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Indian States

Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh - Madhya Pradesh emerged as an Indian state in the year 1956. During that period, the state also rose to prominence as the largest state in India. However, with the bifurcation of Chhattisgarh in 2000, the modern-day Madhya Pradesh came into being. Positioned in the geographic heart of the country, the state is a crucible that holds the amazing concoction of various religions and cultures of the country. The rich culture of Madhya Pradesh is the upshot of its enchanting history that traverses many a dynasties.

The origin of Madhya Pradesh dates back to the Paleolithic age, when men were primitive and dwelled in caves. Bhimbetka cave paintings of the state reiterate the fact. As far as chronicling is concerned, the history of Madhya Pradesh regresses to the time of emperor Ashoka. Chandra Gupta Maurya, grandfather of Prince Ashoka, established the Mauryan Empire (321 to 185 BCE) in Northern India, including the state of Madhya Pradesh. Mauryan Empire received a setback after Ashoka's death and subsequently ebbed away into oblivion.

With the culmination of the Mauryan Empire, Central India saw many contestations for imperial victory amongst the Kushanas, Sakas and other local dynasties, from 3rd to 1st century BC. Madhya Pradesh attained glory when it came under the Gupta dynasty in the 4th and 5th centuries. However, the Guptas collapsed with the attack of the White Huns, who were later defeated in 528, by King Yashodharman of Malwa. During this medieval period, the state also came under the sway of Rajputs, like the Paramaras and the Chandelas, and these rulers ascended it to new heights of prosperity and creativity.

Main Cities / Towns

 

Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh

Bhopal is the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh , India and also the second largest city in the state. The City of Lakes, as it is often referred to, has its origins dating back as far as the 11th century. It was during this period that the ruling Raja Bhoja contracted leprosy and in turn, was advised to bathe in the healing waters of the lake. Slowly but surely the city of Bhopal was born from where Raja Bhoja and his descendants ruled the Malwa region until the end of the 13th century. Three centuries later it became part of Mughal empire.

Tourist attraction in Bhopal

Laxmi Narayan Temple - Also known as Birla Temple, Laxmi Narayan temple was built by the Birlas and is commemorated to the Hindu deities, Laxmi & Vishnu. This sandy-yellow edifice, embellished with idols of many Hindu Gods and Goddesses, poses a magnificent sight. Birla Museum, adjoined to its precinct, is a storehouse of art and artifacts that date back to the 12th century. The beautifully carved archway and the trailing green lawns of the place make it a famous tourist draw of Bhopal.

Taj-ul Masjid - One of the largest and most beautiful mosques in India, Taj-ul-Masjid literally means 'The Crown of Mosques' and is an imposing landmark of Bhopal. Its pink fašade, coroneted with white-domed minarets, soars to the skyline and stands as a stunning ovation to the rule of Begums in Bhopal. Its construction began under the regime of Shah Jehan Begum, but saw completion after her death. This striking monument is also used as a religious school (madarsa) during the day.

Shaukat Mahal - Shaukat Mahal exhibits Gothic and post-Renaissance architectural patterns and is a beautiful amalgamation of both oriental and occidental architectural styles. Thought to be designed by a Frenchman, it is strikingly different from the other Muslim monuments in its vicinity, especially with the triangular arches that adorn its roof. The white exterior of the building, carved with exquisite floral patterns, makes it stand out amongst all the antique monuments of Bhopal.

Sadar Manzil - Sadar Manzil is located near Shaukat Mahal and is an equally attractive site. Even today, the place highlights the bygone grandeur of the Nawabi era of Bhopal. It served as the hall of public audience of the erstwhile rulers of the place. Sultan Kaikhusrau Jahan Begum, daughter of Shah Jahan Begum, also used it as her private palace. Today, the building houses the headquarters of Bhopal Municipal Corporation.

Moti Masjid - Moti Masjid of Bhopal bears a prominent resemblance to the Jama Masjid of New Delhi. Built by Sikandar Jahan, the daughter of Kudsia Begum, in 1860, this staggering mosque brilliantly displays the heights attained by Islamic art and architecture during the Nawabi era. Fabricated with red sandstone, the highly stylized structure of the mosque is typical of Muslim architecture. It has an arresting marble fašade, with two red minarets crowned by golden spikes.

Upper and Lower Lakes - These lakes highly contribute towards beautifying the landscape of Bhopal and are credited as the artwork of Raja Bhoj. The Upper Lake is 6 sq. km. in area and is divided from the Lower Lake by an over bridge. MP Tourism's Yacht Club provides facilities and warrants exciting trips by sail, paddle and motor boats at the Upper Lake. 'Van Vihar' (safari park) and the fish-shaped aquarium near the place also contribute towards its popularity amongst the locals and tourists.


BANDHAVGARH

Bandhavgarh boasts of a long history with references to it, which can be traced to the ancient books, the Narad-panch Ratra and the Shiv Purana. Legend has it that Lord Rama, hero of the epic, Ramayana stopped at stopped at Bandhavgarh on his way back to his homeland after defeating the demon King Ravana of Lanka. Two monkey architects, who had engineered a bridge between the isles of Lanka and the mainland, are said to have built Bandhavgarh's fort. Later Rama handed it over to his brother Lakshmana who became known as Bandhavdhish "The Lord of the Fort". Lakshmana is the particular God of the fort and is regularly worshipped in a temple there.

