While many people are quite familiar with Shivpuri located in Rishikesh, Uttrakhand, not many are aware of another Shivpuri that is located some 436km from Delhi and 112 km from Gwalior in the state of Madhya Pradesh. An erstwhile summer capital of the Scindia rulers of Gwalior, this small picturesque town of Shivpuri, has in recent years emerged as quaint weekend gateway for people from Delhi many of whom visit this town to admire its palaces and hunting lodges, the beautiful embellished marble cenotaphs (chattris), the lush forests and undulating hills.
What to See in Shivpuri,Madhya Pradesh
Although a small town, Shivpuri has many places of interests that will keep you on your toes over the weekend. You can start your day by visiting the scenic spot of Bhadaiya Kund, a natural spring that falls on the way to the beautiful cenotaphs (chhatris) of the erstwhile Maharajas and Maharanis of Gwalior. Of noteworthy are the chhatris of Madho Rao Scindia and the dowager queen Maharani Sakhya Raje Scindia. These cenotaphs contain the life-size images of the Scindias and represent a wonderful mixture of Hindu and Islamic styles. The Madhav Vilas Palace and George Castle are the other places which you can visit to get an idea of the colonial architecture that characterized the building of these palaces during the British Raj. Spend the evening taking a boat ride on the serene Sakhya Sagar Lake located on the edge of the Madhav National Park and home to the Marsh Crocodile or Mugger and the Monitor Lizard. The next morning wildlife enthusiasts can head for the Madhav National Park that is opened throughout the year from 0630 to 1000 hours (Morning) and 1430 to 1800 hours (afternoon). Spread over an area of 156 sq km, the Madhav National Park is home to the Chinkara, Nilgai, Sambar, Chausingha, Sloth Bear, Leopard and a host of migratory birds that includes the likes of White – Breasted Kingfisher, Cormorant, Painted Stork, White Ibis, Laggar Falcon, Red Wattled Lapwing, Large Pied Wagtail, Pond Heron, Purple Sunbird, Paradise Flycatcher and Golden Oriole etc.
Note: At Madhav National Park, you can either take your own vehicle to the park or hire one. Alternately you can also opt for an elephant ride. Guides are also available should you plan to hire one. Besides entry fees, there are a few additional charges applicable on cameras and videos. Do check with the authorities for details.
Best time to visit Shivpuri
Though once can visit Shivpuri any time of the year, the best time, however, is just after the rains where the forest is lush and the lake is overflowing. Winters are also a good time to catch the migratory birds inaction.
Excursions to Nearby Areas from Shivpuri
Shivpuri is best done as a weekend trip, but if you have an extra day or time to spare then you can head to any of the places located a few kilometers from Shivpuri.
- Surwaya- 21 km from Shivpuri, Surwaya is noteworthy for the remains of a fort within which are housed three Hindu temples dedicated to Vishnu, a monastery and a step-well.
- Narwar-41 km from Shivpuri is the medieval fortress of Narwar situated atop a hill about 500 feet above ground level.
- Karera Bird Sanctuary-45 km away on the Shivpuri-Jhansi road, the Karera Bird Sanctuary houses the Great Indian Bustard and a big population of the Black Buck.
- Kadwaha– 100 km from Shivpuri, Kadwaha was once a center for the Shaivite cult that is renowned for the remarkable remains of 14 Brahmanical temples
- Chanderi- If architecture and textiles catch your fancy then head 127 km for Chanderi where can find some finest examples of Bundela Rajputs and Malwa Sultanate architecture as well as the ubiquitous Chanderi saris which find a place in every Indian home.
How to Reach Shivpuri
- By Air- Gwalior at 112kms is the nearest airport.
- By Bus- By bus, Shivpuri is with Gwalior, Indore, Bhopal, Jhansi, and Ujjain. By road, it will take you around 7 hours to reach the town.
- By Rail– Shivpuri is a railway on the Dehradun-Ujjain Road. There is a direct train to Shivpuri from Delhi. Other nearby railheads are Gwalior and Jhansi (101 km) on the Delhi-Chennai & Delhi –Mumbai lines.
Where to Stay
Stay in a beautiful MPT Tourist Village, Shivpuri run by the government owned MPTDC hotel resort that is situated just across the Madhav National Park. Most of the rooms overlook the river while a few of them have a poolside. So, if luck is on your side, you can easily catch a glimpse of the crocodiles lazing in the sun from the confines of your room. It is said that the late Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh- Mr. Madhav Rao Scindia had personally supervised the construction of the resort to ensure that each room has either a riverside view or a poolside view.