Gwalior is one of the most popular historic cities of Madhya Pradesh. This city is mostly known for its palaces and forts that have been ruled by different rulers including the Mughals and also the Tomars before it was finally taken over by the Scindias. The Scindias ruled Gwalior in the 18th century. Before India got Independence, Gwalior used to be a princely state under British Raj and Scindias used to be the local rulers of this city. The city is beautifully flanked by rocky hills, mountains and breathtaking landscapes. Because Gwalior is situated in the middle of a beautiful valley, this city is an ideal and perfect visual spectacle. Once you have explored the magnificent palaces, historic temples and magnificent fort of Gwalior, it would be wise to check out some great places near the city which provide a similar essence. Some of these spots are fairly unexplored and might take you on a whole new experience. A weekend trip to any of these places will give you a break from the routine life and also an insight into India’s rich culture, heritage and also history.
Jhansi is a historic city situated in Uttar Pradesh and on the banks of Pahuj River. It is also known as the gateway to Bundelkhand, another quaint hilly region. Jhansi was ruled by Marathas from 1817 to 1854 and from 1857 it was ruled by Rani Laxmibai. Jhansi is well connected to all major cities and towns. Jhansi being a part of the smart city initiative, there is no doubt that this is one city you must visit on your next weekend trip. The grandeur and magnificence of the monuments and forts are breathtaking here and it instantly leaves a lasting impression on your mind. The stunning, historic fort of Jhansi is a major attraction here, apart from the all the temples, churches and also the lavishly build Rani Mahal.
Jhansi gained a lot of popularity thanks to its week long festivity known as the Jhansi Mahotsav.
Best time to visit: October to March is the best time to visit Jhansi, The weather is pleasant and exploring the city becomes easier.
Sightseeing attractions: The Jhansi fort is one attraction that you must explore, especially if you love architecture. Also known as Jhansi ka Killa, it is situate don a hilltop and hence the panoramic views are breathtaking. It is also one of the finest examples of North Indian architecture. You should be here during the Jhansi Mahatsov when the whole fort is filed with vibrancy and life. The entry fee is Rs 100 per person for foreigners and Rs 5 for Indians.
The Rani Mahal is another great attraction and sightseeing spot. This used to be Rani Laxmibai’s palace and now it is a museum. It exhibits treasures of Rani Laxmibai and the architecture is a must see. Do not miss out on exploring the magnificent palace.
Another attraction point is the Government museum that has many artifacts like statues, dresses that symbolize the Chandela dynasty and also photos of the Gupta period. You should also look out for the terracottas, manuscripts and beautiful paintings. The Government has also preserved belongings of Rani Laxmibai like her sword, armours and also the many utensils. You must come here to get an insight of those days. Closed on Mondays and second Saturdays, you can visit this museum on other days.
Where to stay: There are many accommodation options in Jhansi ranging from mid range to budget hotels. Hotel Yatrik(098397 78035, Tariff- Rs 1900 approx), The Orchha Resort(076802 52222, Tariff-Rs 2600 approx), Hotel Ambrosia(093350 09648, Tariff- Rs 1900 approx) and Hotel Sheela Shree Plaza(073090 30992, Tariff-Rs 2500 approx) are the many options. All these hotels also have in house restaurants hence you do not have to worry about food.
The temples of Jhansi are also very famous. Mahalakshmi and Ganesh temples are two of the most popular ones. During Laksmi puja, the temple attracts lots of devotees. And the Ganesh temple is where Rani Laxmiba got married. Visit these temples for its historic significance.
Distance from Gwalior: 2 h 21 min (103.6 km) approximately.
