Madhya Pradesh: Travel Secrets from the Heart of India


Madhya Pradesh is located in the geographical heart of India and is surrounded by seven states namely Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh in the south, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in the north, Bihar and Orissa in the east and Gujarat in the west. Thanks to its central location in India, Madhya Pradesh, has remained a crucible of historical currents from the north, south, east and west.

The magic of Madhya Pradesh lies in its exquisitely carved temples, proud fortresses and variety of wildlife. Madhya Pradesh has a number of important pilgrim centers. While Ujjain and Omkareshwar have special meaning because of two sanctuaries of twelve jyotirlingas, Mazzinghi, Mandleshwar, Amarkantak, Hoshangabad are also important for their rights.

Madya Pradesh is little touched by tourism and offers a multitude of sites and places of amazing beauty immersed in the purest Hindu mysticism. It's a region of great interest for fans and connoisseurs of India, but can also offer a new visitor a strong impression of the magic of this land.

The rich archaeological wealth is found in various parts of the state shed light on its history. The trip starts from Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, which is a fascinating amalgam of ancient historical and modern urban cities. It presents a varied profile from the old town with its markets and fine old mosques and palaces which still bears the aristocratic imprint of its former rulers. It is actually a beautiful city full of greenery built around two large artificial lakes dominated by Shamla Hill, where the overwhelming Muslim presence is highlighted by the three great mosques, the largest of which is the Taj-ul-Masjid.

Equally impressive is the city with its verdant, exquisitely laid out parks and gardens, broad avenues and streamlined modern buildings. Madhya Pradesh has all the rich history and heritage, gods, colorful simple people, art and architecture, wonderful crafts and the unique wildlife. The Bhimbetka hill is dotted with majestic rocks and immersed in the vegetation are about 500 natural caves occupied between 15000 and 2000 BC by several settlements dating from the Upper Paleolithic to the Mesolithic, the prehistoric site more famous India.

The rock carvings in red, white, black and ocher depicting wild animals, hunting scenes and dance until deity recognizable as Shiva and Ganesh. Near Bhimbetka, in the village of Bhojpur, we visit the temple of Shaiva Bhojeshwar, of impressive proportions, built in the eleventh century and remained unfinished, the temple houses in the cell, framed by four huge pillars, one Shivalingam of 2.2 meters height. Nearby, built by the same king of Paramara dynasty, Raja Bhoja, there is a Jain temple with a 6-meter high statue of Tirthankara Shantinath in black stone and the remains of a dam.

At about 50 km from Bhopal, we visit the famous stupa of Sanchi, Maurya art masterpieces built in the second century BC by Emperor Ashoka, who was born in the nearby town of Vidisha. The great stupa on the hill, considerably restored after the discovery took place in the nineteenth century by the British military, still have fences and gates cardinal circumambulation of the original circuits. On the lintels of doors, magnificent sculptures representing episodes of the previous lives of the Buddha, which is depicted as is characteristic of the art of that period.

Not far from Sanchi, in the village of Vidisha, there are some impressive ruins of a great era temple Gupta later converted into a mosque, and an adjacent well temple. Before returning to Bhopal visiting the nearby caves of Udaygiri revealing a famous representation of Varaha and the column erected in honor of Vishnu by an Alexandrian ambassador of Taxila in the ninth century BC to commemorate his conversion to Hinduism.

We travel to Mandu, situated in a magnificent location 650 meters above sea level. We use the afternoon to begin exploration of the extraordinary natural and artistic environment of the plateau with a large complex of palaces, mosques and mausoleums of Afghan architecture of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that dot a plateau formed by an offshoot of the Vindhya mountains.

This magical space, 200 hectares of unspoilt countryside, overlooking the valley of the Narmada flowing to the west and the plains of the Deccan, which extends to the south as the eye. Afghan Ghauri dynasty, which gained independence in 1401 from the Delhi Sultanate, began here a long season of extraordinary architectural achievements that went with the dynasty of Khalji and, after the conquest of the stronghold by Akbar, with that of the Mughals , whose Sultan Jahangir elected to Mandu scene of some of the most magnificent events of the celebration of his greatness.

