What do you know about the treasures stored in the heart of India? The state of Madhya Pradesh is brimming with abundant history, a wide range of wildlife, striking flora, and scrumptious delicacies. It’s an underrated jewel that calls for attention. Read this post to know all about the whos, wheres and whats of the heart of India. Sit tight! We plan to tell you every tiny detail about the places to visit in Madhya Pradesh.
Historic places to visit in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh is a hub for history buffs. It has been under the rule of Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, and Mughal empires. One can find hundreds and thousands of years old structures, stories, and cultures still intact, waiting to be explored.
Who hasn’t heard of Khajuraho’s temples in Madhya Pradesh? The city houses several Jain and Hindu temples, famous for their intricate sandstone carvings and sculptures. One can witness the resplendent Indo-Aryan architecture in these structures. The small town is divided into western, eastern, and southern sections by the State Government.
Khajuraho was created by the Chandel empire between 950 and 1050 AD and once boasted 85 of such well-decorated temples. However, over time, many of them got destroyed. It’s now left with only 22 temples.
Situated in Raisen, the Sanchi Stupa is said to have been built sometime between the 3rd and 2nd century BC. The symbolic representation of Buddha and his ideologies is unique and something that every traveller cherishes about this place.
The stupa was constructed by Ashoka, the greatest Mauryan king after he turned to Buddhism. It has been renovated a couple of times. It was also reconstructed around 1912 by Sir John Marshall. The national emblem of India, known as the Ashok Chakra, is taken from the Ashok Pillar situated at Sanchi.
The gateways, which were made after the demise of Ashoka, have carvings depicting significant Buddhist scenes, such as Buddha’s enlightenment, first sermon, seige of Kushinagar, emperor Ashoka visiting the Bodhi tree, etc.
One can find Ashoka’s Sanchi Stupa 120 kilometres away from Bhopal. Visitors are allowed to enter from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. The price of the ticket is INR 40 for Indian adults and INR 600 for international tourists. The major points of attraction are the ancient statues and the four gateways.
Curious to know how kings lived in the early centuries? Visit the Gwalior Fort and see for yourselves. This 6th-century fort stands tall and proud over the Gopachal hill in Gwalior. The majestic fort made out of the Vindhayan sandstone has faced a number of attacks, but the strength it encompasses didn’t let the fort succumb.
The fort showcases magnificent architecture, decorated with some stunning sandstone sculptures, rock statues, and splendid artwork. The tall towers and blue tiles on the exterior add a classic regal charm to the fort.
The feature of this fort that attracts several tourists is the Tamarind tree planted by Tansen. The folklore says that whoever eats a leaf of this tree gets a sweet voice. Some of the other attractions of this fort include the sculptures of Jain Tirthankars, Gujari Mahal, Karan Mahal, Man Mandir Palace, Jauhar Kund, Suraj Kund, and to tickle your funny bones, a Saas-Bahu Temple.
It takes around 4-5 hours to explore the fort completely. Visitors are allowed entry between 6:00 am and 5:30 pm. The entry fee for Indian adults is INR 75, and the children’s is INR 40. Foreigners have to shell INR 250 to enter the fort. The Gwalior Fort is indeed one of the best historic places to visit in Madhya Pradesh.
Orchha is a less explored jewel in the state. The town was established in the Bundelkhand region by the Bundela chieftain Rudra Pratap sometime around the 16th century. The age-old fort of Orchha still stands tall on an island at the banks of Betwa.
The most popular attractions of this fort include the Jehangir Mahal and Sawan Bhadon Mahal built by Vir Singh Deo, Sheesh Mahal, Dauji ki Kothi, Baba ki Gufa, and Hardaul ki Haveli. Do attend the light and sound show in the evening, and enlighten yourself with the history of this gorgeous fort.
A unique thing to know about the locals of this area is that they consider Lord Rama as their king, while the Bundelas who established the town are worshipped as demigods.
The best time to visit this calm town is during winter when the sun isn’t harsh. Reaching the fort is not a tough task. The closest airport lies in Gwalior, and the railhead nearest to Orchha is in Jhansi.
If you’re a history buff, Orchha’s forts and temples built in the 16th and 17th centuries should be on top of your list of places to visit in Madhya Pradesh.
Religious places to visit in Madhya Pradesh
Who said Madhya Pradesh could only lure adventure-seekers and archaeologists? It is equally a treat for the elderly and the spiritual and religious souls as well. Want some internal peace? Do visit these tranquil religious places to visit in Madhya Pradesh.
It is impossible not to mention Ujjain when talking about the religious places to visit in Madhya Pradesh. This calm little city is at less than an hour’s distance from Indore. The list of things for which Ujjain is famous includes Mahakaleshwar Temple, that houses the only south-facing Shivalinga in the world.
It’s widely believed that Ujjain is where Lord Krishna along with his brother Balrama, and mate, Sudama, attained his education. There’s a beautiful depiction of that at the Sandipani Ashram.
The other spots to visit in the city of temples are Kal Bhairav Temple, Mangalnath Temple, Harsiddhi Mata Temple, and Navgraha Temple.
Masses cluster at Ujjain to celebrate the biggest kumbh-mela, that happens once in every 12 years. When in the city, one should not miss the strikingly gorgeous structures built under the rule of Gupta dynasty.