Orchha is a town in Madhya Pradesh and was established by Rudra Pratap Singh. The meaning of Orccha is hidden places and Orchha does stand true to its name. You wouldn’t find Orchha on tourists’ maps or bucket lists. In fact people happen to explore Orchha only if they are visiting Jhansi or Khajuraho. But you must visit this town for the beautiful monuments and a great historic significance. The stories of battles and rulers, Orchha deserves every bit of attention. Orchha once used to be the capital of Bundela Kings. Even though so many years have passed since it was established, the building and monuments still have the grander it carried then. The easiest way to reach Orchha is by taking a rickshaw from Jhansi. The route that takes you to this town is a scenic one and is filled with so many paddy filled on both ends. If this doesn’t impress you much, the monuments are sure to leave you in awe. The Orchha fort complex sees a lot of tourists. Orchha is also home to many temples and their presiding deity is Ram. The Ram Raja temple is the main place of worship here. You will also find some really exquisite paintings that depict Orchha. There are several other tourist attraction spots here that you must explore.
Best time to visit: You can visit Orchha anytime between October and March.
Sightseeing attractions: There are many sightseeing spots in Orchha and the Jahangir Mahal is one of them that certainly must be explored. This Mahal is a great example of the Mughal architecture and was built to make sure that the Mughals get a better ad greater control over the Bandela community. The halls of this palace are massive and so big that they can accommodate many elephants too. The interesting part about this mahal is that Jahangir’s mother was Jodha, a Rajput and that is exactly why the Rajput king built this beautiful palace.
Apart from the forts and palaces, Orchha also has a beautiful and alluring river called the Betwa River. The river is flanked by walls of a palace fort. A tributary to Yamuna, most people come here to witness the confluence of Yamuna and Betwa which occurs in Orchha.
A very popular and a must visit is the stunning Orchha Fort complex. The complex houses Raj Mahal, Rai Parveen Mahal and also the renowned Jahangir Mahal. The Mahal is crowned with chattris and the exteriors are simple yet symbolize the ruling era of Orchha. Visit this palace complex to know about the life of royals in Orchha.
Orchha is also home to many temples The Raja Ram temple, Chaturbhuj and Laxmi Narayan temple are the most famous ones in this town. These temples are visited by numerous tourists, not just for worship but also to marvel at the architectural beauty of these buildings. And as per locals, Since Ram was considered to be a King, he is worshiped here.
There is also the Uth Khana also known as Camel shelter is a must see tourist attraction spot. This is the spot where the King’s camels were believed to be kept. Climb up till the top of this Uth Khana and you will b entreated to breathtaking views of the town. The ruin that is situated right behind the fort is another great visual.
Where to stay: Though Orchha has limited options for accommodation, the little options are also the best ones. The Seesh Mahal is one place where you can stay. It was a palace earlier and is now a hotel. The other options are- The Orchha Resort (076802 52222, Tariff-Rs 2600 approx), Hotel Raj Mahal(076802 52006, Tariff- Rs 3400 approx), Hotel Sunrise(099933 89990, Tariff- Rs 6400 approx) and Amar Mahal(076802 52102, Tariff- Rs 3400 approx).
Distance from Gwalior: 2 h 43 min (124.1 km) approximately
Situated in Uttar Pradesh, Agra makes for the perfect weekend getaway place. Included in the Golden triangle, Agra is one of the most visited tourist destinations in India. One of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh, Agra is filled with beautiful monuments that depict Mughal architecture. The Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri are the most famous of all. Taj Mahal is visited by people from all over and was also one of the Seven Wonders of the World. There is a lot one can do in Agra and if you love architectural wonders, this place will be paradise for you. Agra was mentioned in Mahabharata as Agrevana which means the border of a forest. With such a rich historical significance and so many beautiful sightseeing spots, your weekend trip to Agra will be a memorable one.
Best time to visit: October to March is the best time to visit Agra. You do not have to walk around under intense heat. The climate during time is pleasant.