Among the many architectural masterpieces, placed in a natural setting of extraordinary beauty and tranquility, we point out here only the marble mausoleum Hoshang Shah, built in the mid-fifteenth century and an important source of inspiration for the construction of the Taj Mahal, and the Rupmati Pavilion, overlooking the valley of the Narmada and windswept, tied to the memories of the tragic fate of love and death of the Sultan Khilji Baz Bahadur and Rupmati, the girl from the silver voice, certainly one of the most beautiful and romantic places of the world.

For the full day, we visit the various nuclei of the site buildings, including the Royal Enclosure with the Palace of the ship, the Grand Mosque, the Hoshang Shah Mausoleum, the Temple of Nilakantha, the Rupmati Pavilion and the Rewa Kund. Based in Mandu, we visit the fort and Dhar mosques, the former capital of the Ghauri Dynasty, located on the shore of a lake, and the Buddhist caves of Bagh.

We move to Ujjain, a very interesting city to visit where we find the liveliness that is found in traditional Hindu culture, even immune to the transformations imposed by the fast modernization. Bears witness to the cultural importance of Ujjain that its longitude is the meridian of origin in traditional Indian astronomy times calculations; the astronomical observatory built here in 1733 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, who also built the two famous observatories in Jaipur and Benares, unlike the latter two is still active.

We begin the visits from Ramghat, the banks of the sacred river Shipra dotted with temples and Ashram, where occur daily and on occasions of great religious festivals, the purification rites of the faithful. The center of the holy city is constituted by the Mahakaleshwar temple, which contains one of the two Jyotirlingas of Madhya Pradesh, symbol of inexhaustible creative power of the god Shiva. Near Ujjain there are many temples and holy places on the banks of the Shipra, including for example the different temples dedicated to planetary gods such as Saturn (Shani), Mars (Mangalam) and Nine Planets (Navgraha), further evidence of the permanence in site of the ancient tradition of Hindu cosmology.

We move from Ujjain to Indore via Dewas, a small town where lived for some time EM Forster, the author of A Passage to India, as secretary of the local Maharaja, whose story narrated in the book the Hill of Devi. We climb the Hill of Devi that stands out over the surrounding plains, where is honored from time immemorial Chamunda, terrible form of the great Mother Goddess.

Once in Indore we get a chance to visit several interesting sites, including the palace-basilica of Rajwada the Lal Bagh, palace built at the turn of the Maharaja garden between the XIX and XX century perfect British style, the cenotaphs of the Maratha Holkar dynasty, the archaeological museum, the Bada Ganapati temple with a statue of Ganesh of 8 meters height, and above all the extraordinary Kanch Mandir, a Jain temple with walls entirely decorated with multicolored mirror fragments that make up the stories of the Tirthankara, whose black onyx statues stand out among thousands of light reflections in a mirror niche.

Near Indore on the banks of the Narmada, the sacred river flowing from east to west along the border of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, overlook some fascinating sites. Maheshwar is a place linked to the memory of Rani Ahilya Bai, a princess who lived in the eighteenth century, still remarkably revered today for the many charities, including the many restorations of temples and sacred places funded during his lifetime.

This small jewel of architecture richly ornate and embedded in the bank of the river, which at that point has a wide breadth, consists of a high fence with some verandas on the ghats underlying within which are enclosed two temples and a small village with modest residence of Rani; because the charm of the place is unforgettable.

Rani also gave impetus to a local industry of textile craft, which makes Maheshwar still a major center for the manufacture of characteristic silk and cotton fabrics. Omkareshwar is the site of the Shiva temple or Shri Omkareshwar Mahadev which is home to the other of the two Jyotirlingas of Madhya Pradesh, the constant object of veneration by an endless crowd of pilgrims, and is located on a small island in the Narmada which is reached by boat or with a bridge.

