Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is the second largest state in India located in the central part of India and share it’s boundaries with the Indian states in the northeast by Uttar Pradesh, to its southeast lies Chhattisgarh, to its south lies Maharashtra, to its West lies Gujarat and to its northwest lies Rajasthan. Due to it’s geographical location it is popularly known as "heart of India". This state is famous for its many natural and artificial lakes is a wonderful mishmash of old world and modernization in its architecture. Bhopal is the capital city of Madhya Pradesh with the second largest Muslim inhabited city along with a vast Hindu populace, a component that has left his permanent imprint on Bhopal’s culture where Diwali and Eid are prominent festivals and both are celebrated with same gusto and both Hindus and Muslims visit each other on their festivals. It has been home to the cultural heritage of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism etc. Innumerable monuments, but exquisitely carved temples, stupas, forts & palaces are dotted all over the state. The tourist destinations of Madhya Pradesh attract a large number of tourists from all over the world for wildlife safaris, world heritage sites and sculptured temples.

Tradition and Culture of Madhya Pradesh:

Madhya Pradesh is known for its exquisite tradition and culture. The architecture that are used mostly on the walls of the monuments are blended with both Hindu and Muslim styles. Culture and tradition can be depicted from the lifestyle, food, living standard of the people of Madhya Pradesh. They like to live in a peaceful community though there are sizable number of Christians, Sikhs and Jains. Nature of people are very cooperative and friendly. Different cultural activities are performed that includes folk dance and music at a place named Bharat Bhavan. Other than this, modern form of dance is also mixed up. Tourist visiting to this region can also witness the state’s tribal music. Dhrupad Samaroh is one of the most important festival celebrated by the people of Madhya Pradesh with great fervor. The handicrafts worked by skilled and notable artist portray its rich traditions and culture. Food can describe the taste of a destination. The cuisine of Madhya Pradesh is blended of Hindu and Muslim. Some amazing dishes are – Bhopali Murgh Rezala, Bhopali Gosht Korma, MurghNizami, Paneer Rezala etc.

Fairs and Festivals of Madhya Pradesh:The fairs and festivals in Madhya Pradesh is a mirror of the lifestyle of the people of Madhya Pradesh. These fairs and festivals attract a large number of visitors from all over the world throughout the year. Some of the major fairs and festivals of Madhya Pradesh are:

  • Khajuraho Festival of Dance (February/March): This dance festival is celebrated every year for a week in the months of February and March and is attended by locals, tourists and celebrities alike. Various Indian classical dances, like Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Bharatnatyam etc is performed by the leading performers during this festival. 
  •  Tansen Music Festival, Gwalior (November/December): This festival is celebrated in Gwalior in the memory of the greatest Musician Tan Sen in the months of November / December and one can catch hold of different and intriguing sounds, styles and instruments, during this festival and is attended by India's best vocalists and musicians whether from the classical, folk or fusion genre. 
  • Shivratri Mela, Pachmarhi (February): This Mela is celebrated at Pachmarhi during the month of February or March, depending on whether the last day of phagun falls in which month, and is attended by lakhs of devotees of Lord Shiva who rests in a shrine on the Satpura Range. The Mahadeo Temple is decked up with tridents that the devotees bring along and plant them on Chauragarh Hill that is nearby.
  • Navratri Festival, Ujjain (September/October): This festival is celebrated in Ujjain and its during the festival season of Navratri (Dusshera) that usually falls in the month of September or October. Another famous festival of Ujjain in central India is the Kumbh Mela that is held once every 12 years. Millions then flock to Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh to take a dip in the holy waters of Shipra River.
  • Chethiyagiri Vihara Festival, Sanchi (November): It is an important Buddhist festival celebrated every year at Sanchi at the end of November, and is attended by thousands of Buddhists monks and pilgrims. They attend the festival to view the relics of Buddha's two initial disciples whose remains were discovered in Stupa 3 (as listed at Sanchi) in 1853. The two disciples, whose relics are the center of this festival, were Sari Puttha and Maha Moggallana.
  • Madai (February): Madai festival is celebrated every year by the tribal people of Mandla and Bastar in the third or fourth week of February and  is one of the most colourful tribal festival of Madhya Pradesh. 
  • Dussehra/Vijay Dashmi (September/October): Dussehra/Vijay Dashmi is one of the major festival of North India and also one of the most important Fairs and Festivals in Madhya Pradesh. This festival falls on the 10th day of the waning moon during the Hindu month of Ashvin (around September/October). It is believed that on this day, Rama, the hero of the great Hindu epic, Ramayana, killed the unrighteous demon Ravana, the 10-headed king of Lanka who had abducted Rama’s wife, Sita.
  • Diwali (October/November): Diwali is festival of Lights and Lamps and is one of the most important festivals celebrated in India. The day is devoted to the goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi. This Diwali day falls on the amavasya or the no moon day. Diwali date comes 20 days after the popular festival of Dussehra or Vijaya Dashmi.
  • Bahgoriya (March): This festival is celebrated by the Bhils and the Bhilalas in the district of West Nimar and Jhabua and the ‘haat’ is held actually in the nature of a mass ‘Svayamvara’ or a marriage market.
  • The Fair of Nagaji (November/December): The Fair of Nagaji is a fair or ‘mela’ which is organized in order to remember and pay respect to Saint Nagaji who lived at the time of Mughal Emperor Akbar, about 400 years ago.
  • Nimar Utsav (November): This festival is celebrated every year for three days in Maheshwar at the banks of Narmada river in the month of November. It is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm and there is feast of music, dance, drama, boating and canoeing. It is organized by the state government of Madhya Pradesh 
  • Ameer Khan Festival: Ameer Khan Festival, Indore, India is the perfect venue to savor Indian classical music performances by many stalwarts. This venue also offers an ideal stage for the debut of many musicians. Music enthusiasts from across the globe come to Indore enticed by this Ameer Khan Festival of Indore.
  • Dhrupad Samaroh: Dhrupad Samaroh is a Music Festival celebrated every year in the Month of September.  Indian classical music's famous dhrupad style is the order of the day at this Bhopal Dhrupad Samaroh. A large number of music lovers come across the world to the city attracted by this Dhrupad Samaroh of Bhopal.
  • Malwa Utsava Ujjain and Indore: It is a festival of Music and Dance and is celebrated as part of custom and culture. Various dancers perform classical at Malwa Utsava in Ujjain and Indore. According to the legend, the supreme creator of this Universe created Natya by amalgamating four diverse components collected exclusively from the four Vedas. They are literature from the Rig Veda, songs from the Sama Veda, abhinaya or expression from the Yajur Veda and rasa or aesthetic experience from the Artharva Veda.
  • Shab-I-Barat: It is a festival of the Shia Muslims and is celebrated widely  in Madhya Pradesh. Shab-I-Barat celebration in Madhya Pradesh as elsewhere is celebrated with a grand evening feast. Sweets, specially, sevvaiyan (vermicelli) are prepared and sent to the houses of friends and relatives. The Holy Koran is recited and at night, fireworks light the sky.
  • Krishna Janamashtmi: It is celebrated to marh the birth of Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu on earth, is observed on the eighth day of the dark half (Krishna Paksha) of the month of Bhadrapada according to the Hindu calendar. It is one of the most popular festival in Madhya Pradesh.

Must Visiting Places in Madhya Pradesh:

  • Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum: The museum exhibits tribal art, culture and life of various indigenous tribes of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The museum also showcases the houses of Gond, Korku, Bhil, Sahariya tribes. The houses are made of mud, dung, hay, bamboo, grass and other dry foliage and are equipped with earthenware, charpoys, agricultural tools etc. The museum celebrates the sanctity and sacredness of nature and its relation with mankind.
  • TajMahal Palace: Build in French, British, Mughal, Arabic and Hindu styles TajMahal Palace was build from 1871-1884 as Begum Shah Jahan [Bhopal’s ruler] residence. The palace earlier called Raj Mahal was renamed Taj Mahal by the then British Resident. It has 120 rooms, a Sheesh Mahal [hall of mirrors], a fountain structure called Savon BhadonPavillion.
  • Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi: Located at a distance of 46 kilometers from Bhopal, Sanchi group of monuments are important Buddhist structures build between 3rd century BC and 12th century AD. Foundation of these structures was laid by great emperor Ashoka and these structures are in the form of stupas, monolithic pillars, palaces, temples, monasteries etc., famous carvings of toranas were added in 1st century AD. Many of the carvings on the Great Stupa entail the events, and significant periodsin the life of Buddha depicted in form of Jataka Tales. These structures are acknowledged for their unique cultural importance by UNESCO and were recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1989.
  • Udaigiri: Udaigiri is a set of Hindu and Jain rock cave sanctuaries founded around 2 B.C by Chandragupta II and were house to Buddhist Monks. Located at a distance of 13 kilometers from Sanchi, the caves have beautiful drawings and paintings of Hindu deity Vishnu.
  • Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka: Located at the foothills of Vindhyachal mountain range amidst thick forest vegetation, these rock formations are a sign and witness of oldest habitation from Mesolithic period or 100,000 BC. Some of the paintings in these rock shelters are as old as 30,000 years, most drawings and paintings on the walls of caves can be divided or classified in Upper Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Chalcoloithic, Early Historic and Medieval periods. Situated at a distance 60 kilometers from Bhopal these group of monuments were recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003.
  • Van Vihar National Park: Spread over an area of 445 acres Van Vihar National Park houses many a tigers, lions, leopards and sambars [a variety of deer] and more than 200 species of birds. Since the area to be covered is very large, bicycles are available on hiring basis to roam around inside the park. It is one of the must visit tourist attractions in and around Bhopal. 
  • Bhojpur: Often called the ‘Somnath of East’ this 11th century erected Hindu Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located at just 28 kilometers southeast of Bhopal this unfinished [dome] structure enshrines a lingam 2.3 meters high and 5.3 meters in circumference. 
  • Pachmarhi: Pachmarhi a beautiful hill station is nested in Satpura range, at a distance of 195 kilometers from Bhopal. The hill station famous for its cave shelters and ancient rock paintings is also enriched with ravines, waterfalls, jamun groves and vegetation of sal and bamboo. This is one of the most visited tourist attractions around Bhopal. 
  • Narmadakund, Amarkantak: Narmada kund is located in the heart of Amarkantak and is the most significant parts of Amarkantak. This is the place which is believe to be the origination of river. It is surrounded by 16 stone temples like the Narmada Temple, Lord Shiva Temple, Annapurna Temple, Guru Gorakhnath Temple, Shri Ram Janki Temple and Shri Radha Krishna Temple.
  • Bandhavgarh National Park, Bandhavgarh: Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the wild life sanctuaries in the Indian state Madhya Pradesh. It derived its very name from an ancient fort in the area. Renowned for world famous Bengal tigers. There are about 46 to 52 tigers one can spot here. It was declared as a national park in 1968.Tourist can have a close view of all majestic creatures with jeep safari and elephant safari.
  • Chanderi Fort, Chanderi: Chanderi Fort is one of the most popular tourist attraction in Chanderi. From here one can witness the panoramic view of Chanderi town. It is believed to be a Mughal fortbuilt during the Mughal period. There is a main gate of the fort which is known as Khooni Darwaza.
  • Panna National Park: Sprawlingin Panna and Chhatarpur districts Panna National Park is the 22nd tiger reserve of India. Panna a land known for its diamond mines is also famous for its highlands and ravines, forest reserve and kingdom animalia. Apart from being a tiger conserve, a number of other carnivores and herbivores like leopards, wolves, wild dogs, hyeana, sambar, chital, sloth bear, chinkara, nilgai, snakes and pythons seek asylum here. The open grasslands plateaus, gorges, high grasslands of Panna turns out to be a good housing option to these wild beasts. For the reason of its being in close proximity to Khajuraho group of monuments, it’s a must stopover site for tourists.
  • Ramghat: Ramghat or the bank of river Mandakiniis today revered by the Hindu adherents, it has to be for Lord Rama, the seventh carnation of Vishnu once frequented these ghats, took his daily baths on these banks. The place in know thronged by his devotees to have their share of divinity merely by visiting it.
  • Sonagiri Temples: A township of 57 temples dedicated to Jain Sect. located 15 kilometers outside Datia. The hamlet is considered a holy of all holies for Jains for it is here that they come to attain ‘Moksha’ or ‘Nirvana’ from the world over. The practice initiated by 8thTeerthankarChandraprabhu has now become synonymous with achieving self-discipline and austerity.