Sightseeing attractions: When in Agra, you cannot afford to not visit the world famous Taj Mahal. There is nothing new that can be said about Taj Mahal that yo may have not heard before. This is one of the greatest and the most beautiful monuments of the world. And the fact that it was built by Shah Jahan as a symbol of love for his wife makes this place even better. The Taj Mahal looks the same from all the four sides and one look at it is enough to leave you speechless for a while. This monument is visited by tourists all through the year and you will know why exactly this place is the most visited attraction. The construction of Taj Mahal began in 1632 and the construction got over only in 1653. It took almost 20,000 craftsmen to build this beautiful monument. Located on the banks of Yamuna River, you must visit the Taj Mahal.
Another great attraction is the Agra fort that was commissioned Akbar who was Mughal Emperor. Agra fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also one of India’s best historic structures. It took eight years and the hands of 4000 workers to complete this beautiful structure. The Agra was completed in 1573. Sometimes also called as Red Fort, the fort is made of marble and houses the Moti Masjid and Diwan-e-khas.
Fatehpur Sikri is also another must see in Agra. Akbar built the Fatehpur Sikri and moved his capital here. To commemorate the victory of Babar over Rana Sanga in Sikri, Fatehpur Sikri got its name. Akbar had an immsense desire to make Fatehpur his headquarters and hence he decided to build a fort in here. As you enter Fatehpur Sikir you will see a beautiful, big gate also known as Buland Darwaza. And the gate again was built by Akbar to in dedication to his victory over Gujarat.
Another tourist attraction in Agra is the Mehtab Bagh. It is a stunning garden complex that overlooks many other attractions like the Agra fort and also the alluring Yamuna River. One of the most scenic locations in Agra you must visit the Mehtab Bagh. Most tourists also come here to just get glimpses of Taj Mahal and the fort. However you can visit this place for recreational activities also. The garden is vibrant and filled with pools and numerous trees. The Mehtab Bagh is also called as the Moonlight Garden and the night view is splendid.
One attraction that you must not miss is the tomb of Akbar that is located in Sikandra. If you want to witness the beauty of Mughal architecture, the tomb of Akbar is what you must visit. And the interesting part is that it was Akbar who actually initiated the construction of his tomb which is supposed to be done according to Tartary tradition. The grandeur and the magnificence is what you must visit this fort for.
Where to stay: The Gateway Hotel Fatehabad Road Agra(0562 660 2000, Tariff- Rs 5700 approx), Trident Hotel in Agra(0562 223 5000, Tariff- Rs 4000 approx), Radisson Blu Hotel(0562 405 5555, Tariff- Rs 4100 approx) and DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Agra (0562 710 2323, Tariff- Rs 4100 approx) are the many accommodation options. You can also opt for higher end hotels that will cost you a bomb if you can afford it. The Oberoi Amarvillas is one of the most luxurious accommodation in Agra.
Distance from Gwalior: 2 h 25 min (119.5 km) approximately
Alwar is a city in Rajasthan that is famously known for Sariska Tiger Reserve. It is also famous for its olive plantation. Formerly a princely state during the British Raj, today it can go down as one of the best weekend getaway spots. The history of Alwar dates back to 1500 BC and it is famous among both international and domestic tourists for its proximity to the tiger reserve.
Alwar used to be ruled by the Rajputs first before it fell in the hands of Delhi Sultans in the 13th century. In 1771, Pratap Singh fought and won Alwar back and made a state of his own. Currently Alwar has a distinct charm of its own and is a city with rich art and culture. It may not be as popular as the other weekend getaway places, but that should definitely not stop you from exploring this place. You need to see it to believe the charm this city carries.
Best time to visit: Explore Alwar when it has a pleasant climate and October to March is the perfect time.
Sightseeing attractions: Of all the attractions and sightseeing spots in Alwar, the three main attractions that you must visit are the: Bala Quila stands on a 300 m steep peak. The fort has a close relation to Mughals and now though in ruins, the fort has a radio station and this can be viewed only with the permission of Police. You can walk till the fort or even call for an auto rickshaw. For entry you will have to pay Rs 10 for adults and Rs 5 for children and for foreigners the amount is Rs 100.