Gwalior boasts of numerous attractive temples with a unique architecture and very unusual names.
Sas Bahu Temple: The precise reason why this temple came to be known as sas-bahu temple is unknown. The premises has a pair of twin temples, in which one is a little bigger in size than the other. These temples built by King Mahipala in early 1900s have commendable intricate carvings, some of which have faced the wrath of time.
Teli ka Mandir: This temple built by the Telis sometime in the 8th or 9th century honours Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, and Matrikas. The onlooker can admire the Dravidian architecture and the one of its kind rectangular sanctum at this mandir.
Sheetla Mata Temple: This temple is built for Goddess Sheetla, who’s believed to cure children and the elderly from various health problems.
Gwalior has a number of other temples which lure tourists from all over the country.
Omkareshwar is a river-island lying at the confluence of the Narmada and Kaveri rivers. Wondering how the town got its name? There are two major reasons why. Omkara is another name of Lord Shiva. The aerial view of this town looks like the symbol of Om.
This sacred town, which reminds an onlooker of Varanasi, is home to one of the revered 12 jyotirlingas.
Thousands of people gather to witness the aarti of Omkareshwar’s Shivalinga every week.
It is an unspoken rule for all the tourists to go for a 16 km long parikrama at the Omkareshwar ghat. If you don’t fancy covering that great distance on foot, you can do the parikrama from a boat as well.
Wildlife places to visit in Madhya Pradesh
The heart of India is home to hundreds of species of fauna. Ghariyals, tigers, sloth bears, chinkaras, the giant Indian squirrels and whatnot! In Madhya Pradesh’s wildlife sanctuaries, you can find them all. The state boasts of around 24 wildlife sanctuaries and 9 national parks. Spotting tigers and panthers here is, hence, very likely. Read on, and find out all about the wildlife places to visit in Madhya Pradesh:
Kanha National Park
Enjoy jungle safaris? Well, Kanha National Park is Asia’s best administered national park that offers an attractive range of safaris. Khatia, Mukki, and Sarhi zones are considered the best for spotting tigers. Apart from the Royal Bengal Tiger, this national park also houses barasingha, Indian wild dogs, leopards, and sloth bears.
The park can be visited from October 1 to June 30. It remains closed during the monsoon months and on major festivals like Holi and Diwali. But as per us, the best time to visit the national park is during winter, i.e., from December to February.
Madhav National Park
This National Park is situated in the Shivpuri district of Gwalior. Wildlife enthusiasts come here to see some exquisite species of fauna like the barking deer, chitals, chinkaras, sambhar, and chausinghas. One can also spot distinctive migratory birds like teal, geese, pochard, and pintail.
Not just an exquisite fauna, this park also boasts of some unique species of flora. In the right season, one can spot dense Palash, Khair, Salai, Kerdhai, Dhawda, etc.
When at the park, do ask about the Shooting Box. Don’t worry! Activities like poaching are banned at Madhav National Park. You won’t be required to hunt animals. At the shooting box, the tourists pause for a brief while to admire the crocodiles and other wild animals from a safe distance.
Pench National Park
Trivia time! Guess which two national parks acted as inspiration for the famous novel called The Jungle Book?
The answer is Kanha and Pench National Parks! The two are strikingly similar to Mowgli’s abode. In honour of Kipling’s book, a large area of this park has been named “Mowgli Pench Sanctuary”.
You can find ferocious Sher Khans in a large number. Other than the Royal Bengal Tigers, the national park also houses numerous chitals, jungle cats, and sloth bears. Blue kingfishers, waterfowls, munias, pintails, peafowls, and wagtails are some species of birds that a birdwatcher can catch glimpses of, when at Pench National Park. The lush grasslands and flora leave the visitors in awe.
Whether you admire the wilderness or not, Pench National Park should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Madhya Pradesh.
Ratapani is a Teak Forest not far from the capital city, Bhopal. Fun fact- it is also the place where River Betwa originates. The sanctuary spread across 890 kms serves as residence to a major chunk of Indian wildlife. For a unique safari experience, opt for the one that happens at night, and look for shiny eyes glaring in the dark.
Some unique types of animal species that one may witness at this park are Small Indian Civet, Hyena, Rhesus Monkey, Porcupine, Rock Python etc.
Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve
Pachmarhi, popular as the Queen of Satpura, is being developed as a quaint hub where all the tourists crash, relax and explore for a couple of days. It is already a must visit on the list of places to visit in Madhya Pradesh, and attracts the attention of innumerable tourists every year. The things to check out at this abode of the wilds are the numerous waterfalls, thousands of years old caves, captivating views from the hills, the wildlife reserve, and several other historic structures.
The legend says that the five caves built by the Pandavas, after which the town is named, still stand tall here.
The biosphere reserve was created to protect the endangered species of animals from malicious human activities. The zone is divided into three. The innermost is the natural zone, guarding it is the buffer zone and the outermost area where humans are permitted to enter.
Check out our elaborate blog on wildlife sanctuaries and national parks where you can have your own brush with the magnificent Indian wildlife.
No matter what your travel theme is, the heart of India, Madhya Pradesh tourism places are brilliant for your exploration spree. Click here to read more about the offerings of this state.