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Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is the second largest state by area and with over 75 million inhabitants the sixth largest state in India by population. It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the southeast, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, and Rajasthan to the northwest.

The Satavahana dynasty of the northern Deccan and the Saka dynasty of the Western Satraps fought for the control of Madhya Pradesh during the 1st to 3rd centuries CE. Northern India was conquered by the Gupta empire in the 4th and 5th centuries, which became known as India's "classical age". The Vakataka dynasty were the southern neighbors of the Guptas, ruling the northern Deccan plateau from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. These empires collapsed towards the end of the 5th century.

Places to Visit in Madhya Pradesh

The diverse mix of habitats in Bandhavgarh supports a corresponding plentitude of fauna. Its luxuriantly rich ecosystem provides amply for everyone - from the tiny butterflies to the majestic tigers. The park has earned a worldwide reputation for tigers and their unusually high density here is a pleasant surprise for wildlife lovers.

According to bio-geographic classification, the park area lies in the zone 6A-Deccan peninsula, Central highlands. The important prey species consists of chital, sambhar, barking deer, nilgai, chinkara, wild pig, chowsingha, langur and rhesus macaque.

Dependent upon them are the major predators like tiger, leopard, wild dog, wolf and jackal. The lesser predators are fox, jungle cat, ratel, palm civet, and mongoose. Besides them, other mammalians present are sloth bear, porcupine, Indian Pangolin, variety of bats including the giant fruit bat, Indian tree shrew, and many other species of rodents. The avifauna is also well represented. More than 250 species of birds have been recorded with the park.

The raptors are mainly represented by crested serpent eagle, shaheen falcon, bonnelli's eagle, shikra, marsh and hen harriers

There is a good population of malabar pied hornbill, particularly in the fort and its vicinity. Peafowls, painted and grey partridge, red jungle fowl, sarus crane, lesser adjutant stork, large racket tailed drongo, brown fish owl, paradise flycatcher, green pigeon are quite common here.

Gwalior's tradition as a royal capital continued until the formation of present day India, with the Scindias having their dynastic seat here. The magnificent mementoes of a glorious past have been preserved with care, giving Gwalior an appeal unique and timeless. Gwalior's history is traced back to a legend. In 8 A.D, a chieftain called Suraj Sen was stricken by a deadly disease. He was cured by a hermit saint, Gwalipa, and in gratitude founded a city which he named after the saint who had given him the gift of new life. The new city of Gwalior became, over the centuries, the cradle of great dynasties and with each, the city gained new dimensions from warrior kings, poets, musicians and saints, contributing to making it a capital renowned throughout the country.Since then, Gwalior is considered to be a city where a rich cultural tradition has been interwoven into the fabric of modern life. Also where a princely past lives on in great palaces and their museums. And where a multitude of images merge and mix to present to the visitor a city of enduring greatness.

Pleasure resort and capital of the Gonda Kings during the 12th century, Jabalpur was later the seat of the Kalchuri dynasty. The Marathas held sway over Jabalpur until 1817, when the British wrested it from them and left their impression on the spacious cantonment with its colonial residences and barracks. Today Jabalpur is an important administrative centre, abustle with commercial activity.

The original settlement in this area was ancient Tripuri and the rulers of this city, the Hayahaya, are mentioned in the Mahabharata. It passed successively into Mauryan and then Gupta control until, in 875 AD, it was taken by the Kalchuri rulers. In the 13th century it was overrun by the Gonds and by the early 16th century it had became the powerful state of Gondwana. Though besieged by Mughal armies from time to time, Gondwana survived until 1789 when it was conquered by the Marathas. Their rule was unpopular, due largely to the increased activities of the thuggees who were ritual murderers and bandits. The Marathas were defeated in 1817 and the thuggees subdued by the British who developed the town in the mid 19th century.

Situated in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the picturesque Kanha National Park was the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling's unforgettable classic Jungle Book. The romance of the Kanha National Park has not reduced over time-it is still as beautiful.

If one were to point to the middle of India, chances are he will pick out the forests of the Banjar and the Halon valley, the two forming the western and eastern halves of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, which have long been famous for their wide diversity of wildlife.

The park was created in 1955 by a special law and, since then, it has dedicated itself in preserving a variety of animal species. Many endangered species have indeed been saved here. Today Kanha is among the few most scenic and beautiful wildlife reserves in Asia. This 'Tiger Country' is the ideal home for both predator and prey.

By far the most striking features of this region are the open grassy meadows, where sighting blackbuck, swamp deer, sambhar and chital is common. And, if one can transcend into time, a barefooted Mowgli would perhaps come padding along the dusty trail, for this is the land of Kipling's Jungle Book.

