Madhya Pradesh, the heart of India, is the second-largest state in the country. It is known for its historical sights, its temples, its national parks where you can see tigers and its lush natural beauty. The cities of Bhopal and Indore are famous in their own rights while its city Ujjain is considered to be among the holiest cities of India and one of the venues of the famed Kumbh Mela.
Tourists are fascinated by the many aspects of this state. Be it the history of its forts and temples or the lush forests and natural beauty, Madhya Pradesh tourism draws a large number of visitors every year. The state is a microcosm of small-town India and the Hindi heartland. More often than not, this is the very aspect that attracts the many people who come here for a visit.
One of the most interesting facets about Madhya Pradesh is that it is situated right in the middle of India, and of course, that’s why it’s called ‘Madhya’ Pradesh. It shares boundaries with Uttar Pradesh in the northeast, Chhattisgarh in the east, Gujarat in the west, Rajasthan in northwest and Maharashtra in the south. The state is also known for its forest cover and rich mineral reserves.
Madhya Pradesh has a subtropical climate. It is typically hot during summer, with some rains during monsoon and a cool winter. Some areas of the state receive heavy rainfall which does affect Madhya Pradesh tourism but nevertheless, the weather here is like most of North India. The best time to visit is during monsoon and winter when the climate is tolerable and people can explore the cities and towns with ease. Summer can be quite intense here and a visit is best avoided if you want to enjoy sightseeing and other outdoor activities.
The cultural scene here is one of the reasons why Madhya Pradesh tourism is so popular. From its many UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites to the famed Khajuraho temples and other architectural marvels, culture is the heart of India’s heartland. Classical and folk music also enjoy a significant patronage here. Some of India’s most famous singers have emerged from this state.
Madhya Pradesh is a tourist’s delight. It offers so much to see, especially in terms of India’s rich cultural heritage. Whether it’s the world-famous Khajuraho temples with their intricate carvings or the temples in Ujjain or Orchha, Madhya Pradesh tourism is one of the best ways for people to understand the rich and layered culture that abounds here.
Take Sanchi for instance. It is supposed to have one of the oldest stone structures in India. The Great Stupa which is one of the biggest draws here was installed in 3rd century BC by Emperor Ashoka. The marvellously preserved sculptures and monuments here are testaments to India’s diversity and its rich cultural heritage. The most important site to see here is the 50-foot-high stupa which houses several important Buddhist relics.
Or let us consider the city of Orchha, with its lavish palaces, beautiful temples and forts. It is one of the most charming cities in the state. Situated on the banks of the Betwa river, there is a certain old world allure to the city with its grand havelis and sumptuously decorated temples. One of the most famous temples here is the Chaturbhuj Temple which was built by Queen of Orchha, Ganeshi Bai.
Those who are fascinated by archaeology will surely marvel at the awe-inspiring Bhimbetka rock shelters which is another UNESCO World Heritage Site here. The site is reputed to be one of the earliest places where human life thrived in the Indian subcontinent, thousands of years ago. There are more than 500 rock shelters here as well as caves with paintings that are which will make you immensely curious about the lives of the people in the past.
Then of course, there’s Ujjain, which is said to be one of the holiest cities in India, located on the banks of the Shipra river. It’s famous for a few reasons – it has the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines. It is also one of the sites of the revered Kumbh Mela, which attracts as many as 100 million people.
Gwalior is yet another beautiful city with its palaces, forts and monuments that makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. The Gwalior Fort is famous for its views while the Jai Vilas palace and Sun Temple are also popular tourist spots. There’s much to be said about Gwalior’s cultural heritage too, as every year in November/December there is a four-day Tansen Music festival where classical musicians from all over the country come and perform in honour of the great Indian musician Tansen.
The cities of Indore and Bhopal are also interesting as they are cultural hubs in their own rights. Bhopal, the capital has some stunning mosques and which showcase Mughal architecture excellently. Bhopal is also known for its delicious Mughlai food and its many havelis and museums. Indore is the biggest city in Madhya Pradesh and despite its renown as an industrial city that is swiftly growing, it also has a rich cultural heritage with its palaces and temples.
If you are planning a trip to Madhya Pradesh for your vacations, do remember to check the SOTC website for offers and deals on holiday packages.