Magic in the Middle of India
Madhya Pradesh offers you new vistas every single time you visit, no matter how many times you go there. We undertook an extensive journey through Madhya Pradesh to bring you the top destinations to visit in the coming months. The thing with this vast collect ion of natural and heritage wonders is that you need at least a few days to cover everything and you’ll still have something to come back for.
This poem in stone is a marvel. Mandu is a sublime amalgam of Hindu, Islamic and Jam architecture. The Jahaz Mahal with its Persian wheel, the Hindola palace and Champa-Baoli are just some of the must-see wonders. Not to forget the Jami Masjid and Hoshang Shah’s tomb, which is said to have inspired the Taj Mahal Other wonderful sites are Roopmati’s Pavilion, the Dai Ka Mahal (nurse’s palace) and the Dai Ki Bahen Ka Mahal, an eight-sided structure. Don’t miss Echo Point-a testimony to the acoustic systems of the 15th century!
The nearest airport and rail head are at Indore, which is 99 km away.
The ancient Hindu pilgrimage town of Maheshwar finds mention in the early epics as Mahishmati. As the boatmen retell tales of King Sahasrarjun in fairy tale like parables, you will be amazed by the quiet riverfront, the long flight of steps that leads to the honey-colored temple facade and the ancient fort complex. Besides temp le-touring, take a skiff and go across the river to watch a serene sunset. And, on the way back, visit the Baneshwar temple in the middle of the Narmada.
The nearest airport is at Indore (91 km). Barwaha (39 km) is the nearest rail head.
This picturesque destination rises out of the hills and the greenery surrounding it. The world-renowned Raja Mahal and the Jahangir Mahal are awe-inspiring, and the latter is a reminder of the friendship that prevailed between the Mughals and the Bundelas. The town has some note worthy temples like the Ram Raja Temple, the Chaturbhuj temple and the Lakshmi Narayan temple. You can also opt for an excursion to Barua Sagar, a dam on the Betwa river.
Gwalior (120 km) is the nearest airport and Jhansi (18 km) the nearest rail head.
The ninth to 12th century temples of Khajuraho are well known around the globe. Little wonder they are on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List. They are evidence of the architectural prowess of the Chandela dynasty. The 85 temples were built in the North Indian ‘Nagara’ style of architecture, though only 22 have survived. Three geographical divisions group the temples: western, eastern and southern.
Regular air services link Khajuraho with Delhi and Varanasi. Khajuraho has its own railway station. Apart from these beautiful locations, the Jabalpur circuit is a must-visit for anyone interested in nature and human heritage. There is a wealth of destinations around Jabalpur, too.
The Chausath Yogini temple, a circular wall enclosing sculptures of 64 tantric female mystics, is just one of the wonders of Bhedaghat. The Marble Rocks at Bhedaghat rise to a hundred feet on either side of the Narmada, and as sunlight hits the pinnacles, it is a feast for the eyes. As the mighty river flows down, it plunges in the Dhuandhar waterfall, a favored tourist spot.
The nearest airport is at Jabalpur (23 km), connected by regular flights. Jabalpur is also the main rail head.
Undoubtedly one of the finest places to see India’s fauna, Kanha is a wonder. From Khatia gate itself, the wildlife beckons you, as black-faced langurs hop across dry streams. The large tracts of forest around present-day Kanha were originally tribal outlands called the Gondwana, inhabited by aboriginal tribes of Central India, the Gonds and the Baigas. The place is yet untouched by modernity and the rustic thrives in the five zones that make up the 2,000-sq-km.
Kisli, Kanha, Mukki, Bhaisanghat and Suphkar. Four-horned antelope and sambar abound, but it is the majestic tiger that draws millions of tourists. Deeper into Kanha, you will encounter everything from gaur to monitor lizards and, of course, the tiger. The park has a healthy population of the striped eat, and just gazing at one for a few seconds will seem like an eternity.
Jabalpur is 156 km by road.
This National Park’s claim to fame is its ever-obliging tigers. They say you cannot leave without sighting one. Bandhavgarh has the highest relative density of tigers and is a trove of wildlife, including various deer species, sloth bears, dholes, leopards and more than 250 varieties of birds. Bandhavgarh also has ruins dating back to the Ramayana, the Shesh-Shaiyya (the reclining Vishnu in the backdrop of the well-preserved waterhole) and excavate d caves carrying ancient inscriptions. Not to forget the Bandhavgarh fort, which finds mention in the Shiva-Purana.