Bandhavgarh was ruled by a by a succession of dynasties but lost its importance in the 17th century with the shifting of court life to Rewa. Without royal patronage Bandhavgarh became more and more deserted until forest overran the area and it became the royal hunting reserve. At independence Bandhavgarh remained the private property of the Maharaja until he gave it to the state for the formation of the National Park in 1968. After the park was created poaching was brought under control and the number of animals rose dramatically. Small dams and water holes were built to solve the problem of water shortage. Grazing by local cattle was stopped and the village within the park boundaries was relocated. The Tigers in particular prospered and the 1986 extension provided much needed forest to accommodate them. Bandhavgarh has been an excellent habitat of tiger and is known for the highest density of tigers in the world. Considering the importance and potentiality of the National park, it was included in the Project Tiger Network in 1993. The adjoining Panpatha Sanctuary too was declared as a part of the Reserve.

 

Tourist attraction in  Bandhavgarh

 

Bandhavgarh Fort - The Bandhavgarh Fort, located inside the park, was constructed by the Maharajas of Rewa. At an altitude of 800 m above the nearby countryside, the fort gives a panoramic view of the wildlife reserve. Charganga, a stream, flows beside the fort. On a trip to the fort, statues and temples and a 10th-century rock figurine of Lord Vishnu is visible. The fort’s vicinity is known for its population of blackbucks and Crag martins.

Kalchuri Archeological Remains - Beside the wildlife, Bandhavgarh is also famous for the archaeological remains of the Kalchuri period that have been found here.

 

Bandhavgarh National Park - Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the wild life  sanctuaries in the Indian state Madhya Pradesh. The national park is situated at 197 km away north-east of Jabalpur. This wild life park derived its very name from an ancient fort in the area. Bandhawgarh National Park belongs to the Vindhyan mountain ranges of central India and it boasts to have the highest density of tiger population in the country. Now there are about 46 to 52 tigers one can spot here.  

 

Flore in Bandhavgarh - Initially just 105.40-sq-kms in area, Bandhavgarh with 25 resident TIGERS was noted for its high-density tiger population. Today, it has been extended to an area of 437-sq-kms. About half the Bandhavgarh park is covered with fine trees of Sal, while mixed forests are found in the higher reaches of the hills. Stretches of bamboo and grasslands extend to the north. The main wildlife viewing is still done in the core of the park with its 32 picturesque, wooded hills.

 

Major Wildlife Attractions – Bandhavgarh

Once a hunting reserve of the royal family of Rewa in more recent times, Bandhavgarh was declared a park in 1968. This is also the site where the fanmous  WHITE TIGERS of Rewa were discovered. Wandering through the Bandhavgarh national park on an Elephant Back, the chances of seeing a tiger are quite good. Among the other wild attractions include, Nilgai, Chausingha, Chital, Chinkara, Wild Boar and sometimes a Fox or Jackal.

 

In the Bandhavgarh National Park the visitors can be entered on elephant back apart from the four wheelers. In the elephant safaris a forest department guide always accompanies the guests who will direct and tell about the flora and fauna of the park. The best time to visit the park is early in the morning or after 4 pm to spot the animals. The park is closed from 1st July to 31st October, which is the monsoon season.

 

Birds in Bandhavgarh National Park

AVIFAUNA

There is an abundant variety of indian wildlife, including birds in Bandhavgarh National Park. There are 250 bird species belonging to 53 families, out which 138 are resident, 26 are local migrants and 86 are migrant birds in Bandhavgarh National Park. Bamera, Garhpuri, Majhauli and Khitauli reservoirs in and around Bandhavgarh National Park are the ideal areas for migratory birds during winter. In the tourism zone, Jamuniya, Chakrdhara, Sheshsaiya, Bhitari, Bathan, Rajbahera, and Sehra are some of the important places for bird watchers and observers of Indian wildlife in Bandhavgarh.

Birds are an essential part of the Indian wildlife in the park. They play a useful role as pollinators of flowers, dispersers of seeds and control the numbers of various insects and small animal pests. The raptors are mainly represented by crested serpent eagle, shaheen falcon, bonnelli's eagle, shikra, marsh and hen harriers. In the Bandhavgarh Fort and in its vicinity there is a good population of malabar pied hornbill.

 

JEEP & ELEPHANT SAFARI

 

One can enjoy viewing the wildlife by two ways in Bandhavgarh - Jeep Safari and Elephant Safari.. Jeep safaris are undertaken during the early morning hours till evening. A forest department guide is always their with the visitors on these jeep trips taken inside the park. Elephant safari trips are organized for tiger tracking early in the morning.

 


Best Time to Visit - Bandavgarh National Park
The visiting season of Bandhavgarh national park starts from Mid-November to June, as the park remains closed during the monsoon months from July to early November.

 

 

CHITRAKOOT

Chitrakut is one of the most sacred pilgrim sites of north India. It covers a vast area comprising five villages: Sitapur, Karvi, Nayagaon, Kamta, and Khohi. The mountain ranges of the Vindhya surround the area. Mixed forests spread in all directions. An aura of sanctity surrounds the place. The countryside seems to exert a peculiar power over the residents and visitors alike. Today, the main pilgrim center, Ram Ghat, on the banks of the river Mandakini is synonymous with Chitrakut. This small, sleepy village is associated with many a legend and epic. It is believed that Rama and Sita, the leading dramatis personae of the epic Ramayana, spent 11 years out of their 14 years of exile in the forests around Chitrakut.

 

Tourist attraction in Chitrakoot

 

Ram Ghat - Ram Ghat, the center of Chitrakoot, is a series of steps cutting into the banks, for the pilgrims to perform religious ablutions and rituals. Its hallowed sanctity is often compared to that Rishikesh and Benaras. It is that the sacred Sarayu river emerges from its subterranean sojourn, and vanishes again. Tulsi Chabutra, a platform on the Ram Ghat, is believed to the place where the great poet-saint Tulsidas penned the Ram Charit Manas. Early in the morning, devotees worship the dawn with an oblation stand waist-deep in the river.