Almost all the territory covers a plateau and those who go around here should not lose areas like Khajuraho. Jabalpur is famous for its marble rocks and Kanha National Park, where there are rare specimens of tigers. The latter is located 160 kilometers south-east of Jabalpur. In general, however, its focal points are located along the main railway line between Delhi to Mumbai.

It is called by locals as the Malwa and preserves as well as a scenic charm also important traces of the local historical past. An itinerary in Madhya Pradesh can be started with Sanchi, with the great Buddhist center founded by Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya empire. The next was that of the Maurya dynasty which then took over that of Sunga and subsequently of Gupta, until the arrival of the Huns. Khajuraho is a particular village as regards the Indian religious architecture, with many stone temples.

Then they were built 85 temples and today there are only 22 in good condition. They are divided into three groups, the Western, the Eastern and Southern, with the reproduction of a series of figures carved in stone. the arts of the period are reproduced and are a huge attraction for the whole country. You will then make a tour around Gwalior, accessible from Agra in a few hours, with the ancient fort, the Teli Ka Mandir Temple, dating from the ninth century and the Sas Bahu temples.

Beautiful, then, the Palace of Man Singh, Karan Palace, the Palace of Jehangir, the Palace of Shah Jahan and the Archaeological Museum, located inside the Gujri Mahal. Among the natural wonders of this region stands out the Panna National Park. If you have time, they might like the forts of Ajaigarh and Kalinjar or continue on to the city of Bhopal, the metropolis and historic state capital.

It is a land where the mysteries merge with each other, even the most remote village is evidence of a past secret that weaves plenty of wooded hills in a natural spider of timeless web. It is a friendly country, the homeland of proud tribes related to the legacy of the old days, but it is also the land of men and women from all parts of the country who have settled through the centuries in search of a new life from warriors, kings, architects, with their particular ambitions of conquest and beauty.

The rich temples and the extraordinary palaces are another attractive aspect of this land, home to artists and artisans prolific and natural landscapes by the beauty often enchanting, that still is largely unknown to tourists. The region is also rich in forests where tigers, panthers and bison are the masters. Kipling's classic children's novel is set in these valleys and forests.

The journey has strong connotations with artistic wealth of temples with styles that tell the history of India last millennium. The temples and palaces are mostly royal residences, religious temples graceful by the various philosophical cultures. The National Park of Bandhavgarh on this route as the rich diversity of interests is unique and among the most popular in India.

It was a beautiful journey through Madhya Pradesh in which we visited the parks with wonderful tigers, met local people of various ethnic groups and their colorful costumes in the villages. The Bandhavgarh National Park is a protected natural area, where you can see tigers in their natural habitat, along with many other mammals, birds and reptiles.


Two days were spent in vain in search of the tiger in the Kanha National Park.

The North Indian food is characterized by ghee, the clarified butter in which cooks fry the spices, which is a base for every preparations with many types of breads, grilled meat, a few sauces, and a preference for yoghurt.

The Chitrakote Falls are waterfalls situated west of Jagdalpur and are also called Small Niagara Falls because of their horseshoe shaped similar to the most famous American Falls.

At 69 km from Gwalior and 34 km from Jhansi, located on the Delhi-Chennai axis, Datia is mentioned in the Mahabharata as Dantavakra. The vision of the palace when we arrive in the village impresses us. The palace of Raja Bir Deo built on top of a hill with seven floors to climb already promises a beautiful view of course, always a little misty. Then a temple with beautiful Mughal frescoes and the temple of Gopeshwar.

In the 17th century, the village was the capital of a Rajput principality. On our way to the palace, we stop in front of a small room, and the teacher explains that he teaches 70 students of the village alternately, free of charge! And asks us to help him financially. We also see books he uses sent by tourists passing through.

