Gwalior diocese is spread over 33,583 Square Kilometers covering six districts: Bhind, Datia, Gwalior, Morena, Sheopur and Shivpuri of Madhya Pradesh.
Gwalior was the Capital City of Great Maratha Sardar (Knight) and warrior Maharaja Shrimant Madhavraoji Shinde and the capital of the Scindia dynasty of Gwalior State. The city is located on the periphery of Madhya Pradesh State, 321 kilometers from Delhi and 121 kilometers from Agra. The distance between Gwalior and Bhopal is 423 kilometers.
The new section of the city is called Lashkar. Lashkar is few miles South from the old city. It is the site of factories producing cotton, yarn, paint, ceramics, chemicals, and leather products. The nucleus of Gwalior is a citadel crowning an isolated rock, about 91 meters high, 3.2 kilometers long, and 823 meters wide. The rock is said to have been a strong hold for more than 10 centuries and Old city is located in the Eastern base of the rock. The old city is covered with white sandstone Mosque, Palaces, rock temples and statues of archaeological and architectural interest.
Gwalior has a population of 1,629,881 of which 54% are males and 46% are females. Ethnic groups in the territory include Maharahstrians, Marwaris, Sikhs and Gujarathis. Majority of the population are Hindus followed by Muslims, Sikhs, Jains and Christians.
Hindi is the main language of the people while Urdu, Marathi and Bundelkhandi is spoken and understood by a considerable percentage of the people. Bundelkhandi is the local dialect.
Gwalior Diocese was erected on Feb. 9, 1999 by Pope John Paul II with territory taken from the Diocese of Jhansi. The vast extension of Jhansi Diocese did not favor adequate development of the areas and due to the dependence on two different civil administrations, the States of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, the development of the diocese was limited. Besides, there were good prospects for evangelization among the tribal population.
The present church of St. John the Baptist was built by John Baptist Filose in 1828. Father Constant Fernandez, a Goan diocesan priest, was the first residing chaplain. He worked here from 1832 to 1844. In August 1844, Father Anastasius Hartmann, a German Capuchin, succeeded him. Father Anastasius worked 18 months in Gwalior. During his stay he opened a school for the education of poor children, established an industrial centre for the employment of young girls and widows, provided the station with a burial ground and education uplift of his flock. His whole idea was to make the Christians better, to get them to lead a real Catholic life.
The list of the chaplains in Gwalior is rather long. There were 33 chaplains from 1832 till it was dismembered from Agra Archdiocese (established in 1886) and added to the Diocese of Jhansi on July 5, 1954.
Father Joseph Kaithathara was appointed as the parish priest of St. John the Baptist Church Lashkar, Gwalior, in September 1996. On Feb. 9, 1999, he was appointed the first Bishop of Gwalior Diocese.
Gwalior is well connected through road, rail and air routes.
The climate can be termed as extremes, both in summer and winter. The summers are usually very hot and the winters very cold in Gwalior. The rains in Gwalior are, however, restricted only to the monsoon months. The monsoon starts usually from the first week of July and continues till the middle of September. Gwalior falls in the rain shadow zone of India. As a result, it receives an average of only 700 mm per annum, almost half of what the other places of the state receives in average.
During the summer months, the climate of Gwalior is dominated by the scorching heat and the humidity level is also on the rise. From the month of April to the month of June, Gwalior experiences summer months with temperatures soaring to a high of 45 - 49 degrees Celsius. The mean summer temperature in Gwalior is, however, 33 degrees Celsius.
In the winter season, the climate of Gwalior steeps down to a chilling temperature of as low as 1-2 degrees Celsius. The mean minimum temperature in the winter months is 18.5 degrees Celsius in Gwalior.
The district literacy rate is presently 68.08%, which is above the state literacy rate of 64.11%.
Gwalior has an average literacy rate of 70% with a male literacy of 76% and female literacy is 63%.