Gwalior is an industrial and artisanal center.
There are several remarkable Hindu temples within the fort. One, known as the Sas Bahu, is beautifully adorned with bas-reliefs. It was finished in AD. 1093, and, though dilapidated, is still picturesque.
An older Jain temple has been used as a mosque. Another temple in the fortress of Gwalior is called the Teli-ka-Mandir, or “Oilman’s Temple.” This building was originally dedicated to Vishnu, but afterwards converted to the worship of Siva. It has an unusual configuration: shrine-like in that it has a sanctuary only; no pillared pavilions or mandapa; and a Buddhist barrel-vaulted roof on top of a Hindu temple.
The most striking part of the Jain remains at Gwalior is a series of caves or rock-cut sculptures, excavated in the rock on all sides, and numbering nearly a hundred, great and small. Most of them are mere niches to contain statues, though some are cells that may have been originally intended for residences. One curious fact regarding them is that, according to inscriptions, they were all excavated within the short period of about thirty-three years, between 1441 and 1474. Some of the figures are of colossal size; one, for instance, is 57 ft. high, which is taller than any other in northern India.
The palace built by Man Singh (1486-1516) forms the most interesting example of early Hindu work of its class in India. Another palace of even greater extent was added to this in 1516; both JehangIr and Shah Jahan added palaces to these two--the whole making a group of edifices unequalled for picturesqueness and interest by anything of their class in Central India. Among the apartments in the palace was the celebrated chamber, named the Baradari, supported on 12 columns, and 45 ft. square, with a stone roof, forming one of the most beautiful palace-halls in the world. It was, besides, singularly interesting from the expedients to which the Hindu architect was forced to resort to imitate the vaults of the Moslems. Of the buildings, however, which so excited the admiration of the emperor Baber, probably little now remains.
The fort of Gwalior, within which the above buildings are situated, stands on an isolated rock. The face is perpendicular and where the rock is naturally less precipitous it has been scarped. Its greatest length from north-east to south-west is a mile and a half, and the greatest breadth 900 yds. The rock attains its maximum height of 342 ft. at the northern end. A rampart, accessible by a steep road, and farther up by huge steps cut out of the rock, surrounds the fort. The citadel stands at the north-eastern corner of the enclosure, and presents a very picturesque appearance.
The old town of Gwalior, which is of considerable size, but irregularly built, lies at the eastern base of the rock. It contains the tomb of Mahommed Ghaus, erected during the early part of Akbar’s reign. The fort of Gwalior was traditionally built by one Surya Sen, the raja of the neighbouring country. In 1196 Gwalior was captured by Mahommed Ghori; it then passed into the hands of several chiefs until in 1559 Akbar gained possession of it, and made it a state prison for captives of rank. On the dismemberment of the Delhi empire, Gwalior was seized by the Jat rana of Gohad.
The town has a museum situated in the Gujari Mahal.