The Telikā Mandir, or 'oil-man's temple', owes its name to Teli, a term for an oil grinder or oil dealer. Many suggestions have been put forward to explain this name historically, but in fact the name is not old, the temple being used for processing oil before the British occupied the fort and used the building, albeit temporarily, as a coffee shop. The Telikā Mandir is the loftiest temple among all the buildings in Gwalior Fort with a height of about 30m. The temple consists of a garba griha, that is, sanctum proper for the deity, and an antarala to enter into the temple. The most striking feature of the temple is the wagon-vaulted roof, a form used over rectangular shrines which normally accommodated a row of Mother Goddesses.
The goddesses from the interior vanished centuries ago and have not been traced, even in fragments. The exterior walls of the temple are richly decorated with sculptures, many of which are damaged; the niches, shaped like temples, are empty. The building carries a dedicatory inscription to the goddess in a niche on the southern side, but otherwise does not have any history. The architectural style, discussed by a number of architectural historians, points to a date in the late 8th Century. The building was erected just as the Gurjara Pratihāras were asserting their power over central India. The entrance gateway on the eastern side is a later addition of the British period, made by Major Keith in 1881. It was built as a way of saving various historic pillars and other pieces no longer in their original context.