Madhya Pradesh is dubbed the ‘Heart of India’. And it is not just because of the state’s central geographical location but also due to its enthralling natural sceneries, incredible wildlife, majestic architecture, and rich cultural heritage. Whether you are a solo explorer or traveling with friends and family, Madhya Pradesh has much to offer to all of its visitors!
The central location of Madhya Pradesh offers a unique mixture of landscapes with forest-covered plateaus, exquisite hills and valleys, and cascading rivers. The widespread landscape brings with its diverse wildlife, for which the state is renowned to have several natural sanctuaries to preserve. Madhya Pradesh also has a rich cultural heritage. Right from the palatial forts and architecture to the ethereal and artistic temples. There is a timelessness to the state which is reflected in its history and culture.
Madhya Pradesh has enough to cater to all sorts of travelers. From fun-filled adventurous activities for backpackers and adventure travelers to transcendent spiritual experiences for the soul-searchers to magnificent and artistic architectures for the social media enthusiast, Madhya Pradesh has it all!
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Madhya Pradesh, quite literally, translating to the ‘Central Province’ has a layered and complicated history. It was in 6th century BC, that the city of Ujjain (also known as ‘Avantika’) became one of the most prominent urban centres of the country. It was only after the Anglo-Maratha wars of the 9th century that Madhya Pradesh became incorporated into the Central Provinces of the country. Madhya Pradesh is a state that was passed on from one dynasty to another; first the Maurya dynasty, the Satavahana dynasty, the Gupta Empire, Rashtrakuta dynasty, Chaluka Empire, and many many more.
After being passed on from dynasty to another, it became one of the princely states governed by the Central Indian Agency. It was only in 1956 that the region of Madhya Bharath merged into Madhya Pradesh and Bhopal was made state capital.
The culture of Madhya Pradesh is one that advocates harmony and stability among various groups, ethnicities and religions. The state is known for a distinct artistic heritage that comprise of jute works, bamboo and cane coverings, Zari embroidery, Chippa art, doll making, textile weaving, etc. 90.8% of the population of the state identify as belonging to the Hindu religion, followed by a smaller minority of Muslims, Christians, Jains and Buddhists. Hindi is the most widely spoken language in Madhya Pradesh.
Rural women in Madhya Pradesh are often observed wearing embroidered Lehengas and Cholis paired with an ‘Odhni’ – patterned cloth to cover their heads. Men in the state – especially in the regions of Malwa and Bundelkhand – wear think jackets called ‘Mirza’ and ‘Bandi’ paired with Dhotis. Their attire also includes a large turban called ‘Safa’. If you’re foodie, then consider yourself lucky because the ‘Heart of India’ will also capture your heart with its wide range of delectable dishes and desserts. Some of the must-try dishes while visiting this region include Daal Bafla, Bhutte Ka Khees, Kebabs, Rogan Josh, Shrikand, Khoya Jalebis, and Poha.
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Madhya Pradesh has one international and five domestic airports with good connectivity across the country. The Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport is located 8 km from the city of Indore and is the largest and only international airport in Madhya Pradesh. There are direct flights from cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad. Apart from this, Raja Bhoj International Airport in Bhopal, Jabalpur Airport, Gwalior Airport, and Khajuraho Airport also have several flights flying to major cities in India.
Due to Madhya Pradesh’s central location, most of the major trains run through the state. The state has good railway connectivity, with 20 major railway junctions including stations at Ratlam, Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Gwalior, and Khajuraho, which are some important cities to visit in Madhya Pradesh. Also, the Jabalpur Railway Junction serves as the headquarters of the West Central Railway Zone. There are many trains running to and from major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore.
Madhya Pradesh has a long and well-connected road network, with 20 national highways running through the state. Various interstate and intrastate buses run across the state, covering major cities and junctions throughout their journey. Major interstate bus terminals in Madhya Pradesh are located in Bhopal, Jabalpur, Indore, and Gwalior.