We take a local guide as his advantage is that he knows the labyrinth of the 440 rooms and 16 courtyards of the palace! Otherwise, we may be transformed into future skeletons whitened by the years, because tourists do not run stairs in this place of Madhya Pradesh! He also had the lamp which allowed us to cross the dark staircases without too much hesitation to begin the visit.

The Mughal palace, built in 1620 by Orchha raja, Bir Singh Deo, was perfectly symmetrical, and we are pleasantly surprised by the rather good conservation of many frescoes and we regret of course that all these magnificent rooms, the music room, The playroom of the Maharani, are not better enhanced.

The ancient city of Tripuri, today's Jabalpur, featured in the great Mahabharata epic. The original inhabitants of Jabalpur were nomadic tribes Bhil and Gond. These tribal communities were not built like the Rajputs of northern India, or the western Marathas. Groups of agri-Basin of the Narmada értil. The tribesmen were weakly thrown into the woods by the ordained armies of the Marathas and then the Moguls. The British decimated the strength of tribal peoples by approving the Forestry Law, which gave them unrestricted control over all forests.

The oldest known states, the state of Avanti which control the territory of present-day Jabalpur and the eastern part of Madhya Pradesh, dates back to the third century BC. Avanti had a regular exchange of several dynasties like the Sunga, Gupta, Harsha ruled the state. The Kalchuri dynasty in the latter part of the eighth century made Jabalpur as its capital. The Gonds wrested control in the 13th century the Gondwana region until the end of the 16th century.

The Gonds were art lovers and worshipers of the Janani or the creator. The power to procreate truly divinely and uncultivated suckling recognized sex as a supreme cult. They constructed the exotic temples and palaces with sculptures and exotic rock and rolls of all the United Gond. The beauty of the temples and palaces in Jabalpur is a sure statement of its art.

The Mughal rulers expansion of southern India saw the region as the main bottleneck and attacked it again and again. The legend of Durgawati, the Gond Reina, and local Joan of Arc, was born when the massacre was destroyed by the Mughal emperor Akbar. The terrain was not the forte of Mughals and soon guerrilla war specialists, the Marathas gained control. The saga of change did not go and the British defeated the Marathas in the early 18th century.

The location of the city within the zone of influence of India led to the development of Jabalpur as the main supplier of weapons and equipment, and the establishment of ammunition factories. The city was an integral part of the struggle for freedom with the giant fishes such as Mahatma Gandhi, Lokmanya Tilak and Subhash Chandra Bose, who had their conferences in the city.

Jabalpur cover everything from natural patrons of imposing monuments, to places of historical significance. Marble Ranges in Bhedaghat village become the largest tug-of-war extractor along with Madan Mahal Fort. Jabalpur is a complete tourist package that delights one and all that make this unique city.

Just 21 km west of Jabalpur, is a small village called Bhedaghat. The town is smashed by Square Marble in the banks of the Narmada. Covered with volcanic seams of green and black, they rise almost 100 meters above the smooth Narmada flow on both sides. They are fabulous for the night, when the sun shines on the pure white surfaces of these rocks. During the night, like this, you will see a fascinating view under the moonlit sky. The Marble Rocks have been considered as one of the thousands of places to visit before dying. The best way to enjoy the great charm of these luxury hotels is to take a boat ride to Narmada.

Madan Mahal fort sitting quite at the top is a 900-year-old fortress that dominates the landscape. A view of the lower parts of the fortress is sparkling and makes it worth the visit. Madan Mahal Fort does not have a fancy or sculpted work, but the location and simplicity of the striking fortress. The fort was built by Gond King Madan Shah in 1116 and has since become a benchmark for Jabalpur City.

Rani Durgavati Memorial and Museum was built as a tribute to the legendary Queen Durgavati in 1964. The museum is a major collection of ancient manuscripts, manuscripts. There are eleven hundred statues of gods and goddesses in the museum . There is a separate section in the museum that is completely dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi . You can see many photos and portraits related to Mahatma Gandhi .

