Also known as the heart of India, Madhya Pradesh is the second-largest state that is home to three spectacular World UNESCO Heritage Sites, picturesque landscapes, and amazing wildlife. Boasting a rich cultural heritage and stunning topography, the centrally located state is quite popular amongst historians, archaeologists, and tourists from all over the world. With a myriad range of cultural festivals, there's a lot to explore in Madhya Pradesh, as it is one of the richest tourist destinations in India. The capital city, Bhopal, is also famous for its many historical and archaeological sites and recreational activities. The ideal time to visit Madhya Pradesh is either during winters (October to March) or monsoons (July to September).

History of Madhya Pradesh

According to archaeologists, Madhya Pradesh has been inhabited since the Middle Pleistocene age. Pottery discovered in Bhimbetka rock shelters reflects the traces of the Mesolithic era. The Chalcolithic sites in the western part of the state depict Kathya and Malwa culture. The Avanti Kingdom captured the quintessential city of Ujjain and made it their capital. Malava, Dasarna, Nishada, and Karusha also ruled the state before it finally came under the control of Chandragupta Maurya -the king of the Mauryan dynasty in the 4th and 5th centuries. Their rule collapsed with a series of attacks by the nomadic tribe from Central Asia, the White Huns. Along with the existence of Paramara's reign in Malwa and Chandelas in Bundelkhand, many regions of Madhya Pradesh came under Rajput clans. 

Finally, in 1531, the Sultanate of Gujarat conquered Malwa, and Sher Shah Suri ruled in most of the areas of the state until the Second Battle of Panipat, which was held in the year 1556. With this, the cards changed, and Akbar ensured Mughal rule over the majority of the parts of the state. After the death of the last Mughal king, Aurangzeb, in 1707, Marathas acquired the state. After Marathas, the seat kept changing between Peshwas, Holkars, Pawars, Bhonsles, and the Scindias. Later, during the Anglo-Maratha War, the entire region was taken over by the Britishers. Rebellions like Tatya Tope revolted in 1857 and were suppressed by the Kings of some princely states. Finally, after India gained Independence in 1947, the historically replete Madhya Pradesh was declared as an independent state. 

Read More : Places To Visit In Madhya Pradesh

Culture of  Madhya Pradesh

Domiciled by the communities of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, and Sikhs, Madhya Pradesh is also home to various tribes such as Bhils, Gonds, Oraons, Kols, Bhilalas, Murias, and Korkens. One-third part of the state is covered by the tribal communities and therefore the tribal culture is quite prevalent. Many parts of the state such as the Bastar region, south of Jabalpur, etc. are still unaffected by urbanization.

The vibrant and diverse culture can be seen in various art forms, folk dances, songs, and festivals of Madhya Pradesh, which is the major highlight that draws tourists from everywhere. Hindi is a widely spoken language. However, people also speak Malawi, Bundelkhand, Chhattisgarhi, Sindhi, Urdu, Marathi, and Gujarati. The essence of the cultural ethnicity of Madhya Pradesh can be seen in various traditions and rituals that have been followed since ancient times. As the state is rich in soil and other resources, the main occupation of people here is agriculture and cattle farming. 

Food of  Madhya Pradesh

Boasting a rich cultural lineage, the food of Madhya Pradesh is an assortment of diverse cultures and heritage. Many of the state's cuisines are influenced by the neighbouring regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The state's staple food is wheat, while Jowar and milk are widely used in almost every household. Indore is known to be a city of foodies that offers a unique culinary experience with its wide range of delicacies. The city of Gwalior is famous for Bedai and Jabalpur for its Badkul. 

Since people here are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, you will find a wide range of delectable dishes. Indori Poha is a popular breakfast that shouldn't be missed. The most iconic vegetarian dishes of Madhya Pradesh are bhutte ki kees, dal bafla, palak poori, and chakki ki shaak, which are truly delightful. Some of the most popular non-vegetarian dishes include gosht korma from Bhopal, seekh kebabs, biryani pilaf, and Murgh Rezala. Sweet savouries such as malpua, mawa-bati, khoya jalebi, backup, shrikhand, chikki, etc., are definitely going to make you ask for more.

Art and HandiCrafts of  Madhya Pradesh

The arts and crafts of Madhya Pradesh portray a huge diversity through tribal art. Most popular tribes such as Gond, Baiga, Basar, Korku, etc create hunting tools, fishing traps, baskets, etc from bamboo while paintings found in regions such as Bundelkhand, Malwa, Gondwa, etc depicts the vivid folk culture. Intricate stone carvings found at various monuments and temples in Madhya Pradesh depict the rich art culture of the state.

Madhya Pradesh is also famous for crafts such as bamboo works, carpet weaving, durries, iron crafting, cane coverings, jute works, metal crafting, stone carving, terracotta, stuffed toys, zari embroidery, textile weaving, paper mache, woodcraft, and whatnot. Jali's work of Gwalior is very popular, while places like Tikamgarh are famous for tall human structures and figurines carved out of stone. The art and craft culture in Madhya Pradesh is well maintained by the local artisans and tribes. Apart from various delightful indulgences, tourists also get a chance to shop for exquisite antiques and artefacts along with beautiful handicrafts.

Things to do in Madhya Pradesh

Among the numerous tourist attractions in Madhya Pradesh, we have compiled a list of the best for you. Scroll down to know the activities you can experience during your tour to Madhya Pradesh.

