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In 1780, Sir Warren Hastings wrote that Gwalior was the key to central India. It was a thought that was shared by many ambitious chieftains and kings before him, so it was no wonder that the eighth-century Gwalior Fort, which dominates the city, was at the heart of many momentous events – indeed it was described by the Mughal Emperor Babur as “the pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind”. Today, the splendour of Gwalior lives on at the fort as well as in the Jai Vilas Palace, which in places, resembles an Italian Palazzo; the exquisitely carved temples; and the melodies of Tansen’s ragas – the renowned musician whose tomb makes for a worthwhile visit. Cox & Kings recommends a minimum of 2 nights at the 120-year-old Usha Kiran Palace, once host to the King George V and now converted into a hotel.

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