The medieval cities, wildlife sanctuaries and holy pilgrimage centres of Madhya Pradesh present an unforgettable experience to the tourists. There are several world heritage sites in the state that is also known as the Heart of India. The different cities dotted all over the state are the treasure trove of a lot of tourist attractions that still keep exciting the visitors by the impression of its eternal charm.
Perfectly preserved medieval cities, refreshing and enchanting wildlife sanctuaries and some of the holiest and most revered pilgrim centres offer a fulfilling experience to the tourists. Tranquil beauty of Pachmarhi, glittering splendour of Marble Rocks and roaring sound of Dhuandhar Fall at Bhedaghat, Kanha National Park (Kanha Tiger Reserve), Barasingha and Bandhavgarh National Park, its prehistoric caves and wildlife are some of the major attractions of the state of Madhya Pradesh. Gwalior, Mandu, Datia, Chanderi, Jabalpur, the priencely state of Orchha, Raisen, Sanchi, Vidisha District, Udaygiri, Bhimbetika, Indoreand Bhopal are the places well known for their historical monuments. Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Ujjain, Chitrakoot and Amarkantak are major centres of pilgrimages.
The unique Khajuraho Temples are famous all over the world. The temples of Orchha, Bhojpur and Udaypur attract large number of tourists from everywhere. Archaeological treasures are preserved in the museums at Satna District, Sanchi, Vidisha, Gwalior, Indore, Mandsaur district, Ujjain, Rajgarh District, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Rewa District and many other places. The holy shrines of the state; Amarkantak Hills, and Narmada Rivervalley, Satpura mountain ranges and Vindhyachal hills, the diamond land of Panna, have magnificent beauty.
Pilgrimage Tourism in Madhya Pradesh
There are a number of religious centres in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The intricately carved temples and inventively built mosques are some of them, which deserve a mention. These magnificent temples and mosques were built over in the different periods under the rule of different emperors. These are now a much-revered pilgrimage centres for tourist seeking a spiritual enlightenment. Located magnificently in the most natural surroundings, Madhya Pradesh's sacred places have an exclusive appeal. Ujjain and Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh are important centres to the Hindu pilgrims. The Gopal Mandir in Ujjain is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is necessary to see for the pilgrim tourists. The Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple at Ujjain, dedicated to Lord Shiva, draws thousands of pilgrims every year. The Kumbha Mela is organised in every twelve years in Ujjain. The Jama Masjid is located at Mandu in Madhya Pradesh. It has such ideal acoustics that a murmur from the pulpit is heard clearly in the farthest corner of the enormous patio. The Jain temple of Mandu is flocked by several Muslim pilgrims who come from every nook and corner of the world. Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh is an important centre for Buddhist pilgrims. The Buddhist vihara is of great religious significance to the Buddhist tourists. The Buddhist Temples in Sanchi were built to honour the teachings of the Lord Buddha. The temples make for an exceptional tourist spot visited by a large number of tourists and hence are pretty notable among the holy places in Sanchi.
Nature Tourism in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh is a nature lover's paradise. The state is endowed with numerous wild life sanctuaries, parks, gardens and lakes. One of the most captivating sites to visit in Madhya Pradesh is the Van Vihar National Park, a safe home for white tigers. There are jungle safaris, which are arranged for the visitors sometime during the afternoon when these rare creatures come to the edge for evening meal. The zoo also houses tigers, lions, leopards and Himalayan bears. The Madhav National Park is the home to a wide variety of deer, chinkara, blue bull, black buck, barking deer and four-horned antelope. Also seen in the park are wild dog and sloth bear. Peacocks are also seen in large numbers. In the nearby Karera Bird sanctuary is to be found the Great Indian Bustard, an endangered species that has been rescued by sensitive conservation. Ranging from the low hills of Hoshangabad district and rising into the Mahadeo Hills at Pachmarhi, Betuland Chhindwara, the forests explode into liveliness at Kanha, one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in the world.
