Travel information on Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
Hot, dusty Madhya Pradesh is a huge landlocked expanse of scrub-covered hills, sun-parched plains and one third of India's forests. Extending from beyond the headwaters of the magnificent Narmada River to the fringes of the Western Ghats, it's a transitional zone between the Gangetic lowlands in the north and the high, dry Deccan plateau to the south. In spite of its varied variety of remarkable attractions, varying from ancient temples and hilltop forts to a few of India's best tiger reserves, Madhya Pradesh gets just a portion of the tourist traffic that pours between Delhi, Agra, Varanasi and the south.
For those who make the effort, this gem of a state is both culturally fulfilling and largely hassle-free.
In the centre of Madhya Pradesh, the state capital Bhopal, though associated with commercial disaster, has a dynamic Muslim heritage and some interesting museums. Nearby is Sanchi, among India's most considerable Buddhist sites. The hill station of Pachmarhi, meanwhile, has echoes of the Raj, many treking routes and the little-visited Satpura National Park.
In the north, the city of Gwalior has a spectacular hilltop fort and is within striking range of Datia's Rajput palace, the Scindia household's mausoleums at Orchha and the atmospheric ruined capital of the Bundella rajas. More east is the state's greatest tourist attraction, the cluster of splendid sandstone temples at Khajuraho, renowned for their detailed sensual carvings.
Western Madhya Pradesh is the home of Indore, a contemporary city of market. Though of little interest in itself, Indore is a good base for checking out Mandu, the romantic previous capital of the Malwa sultans, the Hindu expedition centres of Omkareshwar and Maheshwar, and the holy city of Ujjain, one of the sites of the Kumbh Mela.
Nondescript Jabalpur is the greatest city in eastern Madhya Pradesh, a region that has couple of historic sites however does boast the Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench reserves, among the last strongholds for many threatened species, most especially the tiger. Together With Orchha and Khajuraho, these parks are the only locations in Madhya Pradesh or Chhattisgarh you're most likely to satisfy more than a handful of foreign tourists.
In November 2000, sixteen districts seceded from eastern Madhya Pradesh to form the state of Chhattisgarh. Violent Naxalite (Maoist rebel groups) activity in the region, occurring from the exploitation of the location's rich mineral resources (and of the tribal peoples who survive on the land) has actually meant the state has until just recently brought in a mere drip of foreign visitors, however the ever reducing violence implies this might soon change; the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board runs a string of well-located resorts and hotels, and independent hotels and trip operators are springing up in the most popular destinations. The state is particularly fascinating for its many tribal groups, especially in the Bastar area, which also boasts beautiful landscapes. However, prior to travelling anywhere south of the capital, Raipur, you should obtain updated details about the state of security around your desired location-- and take a trip with a guide if you desire to head into the countryside. Violent dispute between Naxalite guerrillas and security forces and state-sponsored conservative militias, although on the wane, continues to periodically erupt in remote southern parts of the state.
Any expedition of main India will be illuminated if you have a grasp of its long and turbulent history. The majority of the marauding armies that have swept across the Subcontinent over the last two millennia gone through this passage, leaving in their wake a bumper crop of monuments. The really first traces of settlement in Madhya Pradesh are the 10,000-year-old paintings on the lonesome hilltop of Bhimbetka, near Bhopal. Aboriginal rock art was still being developed here during the Mauryan emperor Ashoka's evangelical dissemination of Buddhism, in the second century BC. Close-by Sanchi is this era's most remarkable antique. By the end of the first millennium AD, central India was divided into a number of kingdoms. The Paramaras, whose ruler Raja Bhoj founded Bhopal, managed the southern and main area, called Malwa, while the Chandellas, responsible for some of the Subcontinent's many beautiful temples-- most significantly at Khajuraho-- held sway in the north.
Muslim impact began to grow in the thirteenth century, and by the mid-sixteenth century the entire area was under Mughal guideline, which left its mark on the architecture and culture of Mandu, Gwalior and Bhopal, in particular. The Marathas quickly took control prior to the arrival of the British in the seventeenth century. Under the British, the middle of India was called the "Central Provinces", and administered collectively from Nagpur (now in Maharashtra), and the summer capital Pachmarhi.
Madhya Pradesh, or MP, just entered being after Independence, when the Central Provinces were amalgamated with a variety of smaller sized princedoms. Because then, the state, more than ninety percent Hindu and with a considerable rural and tribal population, has actually stayed much more steady than neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Significant civil discontent between Hindus and Muslims was virtually unusual up until the Bhopal riots of 1992-- 93, stimulated off by events in Ayodhya. Now Hindu-Muslim relations in MP are relatively cordial once again, the state has relied on concentrate on the most recent enemy-- repeating dry spell across the poverty-stricken plains and the social and environmental consequences of the damming of the Narmada River. The state stays one of India's poorest, regardless of flourishing automobile, cement and soybean industries, and the state federal government sees tourism as one method of increasing Madhya Pradesh's financial prospects. The tourist board is constantly coming up with strategies to make the state more available, including a new intrastate air service.