About Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh, situated in the centre of India, is often called the heart of India. It is surrounded by Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The state has two hill ranges Vindhya and Satpura that have traditionally served as boundary markers between north and south India. It also has a number of rivers, such as Narmada, Tapti, Chambal, Betwa, Ken, which make it agriculturally fertile. Narmada, which runs between the two hill ranges, is the most important river and is worshipped locally as a goddess.
These natural features have created a landscape of plateaus, river valleys, hills, and forests, but mostly the state can be seen as plateau land with low hills. The weather is largely warm and dry, and almost unbearably hot during summers. MP is a primarily rural and its largely tribal economy runs on agriculture and forest-produce; but there are also urban centres such as Bhopal, Indore and Gwalior. These cities, in addition to Khajuraho and Jabalpur, have domestic airports.
For the visitor, this large state can be understood in four parts: central, with Bhopal town as the base; northern, with Gwalior as base; eastern with Jabalpur as base; and western, with Indore as base. Madhya Pradesh has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the 9th-10th century temples at Khajuraho known for their erotic carvings (reachable from Gwalior); remains of the 3rdcentury BC - 7thcentury AD Buddhist settlement at Sanchi; and cave paintings dating to 8000 BC at Bhimbetka (both reachable from Bhopal).
The capital, Bhopal is a former princely state, a small city celebrated for its mosques and palaces, old-town ambience, and refined Urdu language. The hill-citadel of Mandu (near Indore) is renowned for its ruins set in greenery, especially after monsoons. Ujjain is a holy city for the Hindus and hosts the Kumbh Mela, attracting millions of pilgrims, every 12 years.
The scenic sanctuaries of Kanha (the setting for Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book) and Bandhavgarh National Parks are mostly savannah grassland terrains that have tigers and elephants as prime attractions. These are reachable from Jabalpur.