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Hey guys 🙂 Guess what? I have a new travel series lined up for you!!! 🙂

Last year, in the month of April, I visited some of the beautiful tourist destinations of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh “The Heart of Incredible India”. These lovely places feature in my new travel series titled “Amazing Madhya Pradesh”, the first part of which is, my next post 🙂

Today’s post is for brushing up on your knowledge of this beautiful state.

Happy reading 🙂

MP map

Madhya Pradesh, called the “heart of India” due to its geographical location in India, is the second-largest state in the country by area after the western state of Rajasthan.

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It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the east, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, and Rajasthan to the northwest. The state capital is Bhopal, although the largest city is Indore.

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The state’s longest river, Narmada, originates in the east and flows west across the state through a narrow valley between the Vindhya Range and spurs of the Satpura Range to the north and south respectively. These two mountain ranges and the Narmada are the traditional boundary between the north and south of India.

Madhya Pradesh has the largest reserves of diamond and copper in the country.

More than 30% of Madhya Pradesh is under forest cover. It is home to nine National Parks, a number of natural preserves and three of the eighteen biosphere reserves in India – Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve, Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve and Panna National Park. The teak, sal and bamboo forests of Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna and Pench house an amazing variety of wildlife: more than 22 species of mammals and 250 species of birds. Rudyard Kipling, the writer of Jungle Book, found his inspiration in this wondrous habitat. Barasingha is the state animal and dudhraj is the state bird of Madhya Pradesh.

Besides wildlife tourism, there are numerous tourist destinations of architectural, historical and religious significance.

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Madhya Pradesh has three UNESCO World Heritage sites attracting a large number of international tourists: the 3rd century BC Buddhist temples at Sanchi built by Emperor Ashoka; the sensually-carved Hindu-Jain temples of Khajuraho that celebrate love, built between 950 AD and 1050 AD by the Chandela Rajput kings; and the 17,000-year-old rock paintings of Bhimbetka which throw light on the life and times of Stone Age man.

The state’s major cities are Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur and Gwalior. They are not only vibrant, modern urban places but are also a showcase of the unique heritage of Madhya Pradesh. Indore is a charming culturally-rich city. It was the capital of the Maratha kingdom of the Holkars, and is synonymous with Rani Ahilyabai Holkar, the queen of the Holkar kingdom and one of the greatest women in Indian history. Bhopal is a beautiful lake city and a fascinating amalgam of the old and new, once ruled by Nawab Begums (female Muslim rulers). Jabalpur, a beautiful city housing one of India’s largest cantonments, is a stop for tourists visiting the nearby must-see scenic destination – Bhedaghat, which has 100 feet high white marble rocks on either side of the glistening waters of the Narmada before the river narrows down and plunges in a majestic waterfall called Dhuadhar (or the smoky cascade). Gwalior is a land of legends and grandiose living with the city’s Jai Vilas Palace and Gwalior Fort, one of India’s marvellous citadels, as fine examples. Gwalior was the capital of the Maratha kings, the Scindias, whose marble cenotaphs or chhattris in Shivpuri are a piece of marvel.

Some of the scenic destinations include the state’s only hill station, Pachmarhi, the verdant queen of the Satpuras; the 16th & 17th century Hindu temples and palaces of Orchha and the riverside chhatris; the weaving town of Chanderi; and the beautiful citadel of Mandu.

Madhya Pradesh is a land sanctified with faith. The holy city of Ujjain was immortalized in Hindu mythology when a few drops of heavenly nectar from the sagar manthan or the churning of the sea fell on its land. It is the site of the Simhastha Kumbh Mela, which is held every 12 years. Legend has it that Lord Shiva lived here. Hence, the Mahakaleshwar Temple enshrines one of the 12 jyotirlingas (holiest Shiva temples). Another jyotirlinga is enshrined in the Omkar Mandhata temple at Omkareshwar on the banks of the Narmada. Not far, on the banks of the same river is the beautiful town of Maheshwar. Rani Ahilyabai Holkar ruled from the palace-fort of this historical town, which finds a mention in the two ancient Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Madhya Pradesh is also home to the twin legendary holy cities of Amarkantak and Chitrakoot.

Among many other handicrafts, handwoven Chanderi and Maheshwari silk and cotton saris rank high and are a testimony to the extraordinary craftsmanship of this land.

The official language of the state is Hindi. Marathi is spoken by a substantial number of the population since the state was home to several important and prestigious Maratha princely states. The state has the highest concentration of Marathi people outside Maharashtra. Besides Urdu, there are regional languages like Malvi spoken in Malwa, Nimadi in Nimar, Bundeli in Bundelkhand, Bagheli in Bagelkhand and some tribal languages too.

Vibrant tribal festivals like Bhagodia and Jagua and the awesome spectacle of the Kumbha simhastha in Ujjain are as old as the civilization itself and are still pulsating with life.

Madhya Pradesh is also noted for its Hindustani classical and folk music. Two of the medieval India’s most noted singers, Tansen and Baiju Bawra, were born near Gwalior. Indore and Ujjain are the birthplaces of many noted singers and musicians, both past and present. The noted playback singer Lata Mangeshkar also called “the Nightingale of India” was born in Indore.

So guys, I hope this post has aroused your curiosity about Madhya Pradesh. Join me as I take you on a journey through these well-known travel destinations in my new travel series “Amazing Madhya Pradesh” 🙂

Indore

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Ujjain

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Omkareshwar…

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Maheshwar…

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Bhopal…

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Sanchi…

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Udaigiri Caves…

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Mandu…

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The first part of the series is on the state’s commercial capital, Indore. A historical city, it is Madhya Pradesh’s largest city, most developed city, most populous city… and a foodie’s paradise 🙂 It’s my next post. Don’t miss it!

See you soon. Have a great day 🙂

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