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Madhya Pradesh Travel Guide

ABOUT MADHYA PRADESH

Madhya Pradesh, which is known as “THE HEART OF INDIA” is scattered all over with beautiful heritage structures, carved temples, forts and palaces. This mystic land with its innumerable monuments reminds one of the musicians and poets, kings and emperors, philosophers and saints, builders and warriors of the bygone era. Madhya Pradesh has a huge plateau lined by the Satpura’s and the Vindhyachal mountains. It presents a unique blend of nature, history and culture that attracts tourists from different parts of the world. Madhya Pradesh is a vast state and thus each of its cities offers tourist destinations. There is a lot in terms of tourism to do in Madhya Pradesh. One can avail the numerous tour packages being operated in Madhya Pradesh which includes cultural, heritage, wildlife tours, pilgrimage tours, corporate tours, city sightseeing tours and educational tours. Heritage tours of Madhya Pradesh includes a tour of the Khajuraho, Sanchi, and Bhimbetka caves. Wildlife tours include a tour of Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park and Panna National Park. The Sal and bamboo forests of Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Panna are amazing sanctuaries for innumerable varieties of flora and fauna wildlife and birds.

Madhya Pradesh has numerous temples and sacred destinations. It is a significant pilgrimage centre with Omkareshwar and Ujjain which has religious significance with the presence of two of the twelve important Jyotirlingas, Mandleshwar and Maheshwar. Ujjain is also popular for the Kumbh Mela and Mahakaleshwar Temple. Hence devotees from far and near visit these pilgrimage sites to have a taste of divinity. Nature lovers can find a paradise in Amarkantak, Chitrakoot, Panchmarhi and Bhedaghat, surrounded by valleys, hills, forests, waterfalls, cliffs and rocks.

 

PHYSIOGRAPHY

The elevation of Madhya Pradesh ranges from 300 to 3,900 feet (90 to 1,200 metres). In the northern part of the state the land rises generally from south to north, while in the southern part it increases in elevation toward the west. Important ranges of hills are the Vindhya Range, in the west, and its northern branch, the Kaimur Hills, both of which reach elevations of 1,500 feet (460 metres), and the Satpura, Mahadeo, and Maikala ranges, in the south, which have elevations of more than 3,000 feet (900 metres).

 

BEST TIME VISIT

The best time to visit Madhya Pradesh is between November and February. The weather around this time of the year is very pleasant and comfortable.

 

FAIRS & FESTIVALS

Madhya Pradesh is a land that exudes vibrancy from all its alcoves. It not only cradles people belonging to different religions and communities, but is also home to numerous exotic tribes of India. This has led to its unique cultural and religious matrix that poses a colorful stance, as far as its festivities are concerned. These fairs and festivals interweave all the people of Madhya Pradesh in a common web and see much aplomb and gaiety throughout the state.

  • Khajuraho Dance Festival : No one can deny the entrancing aura that envelops the cluster of temples in Khajuraho. These monuments are the finest examples of the fusion of beauty, spirituality and sensuality, which delineates art in its most spectacular form.
  • Bhagoria Festival : The tribal people of Madhya Pradesh form an important part of its culture and contribute to the colorful graffiti of the state. They have their indigenous norms, moral yardsticks and tribal heritage that they strive to preserve. This unique tradition and vibrant culture comes alive in the Bhagoriya festival of Jhabua.
  • Tansen Music Festival : Hindustani Classical Music is known for its poignant ragas and mellifluous notes and showcases its musical splendor in the form of Tansen Music Festival, held in Gwalior every year. Gwalior, acclaimed as the oldest Gharana in Hindustani music, has managed to retain its musical spirit and tradition.
  • Mandu Festival : Madhya Pradesh, known for its overpowering gaiety and pomp during festive celebrations, exhibits the Mandu festival every year with the same exulting fervor. This festival falls in September/October and coincides with the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in other places.
  • Kumbh Mela : Kumbh Mela is the largest religious congregational fair of the Hindus and has known celebration from many centuries. This pilgrimage is observed four times every twelve years, at each of these four places - Prayag, Ujjain, Haridwar and Nashik. The celebration of Kumbh Mela sees the convergence of millions of devotees, shamans, monks and religious saints across India, making the festival the largest of all Hindu fairs. According to astrologers, Kumbh Mela takes place when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries.
  • Karma : One of the most important religious festivals of Madhya Pradesh, Karma originally belongs to the list of festivals celebrated by the Korba tribal. However, other tribes too participate in the merriment of the Karma. The festival falls in the month of August. People undergo a full day, fast from the morning of the festive day to the morning of the next day. During the night, people indulge in singing, dancing and merrymaking, around a branch of Karam tree.
  • Fair of Nagaji : Nagaji fair or 'mela' of Madhya Pradesh is popular amongst the tribal people and is a way of paying homage to Saint Nagaji, who lived at the time of Emperor Akbar, nearly 400 years ago. With the onset of the winter season, generally in November or December, the adivasis or tribals congregate at Porsa village in the Murena district. They stay there for about a month and indulge in various communal activities that bring about lot of conviviality and merry making. Various domestic animals traded in the markets form a major draw of this fair.
  • Madai Festival : The Madai festival, held at various tribal hamlets of the state, is especially dear to the people belonging to the Gond community. This festival takes place in the third or fourth week of February. Though it is a gala event, marked by singing and dancing, yet the religious overtone of the festival remains evident. During Madai, devotees assemble under the shade of a sacred tree and make sacrificial offerings, in the form of a goat, to the Mother Goddess. During the night, the tribal people gloat and make merry.