The nearest airport is at Jabalpur (190 km). The nearest railway stations are Umaria (35 km) and Katni (102 km).
Nestled in the lower southern reaches of the Satpura Hills, the Pench Tiger Reserve and its neighborhood are the original setting of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous work, The Jungle Book. The park takes its name from the meandering Pench river that flows through it.
Breathtaking landscapes of hills, forests and valleys give this park an unreal quality, and it is blessed with forests that spread in all directions, mainly the southern tropical dry deciduous teak and southern tropical mixed deciduous forests. Teak and its varieties such as moyan, mahua, mokha, skiras, tendu, bjja, achar, garari, amla, ghont, baranga, amaltas, kihamali, khair and palas are found here. Apart from the tiger, a total of 39 species of mammals, 13 species of rept iles, three species of amphibians and over 210 varieties of birds call Pench their home.
The nearest airport and railway station are in Nagpur (92 km).
From dense forests to the heritage of human civilization can be just a matter of a few hours in Madhya Pradesh. After a visit to the natural treasures in Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench, we come back to the capital.
The historic city offers insight into the architectural splendour of an era when Bhopal was a princely state. The Taj Mahal, the palace built by Shahjehan Begum, is the most notable site. Not far from the Taj Mahal is the royal ensemble of manzil and mahal, a group of palaces contributed by various begams over a period of 100 years. The most enchanting among them are Gohar Mahal, Sadar Manzil and Shaukat Mahal. The chowk (old marketplace), with its narrow lanes forming a maze of closely-packed shops, is an interesting component of the old town. Adding to the architectural heritage of the city are its mosques, the Jama Masjid built by Qudsia Begum in 1837 and the Moti Masjid-akin to Delhi’s Jama Masjid-built by Sikandar Jehan Begum in 1860. Also significant are the Dhai Sidi Ki Masjid, the smallest mosque in Asia, and the Taj-Ul-Masjid. Reputedly the biggest one on the continent. The most notable post-Independence contributions to Bhopal’s architecture are Bharat Bhavan, a prestigious centre of art and culture, and the Museum of Man-an open-air exhibition on the Shamla Hills, displaying tribal habitats from all over India.
Bhopal is well-connected to the rest of the country by air, rail and road.
A small town that is the site of a great Buddhist monument on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Sanchi is famous throughout the world for its stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars, which date back to the 3rd century BCE till the 12th century BCE. Built atop a hill, these stupas contain relics, mostly of the Buddha’s disciples, and are a lesson in craftsmanship and dedication. The four gateways of the Great Stupa, constructed in 1 BCE, are considered the best Buddhist expression in the world and are covered with wonderful carvings that depict the Buddha’s life. The site also has an Ashoka pillar. The Sanchi museum, which is run under the supervision of the Archaeological Survey of India, houses the pillar along with other items found around Sanchi, including utensils and sundry items used by the monks.
Bhopal is the nearest airport, 45 km away. The nearest railhead is Vidisha, 10 km away.
The famous reservoir, located in Hoshangabad, is a favorite among tourists because of its natural beauty and the scope for adventure. This enormous 1,815-metre-long reservoir is nestled between the western boundary of the Satpura National Park and the Bori Wildlife Sanctuary, which give it the kind of surroundings you are unlikely to see anywhere else. The Madhai gate, in fact, serves as a gateway to the Satpura Tiger Reserve. Tawa Madhai is an extraordinary experience for people who like peace and tranquility on their holidays, as well as for adventure-lovers who can undertake a number of activities.
Madhai is 79 km from Itarsi and is conveniently approachable by road.
One of the most scenic places in Madhya Pradesh, Pachmarhi is popular among trekkers, hikers and bikers, as the Satpura range is in its vicinity. Not to forget those who are interested in parasailing, one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have. It’s like you are being carried by the wind. Enjoy the trek through the lush green forests of Pachmarhi, starting from the Pandav Caves, and go right up to Dhoopgarh, passing by the gushing Bee Falls.
Bhopal, about 210 km away, is the nearest airport. Pipariya is the most convenient rail head, 57 km away. Pipariya is on the Mumbai-Howrah mainline, via Allahabad.