Param Kutir - The Param Kutir, the first hut madeby Lakshmana for Rama and Sita. Though a legenday structyre, Param Kutir has been rebuilt as a temple, popular with worshippers today.

Bharat Mandir -
Lord Rama’s younger brother, Bharat, is supposed to have camped camped a little below Param Kutir when he had come to Chitrakoot. Today, that spot is manifested by the Bharat Mandir,with the whole court being is worshipped as resplendent idols.

Janak Ki Kund - The Janaki Kund is considered as the favourite bathing spot of Sita. A series of steps on the left bank of a straight stretch of river, descending down to the water is almost greenish-blue in colour. The sounds of temple bells float through the stillness early in the morning. The recital of prayers is broadcast through loudspeakers as pilgrims start arriving even before the dawn.

Sphatik Shila - Beyond Janaki Kund, further upstream lies the Sphatik Shila, having a large boulder bearing the impressions of Lord Rama’s footprints. Another striking feature here are the horde of monkeys. Many hold these primates in respect as descendants of Hanuman, the monkey-god.

Kamadgiri Mountain - Legend has it that a powerful ritual with 108 fire pits was performed by Lord Bramhs before creating the universe, which fashioned the landscape of Chitrakoot. However, geologists point out that the step-like structures of the Deccan Trap are a result of the lava erupting from the depths of the earth. The entire, bow-shaped mountain conceals an enormous lake in its interiors. Around this underground reservoir, it is said, sages meditated. Today, devotees walk barefoot around this mountain in faith of being rewarded by god at this revered place. The hollow mountain has four doors: the Pramukh Dwar, a shrine, and three other portals.

Gupt Godavari - 19 kms south of Ram Ghat is a great cave called Gupt Godavari. According to legend, deep in this cave, the river Godavari emerges from a perennial stream. A massive rock bulging from the ceiling of Gupt Godavari cave is believed to be the remains of the demon Mayank. Another legend foretell that Lord Rama held court duing his exile in this cave. The entrance of the cave has a skillfully carved sculpture of the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.


Sati Anasuya - The green environment recharges the Mandakini originating in the hills near Rishi Atree’s ashram. Today a monastery is at traditional site of mediaton of Rishi Atree, Anasuya his wife, and their three sons. Mandakini is believed to have originated in reponse to the meditation of Anasuya.

Hanuman Dhara - 5 km from Ram Ghat lies a shrine devoted to Hanuman, the great warrior. Aptly named the Hanuman Dhara, pilgrims trek a steep 360-step stairway in search for the blessings of Hanuman. Legend has it that Hanuman, after setting fire in Lanka, cooled his wrath under a stream of icy water. His idol still stands submersed by a flow of cold, crystal-clear, water.

 

INDORE

 

Indore is a historic city in Madhya Pradesh which has witnessed some major episodes of Indian history during the 17th to 19th centuries. The last rulers before the British took over the reigns of this former princely estate were the Holkers. They had been rewarded the region around modern Indore by the Peshwas, the Maratha rulers after Shivaji. The city is considered the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh today. A large number of industries have developed in and around the city, which has been known as a major textile hub in this part of the country. Some of the most prominent educational institutions of the region are situated in Indore, including the Indian institute of Management. The tourist attractions in Indore include the historic buildings, memorials, palaces, temples and museums.

The shopping malls, parks and the famous bazaars, or markets can also be considered to be among the tourist attractions in Indore. Tourism in Indore is aided by a large number of Indore Hotels providing a wide range of quality accommodation to the tourists. The Madhya Pradesh tour packages include many itineraries covering the major tourist attractions in Indore.

 

Tourist attraction in Indore

 

Rajwada - This magnificent palace belonged to the Holkers during the period of their reign over the region. The architecture of this palace is a fine blend of French, Mughal and Maratha architecture. The palace is 200 years old and with its beautiful galleries, gardens, fountains, and an artificial waterfall, is undoubtedly one of the major tourist attractions in Indore.

Lalbagh Palace - This is the other palace of importance built by the Holkers. The palace is an elegant structure and is still used for important functions and ceremonies, as was its purpose in the past. The sprawling gardens of the palace and the interiors make it an important landmark in Indore.

Chattri Bagh - The Chattris are the local name given to domed structures built as memorials at the cremation sites of the important rulers of the region. The Chattri Bagh is one of the highlights of tourism in Indore as it contains many beautiful memorials that are of special interest to those interested in the history of the region. The garden is located near the Khan River. The memorial of Malhar Rao Holker, the founder of the Holker dynasty is the most prominent structure in the complex.

Kanch Mandir - This magnificent temple is one of the major sites covered by the Madhya Pradesh tour packages. This Jain temple is intricately adorned by glasses that reflect 21 images of Lord Mahavir, which correspond to the 21 Jain Tirthankaras. The splendid glass work inside the temple is a fascinating example of master craftsmanship. This temple is also called Seth Hukumchand temple, after its builder.

Bada Ganapati - Bada translates to large and Ganapati is the regional name for the famous elephant God in Hinduism. Ganapati is the major deity in this part of the country, and this temple has the largest statue of Ganapati in the world. The statue measures 8 meters and is made up of iron, copper, brass, gold and silver.

Central Museum - This museum exhibits many artifacts from the prehistoric to modern era. The most interesting among these are the Paramara sculptures from the 11th and 12th centuries found at Hinglajgarh. The museum has an impressive collection of coins, arms, armors and paintings.

There are many places of interest around the city. Within easy and quick reach are historic places like Maheshwar, the erstwhile ruling post of the Holkers, the Omkareshwar temple, Ujjain, MHOW, Mandu and Patal Pani.