It is easier to travel by road from Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Rajasthan since they border Madhya Pradesh. There are 46 National Highways in the state of Madhya Pradesh, with NH 44 being the most salient one. Traveling within the city limits by car can be a bit of a journey since distances within the city are huge and may lead to overnight traveling. For this reason, if you are traveling by road, it is highly advisable to choose intrastate buses as the travel time is cut down extensively.
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Even though Madhya Pradesh can be savored throughout the year, the temperatures during summers in Madhya Pradesh can rise up to 45°C, making it quite tiring and exhausting to explore during this time. Though, due to the low tourist activity during this time of the year, you can enjoy various discounts on stay and travel. Also, the hill station Pachmarhi can be best explored during the summers only as later during the year, heavy rains or extreme cold may make it difficult to explore.
The monsoon season provides a blissful freshness in contrast to the dry hot summers. The rainfall transforms the surroundings into picturesque and lavish greenery. This season is the best time to visit certain places like Mandu City, which is known for the Jahaz Mahal, which appears to float over its own reflection! Also, the Chitrakoot Falls offer a stunning view during the monsoons. With gushing waters and eye-catching greenery surrounding the waterfalls, it makes the visit to Madhya Pradesh during the monsoon worthwhile.
The winter season is, by far, the best time to travel and explore Madhya Pradesh in earnest. The cool chill that the winter brings with it is quite a pleasant and rejuvenating incentive to travel around the state. Although the cold winds are particularly chilly during the mornings and nights, the climate makes outdoor activities and travel quite comfortable. Various festivals and events take place during the winter season including Lokrang Festival, Akhil Bhartiya Kalidas Samaroh, Khajuraho Festival, Dussehra, Diwali, Tansen Samaroh, and Pachmarhi Utsav. This makes the winters a great time to visit Madhya Pradesh and enjoy the cultural festivities and heritage more dynamically.
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Taxis are readily available in the major cities in Madhya Pradesh, though it would be easier and more convenient to simply hire or book a cab service for your travel. You can also rent a cab service for the entire day and cover three or four locations together. Auto rickshaws run throughout the state and are the most affordable choice of transport while traveling within a city. Intrastate buses run across the state and connect the major cities in the state, but these require overnight travel since the distances between major cities are quite large. There are tourist buses that start in major cities and cover a number of tourist destinations throughout their travel route. You simply have to look for a bus that covers the places that you wish to visit and explore.
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"Madhya Pradesh has nothing beyond its natural scenery and historical monuments to offer."
It is true that Madhya Pradesh is popularly known for its panoramic landscapes, untamed and majestic wildlife, stunning architecture, beautiful temples, and its cultural and spiritual reprieve. But that’s not all Madhya Pradesh has to offer to its visitors!
Along with these amazing tourist destinations, Madhya Pradesh also offers vibrant and expansive cuisine. The culinary palettes of the state have been impacted by both its Mughal ancestors and the neighboring states’ food preferences. From scrumptious Dal Bafla and Buttey ki Kees to Bhopal’s mouth-watering Mughlai cuisine to Indore’s flavorful street-side chaats and namkeens, Madhya Pradesh has some great culinary delights set aside for food lovers!
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The ancient city of Khajuraho is well known for its magnificent temples and intricate sculptures. It is more famously known for its erotic sculptures though these only account for a small number of the actual sculptures. The sculptures depict various deities in a graceful and splendid manner. The temples of Khajuraho depict teachings of meditation and spirituality through their intricate art. They are famous for their delicate and exceptional craftsmanship and mind-blowing architecture. The Khajuraho Temples are simply exquisite, finely detailed, and beautifully expressive, which leaves you in wonder and awe.
The Khajuraho Dance Festival, held during the winter season, is a grand cultural show that you must experience! It showcases mesmerizing classical dance performances against the stunning backdrop of flawless art and architecture.