  • Gwalior Fort: Legend has it that the hill top fort was constructed by 8th century chieftain Suraj Sen and that 83 of his descendants controlled and ruled the fort after him. While Mughal Emperor Babur called it a “pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind”, some call it ‘the Gibraltar of India’ because of its formidably sound structure. The fort later improved by many rules including Raja Man Singh Tomar of 15th century consists of many structures within itself including temples and palaces the two most celebrated are Gurjari Mahal– built for most beloved Queen Mrignayni of Man Singh and Man Mandir Palace also called painted palace because of the use of styled colorful tiles [geometric patterns] in construction. Apart from these there are a number of other structures /buildings of importance inside the fort added from time to time by subsequent rules like: Siddhachal Jain Temples, Teli ka Mandir, Garuda Monument, Saas Bahu Temple, Karn Mahal, Vikram Mahal, Hathi Pol, Chhatri of Bhim Singh Rana etc.
  • Lal Bagh Palace: Holkars the founders and rulers of Indore were known for their lavish life style.Build in the latter half of 19th century by Shivaji Rao Holkar, Lal Bagh Palace is also a reflection of princely grandeur. The construction of the palace was done in three phases under the reign of KindTukoji Rao, King Shivaji Rao Holkar and King Tukoji Rao III. The entrance gates of the palace it is said are a replica of the gates of Buckingham Palace only twice its size. 
  • Pench National Park: Situated at the border of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, 200 kilometers from the city of Jabalpur lays the 19th Project Tiger Reserve, Pench National Park. Spread in an area of 118.30 km2, the park has more than 170 species of native and migratory birds. It is from this park that famous author Rudyard Kipling drew inspiration for its book Jungle Book. Yes Pench National Park is Mowgli’s jungle from Jungle Book.
  • Kanha National Park: Kanha National Park or Tiger reserve is among the 10 most famous tourist visited places. It has considerable count of Royal Bengal Tigers, Leopards, Bear, Barasingha, Wild Dog and over 1000 species of flora. 
  • Madan Mahal Fort: A symbol of pride and honour of Jabalpur, this 11th century fort was constructed by Gond chieftain Madansahi. The fort was so erected on the hill top that is unmistakable from every part of the city. It was build for a manned vigil on invaders but it is much more than that, according to many myths surrounding Gond forts, it is believed that somewhere in between folds the fort has gold bricks or that there is an underground tunnel somewhere in the fort which was used as an escape route in case or any invasion.
  • Khajuraho Temples, Khajuraho: Khajuraho temples has become one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. These temples belong to the Hindus as well as the Jain religion.The intricate work on the sculptures and the stunning architecture are beyond description. Khajuraho Dance postures explains the untellable stories that are described on the walls of the temples. 
  • Omkareshwar: Among the holy of holies, Omkareshwar is the site and seat of one of the 12 divine Jyotirlingas, where it is said Shiva is present, manifested in the form of a column of light. On the banks or river Narmada, on the island Mandhata, Omkareshwar or the light column represents the infinity of Immortal and indestructible Shiva.
  • Roopmati's Pavilion, Mandu: Roopmati’s Pavilion is one of the most famous attraction inMandu. The inscriptional evidence dates back to 555 AD. There are rock cut caves, namely, Lohani and Sat Kothari, are the earliest and rarer type of architecture amongst the over 60 structural monuments. It is located on the lofty hill to the south beyond the palace of Baz Bahadur stands. It is a major monument that visitor must visit.
  • Orchha Fort: The foundation stone of fort complex was laid right after its discovery in 16th century by Raja Rudra Pratap Singh and as the years passed palace, temples, pavillions and other edifices like Sheesh Mahal, Raja Mahal or Mandir, Jahangir Mahal were added by subsequent rulers.
  • Madhav National Park: Once a famous hunting and shooting base for both mughal and Gwalior monarchies Madhav National Park is sprawling in an area of 355 sq. km. Endowed with both forest and lake ecosystems the national park serves as a natural home to a variety of land and aquatic fauna including antelopes, Nilgai, Chowsinga, Chinkara, Porcupine, Leopard, Wolf, Fox, Jackal, Wild Dogs and Pythons. The two water bodies in the park MadhavSagaransSakhya are an important water support to the wildlife here. Sakhya Lake is known for its population of Crocodiles. The wetland forest was declared a National Park in 1958.
  • Bhartrihari Caves: It is said that saint Bharatrihari a royal by birth and younger brother to kingVikrmaditya, charged himself as hermit because of family disputes and moved to these caves on the banks of holy river Shipra. The caves were later named after him. During his stay as a recluse in these caves he penned Shringarshataka, Vairagya shatak, and Nitishatakam.

Cuisines of Madhya Pradesh:

A great variety can be seen in the cuisines of Madhya Pradesh which includes variety of famous dishes and traditional food items. Madhya Pradesh is famous for poha, but that’s not all the central state of India has to offer. In Bhopal one can have spicy kebabs, biryani, korma, fish, meat and keema. Places such as Indore and Gwalior will provide you with various delicacies prepared from milk. One of famous cuisine is Bafla made of wheat and is served with ghee and daal.

All Destinations in Madhya Pradesh