GWALIOR

Gwalior undoubtedly teems with many attractions. From the regal charm of Jai Vilas Palace to the awe-inspiring Gwalior Fort, options for tourists are many. However, apart from places of interest within its folds, Gwalior also has a lot to offer to tourists around its vicinity. Excursions around the place are as interesting and as varied as the tourist attractions within the city. These excursions include visits to places like Agra, Jhansi, Chanderi, Orchha, Shivpuri and others. Apart from that, you can also go for short trips to nearby hamlets and towns, with tourist places in the form of monuments, murals, temples and wildlife. Know more about places to see near Gwalior here.

 

Tourist attraction in Gwalior

Man Mandir Palace -
Built by Man Singh Tomar between 1486 and 1516, the Man Mandir is a huge palace. It is supposedly the fort’s prized possession. Also known as the Chitra Mandir or the Palace of Paintings, it exhibits tiled and painted decorations of peacocks and several other birds.

Gujari Mahal and Archaeological Museum - Gujari Mahal speaks of Man Singh’s love for his ninth Gujar wife, Mrignayni, in loving memory of whom this special palace was built. It now serves as a museum housing a large collection of stone carvings.

Sas-Bahu Temples - As the name suggests, the Sas-Bahu temples, located on the other part of the fort, are not dedicated to a mother-in-law (Sas) and daughter-in-law (Bahu). Sas-Bahu is the name given to two adjacent temples of different sizes. The larger of the two is ornately decorated and sculpted with beautiful statuettes and intricate patterns.

Suraj Kund -Constructed in the 15th century, the Suraj Kund complex dates back to as early as AD 425. This is considered to be the place where Sage Gwalipa healed Suraj Sen of leprosy with the waters of this pool.

Memorial of Tansen - Next to the tomb of Ghaus is located another small tomb – the Memorial of Tansen. This is the memorial built to commemorate Tansen, the great musician and one of the nine gems of Akbar’s court. It is here that the annual Tansen Sangeet Samaroh, a world-renowned music festival, is held.

Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus - Another tourist attraction in Gwalior is the tomb of Mohammad Ghaus, a saint of the Islamic faith of the 16th century. Associating hardly any importance from a historical point of view, the tomb exudes sheer beauty. The stone carvings in the panels of screen work create a magical charm.

Teli-ka-Mandir - The ninth century temple of Teli-ka-Mandir, built in Dravidian form, is believed to be the oldest in the fort. The sculptures are particularly North Indian. Devoted to Lord Vishnu, a figure of garuda (mythical bird) resides on top of the 10-metre-high doorway.

Kala Vithika - Located near the Gwalior Railway Station, Kala Vithika bears a major part of the town’s history and culture.

Surya Mandir - The Surya Mandir (Sun Temple), a replica of the famed Sun Temple at Konark in Orissa is one of the important tourist attractions of Gwalior. It was built by G. D. Birla, the famous Indian industrialist.

 

KHAJURAHO

Khajuraho is the ancient capital of the Chandela Rajputs, located in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. It is a major tourist attraction of the state, and a famous temple town in Northern India. Khajuraho has primarily earned world wide acclamations for its temples and erotic sculptures. The monuments at Khajuraho have now been given the status of World Heritage Sites. The temples of Khajuraho are undoubtedly the most prominent tourist attractions in Khajuraho. The craftsmanship and intricate artwork showcased in these temples are examples of the high levels achieved by the artisans of ancient and medieval India .

Originally when the temples were constructed during the era of the Chandela dynasty, there were 80 such Hindu temples which were later reduced to 20. The ravages of nature left its impact on these temples and many of the structures were unable to survive it. Khajuraho has been known to play a key role in Madhya Pradesh Tourism which is evident from the large number of tourists visiting every year.

Western Temples in Khajuraho

The largest of all temple groups of Khajuraho, the Western Group include some of the most renowned and noteworthy temples. Most of the temples of the Western group are dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. Situated at the center of the massive temple complex are several large and small shrines. The most prominent temples of the group are the Lakshmana Temple, the Matangesvara Temple and the Varaha Temple that are a part of a single complex, the Visvanatha and Nandi temples are situated near the above-mentioned complex while the Chitragupta, Jagadambi and the Kandariya Mahadeo temples are located a little to the west of the complex. Other temples in the Western Group include the Varaha Temple with a nine-feet high boar-incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Matangeshwara Temple with a eight-feet high lingam, and the Brahma Temple.

The Kandariya Mahadev - The largest as well as architecturally and sculpturally the most impressive of all Khajuraho's temple, the Kandariya Mahadev Temple, dating back to the 11th century stands almost 31m above ground level and is as long as it is tall. Built entirely of sandstone, the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is known for its magnificence, perfection of design and sculptural profusion.

Chaunsath Yogini - Dedicated to Goddess Kali, the Chaunsath Yogini temple is the oldest of all the surviving temples of Khajuraho. The only temple to be built entirely of granite, the name chaunsat (sixty-four) comes from the cells of 64 attendants (Yoginis) of Goddess Kali, while one belongs to the goddess herself. Today, only 35 shrines out of the original 65 shrines remain,

Chitragupta - Built in early 11th century, the Chitragupta Temple situated at the extreme northern end of a row of four temples and extending from south to north is dedicated to Surya, the Sun God. Facing eastwards towards the rising sun, the temple is located about 100 yards south-east of the Chopra Tank,a deep three-storeyed stepped well that was built by the Chandelas.

Vishanath Temple :-  Similar in plan to the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in terms of its style and composition, the Vishwanath Temple built in the early 11th century by King Dhanga is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Vishwanatha Temple has some ancient sculptural details and within the shrine is an exquisite marble Shivalinga as well as a three-headed image of Brahma. The temple has impressive entrances with magnificent stone lions guarding its northern steps and royal masonry elephants taking care of the southern steps.