How many of you have seen a tiger before? Most of the answers will be ambiguous because everyone wants to see a tiger. Then where can one spot TIGER? Well, even if there are circuses and zoo's all over India, there's some kind of a thrill you experiences when all of a sudden you came across a TIGER roaming freely in the wilderness of its natural habitat: the fields and forests of India. There are numerous Tiger reserves in India, that are preserving this ferocious beast, but nowhere can you see them as often, and as regularly as in Kanha National Park.

This is a small town in the district of Chhatarpur in the state of Madhya Pradesh located in the central part of India. Famous for housing numerous temples belonging to the Hindu as well as the Jain religion, this town is one of the popular tourist spots in the country. These temples, featured with erotic sculptures, have made the name of the town get mentioned in the U. N. E. S. C. O. (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) list of the World Heritage Sites in the nation. The Vindhya mountain range, which forms the beautiful backdrop to this place, makes it more fascinating to tourists.

Mainly known for its temple complex, this place has got a number of ancient temples. Apart from reflecting a unique architectural skill, the sculpture of each and every temple in Khajuraho depicts royalty, wrestling, kinship, courtship, marriage, spiritual teachings, meditation and many other postures of human beings. Based on their geographical location, all of these temples can be categorized into 3 types. Open throughout the day, following are some of the renowned temples in Khajuraho that are worth visiting.

Eastern Group of Khajuraho Temples

Adinath Temple: Dedicated to Adinath, a Jain Tirthankar, this temple has been embellished with yakshis and other sculpted figures.

Brahma Temple:

Made of sandstone and granite, this Vishnu temple is among the oldest Khajuraho temples.

Ghantai Temple:

This is one of the Jain temples, which houses frescos that depict the sixteen different dreams of the mother of Mahavira as well as a Goddess seated on a winged Garuda.

Mandu is a celebration in stone, of life and joy, of the love of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur for his beautiful consort, Rani Roopmati. The balladeers of Malwa still sing of the romance of these royal lovers,and high up on the crest of a hill, Roopmati's Pavilion still gazes down at Baz Bahadur's Palace, a magnificent expression of Afghan architecture . Under Mughal rule, Mandu was a pleasure resort, its lakes and palaces the scenes of splendid and extravagant festivities and the glory of Mandu lives on, in legends and songs, chronicled for posterity.

Perched along the Vindhya ranges at an altitude of 2,000 feet, Mandu, with its natural defenses, was originally the fort capital of the Parmar rulers of Malwa. Towards the end of the 13th century, it came under the sway of the Sultans of Malwa, the first of whom named it Shadiabad - 'city of joy'. And indeed the pervading spirit of Mandu was of gaiety; and its rulers built exquisite palaces like the Jahaz and Hindola Mahals, ornamental canals, baths and pavilions, as graceful and refined as those times of peace and plenty. Under Mughal rule, Mandu was a pleasure resort, its lakes and palaces the scenes of splendid and extravagant festivities. And the glory of Mandu lives on, in legends and songs, chronicled for posterity. Each of Mandu's structures is an architectural gem; some are outstanding like the massive Jami Masjid and Hoshang Shah's tomb, which provided inspiration to the master builders of the Taj Mahal centuries later.

The Darwazas

The 45 km parapet of walls that encircle Mandu are punctuated by 12 gateways. Most notable of these is Delhi Darwaza, the main entrance to the fortress city, for which the approach is through a series of gateways well fortified with walled enclosures and strengthened by bastions such as the Alamgir and Bhangi Darwaza, through which the present road passes. Rampol Darwaza, Jehangir Gate and Tarapur Gate are some of the other main gateways.

The Royal Enclave Jahaz Mahal

This 120 mt long "ship palace" built between the two artificial lakes, Munj Talao and Kapur Talao is an elegant two storeyed palace. Probably it was built by SultanGhiyas-ud-din-Khilji for his large harem. With its open pavilions, balconies overhanging the water and open terrace, Jahaz Mahal is an imaginative recreation in stone of a royal pleasure craft. Viewed on moonlit nights from the adjoining Taveli Mahal, the silhouette of the building, with the tiny domes and turrets of the pavilion gracefully perched on the terrace, presents an unforgettable spectacle.

Omkareshwar is a holy town situated at a distance of 77 km from Indore. It derives its name from the sacred Hindu symbol of Om. The place is a pilgrimage site, as there are a number of Hindu temples and Jain temples located here. It is basically an island, in the shape of Om, on the confluence of the rivers Narmada and Kaveri. The island is divided into north and south by a deep gully and is linked by a bridge. A boat ride in Narmada River around the island of Omkareshwar is quite enjoyable.