Sailani Island, situated on the bank of the River Narmada, offers a tranquil break from the hustle and bustle of the city. The island, built in the backwaters of the Indira Sagar Dam, is secluded outside of city limits and packed with scenic natural beauty and water activities. You must try recreational water-based activities like speed boating, paddle boating, surfing, and cruising while on Sailani.
The island is studded with luxury resorts and hotels to experience life on the coast, King-size. It is situated on 5 acres of backwater land and is perfect if you’re in the mood to paddle through your holiday, away from the city chaos and deep in the heart of nature.
Mandu City is a mesmerizing place to visit. The best time to explore Mandu City is during the monsoon season as the rains add to its enchanting scenic beauty. The city is known for the Jahaz Mahal which seems to float over its own reflection over the twin lakes. It is also home to many heritage sites like Rani Roopmati Pavilion, Hoshang Shah's tomb, and Baz Bahadur Palace, making it a popular tourist destination in Madhya Pradesh.
Mandu City is also known for its captivating Afghan architecture. The grand palaces and the gateways (darwazas) exude old-world charm and timelessness. The evenings at Mandu City are filled with sound and light shows that transport you back in time and revisit all of Mandu’s fascinating history. All in all, Mandu City is indeed a magical place entirely worth the visit while in Madhya Pradesh!
Tamia is one of the more unexplored and unventured parts of Madhya Pradesh. It offers picturesque scenery of the forest-laden hills and valleys as well as a chance to connect with the local tribes. Cabins and houses located on hilltops offer a captivating view of the dense forests, steep mountains, and deep valleys. The hills of Tamia paint an alluring picture at the time of sunrise and sunset. The valley cascades down to the infamous Patalkot. The Gond and Bharia tribes believe that after praying to Lord Shiva, Prince Meghnath – son of Ravana – descended to the underworld (Patal-lok) from Patalkot, hence the name. Since Tamia was inaccessible for a long time, it remains untouched by urbanization and commercial tourism, which makes it a mystical getaway destination. It is the perfect place to disconnect from the world and get in sync with nature and oneself.
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What Is The Best Time To Visit Madhya Pradesh?
The best time to visit Madhya Pradesh is during the winter season – October to February – since the cool climate makes traveling and exploration more comfortable and pleasant. The monsoon season is also a good time to visit certain places like Mandu City and some of the waterfalls, as these seem even more alive and mystical after the rains.
What Is Madhya Pradesh Famous For?
The Khajuraho Temples and sculptures are the most famous tourist attractions in Madhya Pradesh. The temples exhibit erotic sculptures, various deities, and teachings of spirituality through the detailed and intricate architecture.
How Many Jyotirlinga Are There In Madhya Pradesh?
Out of the twelve Jyotirlinga in India, two of them are situated in Madhya Pradesh. These are the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga located in the ancient city of Ujjain and the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga located at Mandhata Island on the Narmada River.
Which Is Better, The Kanha National Park Or The Bandhavgarh National Park?
Bandhavgarh National Park is the better choice since the number of tigers here is more than those at Kanha National Park. Even though Bandhavgarh is smaller than Kanha, the chances of sighting a tiger are higher here, so it’ll prove to be a more fruitful visit for you!
What Can You Buy In Madhya Pradesh?
Madhya Pradesh is famous for its traditional bamboo work, metal and iron crafts, silver and bead jewelry work, tribal accessories, carpets, and muslin silks, as well as Maheshwari and Chanderi Sarees from destinations like Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Jabalpur, Sanchi, and Mandu.
What Are Some Famous Dishes In Madhya Pradesh?
Some famous dishes in Madhya Pradesh are bhutte ki khees, dal bafla, and roghan josh.
What Language Is Spoken In Madhya Pradesh?
Hindi is the primary language spoken in Madhya Pradesh.
How Many Cities Are In Madhya Pradesh?
Madhya Pradesh holds five major cities: Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur, and Ujjain.