Lakshmana Temple - One of the oldest and best preserved of all the Khajuraho temples, the Lakshmana Temple is dedicated to the Vaikuntha form of Lord Vishnu. Built during the reign of Yasovarman during the period from 930-950 AD, the temple is one of the most exquistely decorated temple, covered with various images of gods and goddess in the Hindu Pantheon.

Matangeshwara Temple - Situated outside the premises of Western group of temples and facing east is the Matangeswara Temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva,the temple is still a place of worship and is known for its eight-feet high lingam. South of this temple is the open air Archaeological Museum, which has a beautiful displayed collection of statues and friezes collected from the remains of long vanished temples. The temple draws a huge crowd during the annual Mahashivratri festival.

Devi Jagadambe - Now a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali, the Devi Jagadambe Temple was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Older than the Kandariya Mahadev temple, the temple is famous for its lavishly decorated and richly embellished square ceiling and walls which have some of the finest figures of gods and goddesses, celestial nymphs and erotic couples


Eastern Temples in Khajuraho

Hindu and Jain temples make up the Eastern Group, which lies close to the Khajuraho village. The larger group located within an enclosure is entirely dedicated to the Jain pantheon . The three Jain temples in the eastern group of Khajuraho temples are Parasvnath temple , the Adinath temple and the Ghantai temple. The three main Hindu temples of the group are the Brahma, containing a four faced lingam, the Vamana, which is adorned on its outer walls with carving of apsaras in a variety of sensuous attitudes; and the Javari , with a richly-carved gateway and exterior sculptures.

The Parshvanatha Temple - The Parsvanath temple is the largest of the Jain temples in Khajuraho. It is also one of the finest Jain temples in India. It has an image of Parshvanatha, a Jain Tirthankara in the sanctum. In fact another important temple of this group the Adinath temple is very near to the Parshvanath temple.

The Adinath Temple - The Adinath temple is dedicated to the Jain saint, Adinath. The statue is about 10 feet high, and sits .It is the smallest of the main Jain temples in the enclosure. A large black statue of Adinath seated like the Buddha, in the lotus position is placed inside a small inner sanctum of the temple. One can reach there by descending some steps down inside the Adinath temple

Southern Temples in Khajraho

The Southern group of Khajuraho temples consists of only - the Dhuladeo temple, and the Chaturbhuj temple. The former is dedicated to lord Shiva while the latter is dedicated to lord Vishnu. The southern groups of temples lies 5 km from the Khajuraho village. Compared to the other two groups, the western and the eastern groups of temples, this group lacks the sculptural refinement and polish of the earlier shrines. It is because of this reason that it is considered as the least important part of the Khajuraho complex. This group comprises just two temples. The Dhuladeo, located south of the Jain enclosure, was constructed well after the other temples. The Chaturbhuja temple, located much further south, is in a dilapidated condition but proudly sports a finely-rendered 9ft-high statue of Vishnu.


Delhadeo Temple - Built in circa AD 1100-1150, and dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Dulhadeo temple is situated south of the Khajuraho village. This Shaiva Temple, traditionally known as the temple of Duladeo or 'Kunwar Math', can be located about half a mile south of the Ghantai Temple and the same distance southwest of the Jain group of temples including the Parsvanath temple both of which belong to the eastern group of temples.

Chaturbhuj Temple - The Chaturbhuj Temple belongs to the southern group of Khajuraho temple. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it has a massive 9ft high, intricately carved image of Lord Vishnu, in Chaturbhuja (four-armed) form: varada (boon-giving) with his now broken lower right hand, and abhaya with his upper right hand, holds a manuscript along with a lotus stalk in his upper left hand, and possibly a water pot or conch shell in his lower left hand.

MAHESHWAR

This is one of the most picturesque cities in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Located in Khargone District, it is situated on the banks of Narmada River. The city is famous as the place ruled by the legendary queen Maharani Ahilya Bai, the ruler of Holkar dynasty. The history of Maheshwar dates back to more than 4000 years back. The city also finds a mention in Mahabharta and Ramayana as well but the name of the city in these epics is 'Mahishmati'. Akbar built the fort after he came into power in the year 1601. In the late eighteenth century, Maharani Ahilya Bai took over as the queen of Holkar Dynasty. She transformed this riverside city into a peaceful and prosperous land when the rest of India was facing an uneasy time. She built many temples and buildings that still lend the city the aura of times of yore. The Ghats of the city, named after the dynasties like Peshwa Ghat, Fanase Ghat, Ahilya Ghat are another feature that give Maheshwar a distinctive look. Experience the real life of rural India, moving past you at a leisurely pace.

Tourist attraction in Maheshwar

Maheshwar is famous for the Fort and the many temples that adorn the face of this resplendent town. Maheshwar is full of natural beauty that accompanies the man made wonders to create a city perfect for tourists.

Maheshwar Fort - Maheshwar is famous for the Fort and the many temples that adorn the face of this resplendent town. Maheshwar is full of natural beauty that accompanies the man made wonders to create a city perfect for tourists.

The Fort is the most visited attraction in the city. The magnificent fort houses an archaeological museum that displays antiques and different possessions of Holkar Dynasty. The main attraction of the fort is the life-size statue of Rani Ahilyabai seated of the throne. The festival of Dusshera is special in the fort as procession carrying a small shrine is taken down the fort for public viewing.

Temples of Maheshwar - Temples of Maheshwar are famous for the unique overhanging balconies. Like temples of olden times in many parts of India, temples here also have intricately crafted walls. And the one thing that will capture your attention will be the exceptionally carved doorway that welcomes you to the world of history. Kaleshwara Temple, Rajarajeshwara Temple, Akhileshwara Temple and Vithaleshwara Temple are the most known temples of the area.

