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Places to visit in Madhya Pradesh

Discussion in 'Madhya Pradesh' started by UmaCrazy, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. UmaCrazy

    UmaCrazy New Member

    Madhya Pradesh is a state in India which I have not been to, although there is so much the state offers.
    As it would be my first time in the state, I am in a stuck situation and don't have a clue which place to visit.

    I have given myself 15 days for a holiday in Madhya Pradesh and these 15 days I want to cover some of the most important and vital places. Although I would like to see most of Madhya Pradesh, I don't think it would be possible, due to time and it would become too tiring.

    In order, please list the places to visit in Madhya Pradesh and include any places where I should stay over night.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, welcome to the forum!



    Did you know that over 24% of the land area of Madhya Pradesh is covered in dense forests? This means that Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest covering out of all the different states in India! With such rich forests, it's only inevitable that wildlife here is quite diverse. But that's not all, the state is also home to some of the best architectural marvels before the colonial era. From its globally-known temples and forts, you can be transported to the eras of the royals with just a stroll amongst these. Yet Madhya Pradesh rarely gets as much visitors as other states in the country, which means that crowds are less so you can fully enjoy each and every place you visit. As Madhya Pradesh Tourism had put it, 'See the Heart of India and 100 Colours of Madhya Pradesh.'

    Places to Visit in Madhya Pradesh

    Busy streets to explore...

    1. Bhopal - The capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal, can be considered as almost a city. While it certainly has been able to keep up with modern times, it still isn't as chaotic as other metro cities in the country. There are modern infrastructures such as shopping complexes and industrial areas but there's still lots of greenery going on around the city. Bhopal is also known as the City of Lakes, owing to the huge number of lakes in the city. Out of all of these lakes, Bada Talab, also know as Upper Lake, is the largest and oldest. Throughout the years, it has remained relatively well-maintained and clean, boating activities can be enjoyed here or you can also just simply gaze at the beauty of the lake. Close to the lake, you can visit the Gohar Mahal, an interesting palace built by the first female Nawab of the city, known as Gohar Begum. It has now been converted into an arts and fair ehbition centre although the architectural beauty of the structure is still apparent. Around the city, you can also learn a lot by visiting any of its museums. The Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum is a work of art, wherein the tribal huts were replicated to give you that authentic vibe of a tribal village life. Different exhibits showcasing the lifestyle of the tribes through their arts, religion and culture can be viewed here. Also worth visiting is the National Museum of Mankind, which has the same theme as above, but a bit more traditional. It has an outdoor area where the tribal huts are displayed and an indoor area showcasing the history of mankind. Also in display are the articles of the tribes that they use in their daily lives. The State Museum of Madhya Pradesh has a rich collection of artefacts in the region, relating to numismatics, paintings and even fossils. If you still have time, you can also visit the Van Vihar National Park, located right at the city centre of Bhopal. It is a fairly small national park cum zoological park that has an assortment of animals in large enclosures.
    • Stay duration - 1 day
    • Must visit attractions - Bada Talab, Gohar Mahal, Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum, National Museum of Mankind, State Museum of Madhya Pradesh and Van Vihar National Park
    (Image from Bhopal Online)

