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Madhya Pradesh Travel Guide

At the heart of India, the magic of Madhya Pradesh lies in its exquisitely carved temples, proud fortresses and variety of wildlife. Most of the state is a high plateau, historically known as the Malwa region. Home to many pre-Aryan tribes such as the Gonds and Bhils, Madhya Pradesh is still overwhelmingly Indo-Aryan with the majority of the people speaking Hindi. Besides, Gwalior city, MP's other attractions are: Udaygiri, an excursion from Bhopal, with notable cave sculptures of religious themes, the medieval city of Orchha with exquisite palaces and cenotaphs, the Khajuraho temples, cave paintings at Bhimbetka, Sanchi, unmatched repository of Buddhist art and architecture, the city of love, Mandu.

Population: 74 million
Festivals: Khajuraho dance festival in March; Navaratri in Sept/Oct;
The Malwa festival in Indore, Mandu and Ujjain and the Panchmarhi festival.

Khajuraho templeBhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, is a fascinating amalgam of an old historic city, and modern urban planning. It is situated on the 11th century city, Bhojapal, founded by Raja Bhoja but an Afghan soldier, Dost Mohammed, established the present city. Today it presents a multi-faceted profile: the old city with its marketplaces and fine old mosques and palaces still bears the aristocratic imprint of its former rulers, among them the succession of powerful Begums who ruled Bhopal from 1819 to 1926. Equally impressive is the new city with its verdant, exquisitely laid out parks and gardens, broad avenues and streamlined modern edifices.

The history of Madhya Pradesh goes back to the time of Ashoka, the great Mauryan ruler. To the Chandelas, however, goes the credit of building the fantastic monuments of Eros, Khajuraho, in the north of the state. Between 12th and 16th centuries, the region saw continuing struggles between Hindu and Muslim rulers and invaders. The fortified city of Mandu in the southwest was the scene of frequent battles. Madhya Pradesh finally fell to the Mughals.

The state's cultural lineage is ancient and checkered. Madhya Pradesh occupies a special position in the history of music. The Gwalior gharana is among the most prominent arbiters of style. The rivalry of Tansen and Baiju Bawra is remembered in fantastic detail to this day. In modern times, the legendary Ustad Allaudin Khan, guru of famous satirist Pt. Ravi Shankar and sarod player Ali Akbar Khan accomplished the revival of north Indian classical music. MP also has a rich tribal culture: the bison-horn dance of the Muria tribe in Madhya Pradesh is a dynamic interpretation of nature's mating season.

The People:
Hindus form the majority of the population, but there are significant minorities of Muslims, Jains, Christians, and Buddhists and a small population of Sikhs. Hindi is the official and most widely spoken language; tribal languages include Bhili and Goni, as well as eastern and western Hindi dialects. The second most important common language is Marathi. Agriculture dominates the Madhya Pradesh economy. MP is also famous for its sari weaving, embroidery and beadwork

A number of tribes occupy Madhya Pradesh, including the Bhil, Baiga, Gon, Korku, Kamar, Kol, and Maria. Many of the tribal traditions are still vital and strong, although they have been exposed to outside cultural influences. A great deal of tribal mythology and folklore is also preserved; e.g., the Gon bards still sing of the legendary deeds of Ling-pen, the mythical originator of the tribe. All tribes retain myths and legends regarding their origins, and they have songs for the ceremonies of birth and marriage, together with folktales, riddles, and proverbs illustrating their cultural heritage.


The climate is monsoon, with much of the rain falling from June to October. The March-to-May season is hot and dry, and temperatures everywhere are higher than 29º C. Winters are usually pleasant and dry. Generally, rainfall decreases westward and northward; in the east and southeast it averages 60 inches or more, dropping to 40 inches or less in the west and less than 30 inches in the Chambal River valley to the north. Best time to visit September to February.

Madhya Pradesh Bandhavgarh National Park Bhedaghat Bhimbetka Bhojpur Gwalior
Indore Jabalpur Jhansi Khajuraho Maheshwar
Mandu Omkareshwar Orchha Pachmarhi Sanchi
Ujjain Videsha      
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