Navdatoli- Archaeological Site - Situated just outside Maheshwar, Navdatoli is an archaeological site that was discovered in the 1950. In the early stages of excavation, painted pottery and microliths were found. But as they dug deeper, it was confirmed that people of many cultures from Lower Paleolithic period till 18th century have resided here. Structures of washed away houses have also been found that tells us that a big flood would have struck this area.

KANHA

The Kanha Tiger Reserve, which occupies parts of the Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh, is located in the Maikal hills of the Satpura Ranges. Renowned worldwide for its rich floral and faunal bounty, Kanha ranks as one of the finest national parks in Asia. Indianholiday offers online guide on the History of Kanha India.

 

The Banjar and Halon valleys served as exclusive hunting grounds for the British in India. According to the History of Kanha, these regions were home to a large population of the swamp deer or hard-ground Barasingha. In 1931, the forests came to be closed for hunting owing to the over-hunting of the barasingha, which resulted in a sharp decline in their populace. Kanha valley attained the status of a sanctuary in 1933, encompassing an area of about 250 sq. kms. In 1935 the adjacent Halon valley around Supkhar, which had an area of 300 sq. kms, gained the status of a sanctuary and came to be attached to Kanha. But later, the Suphkar sanctuary was de-notified, with the Banjar valley alone remaining a sanctuary. The History of Kanha Tiger Reserve also mentions that in 1955 the Banjar valley attained the status of a National Park, and the park came to be called Kanha National Park. During the initial phase, the park comprised an area of 253 sq. km. In 1962 Kanha National park was expanded to 318 sq. kms, and in 1970 Mukki Valley was added, resulting in the park’s total area being increased to 446 sq. kms.

 

The History of Kanha also has it that when the Project Tiger was initially launched in 1973, nine Tiger Reserves got enlisted under it, with Kanha National Park being one of them. Under Project Tiger, the Halon valley came to be integrated into the park, with the result that the total area of Kanha National Park went up to its present area of 940 sq. kms.

Tourist attraction in Kanha

Bamni Dadar - Besides the flora and fauna of the Kanha National Park, Bamni Dadar also makes an excellent spot to visit.The mixed forest zone animals grazing here namely the sambar, barking deer, gaur and four-horned antelope.

Jabalpur - JABALPUR makes Located at a distance of 145 kms via Mandla, Jabalpur is a destination to visit the Madan Mahal Fort built in AD 1116 and the Rani Durgavati Museum that houses a number of fine archaeological findings and sculptures of a bygone era. The Tilwara Ghat where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi are believed to have been immersed also makes an important place to visit in Jabalpur. You can also access the Marble Rocks, Dhuandhar Falls and the Chausath Yogini Mandir from this place.

Nagpur -
located at a distance of 260 kms from Kanha National Park. Famous for its oranges, Nagpur is nicknamed as the orange city. The present day Nagpur city was founded by the Gond King of Deogad, Bakht Buland Shah in the year 1702.

Wildlife Tourist attraction of Kanha National Park

Barasingha - If one animal species were to represent Kanha, it would probably be the barasingha, or the swamp deer. The barasinghas at Kanha are unique, being the hard ground variety, which populate the large open tracts of grass amidst the forests of teak and bamboo. Twenty years ago, the Barasingha was faced with extinction but some desperate measures which included the fencing-off of some animals helped save them and again the air in Kanha bugled with their rutting calls.

Animal Population - The main wildlife attractions in the park are tiger, bison, gaur, sambhar, chital, barasingha, barking deer, black deer, black buck, chousingha, nilgai, mouse deer, sloth bear, jackal fox, porcupine, hyena, jungle cat, python, pea fowl, hare, monkey, mongoose, tiger, and leopard.

Bird Population - The bird species in the park include storks, teals, pintails, pond herons, egrets, peacock, pea fowl, jungle fowl, spur fowl, partridges, quails, ring doves, spotted parakeets, green pigeons, rock pigeons, cuckoos, papihas, rollers, bee-eater, hoopoes, drongos, warblers, kingfishers, woodpeckers, finches, orioles, owls and fly catchers.

Safaris  - Jeep Safari and Elephant Safari are the two options for spotting wild animals in the park. The safaris can be enjoyed any time during the day while the best time for animal spotting is during early morning or late evening. The safari timings generally are 6 AM to 12 Noon and 3 to 5:30 PM.

Elephant Safari - The animals at Kanha are best observed from the elephant back and the open country makes the chance of sightings reasonably good.

Kanha Museum - There is a museum at Kanha national park, depicting attributes and activities of the park and the tribal culture of the state of Madhya Pradesh.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS

Kanha Museum - You can top your visit to the Kanha National Park by visiting the Kanha Museum, situated inside the park. The museum provides useful information about varied topics including the topography, park maps, pug marks of various animals etc, which can enhance your experience of visiting the park.

Raja Rani -Near the visitor centre one can see the stumps of two giant sal trees that are worshipped daily in the forests. Known as Raja Rani, these trees once lived in the Kanha National Park.


ORCHHA

The city of Orchha is situated in the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. The meaning of Orchha is 'hidden' and the city is located on the banks of River Betwa in Madhya Pradesh, 16 kilometers away from Jhansi, and is encircled by fascinating hills and loads of greenery. The small village of Orchha was once the capital of Bundelkhand. The historical memorials of Orchha narrate the stories of war and peace, love and devastation and still retain the unspoiled charm.

Bundela Rajput chieftain Rudra Pratap selected the land along the Betwa River as a perfect location for his capital and hence, Orchha was established in the 16th Century. One of the succeeding rulers in the city, Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo, constructed the elegant Jehangir Mahal, a tiered palace crowned by graceful Chhatries. In spite of being a derelict land, Orchha is still not forgotten. The stones of the beautiful monuments in Orchha are plastered on top and during the evenings the beauty of the city increases.

