imported 19th century European furniture, the palace is well known for its enormous pair of crystal chandeliers (the largest in the world, in fact) and a working train made of solid silver, constructed to carry condiments conveniently around the dining table. Jai Vilas is opulence at its best.