Omkareshwar is considered to be one of the holiest Hindu sites in the nation. This is due to the presence of the Jyotirlingam, one of the twelve in India. Lingam is the symbol of Lord Shiva but the Jyotirlingam is special. Jyotirlingam is called the lingam of light. It is said to derive currents of power from within itself. While, an ordinary lingam is ritually invested with mantra shakti (power invested by chants) by the priests. The Jyotirlingam is enshrined in the Temple of Sri Omkareshwar Mahadeo.

Also known as the Temple of Shri Omkar Mandhata, it is made up of locally available soft stone. As a result, there is detailed carving in the front chamber and mesmerizing wall paintings on the upper parts of the structure. Omkareshwar draws hundreds of pilgrims every year from various parts of the nation. The devotees kneel before the Jyotirlinga to be blessed by it. Omkareshwar presents a magnificent blend of natural as well as the human artistry. Apart from this, there are some other temples worth watching.

The Siddhnath Temple is a classic example of early medieval Brahminic architecture. The most attractive feature of the temple is the wall paintings of elephants, over 1.5 m high, carved on a stone slab at its outer boundary. The huge Nandi Bull (the vehicle of Lord Shiva) - carved on the hillside opposite the temple of Gauri Somnath, the 24 Avatars and a group of Hindu and Jain temples should not be missed at all.

Situated on banks of river Betwa. Used to be the capital of the region (Bundelkhand) but now is small village. The palaces are of impressive size and there are plesent views of the countryside from their upper levels. 112km south of Gwalior by car, reach Orchha, founded by Rudra Pratap, a Bundela ruler. The region is situated on the banks of the Betwa River. Later, Orcha was the capital of Bir Singh Deo (1605-1627) who built the Jehangir Mahal to please the Mogul emperor Jehangir. Close-by, near the border of Madhya Pradesh, is Datia, site of the 7-storeyed palace of Bir Singh Deo. The temples and palaces of the Bundela rulers still retain their medieval grandeur. The palace walls are decorated with colourful frescoes executed in the manner of miniature paintings, and depict scenes from the popular legend of love between Radha and Lord Krishna. Masterpiece conceptions are the Ram Raja Temple, the only temple in India where devotees worship Lord Rama as a king, and Phool Bagh, an artificial cascade. Flight to Bhopal. capital of the province. Orcha's fort complex, approached by a multi-arched bridge, has three palaces set in an open quadrangle

Jehangir Mahal

It built by Raja Bir Singh in 17th century to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir. Its strong lines are counterbalanced by delicate Chhatries and trellis work, the whole conveying an effect of extraordinary richness.

Raj Mahal

It is situated to the right of the quadrangle, this palace was built by Madhukar Shah, the deeply religious predecessor of Bir Singh ju Deo. The plain exteriors, crowned by chhatries, give way to interiors with exquisite murals, boldly colorful, on a variety of religious themes.

Chaturbhuj Temple

Built upon a massive stone platform and reached by a steep flight of steps, the temple was specially constructed to enshrine the image of Rama that remained in the Rama Raja Temple.

Pachmarhi is Madhya Pradesh's most verdant gem. A lovely hill resort girdled by the Satpura ranges, it offers absolute tranquility. Bridle paths lead into placid forest groves of wild bamboo, jamun, dense sal forests and delicate bamboo thickets

Explore:

Complementing the magnificence of nature are the works of man; Pachmarhi is also an archaeological treasure- house. In cave shelters in the Mahadeo Hills is an astonishing richness in rock paintings. Most of these have been placed in the period 500-800 AD, but the earliest paintings are an estimated 10,000 years old.

In Pachmarhi, Bagpipes skirled in a flower-bright valley while ancient dancers cavorted on a rock. The pipes and the dancers were separated by thousands of years: typical of this little town in the Saptura Mountains. Contrasting cultures and ages exist in harmony as if time and trends mean little in this serene, wooded place. Pachmarhi is for unwinding, effortlessly. Roads meander gently groves of trees, open spaces and heritage cottages sitting contentedly in their old gardens.

Panna National Park is situated in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, at a distance of around 57 km from Khajuraho. The region, famous for its diamond industry, is also home to some of the best wildlife species in India and is one of the most famous Tiger Reserves in the country. The park is known worldwide for its wild cats, including tigers as well as deer and antelope. Due to its closeness to one of the best-known Indian tourist attraction in India, Khajuraho, the park is recognized as an exciting stop-over destination.

The climate of the region is tropical. Summers, somewhat scorching, are when one has the maximum chances of encountering the exclusive wildlife of this park. Winters are cold and comfortable and the temperature generally remains under 25°C. Monsoon touches this region in July and continues till mid-September.