The nearest airports from Orchha are at Gwalior, at a distance of 25 kilometers or at Khajuraho, at a distance of 1732 kilometers. The nearest railhead is at Jhansi which is 18 kilometers from Orchha. The city of Orchha is situated on the Jhansi-Khajuraho Road where regular bus service is available.

Tourist attraction in Orchha

Raj Mahal - Situated to the right of the quardrangle, 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 colourful, on a veriety or religious themes.

Jehangir Mahal - Built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in the 17th century to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir to Rochha. Its strong lines are counterbalanced by delicate chhatries and treillies work, the whole conveying an effect of extraordinary richness.

Raj Praveen Mahal - Poetess and musician, Rai Prqveen was the beautiful paramour of Raja Indramani (1672-76), and was sent to Delhi on the orders of Emperor Akbar, who was captivated by her. She so impressed the Great Mughal with the purity of her love for indramani that he sent her back to Orchha. The palace built for her is a low, tow-storeyed brick structure, designed to match the height of the trees in the surrounding, beautifully landscaped gardens of Anand Mahal, with its octagonal flower beds and elaborate water supply system. Sklfully carved niches allow light into the Mahal which has a main hall and smaller chambers.

Ram Raja Temple - This palace-turned-turned-temple has a charming legend attached to it. Following the dream visitation of Lord Rama, Madhukar Shah's wife, Ganesh Kuanwari brought a statue of the god from Ayodhya to Orchha. While the king was a worshipper of Lord Krishna, the queen was a devotee of Lord Rama. The image was placed in a palace prior to its installation in a temple. When the idol proved impossible to move, the queen recalled, too late, the deity's edict that the image would remain in the place where it was first installed. Today, with its soaring spires and palatial architecture, the temple is surely one of the most unusual in India. It is also the only in the country where Rama is worshipped as a king (Raja).

MANDU

Tourist attraction in  Mandu
 
Jahaz Mahal (Ship Palace) :- This ship-like structure was the brainchild of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji. The palace served as his harem and was home to 15,000 maidens. Two lakes bound the palace on the eastern and western sides and underpin the illusion of a ship.

Taveli Mahal - Located on the south of Jahaz Mahal, this ancient monument was used as a guardhouse and a stable during the Mughal regime. It now acts as a gallery of Archaeological Survey of India and houses various archaeological findings.

Hindola Mahal (Swing Palace) - It is located near the Jahaz Mahal and is a large hall that is supported by sloping buttresses. It served as a pleasure palace of the Mughals, who organized their evening parties here during the monsoon season.

Champa Baoli - An elaborately constructed step-well, the place was so named as its waters were believed to smell like the 'Champa' flower. A summer retreat of the emperor,; it houses cool wells, underground rooms (Taikhanas) & subterranean bathrooms.

Village Group

Jami Masjid - This huge edifice, built in 1454, was one of the finest achievements of the Ghauri dynasty. Faced with red sandstone, the monument dominates the village of Mandu and is structured on the 'Omayyed Mosque' in Damascus, Syria.

Tomb of Hoshang Shahh
It lies on the south-west of the Jami Masjid and is believed to be the oldest marble building of India. Sheathed completely in white marble, its design and workmanship greatly influenced Shah Jahan, who sent his architects to study it before building the Taj Mahal.

Ashrafi Mahal -  It was built by Mahmud Shah Khilji. Originally constructed as a Muslim religious school (Madrasa), the place was later extended to become his own mausoleum. The building collapsed due to faulty architecture and now stands amidst ruins.

Jain Temple - It is a modern temple complex that enshrines images of various Jain 'Tirthankars'. All the temples are richly festooned with marble, silver and golden statues of the Jain saints. The place also houses a Jain museum inside it.

Rewa Kund Group

Baz Bahadur's Palace - Located near Rewa Kund, this place was erected in 1509 by Baz Bahadur, the last king of Malwa. It exhibits a skillful blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architectural style, with high terraces, ornate halls and spacious patios.

Rupmati's Pavilion - This fort was originally built as an army observation post and offers some enchanting views of the Narmada gurgling through the Nimar plains below. With its striking pavilions, the fort was used as a summer retreat by the queen.

Other Attractions
There are also some other forts and monuments in Mandu, which are not categorized into any groups, but deserve special mention. Nilkanth temple, located at the very edge of a steep gorge, is a renowned Shiva shrine. Nilkanth Mahal, constructed by the Mughal Governor, Shah Badgah Khan for Emperor Akbar's Hindu wife, is also a notable architectural specimen of Mandu. Hathi Mahal, Darya Khan's Tomb, Dai ka Mahal, Dai ki Chhotti Behan Ka Mahal, Malik Mughit's Mosque and Jali Mahal are some other fascinating monuments that still reverberate with the glorious past of Mandu.

PANCHMARHI

A place endowed with red sandstone hills and emerald-green forests, Pachmarhi boasts of being the only hill resort of the largest state of India. An exclusive colonial retreat during the bygone era; the place today embraces tourists from every alcove of the country. With its towering peaks, green glades and deep gorges, the beauty of this hill resort remains enviable. The colonial architectural splendors, embedded in its blessed landscape, make the place even more inviting. This article will help you explore the tourist attractions of Pachmarhi and give you a glimpse of the various places to be seen there.

 

Tourist attraction in Panchmarhi

Pandava Caves - An important tourist landmark in Panchmarhi, Pandav Caves lend their name to this picturesque hill resort of Madhya Pradesh. According to local legends and popular beliefs, the five Pandav brothers of Mahabharata, along with their wife 'Draupadi', spent a part of their exile here.

