Madhya Pradesh is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal, and the largest city is Indore.
Nicknamed the “heart of India” due to its geographical location in India, Madhya Pradesh is the second-largest state in the country by area. With over 75 million inhabitants, it is the sixth-largest state in India by population.
Madhya Pradesh is home to a large tribal population, who has been largely cut off from the mainstream development.
Chandragupta Maurya united northern India around 320 BCE, establishing the Mauryan Empire, which included all of modern-day Madhya Pradesh. Ashoka the greatest of Mauryan rulers brought the region under firmer control.
Madhya Pradesh has a subtropical climate. Like most of north India, it has a hot dry summer (April–June), followed by monsoon rains (July–September) and a cool and relatively dry winter.
Madhya Pradesh is home to 09 National Parks, including Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park, Satpura National Park, Sanjay National Park, Madhav National Park, Van Vihar National Park, Mandla Plant Fossils National Park, Panna National Park, and Pench National Park.
There are also a number of natural preserves, including Amarkantak, Bagh Caves, Balaghat, Bori Natural Reserve, Ken Gharial, Ghatigaon, Kuno Palpur, Narwar, Chambal, Kukdeshwar, Narsinghgarh, Nora Dehi, Pachmarhi, Panpatha, Shikarganj, Patalkot and Tamia. Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve in Satpura Range, Amarkantak biosphere reserve and panna national park are three of the 18 biosphere reserves in India.
Places to Visit in Madhya Pradesh
Amarkantak is a great pilgrim center for the Hindus, and is the source of the rivers Narmada and Sone. While the Narmada flows westwards from Amarkantak, the Sone flows towards the East. Amarkantak is indeed blessed by Nature. Holy ponds, lofty hills, forested surroundings; breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls and an ever-pervading air of serenity make Amarkantak a much sought-after destination for the religious-minded as well as for the nature-lover.
Bandhavgarh was the hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Rewa: their old fort still dominates a hill rising out of the forest. These have been found in the old state of Rewa for many years. Maharajah Martand Singh captured the last known in 1951. This White Tiger, Mohan, is now stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharajas of Rewa.
Bandhavgarh was declared a National Park in 1968. Prior to becoming a National park, the forest around Bandhavgarh had long been maintained as a Shikargah, or game preserve, of the Maharajahs of Rewa.
The temple, which has earned the nomenclature of the Somnath of the east, is known as the Bhojeshwar Temple. The temple was never completed and the earthen ramp used to raise it to dome-level still stands. Had it been completed, it would have had very few rivals. As it is, even with the ravages of time, it remains one of the best examples of temple architecture of the 11th – 13th centuries.
Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh combines scenic beauty, historicity and modern urban planning. It is situated on the site of an 11th century city, Bhojapal, founded by Raja Bhoj. Bhopal today presents a multi-faceted profile; the old city with its teeming market places and fine old mosques and palaces still bear the aristocratic imprint of its former rulers; among them the succession of powerful Begums who ruled Bhopal from 1819 to 1926.
Chandheri located at the borders of Malwa and Bundelkhand, the town dominated the trade routes of Central India and was proximate to the arterial route to the ancient ports of Gujarat as well as to Malwa, Mewar, Central India and the Deccan. Consequently, Chanderi became an important military outpost, prized by rulers with power or ambition, and repeatedly experienced the might of men who moulded the destiny of Hindustan.
Chitrakoot, ‘the hill of many wonders’, nestles peacefully in the northern spurs of the Vindhyas, a place of tranquil forest glades and quiet rivers, and streams where calm and repose are all pervading. This loveliest of Nature’s gifts is also hallowed ground, blessed by the gods and sanctified by the faith of pilgrims. it was in these deep forests that Rama and Sita spent eleven of their fourteen years of exile; here that the great sage Atri and Sati Anusuya meditated; and here where the principal trinity of the Hindu pantheon, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, took their incarnations.
Gwalior’s tradition as a royal capital continued until the formation of present day India, with the Scindias having their dynastic seat here. The magnificent mementoes of a glorious past have been preserved with care, giving Gwalior an appeal unique and timeless. Gwalior’s history is traced back to a legend. In 8 A.D, a deadly disease struck a chieftain called Suraj Sen. He was cured by a hermit saint, Gwalipa, and in gratitude founded a city which he named after the saint who had given him the gift of new life.
Indore is the largest city in Madhya Pradesh, and together with its satellite towns of Pithampur and Dewas, is one of the fastest-growing economic regions in India. Its proximity to the Gujarat – Mumbai grid is a major factor behind its huge economic potential. Indore is also one of the foremost centres of education in central India and produces over 50,000 graduates each year, 30% of whom have technical training. The history of Indore is inseparable from the history of the Holkar State. The founder of the House of Holkars was Malhar Rao Holkar, born in 1693 AD.
Omkareshwar, the sacred island, shaped like the holiest of all Hindu symbols, ‘Om’, has drawn to it hundreds of generations of pilgrims. And here, as in so many of Madhya Pradesh’s sacred shrines, the works of Nature complement those of man to provide a setting awe-inspiring in its magnificence. According to a legend, when Narad, the great seer, paid a visit to the deity of the Vindhya mountains, he was angry to find that there was no dwelling here suitable for Lord Shiva. Dismayed at this, the deity of these mountains subjected himself to very severe austerities. Lord Shiva was so pleased with this that he said he would make Omkareshwar one of his homes.
The early history of Ujjain is lost in the midst of antiquity. As early as the time of the Aryan settlers, Ujjain seems to have acquired importance. By the 6th century B.C. Avanti with its capital at Ujjaini, is mentioned in Buddhist literature as one of the four great powers along with Vatsa, Kosala and Magadha. Ujjain lay on the main trade route between North India and Deccan going from Mathura via Ujjain to Mahismati (Maheshwar) on the Narmada, and on to Paithan on the Godavari, western Asia and the West.