The second great attraction of Alwar is the beautiful City Palace. The City Palace was built by Raja Vinay Singh who used this palace as his residence. Flawless architecture is what you get to see here. It has a perfect blend of both Mughal and Rajasthani style of architecture. You will love the sight of this palace if you love buildings and monuemtns. You can also see the state museum that is on the last floor.
Things to do in Alwar: You can go shopping in Alwar if you love buying antiques or artifacts. This place is paradise for those who love shopping, especially with so many jewelery and saris that you get to buy. The main shopping bazaars here are the Bajaja Bazar, Khera Bazar and also the Kedalganj Bazar. Walking around the ancient lanes and avenues of Alwar is going to be a memorable experience.
Where to stay: The best accommodation choices here are the royal palaces that have now be turned into a hotel. You can also find budget hotels here. Make sure you book in advance since Alwar does see some good amount of tourists visiting. Hive Alwar(0144 663 3333, Tariff- Rs 4500 approx), Matsya Aravali Hotel Alwar(098294 82786, Tariff- Rs 2200 approx), Hotel Aashyana Alwar(0144 233 8559, Tariff- Rs 1800 approx) and Amrit Resort(0144 288 6134, Tariff- Rs 4900 approx) are the stay options.
Distance from Gwalior: 5 h 14 min (271.6 km) approximately
The 12th most populous city in India, Kanpur is a simple yet beautiful city located in Uttar Pradesh on the banks of the holy river Ganga. It is also the most populous city of Uttar Pradesh. Kanpur does have a strong commercial, religious and also a rich historical significance. You will find many places of interest in Kanpur like their zoo, Phool bagh and many more. Kanpur is an ideal place to visit from Gwalior from a weekend getaway. Since it is located close to Gwalior, it wouldn’t take too much of your time to reach and while in Kanpur there is a lot that one can do.
It is believed that Kanpur got its name from Karna who was one of the heroes of Mahabharata.
Best time to visit: October to March is the best time to visit Kanpur. This is when the climate is pretty comfortable.
Sightseeing attractions: Kanpur does have many sightseeing attractions. The Allen forest zoo is one of thehm. Popularly known as the forest zoo, this zoo has been set up in a forest. The idea came from Sir SAlemn who was a botanist. The zoo has a lot of lush greenery around with alluring lakes and also different species of animals, birds and also reptiles. The Kanpur Zoo also has Asia’s largest land area. Some of the many animals that you will get to spot here are the Musk deer, antelope, emus, parrots, parakeets, and also the saras crane. For those who love wildlife and watching them in their natural habitat, the Kanpur Zoo will not cease to impress you.
Another attraction is the Phool Bagh that is an urban city park. A walk in this park or just relaxing here will give you a refreshed feel. The Phool Bagh is also known as Ganesh Vidyarthi Udyan.
Jajmau is situated on the banks of River Ganga and is popular for being a industrial hub of Kanpur. The Archeological Survey of India has done many excavations here and hence you will find many earthen pots, ancient artifacts and also many tools that were all discovered by them. You must visit here if artifacts intrigue you.
Where to stay: There are numerous hotels in Kanpur to ensure that the tourists who visit are comfortable. Budget to mid range hotels you will find them all here. And all these hotels have good services and your stay will be a comfortable one. Hotel Mandakini Palace (092356 05005, Tariff- Rs 2100 approx), The Landmark Towers (0512 230 5305, Tariff-Rs 7800 approx), Best Western Bliss(0512 255 4403, Tariff- Rs 5700 approx), Hotel Manoj International(0512 240 5007, Tariff- Rs 4100 approx) and Jai Jawan Hotel(0512 396 8675, Tariff- Rs 3400 approx)
Distance from Gwalior: 4 h 40 min (265.0 km) approximately
Khajuraho is famous all across the world for its erotic wall carvings. It is group foe Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh. Known as the Khajuraho group of monuments, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and hence even today it is protected and the site is sheer delight to the eyes. The temples here are well known for the nagara style of architecture and also like we earlier mentioned the erotic sculptures. This is one of the very few paces of India where you can actually get to view ancient Indian art and also two different religions in one place. It also symbolizes how in those times two diverse religions and faiths were warmly accepted. The reason why the Khajuraho Group of Monuments is so popular is also because of the architectural wonder and the symbolism.