    2. Indore - The industrial hub of the state is Indore, thereby earning the city its other name, which is Mini Mumbai. Much like the former city, it is very progressive, with tons of modern infrastructures such as shopping malls and industrial establishments. But to the locals of the city, Indore is synonymous with delicious food, in fact, it's a foodie's paradise. The epitome of this foodie's paradise is none other than the Sarafa Bazaar, a jewellery market during the day and foodie's delight during the night. All assortments of street food can be found here, from samosas, kachoris, chaats and up to kebabs. There are also many religious sites around Indore, with the Khajrana Ganesh Mandir being one of the most popular temples. Dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the temple has a simple white facade but occupies quite a huge space. The Shri Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga is located on an island, known as Madhata, in the Narmada river, you can either cross the bridge to reach it or hire a boat to take you there. Being 1 of the 12 Jyotirlingas of the Lord Shiva, the temple is revered holy by devotees of the deity. Stepping away from the religious sites, we go to the heritage sites of the city, starting with the Holkar Palace, also known as Rajwada Indore. As compared to other regal palaces, this one is a bit on the simpler side which makes it stand out more. When it is illuminated at night time, it becomes even more beautiful. There's also the Lal Bagh Palace, built by a Holkar king known as Maharaja Shivaji Rao Holkar. The influence of the European style of architecture is evident as you explore the exquisite interiors of the palace. Located on the outskirts of Indore are other sights that you can explore like the Patalpani Waterfalls and Tincha Waterfalls. However, exploring this sights means that you need to spend at least two days in the city.
    • Stay duration - One to two days
    • Must visit attractions - Sarafa Bazaar, Khajrana Ganesh Mandir, Shri Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga, Holkar Palace and Lal Bagh Palace
    For spotting some wild animals...

    3. Kanha National Park - The inspiration for Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, is the Kanha National Park. It isn't difficult to be inspired by the beauty of the national park, with its dense dry and deciduous forests, along with its open grasslands, with small water holes interspersed in between. The Kanha National Park is also the largest national park in the state, which makes it a top wildlife destination. What sets it apart is that it is well-maintained and you won't spot any litter or trash at the premises of the national park. The tour guides, drivers and even the locals all help hand in hand to keep the national park safe and clean for all the wildlife that lives in it. While the royal Bengal tigers are considered the kings of the national park, you can also spot other wild animals like leopards, wild dogs, jackals, barasinghas, sambars, barking deers and bisons. The numerous water bodies in the park are also home to different resident bird species and also migratory bird species in the winter. Just outside the national park, there are plenty of jungle lodges, resorts and hotels that you can stay in, if you decide to do more than one jungle safari here.
    • Stay duration - One to two days
    • Animals to spot - Royal Bengal tigers, leopards, wild dogs, jackals, barasinghas, sambars, barking deers and bisons
    (Image from Rajan Medhekar via Flickr)

    4. Panna National Park - Located in the northern part of Madhya Pradesh is the Panna National Park. The Ken river flows freely just close to the national park and the different landscapes in the premises are quite stunning. A mixture of tropical dry forests and open meadows dominate the park's varied geography. And while it doesn't have a high number of royal Bengal tigers, less than 15, the assortment of other wildlife here is very varied. Leopards, chinkaras, hyenas, wild dogs and sambars can be found more commonly in the national park as compared to the tigers. To spot the best of wildlife, it's recommended that you venture into the early morning safaris as the possibility of spotting them is higher during that time. You can also indulge in a boat ride amidst the Ken river, the lifeline of the resident birds in the region. When it comes to accommodation options though, there are only a few close to the national park. Most are located in Satna, about 40 kilometres away from the national park.
    • Stay duration - One day
    • Animals to spot - Royal Bengal tigers, leopards, chinkaras, hyenas, wild dogs and sambars
    Recognised all over the world...