The Kanha National Park and its sister sanctuary, Bandhavgarh have grassy meadows, which are home for the deers. Kanha is also a haven for the unique species of twelve-horned swamp deer, the only swamp deer which has adapted to dwelling on hard ground. Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh stretches along the shores of two artificial lakes which are the Upper Lake and Lower Lake. Madhya Pradesh Tourism's Boat Club on the Upper Lake provides services for thrilling trips by sail, paddle and motor boats. Indore in Madhya Pradesh has a beautiful park with a mini zoo. Visitors can enjoy elephant, camel, and pony rides, goat carts and buggy rides in the evenings. Waterfalls in Madhya Pradesh are also a major attraction for the nature lovers. The Bee Falls Pachmarhi is one of the important falls and the sight that one has of the place from Sunset point is one that is to be cherished for a long time. The sheer power and grandeur of the Chitrakoot Falls on the Indravati River in Bastar will woo over the traveller's hearts. In the Kanger Valley is India's largest national biosphere reserve, in which nature has been left totally undisturbed by man. Tirathgarh Falls decorate the hills with an eight hundred and twenty feet lace of froth. The skilfully laid garden in Orchha in Madhya Pradesh, the Phool Bagh bears evidence to the highly refined aesthetic prudence of the Bundelas, who were the rulers of this small place in Madhya Pradesh.
Leisure Tourism in Madhya Pradesh
Historical sites are scattered in the state of Madhya Pradesh. From forts to ancient centres of learning to monuments, these places are intricately related to the history of the state. One of the places that the travellers must visit is Gwalior. The city is dominated by its hill-top fort, one of the most impressive in the world. Other two impressive and historically significant places in Madhya Pradesh are Orchha and Shivpuri. Tourists from all over the world make it a point to visit these places. Orchha lies at a distance of hundred and twenty kilometres from Gwalior. It is a medieval city frozen in time and space, existing even today as it must have in the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was built. Shivpuri district is the former summer capital of the Scindias of Gwalior. In Bhopal the Shaukat Mahal, situated at the entrance to the Chowk area is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. The Madhya Pradesh State Archaeological Museum, situated near Banganga Road in Bhopal has a fine collection of 12th century Jain bronzes. The Rajwada palace in Indore is a major tourist attraction. The seven-storied palace belonged to Holkars is nearly two hundred years old. A tour of Madhya Pradesh could appropriately end at Khajuraho. The Khajuraho temples are ornately carved, with each frieze and sculpture depicting the genius of the men who carved it and the king who inspired them to their work. Tourists who take a glimpse of the spectacular architecture of Khajuraho are filled with awe and reverence.
Visiting Information on Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh is well connected with various parts of the country. It is a well-liked tourist destination in central India, which makes it accessible by rail, road and air. There are five international air terminals in Madhya Pradesh - Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur and Khajuraho. Both public and private domestic airlines operate regular flights from here. The Raja Bhoj International Airport in Bhopal has international airlines flying to Dubai, Singapore, Sharjah and Bangkok. International flights also ply from Devi Ahilyabai Holkar International Airport in Indore.
There are excellent train services throughout the state of Madhya Pradesh. There are several important railway stations in the state, namely Bhopal, Bilaspur, Gwalior, Indore, Itarsi, Jabalpur, Katni, Ratlam, Ujjain and Khandwa. Bhopal Railway Station is the major railhead here.
Road journeys are interesting because the routes pass through forests and cultivated areas in succession, skirt quaint villages, up hill and down dale. The State Highways and the National Highways make Madhya Pradesh accessible in no time.
From traditional handicrafts to hand woven saris, Madhya Pradesh is truly a shopper's hub. Gwalior, Bhopal and Jabalpur are some of the most suitable places to shop. The miniature stone carvings as replicas of Khajuraho are also available here. Most places have adequate, if simple, hotel facilities. But the real joy of travel is in coining to a remote rest house, or 'dak bungalow', maintained by the government for its officers on tour or for the weary traveller overtaken by night and in need of shelter. The best time to travel in Madhya Pradesh is from the mild autumn of October to the end of March. Further, the tribal culture of the state also attracts tourists from distant places.
Thus, tourism has a large role to play in the economic development of the state. Madhya Pradesh has the advantage of having a large number of diverse tourist attractions. Tremendous diversity and mystique, rich cultural heritage, cuisine, festivals and art and craft make Madhya Pradesh an ideal tourist destination.