Wildlife Attractions in Panna National Park

Mammals

Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), the king of the jungle, roams freely in this secure, though a bit small habitat along with his fellow beings - leopard (Panthera pardus), wild dog (Cuon alpinus), wolf (Canis lupus), hyaena (Hyaena hyaena), caracal (Felus caracal) and other smaller cats. Sloth bear has his most favourite home in the rock escarpments and undisturbed vales. The wooded areas are dotted with sambar, the largest of Indian deers, chital and chowsingha. One can easily see nilgai and chinkara in most open areas in the grasslands, specially on the periphery.

Avifauna

The avifauna comprises more than 200 species, including a host of migratory birds. One can see white necked stork, bareheaded goose, honey Buuzzard, King vulture, Blossom headed Parakeet, Paradise flycatcher, Slaty headed Scimitar babbler to name a few.

Sanchi, variously known as Kakanaya, Kakanava, Kakanadabota and Bota-Sriparvata in ancient times, has a singular distinction of having remarkable specimen of Buddhist art and architecture right from the early Mauryan period (c. third century BC to twelfth century AD). Sanchi is famous in the world for stupas, monolithic Asokan pillar, temples, monasteries and sculptural wealth.

It was Emperor Asoka who laid the foundations of a religious centre at Sanchi fascinated probably by the location of the hill or because of his Queen Devi, who was the daughter of a merchant of Vidisha. He erected the Great Stupa (Stupa 1) here after redistribution of mortal remains of Lord Buddha for erecting several stupas all over the country in order to spread Buddhism. This stupa was originally a low structure of brick, half the diameter of the present edifice hemispherical in shape with raised terraces at the base. It was enclosed by a wooden railing and a stone umbrella at the top. This Great Stupa served as a nucleus to the large Buddhist establishment during the later period.

During Sunga times, several edifices were raised at Sanchi and its surrounding hills. The Asokan stupa was enlarged and faced with stones and decorated with balustrades, staircases and a harmika on the top.

In the first century BC the Andhra-Satavahanas, who had extended their sway over the eastern Malwa, caused the elaborately carved gateways to Stupa 1. The Great Stupa of Sanchi displays an austere grandeur and the exquisite carvings of the doorway depict in detail the significant episodes and miracles from Lord Buddha’s life and events depicted in the Buddhist Jataka stories.

The reconstruction of Temple 40 and erection of Stupas 2 and 3 also seem to date back around the same time.

From the second to fourth century AD Sanchi and Vidisha came under the Kushanas and Kshatrapas and subsequently passed on to the hands of the Guptas. During the Gupta period some temples were also built and sculptures were added displaying the classical grace and simplicity of the era. Further, statues of Lord Buddha seated in the canopies facing the four entrances of the Great Stupa were also added. Sanchi also flourished during the 7th – 12th centuries A.D. when shrines and monasteries were continued to be added. Thus Sanchi displays harmonious co-existence of Hindu and Buddhist faiths.

Modern Ujjain is situated on the banks of the river Shipra, regarded since times immemorial as sacred. The belief in the sacredness of Shipra, has its origins in the ancient Hindu mythological tale of churning of the Ocean by the Gods and the Demons, with Vasuki, the serpent as the rope. The ocean bed first yielded fourteen gems, then Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, and finally the coveted vessel of Nectar. Then began the wild scramble for immortality with the demons chasing the Gods across the skies, and in the process, a few drops were spilt, and fell at Hardwar, Nasik, Prayag, and Ujjayini. Hence the sanctity of the waters of the Shipra.

Ujjain is the modern name for Ujjayini. Legend has it that in the hoary past, the God like king Shiva of Avanti commemorated his victory over the demon-ruler of Tripura or Tripuri on the banks of the Narmada by changing the name of his capital, Avantipura to Ujjayini (one who conquers with pride).

The magnificence and awesome spectacle of the bathing ritual at Simhastha defies description. Beginning on the full moon day in Chaitra (April), it continues into Vaishakha (May), until the next full moon day. Ujjain turns, amidst a riot of colours, into an India in miniature.

Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir

This temple situated above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar temple, enshrines a huge artistic sculpture of Ganesh, the son of Shiva. An idol of this size and beauty is rarely to be found. The middle of the temple is adorned by an idol of the pancha-mukhi (five faced) Hanuman. There is provision for learning of Sanskrit and Astrology in the temple. This temple situated above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar temple, enshrines a huge artistic sculpture of Ganesh, the son of Shiva. An idol of this size and beauty is rarely to be found. The middle of the temple is adorned by an idol of the pancha-mukhi (five faced) Hanuman. There is provision for learning of Sanskrit and Astrology in the temple.

 

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