    5. Khajuraho - Designated as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Khajuraho Group of Monuments was built by different rulers under the Chandela dynasty. Divided into four main parts, namely: Western Group, Eastern Group, Jain Group and Southern Group, the monuments feature some of the most intricate sculptures in the region and in the country. They are famed for the erotic carvings seen in a few parts of the monument but majority of the carvings feature daily activities of the locals back then. Some groups feature Hindu deities as well as some animals too. The Western Group is the most elaborate and largest. The Varaha Temple here sits on a high platform and the main sanctum houses an image of Varaha, an avatar of Lord Vishnu in the form of a boar. The Lakshmana Temple has a mixture of both erotic sculptures and carvings of animals and humans. The largest temple here is none other than the Kandariya Mahadev Temple, also the most intricately carved on its exterior and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Eastern Group and Jain Group are comparatively smaller. In contrast to the first group, the carvings here are lesser and the designs of the temples are simpler. A bit further away from the centre of the town is the Southern Group, some of the temples you can visit here are that of the Duladeo Temple, the last ever temple built by the Chandela dynasty, and Chaturbhuja Temple, the only temple without any erotic sculptures. Finally, you can also visit the two Archeological Museums located close to the Western Group. Some of the artefacts excavated in the site can be viewed here along with some background about the Chandela dynasty.
    • Stay duration - Two to three days
    • Must visit attractions - Khajuraho Group of Monuments (Western Group, Eastern Group, Jain Group and Southern Group)
    6. Sanchi - Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sanchi is located just about 40 kilometres away from Bhopal. Sanchi contains the oldest stone structure in India, known as the Great Stupa. Originally built by Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BCE, the surrounding structures around it were added by Agnimitra, a ruler in the Sunga dynasty during later times. Surrounding the stupa are four gateways, also known as toranas, intricately carved with scenes from the life of Buddha. There are two more stupas that you can visit, aptly named Stupa Number 2 and Stupa Number 3. Stupa Number 2 is believed to have been built around the 2nd century BC, during reign of the Shunga dynasty. Unlike the former stupa, this one doesn't have any toranas but has exquisite carvings of mythological beings and animals. Stupa Number 3 is believed to have been built around the 1st century BC and is the smallest out of all the stupas. It only has one torana and has carvings of humans, animals and celestial beings. Around the small town, you can also visit the ruins of older temples and monasteries plus some other structures for which their purposes are not known yet.
    • Stay duration - One day
    • Must visit attractions - Great Stupa, Stupa Number 2 and Stupa Number 3
    (Image from Mahesh Basedia Pinterest)

    Be thankful for the past...

    7. Mandu - A place that seems to be stuck in time, Mandu, is the perfect place for history lovers. Its erstwhile palaces, exquisite mosques, marvellous water systems and inviting pavilions are sure to draw you in. A very sleepy village, there's not much you can do in Mandu, except explore every nook and corner of the ruins of the once royal era that flourished here. Most picturesque out of all the attractions here is the Jahaz Mahal, also known as the Ship Palace. Built on a small island between two water reservoirs, it's as if the palace floats on water when viewed from a distant. It was Ghiyasuddin Iwaj Shah who commissioned for the building of the palace, but it was more of a pleasure palace as the ruler had a harem of over 15,000 women. Also quite stunning in its aesthetics is the Hindola Mahal, also known as Swing Palace. The palace was mainly used as a public hall of the same sultan who built the former palace. Due to its sloping walls, it appears that the palace is swinging, hence the other name of it. The Rani Roopmati Palace and Pavilion is steeped in age-old romance, which some regard as a legend. The palace and pavilion was built by Baz Bahadur for his queen, Rani Roopmati. From the edge of the palace and pavilion are two towers, from which Rani Roopmati can view the Narmada river clearly. Located close to the palace is the sultan's very own palace, the Baz Bahadur's Palace. The palace has many music halls from which musical competitions were held during the era of the royals.
    • Stay duration - One to two days
    • Must visit attractions - Jahaz Mahal, Hindola Mahal, Rani Roopmati Palace & Pavilion and Baz Bahadur's Palace
    (Image from Speakz Easy)