Most of the temples in Khajuraho were built during the Chandela reign; this place is an absolute visual spectacle. Situated amidst picturesque landscapes, you should come here for a weekend trip. Khajuraho had 85 temples out of which right now only 20 stand. Dated back to the 11th century, the carvings and sculptures have managed to grab everybody’s attention. The artisans behind such beauties have put in every effort possible to bring out the best in these temples and monuments.
For those who have a small knowledge about architecture or those who just enjoy watching such buildings, the Khajuraho group of monuments is going to a good treat to the eyes. On your next weekend trip, do not go to the usual places instead opt to come here and know a lot about their heritage and historical significance.
Best time to visit: September to March is the best time to visit Khajuraho. Summers can get a tad unbearable especially in afternoons.
Sightseeing attractions: Sightseeing in Khajuraho means a lot of monument visiting and marveling at architecture. And hence out of the many attractions, the Lakshmana temple is one temple that you must visit. Built in dedication to Vishnu, this temple has images of more than 600 gods and goddesses. The outside of the temple is beautiful with elephant patterns and also horsemen in the middle of a parade. There is a lot to be intrigues about if you observe closely.
Another temple that you must visit is the Vishwanath temple that is pretty popular for the intricately done sculptures of Brahma and Shivlinga. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this beautiful temple was built in the 11th century and apart from the interiors and exteriors, you should visit this temple also for the 6 feet high Nandi bull. You do not have to be a believer to visit places like these. You
And the Kandariya Mahadev Temple is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you must visit. Of all the temples in Khajuraho, this is the biggest and it looks stunning. The Kandariya Temple was built for Shiva. There are a total of 900 carved sculptures that symbolizes the rich culture of Madhya Pradesh. Do not miss out on this one. The entry fee for exploring this temple is Rs 10 per person for adults.
Where to stay: Khajuraho Group of Monuments does have many accommodation options ranging from budget to mid range. The luxury hotels are located very close to the airport. The Madhya Pradesh tourism also offers clean and decent guest house with rooms that are all budget friendly. And for those who love the wild, you will also find stay options at Panna National Park which is situated on the out skirts of Khajuraho.
Apart from these, the many other options of hotels in Khajuraho are- Radisson Hotel Khajuraho(078989 18433, Tariff- Rs 3500 approx), The Lalit Temple View Khajuraho (076862 72333, Tariff- Rs 8100 approx), Hotel Clarks Khajuraho(076862 74038, Tariff- Rs 2600 approx) and Ramada Khajuraho(076862 72302, Tariff- Rs 3100 approx).
Things to do: Whenever you visit Khajuraho make sure to attend the sound and light show. This show is organized by the tourism department and is done on the garden that is situated on the western part of the temples. This show is conducted every evening and with proper seating arrangement. The sound tells you about the historical important of the place. The best part about this show is the laser lights on the temples that will leave you stunned. It goes on for a good one hour. The light and sound show happens fall through the year from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm.
Another fun activity that you can do is taking a safari in the Panna National Park. They provide both jeep and elephant safaris whichever you want to opt for. If you hire a jeep you will be allowed to explore the jungle all by yourself and without any guide. Meanwhile if you opt for an elephant safari, go where the animal takes you. On your safari you will find many animals like leopards, boars, jungle cats and also the sloth bear among several others.
The timings for a safari ride in Panna National Park is from 6 am to 10.30 am and from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm.
Distance from Gwalior: 5 h 45 min (282.4 km) approximately
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