 

FLORA & FAUNA

The Flora and Fauna of Madhya Pradesh province very rich and diverse. Central, eastern and southern parts of the state are forested, whereas northern and western parts are deficient in forest. Variability in climatic and edaphic conditions brings about significant difference in the forest types and flora of the state. There are four important forest types viz. Tropical Moist, Tropical Dry, Tropical Thorn, Subtropical broadleaved Hill forests. Based on composition, there are three important forest formations namely Teak forest, Sal forest and Miscellaneous Forests. Bamboo bearing areas are widely distributed in the state.

 

HOW TO REACH
  • By Air : The five key air terminals in Madhya Pradesh that facilitate air networking are located in Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur and Khajuraho. All the important public and private domestic airlines operate regular flights from these airports to the major air destinations in India.
  • By Rail : The major railway junctions of Madhya Pradesh are Bhopal, Bilaspur, Bina, Gwalior, Indore, Itarsi, Jabalpur, Katni, Ratlam, Ujjain and Khandwa. Bhopal Railway Station is the key railhead of the state and is served by many important trains that link it to the rest of the county.
  • By Road : Extensive network of National Highways and State Highways interlink in Madhya Pradesh and helps visitors in reaching the place by roads. These well-maintained highways easily connect Madhya Pradesh to the adjoining areas within and outside the state. If we consider the capital city of Bhopal as the center, then places like Gwalior (422 km), Indore (187 km), Sanchi (45 km), Agra (541 km), Jaipur (572 km), Khajuraho (387 km), Mandu (290 km) and Nagpur (345 km) can be easily accessed by road.

 