    8. Gwalior - Once the capital of the Scindia dynasty, Gwalior has in its premises several structures depicting its rich past. For starters, the glorious Gwalior Fort is the prime attraction of the city. Built around the 8th century by Raja Man Singh Tomar, the fort went under the rule of different dynasties thereafter. Around the fort, there are many structures that you can explore, noteworthy of which is the Man Mandir Palace, built by the same ruler above. On its outer facade, you can spot some frescoes of blue paints that add some vibrancy to the yellow sandstone structure. Once the Mughals captured the fort, the palace was then converted into a prison, hence the presence iron chains within it that you can spot. The Jai Vilas Palace Museum, located a bit further from the city centre, is also worth visiting. Here, you can take a stroll and experience the lavish lifestyles of the Scindia dynasty. From European furnitures, heavy chandeliers and an unusual train serving food, you can have your fix of the eccentricities here. One of the few temples dedicated to Surya in the country is also located here, the Sun Temple. It is believed that the temple is a replica of the famous Konark Sun Temple. Last but not the least is the Sas Bahu Temple, dedicated to Sahastrabahu, the one-thousand armed avatar of Lord Vishnu. Built around the 9th century, it also has a separate shrine for the Lord Shiva.
    • Stay duration - One to two days
    • Must visit attractions - Gwalior Fort, Jai Vilas Palace Museum, Sun Temple and Sas Bahu Temple
    A bit offbeat...

    9. Rewa - Have you heard of Rewa? You might have, as this was once the home of the first ever white tiger captured in India, Mohan. Rewa was once the home of the Baghelkhand dynasty and most of structures around the city can be attributed to them. The Rewa Fort stands tall in the city, with its bright turquoise entrance. Much of the fort stands in ruins now and what stands strong is the Baghael Museum, a part of the fort that has been converted into a museum. Here, you can find various artefacts that once belonged to the Baghelkand dynasty and even the famed taxidermy of Mohan. The Rani Talab, located a bit further from the city centre, is a fairly small lake that locals hold sacred. Beside the lake is a Durga Temple that you can also visit. Further from the city are natural attractions like the Keoti Waterfalls and Purwa Waterfalls, although they are best visited during the monsoon season. If you have the time, you can also visit the Mukundpur White Tiger Safari, where about three white tigers plus many more royal Bengal tigers reside.
    • Stay duration - One to two days
    • Must visit attractions - Rewa Fort, Rani Talab, Keoti Waterfalls, Purwa Waterfalls and Mukundpur White Tiger Safari
    • Related thread - n/a
    10. Jabalpur - We have come to the end of our list and we have Jabalpur. Although it's one of the largest cities in the state, it has a mixture of modernity and tradition perfectly. Where else can you find a city that has greenery going on more than concrete buildings? Such is the beauty of Jabalpur, with attractions like waterfalls, jungles and temples, you get a bit of everything here. The Dhuandhar Waterfalls is located on the outskirts of the city and was so named due to the smoky mist that the water from the waterfalls creates. There's even a ropeway here that you can ride to get a bird's eye view of the surroundings. Located close to the waterfalls is the Marble Rocks at Bhedaghat, on the banks of the Narmada river. The gorgeous marble rocks with falling water in between and with the clear green and blue colours of the river can provide for an exhilarating boat ride experience. The Chausat Yogini Temple, accessible only after climbing 150 steps or so, is another must visit here. There's a central image of Shiva and Parvati surrounded by 64 images of yoginis, quite unique and can only be found here. An unusual attraction is the Balancing Rocks of Jabalpur, one of the only two of its kind in India, the other one being at Mahabalipuram. Finally, you can also visit the Dumna Nature Reserve, located about seven kilometres away from city centre of Jabalpur. It's one of the few reserves in India that allows nature trailing for its guests. You can spot animals such as deers, barasinghas and wild boars within the reserve.
    • Stay duration - One to two days
    • Must visit attractions - Dhuandhar Waterfalls, Marble Rocks at Bhedaghat, Chausat Yogini Temple, Balancing Rocks of Jabalpur and Dumna Nature Reserve
    (Image from Mouth Shut)


    Madhya Pradesh is a state blessed with natural beauty and boasts of many stories of the past. Truly, it is the heart of India, geographically and also historically which makes it a must visit destination when in the country. From its magnificent cities, to its rural villages, you can find a place that would soon become etched in your heart and mind forever. Good luck and enjoy your trip to Madhya Pradesh!
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