Gwalior is a historic and major city in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and one of the Counter-magnet cities. Located 319 kilometres (198 mi) south of Delhi the capital city of India, Gwalior occupies a strategic location in the Gird region of India. The city and its fortress have been ruled by several historic northern Indian kingdoms. From the Tomars in the 13th century, it was passed on to the Mughals, then to the Marathas in 1754 followed by the Scindias in 18th century.

Besides being the administrative headquarters of Gwalior district and Gwalior division, Gwalior has many administrative offices of Chambal Division of northern Madhya Pradesh. Several administrative and judicial organizations, commissions and boards have their state, as well as national, headquarters situated in the city. Gwalior was the winter capital of the state of Madhya Bharat which later became a part of the larger state of Madhya Pradesh. Before Indian Independence on 15 August 1947, Gwalior remained a princely state of the British Raj with Scindias as the local ruler. High rocky hills surround the city from all sides, on the north it just forms the border of the Ganga- Yamuna Drainage Basin. The city however is situated in the valley between the hills. Gwalior’s metropolitan area includes Lashkar Gwalior (Lashkar Subcity), Morar Gwalior (Morar Subcity), Thatipur and the city center.

Gwalior was one of the major sites of rebellion during the 1857 uprising. Post-independence, Gwalior has emerged as an important tourist attraction in central India while many industries and administrative offices came up within the city. Before the end of the 20th century it became a million plus agglomeration and now it is a metropolitan city in central India. Gwalior is surrounded by industrial and commercial zones of neighbouring districts (Malanpur – Bhind, Banmor – Morena) on all three main directions. A 2016 report of the World Health Organization found Gwalior to be the second-most air-polluted city in the world and the most polluted city in India.

Gwalior has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi’s flagship Smart Cities Mission.

According to local tradition, Gwalior owes its name to a sage of former times. Suraj Sen, a prince of the gurjar-pratihar clan of the eighth century, is said tao have lost his way in the forest. On a secluded hill, he met an old man, the sage Gwalipa, whose influence almost took him by surprise. Upon asking the sage for some drinking water, he was led to a pond, where the waters not only quenched his thirst but cured him of leprosy. Out of gratitude, the prince wished to offer the sage something in return, and the sage asked him to build a wall on the hill to protect the other sages from wild animals which often disturbed their yajnas (or pujas). Suraj Sen later built a palace inside the fort, which was named “Gwalior” after the sage, and eventually the city that grew around the fort took the same name.

As of 2011’s India census, Gwalior has a population of 1,564,981. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Gwalior has an average literacy rate of 87.20%, higher than the national average of 74%: male literacy is 90.85%, and female literacy is 78.82%. In Gwalior, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Gwalior has a sub-tropical climate with hot summers from late March to early July, the humid monsoon season from late June to early October, and a cool dry winter from early November to late February. Under Köppen’s climate classification the city has a humid subtropical climate. The highest recorded temperature was 48 °C and the lowest was −1 °C. Summers start in late March, and along with other cities like Jaipur and Delhi, are among the hottest in India and the world. Temperatures peak in May and June with daily averages being around 33–35 °C (93–95 °F), and end in late June with the onset of the monsoon. Gwalior receives 900 mm (35 in) of rain on average per year, most of which is concentrated in the Monsoon months (from late June to early October). August is the wettest month with about 310 mm (12 in) of rain. Winter in Gwalior starts in late October, and is generally very mild with daily temperatures averaging in the 14–16 °C (58–62 °F) range, and mostly dry and sunny conditions. January is the coldest month with average lows in the 0 °C range (32 °F) and occasional cold snaps that plummet temperatures down to zero.