The Tilwara Ghat has a special place in the history of India and in the hearts of the followers of Mahatma Gandhi. This is the site of Mahatma Gandhi's embassies on the Narmada River. This is also the venue for the open session of the Tripuri Congress in 1939.



Madhya Pradesh comprises several linguistically and culturally distinct regions, including:

Molinari

A plateau region in the northwest of the state, north of the Vindhya range, with its distinct language and culture. Indore is the largest city in the region, while Bhopal lies on the edge of the Bundelkhand region. Ujjain is a city of historical importance.

Nimar

The western part of the valley of the Narmada River, located south of the Vindhyas in the southwest of the state.

Bundelkhand

A region of rolling hills and fertile valleys in the northern part of the state, which slopes down toward the Indo-Gangetic plains to the north. Gwalior is a historical center of the region. A hill region to the northeast of the state, which includes the eastern end of the Vindhya range.

Mahakoshal

The southeastern part of the state includes the eastern end of the Satpura Narmada.

Some other Attractions

KHAJURAHO. The erotic theme of these temples has made them a unique claim. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, these Nagara-style temples from the X-XI century survived the years of Muslim rule and are the best example of Indian art in northern India.

THE SACRED CITY OF UJJAIN. Known as the city of temples, Ujjain is among the most sacred cities in India. In 2016, the ghats will host the Kumbh Mela, the largest pilgrimage of humanity that takes place every 12 years.

TIGERS. The National Parks of Madhya Pradesh have the largest population of felines in the country. Approaching Satpura, Kanha or Pench guarantees to the traveler the most spectacular fauna sightings in places of exceptional beauty.

PREHISTORIC ART. Bhimbetka caves are located a few kilometers from the state capital, Bhopal. The presence of Homo Erectus is documented more than 100,000 years ago, although most surprising are its 30,000-year-old wall paintings.

SANCHI STUPA. Built during the reign of Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC, it is one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The water flow of the Narmada crosses Madhya Pradesh towards the coast of the Arabian Sea. It is considered one of the most sacred rivers in India, but you will also find places like Marble Rocks, a spectacular marble gorge near Jabalpur.

ORCHHA. A village that lives in the shade of an immense heritage, so travelers describe this place that has all the charms of the most beautiful villages in India. The Betwa River, the ghats, a relaxed life and the palace and tombs of the Bundela dynasty.

THE FORTRESS OF GWALIOR. The imposing structure of the fort of Gwalior rises over the city of the same name since the 8th century. Inside, there are palaces, temples and water tanks that tell the story of the wars of the Scindia, the last inhabitants of the enclosure.

THE MALWA FESTIVAL. The ruins of Mandu are the privileged setting of the Malwa festival, a traditional culture meeting held between September and October, and where samples of the most remote tribal cultures of the state come together.

MAHESWAR. Mentioned in the Ramayana and Mahabharata it is one of the oldest cities of Madhya Pradesh. The Ahilya Fort on the Narmada River, which is also a luxury hotel, is one of its main attractions, as well as the active religious life on the banks of the river.

Climate

Madhya Pradesh has a topography that is crossed from north to south by plains separated by mountainous areas. The climate is extreme in northern Madhya Pradesh. It is cool and breezy and humid in the central part of the eastern regions. Period to visit is between September and February. The state has three main seasons.

November and February are the months of winter, during which the average temperatures range from 10 ° to 27 ° C. The winters are usually dry and pleasant. March to May is hot and dry. Summers are hot, with an average temperature of 29 ° C (85 ° F) and a high temperature sometimes reaches 48 ° C. From June to September during the monsoon season temperatures average 19 ° to 30 ° C. Madhya Pradesh receives an average annual rainfall of about 1200 mm, of which 90 percent falls during the monsoon season.

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