THE MAJOR PLACES IN MADHYA PRADESH
  • Bhopal : Set around a picture sque lake, Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, with its scenic beauty and architectural attractions, was built by Dost Mohammad Khan in the first half of the 18th century. The original city of Bhopal is said to have been founded by legendary Raja Bhoj in the 11th century. Its prominent monuments from the tourist point of view are ‘Taj-ul Masjid’ one of the biggest mosques of India and the Jama Masjid built by Begum Qudasia in 1837. The most outstanding feature of Bhopal is its two fabulous lakes. The upper lake, a larger expanse of water measuring over 2 sq.km. In area is separated by the lower and lesser lake by an over bridge. Boating in the lakes at night, when the myriad lights of the city are reflected in the placid-lake waters is an unforgettable experience. Shamla Hills and Idgah Hills provide a fascinating view of the city below. Among the modern monuments the most noteworthy is Bharat Bhawan, believed to be the cultural centre of the country.
  • Ujjain : One of the holiest Indian cities and the seat of Sinhasth Kumbha fair, Ujjain have been in existence from times immemorial. Situated on the banks of the holy river Shipra, Ujjain has been a cradle of Indian ethos. It had been a great centre of art and learning, being associated with the legendary Sanskrit poet Kalidas. Ujjain has many temples, of which the Mahakaal Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is of great antiquity. Another temple is Gopal Mandir, famous for its fine image of Lord Krishna in silver, Jantar Mantar, an observatory built by Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur, is towards the outskirts of the city, but not so well preserved as the Jaipur and New Delhi Jantar-Mantars.
  • Indore : Founded by Rani Ahalya Bai, the Maratha Queen, this erstwhile princely seat of administration is today a rich city with its textile industry. It has been named after Indrashwar Temple built here in the 18th century. The spots of tourist attraction are: The Old Palace. Lal Bagh Palace, The Jain Kanch Mandir or Seth Hukum Chand’ s Temple near Rajwada. The Kendriya Sangrahalayaor the Museum, near GPO has also rich collection of sculptures, paintings, natural history specimens, coins and other antiques will also delight the art lovers.
  • Dhar : Dhar, the ancient capital of Malwa prior even to Mandu, is 64 km. from Indore. It was founded by the legendary Raja Bhoja of Paninar Dynasty. The monuments of interest here include the fort, Bhoj Shala, Lal Masjid and lakes Dhar.
  • Mandu : Mandu, once the “City of Joy” and of royal romance, is now a ghost city, but its architectural and archaeological splendors still live on, in its palaces, canals, ornamental baths, pavilions. shrines, tanks, terraces, legends and ballads. Mandu, the fort-capital of many Hindu and Muslim kings and princes, represents the best of Afghan architectural wealth in India. The gems of Mandu proved a great source of inspiration to the master builders of the Taj Mahal centuries later. The chief source of tourist attraction here are: The Village Group, Jami Masjid, Asharfi Minar, Victory Tower. The Royal Enclave, Jahaj Mahal, Hindola Mahal. Baj Bahadur’s Pleasure Resort; Roopmati’ s Pavilion. The love-lorn tale of Baj Bahadur and Roopmati haunts the region.
  • Jabalpur : Jabalpur, the second largest town of Madhya Pradesh, was once the pleasure resort of the Gond Kings. During the British Raj it became an important town. The town itself doesn’t have much for tourists but excursion to Bheda Ghat Marble Rocks (23 km. away) Dhuandar (23 km. away) and Chausath Yogini Temple are places worth visiting. The first two are on the banks of Narmada a mile long gorge of marble through which the Narmada flows. The Vayudoot flight and the Indian Air-lines connect Jabalpur with Delhi. It is also connected by train service with Delhi and Bhopal and has many hotels for comfortable stay.
  • Kanha National Park : One of the finest Parks of India. Kanha is a home of large variety of wildlife such as panther, tiger, sambar, cheetal, gour, black buck, barking deer, barasingha, and many others. There are dense forests with bamboos on the mountain slopes and the stately sal groves interspersed with rolling meadows in the valleys.
  • Amarkantak : Set amidst sylvan surroundings, Amarkantak is a great Hindu pilgrimage centre, being the source of the rivers Narmada and Son. There are lots of temples built in and around 11th century and noted for their grandeur and simplicity. Around Amarkantak there are many holy spots like, Bhrigu, Kamandal, Dhuni Pani (hot springs) and Dugdhadhara waterfalls. One can easily reach here from Jabalpur (246 km.) by bus and trains via Katni.
  • Panchamarhi : Situated at an altitude of 1,067 meters, Panchamarhi is a fine hill resort. The town is on a plateau surrounded by wooden hills of Satpura ranges. The landscape is characterized by rugged hills, forests and ravines. Its scenic beauty becomes more enchanting in the evening when its red hills reflect the sun rays into beautiful shades of blues, reds and purples. It’s Dhupgarh and Mahadeo peaks offer excellent views of the sun rise and the valley across the river Narmada.
  • Khajuraho : The Chandellas, the descendants of the moon-god the ambitious builders and great connoisseur of arts, embellished their cities and towns with palaces. pools and temples, but the complex of sunshine’s at Khajuraho (900 AD. to 14th century AD) represents the climax of the art of Hindu temple architecture during the medieval times. The temples at Khajuraho can be divided into three distinct groups: southern, eastern and western. They roughly cover 12 sq. km. of area. The western group comprises the famous Kandariya Mahadev Temple with its spectacular tower, the Lakshmana temple the only one to retain its complete form, the Chitragupta Temple, the Devi Jagdamba Temple, and the oldest Chausath Yogini Temple. The eastern group, close to the village contains Hindu and Jam temples including a shrine of monkey-god Lord Hanuman, of relatively recent origin. The southern group, about 4 km. from Khajuraho contains the well-known Duladeo and Chaturbhuj Temples.

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