  • Try the river rafting at Orchha
  • Witness the beauty of hot-air ballooning in Pench National Park
  • Take a heritage tour to UNESCO Heritage sites of Madhya Pradesh
  • Explore the amazing wildlife in Kanha Tiger Reserve 
  • Visit Sanchi Stupa to see ancient art and architecture
  • Buy some exciting things at the Old Bazaar of Jabalpur
  • Savor the taste of delectable cuisines in Indore
  • Witness the enchanting beauty of Pachmarhi & Dhuandhar falls.
  • Step into the Bharat Bhawan in the city of Bhopal 
  • Enjoy the old age wall paintings at Bhimbetka
  • Be a part of temple groups at Khajuraho and witness the annual cultural festival. 
  • Breeze through the Marble rocks in Bhedaghat
  • Take the blessings of Gods and Goddesses in Ujjain city

Overall, Madhya Pradesh is an exciting state to visit in India as it offers everything a traveler needs. Delve in the rich cultural diversity and get the most splendid wildlife experience in Madhya Pradesh. Get the best travel package by Adotrip to experience hassle-free traveling.

How to Reach Madhya Pradesh?

Madhya Pradesh, often referred to as the "Heart of India," is well-connected by air, rail, and road, making it accessible from various parts of the country. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to reach Madhya Pradesh:

By Air

Madhya Pradesh has several airports connecting it to major cities across India:

  • Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport, Indore (IDR):
  • Indore is the busiest airport in Madhya Pradesh with regular flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and other major cities.
  • From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach various parts of the state.
  • Raja Bhoj Airport, Bhopal (BHO):

Bhopal's airport offers flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, and other important cities.

Taxis and buses are readily available from the airport to different destinations within the state.

  • Jabalpur Airport (JLR):
  • Jabalpur is connected by flights from Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata.
  • Taxis and buses can take you from the airport to nearby tourist attractions and other cities in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Khajuraho Airport (HJR):
  • Khajuraho, famous for its temples, has flights from Delhi and Varanasi.
  • You can hire taxis or take buses to explore the region.
  • Gwalior Airport (GWL):
  • Gwalior has flights from Delhi and Mumbai.
  • Local transport options like taxis and buses are available to reach the city and surrounding areas.

By Train

Madhya Pradesh is well-connected by an extensive railway network:

  • Bhopal Junction: A major railway hub with trains from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and other major cities.
  • Indore Junction: Connects to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad.
  • Jabalpur Junction: Regular trains from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Varanasi.
  • Gwalior Junction: Trains from Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal, and Chennai.
  • Ujjain Junction: Connects to Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and other important cities.
  • Katni Junction: A key junction with trains from different parts of the country, including Delhi and Mumbai.

By Road

Madhya Pradesh has a good network of national and state highways:

  1. From Delhi: NH44 and NH46 connect Delhi to Bhopal and other parts of Madhya Pradesh.
    Buses and taxis are available from Delhi to various cities in Madhya Pradesh.

  2. From Mumbai: NH3 (Agra-Mumbai Highway) connects Mumbai to Indore.
    Regular buses and taxis can be hired for travel.

  3. From Bangalore: NH44 connects Bangalore to Bhopal.
    Long-distance buses are available, or you can hire a car for a road trip.

  4. From Kolkata: NH16 and NH44 connect Kolkata to Jabalpur and Bhopal.
    Buses and taxis can be hired for this journey.

  5. From Chennai: NH44 connects Chennai to Bhopal.
    Long-distance buses or taxis are available.

  6. From Kolkata: NH16 and NH44 connect Kolkata to Jabalpur and Bhopal.
    Buses and taxis can be hired for this journey.

  7. From Chennai: NH44 connects Chennai to Bhopal.
    Long-distance buses or taxis are available.

By Bus

Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (MPSRTC) and private operators run regular bus services:

  • Intrastate Buses: Regular buses connect major cities within Madhya Pradesh, such as Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Ujjain, and others.
  • Interstate Buses: Buses from neighboring states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.

Local Transport

Once in Madhya Pradesh, you can travel within the state using:

  • Buses: State-run and private buses for intrastate travel.
  • Taxis and Auto Rickshaws: Widely available in all major cities and tourist destinations.
  • Car Rentals: Various agencies offer cars for rent, providing flexibility to explore the state at your own pace.

By choosing any of these routes, you can easily reach Madhya Pradesh and explore its rich cultural heritage, historical monuments, and natural beauty.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What are the main tourist attractions in Madhya Pradesh?
Madhya Pradesh is home to numerous tourist attractions including the Khajuraho Temples, Sanchi Stupa, Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park, the city of Ujjain known for the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, Gwalior Fort, and the Marble Rocks at Bhedaghat near Jabalpur. The state also boasts rich cultural heritage sites and natural beauty.

Q2: What is the best time to visit Madhya Pradesh?
The best time to visit Madhya Pradesh is during the winter months from October to March. The weather during this period is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing and exploring the state’s wildlife sanctuaries. Summers can be quite hot, while the monsoon season brings heavy rainfall.

Q3: How can I reach Madhya Pradesh by train?
Madhya Pradesh has a well-developed railway network with major junctions like Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior, and Ujjain. These stations are well-connected to various parts of India, with regular trains from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Bangalore.

Q4: What are some famous dishes to try in Madhya Pradesh?
Madhya Pradesh offers a variety of delicious cuisine. Some famous dishes include Poha (flattened rice) with Jalebi, Bhutte ka Kees (grated corn snack), Bhopali Gosht Korma (a meat dish), Dal Bafla (a traditional dish similar to Dal Baati), and Malpua (a sweet pancake). Indore, in particular, is known for its street food.

Q5: What wildlife sanctuaries and national parks are located in Madhya Pradesh?
Madhya Pradesh is known for its rich wildlife and several national parks. Prominent ones include Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park, Pench National Park, Satpura National Park, and Panna National Park. These parks are famous for their tiger population, diverse flora and fauna, and offer excellent opportunities for wildlife safaris.

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