Madhya Pradesh is one of India’s largest states and offers a variety of experiences to tourists. It boasts of a rich history, a wealth of fauna and innumerable things to do.
The most well known treasures of the State are the famous Khajuraho temples. The unique temples keep the world’s imagination captured even today due to their erotic art and lifelike carvings. However, there’s a lot more to the temples than just their art and architecture. A beautifully presented Light and Sound Show takes people through the mythical and factual history of the temples. The show is held twice a night on the ground of the main temple complex. A few hours’ drive from Khajuraho is Orchha, a city which exudes grandeur and history.
The Orchha Fort is one of India’s most spectacular. But what attracts people to Orchha in millions is the Ram Raja Temple. The temple is supposed to have wish-fulfilling abilities and it is the only place in the world where Rama is worshipped as a king and not a God. Another city that speaks of royal splendour, even today, is Gwalior. The city has an enviable history yet it has many modern developments. It has one of the most respected schools in India and palace which has some of the most spectacular artefacts. Mementos of the dynasties that ruled over Gwalior in the past can be seen in their grand creations such as palaces, temples and monuments.
Other than glimpses into the splendours of Indian royalty, Madhya Pradesh also possesses a chapter, invaluable to human history. One of the things to do in Madhya Pradesh is, without doubt, a trip to Bhimbetka.
In this small city over 500 caves from the Neolithic age were recently found. In these caves we can see paintings made by pre-historic man. The paintings depict pre-historic life through scenes showing dancing, music, hunting, domestic life and so much more, a chilling sight to behold. Another such location is in Pachmarhi. In Pachmarhi’s Mahadeo Hills you can see a bounty of rock paintings. Many of these creations date back to as far as 10,000 years.
Comparatively close to Bhimbetka is Sanchi, a city famous world over for its treasure of Buddhist monuments. Here, you can find a plethora of Buddhist monasteries, stupas and architecture. A lot of these creations were built in the 3rd century B.C. and the most well known amongst them is the Sanchi Stupa 1, which was built by Emperor Ashoka. A sandstone pillar near the stupa bears Emperors Ashoka’s caveat against divisions in the Buddhist community.
Amongst Madhya Pradesh’s most valued treasures is Bandhavgarh, a small but rich national park where you have the highest chance of spotting a tiger in India. This National Park also houses a lavish Fort Bandhavgarh, which is about 2000 years old. Before leaving Bandhavgarh you must meet Mohan, a stuffed White Tiger that’s placed on display at the Palace of the Rewas. The Kanha National Park was created as a Tiger Reserve. Although Tiger spotting is rare here Kanha is the sole sanctuary for the hardground Barasingha and a haven for bird lovers. One of the most majestic natural wonders of the world is also located in Madhya Pradesh. This sight is none other than the Marble Rocks of Bhedaghat. Rising high above the Earth and bisected by River Narmada are these magnificent natural creations. The Marble cliffs, glittering brightly are an unforgettable and incomparable sight.
From natural wealth to prehistoric treasures, Madhya Pradesh is one of the richest States in India. Its vast array of wonders is nearly impossible to fit into a short trip and deserve at least a week to soak in comfortably.
Madhya Pradesh tourism: Practical Information
- Madhya Pradesh is a large State and it is well-connected to major Indian metros. Khajuraho and Gwalior have small airports. But flights to Gwalior are very few in number.
- To come in from Delhi one can take a train to Jhansi from where private cabs can take you to the Alipura Palace homestay. Alipura Palace is a good hub for those travelling to Orchha and Khajuraho, while those looking to cover Khajuraho and Bandhavgarh will find Mahindra homestays such as Rajmandir in Nagod a delightful option.
- Public transport is not easily accessible as the cities are far from each other. The best modes of transport are trains or, if the budget permits, private cabs. Bookings made by homestay owners go a long way in travelling safely yet at a reasonable price.
- The Light and Sound Show is performed twice a day and a ticket costs roughly Rs 90 per person.
There are three major temple complexes in Khajuraho and one shouldn’t leave the place without seeing them all.
- Tripods are not allowed within the complex unless prior permission is obtained after going through a complex and tedious process.
- Travelling to the State between late March and July is ill-advised as the summers are unforgiving and the situation is worsened by daily power-cuts.
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