A seven hour drive from New Delhi (via the Yamuna Expressway), Gwalior city is typically not known a holiday destination, unless of course you are travelling to Orchaa, Khajuraho, Shivpuri or even Bhandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.
Since we were on a two week road trip through Madhya Pradesh, Gwalior was a good option for us to take our first overnight stop between Delhi and Orchaa. We had pre-booked a room in Deo Bagh Neemrana, a heritage property located amidst two 17th and 18th century Maratha temples a hathi khana for elephants, stables and two cenotaphs.
Interestingly, the history of this property goes back even before the Maratha’s to the period of the Mughals (during the late 16th century). The rooms of the hotel are built around the pavilion area where the Emperors camped-in under the stunning chhattis-dari (36-pillared pavilion). The 36-pillared pavilion shielded the women in its underground chamber during the summer as it had a moat of water on all its four sides. Later, as the Maratha army marched towards Delhi, the conquering Jadhavs took possession of this location in Gwalior where the Mughals would camp and rest.
The Jadhavs used this bagh as a summer house with the ladies’ section in Deo Bagh and the mens’ section in Jai Vihar, which is still the Jadhavs family’s current home. The maintenance of the temples and cenotaphs are not up to mark, but that has its own charm too. You can also attend the evening arti at the temple.
The 15 rooms spread across 5 wings, facing a garden is an oasis in the midst of Gwalior city traffic and noise pollution. However, I must warn you that the property is minus a swimming pool and the food like most Neemrana properties is also very basic.
If you have a few hours to spare, you must visit the Gwalior Fort. The 8th century fortress has been an integral part of North Indian history and it is also the second largest fort in in India after the Chittorgarh fort in Rajashtan.
For anyone looking for accommodation in Gwalior, Deo Bagh is definitely good option. And of course nothing beats a property with a story to tell.