Catholic Church - Built by the British in 1892, this ancient monument displays a striking blend of French and Irish architecture. The stained glass windows beautify the edifice and add to its magnificence. It also has an old cemetery attached to it. The tombstones here dates back to 1859, World War I and World War II.

Christ Church - The British built this church in 1875. Considered as the most stunning small church in Madhya Pradesh, the building displays an artistic architectural style. It has a hemispherical dome on top of its 'sanctum-sanctorum'. The tinted glass panes gilded on the walls and the altar present dazzling views as sunrays pass.

Priyadarshini Point
Jatasankar - A sacred cavern under a mass of loose boulders, the place is named 'Jatasankar', as a rock formation here resembles the tangled manes of Lord Shiva. The 'Samadhistha Shiva' in this dark cave resembles the hood of a serpent and is a site of awe and reverence.

Apsara Vihar (Fairy Pool) This pool is located near the Pandava caves and is accessible only on foot. A waterfall plummets from a height of 30 ft to form this pool. The water gets deeper as it nears the fall, but the shallow ends of the pool remains ideal for swimming and diving. Tourists flock to this place to take refreshing dips in the mountain water.

Handi Khoh - Earlier known as 'Andhi Kho' amongst the natives, it is the deepest of all the gorges at Pachmarhi and is nearly 300 ft deep. It is shadowed in a wild thicket, with dramatically steep sides. According to legends, Shiva imprisoned a large snake, which actually was a demon, and buried it in a solid rock in this ravine

Rajat Prapat (Big Fall)  - A ten-minute walk from Apsara Vihar leads to the top of Rajat Pratap, the Big Fall. This fall is nearly 350 ft in height. It is a thrilling experience to watch straight down into the bottom of the fall, as it cascades its way from the high precipice. The journey that leads to the fall is bliss for the adventure-seekers.

Mahadeoo -Coppices of Sal trees and precarious hairpin bends lead to the cave shrine of Mahadeo. Drops of water trickle from the roof of this cave and form a holy pool in which the devotees can take a dip. The large 'shivling' of this shrine is the main site of worship. Pilgrims flock to the place, especially during 'Shivratri'.

Jalawataran (Duchess Fall) - The most beautiful of all Pachmarhi falls, it can be reached only on foot. The descent to the fall is steep and the journey is quite arduous. This fall plunges down in three different cascades, accompanied by deafening sounds. No doubt, the alluring sight and sound of the place makes it a hot spot amongst tourists.

 

OMKARESHWAR


One of the most inspiring and sacred places of pilgrimage, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, draw thousands of devotees every year. The sacred Jyotirlinga, one of the twelve that are in India is placed in the Shri Omkar Mandhata Mandir at the confluence of the Narmada and Kaveri. The faith and religiousness of Omkareshwar is naturally complemented by the geographical shape of the land, which looks liked the religious Hindu Symbol 'Om'. This is because there are two lofty hills that are divided by a valley in between giving Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh such a gifted shape.

 

Tourist attraction in Omkareshwar

Omkar Mandhata Temple - One of the holiest shrines in the entire subcontinent itself, Shri Omkar Mandhata Temple houses one among the twelve jyothirlingas in India. Prettily situated in the confluence of Narmada and Kaveri rivers this temple enshrines nagara style architecture with lovely frescos and carvings. Flanked by beautiful balconies with engraved columns of distinct shapes this temple presents an elegant and dazzling appeal.

A sacred shrine that found its place in the puranas carries spectacular legends that entice the devotees of Lord Shiva. Shivalinga in the temple is believed to be swayambhoo and so powerful. Shivalingam in the temple is not affixed to the cupola and it is always encircled by water. Devotees who circumambulate the holy shrine is supposed get divine blessings.

Siddhanath Temple - An architectural marvel that reflects the artistic talents of the medieval people Siddhanath temple is a classic example of Brahminic architecture. Like all other famous temple in Omkareswar this temple also is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Prettily situated on a plateau, this temple gets its support from a highly embellished huge podium with lovely carvings and frescos. All the carvings and frescos portray elephants in various postures. The main shrine is in the center and it has facades on all four sides with splendid decks and spectacularly stamped figures.

Description of the Siddhanath Temple cannot be complete without the mention of its most noticeable feature, the frescos of elephants. These are engraved over a stony block of 1.5 meters height at its external precincts. Elaborately carved roofs and displays outstanding caliber of the artists and it is definite that this architectural splendor would provide you some precious moments in your life.

Gauri Somnath Temple - Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Gauri Somanth temple is one of the biggest and oldest shrines in Omkareswar. This temple in the Khandwa District grabs large number of pilgrims each year.

Gauri Somnath Temple is constructed in the shape of a star which itself is marvelous in architecture. A gigantic Shivlinga adorns sanctum sanctorum of the temple, which is almost six feet height. Shivalinga is made up of smooth black stone that makes the idol dazzlingly superb. Another interesting attraction is the idol of Nandi bull, which situates outside the sanctum facing its master. This too is made up of the same black stone like the main deity.

Omkareshwar  Parikrama - As per Hindu mythology, walking around any sources of positive energy would proffer one with the same positive energy. So from time immemorial, walking around in a clockwise direction of something, which has positive energy, is a well-acclaimed practice.

The popular belief is that circumambulating the sacred temple of Omkareswar would fetch boons and wipe out all the sins of those who had undertaken such parikrama. Apart from the jyothirlinga, the presence of holy river Narmada adds the parikrama a worthy affair. Narmada is believed to be the daughter of Lord Shiva and regarded as the purest of all other rivers. Since it is a customary practice of a Shiva devotee to take a parikrama of Narmada.

Omkareshwar is situated on the holy banks of this sacred river and hence walking around the shrine would proffer dual benefits to the devotee. It is rather a testamentary custom than an alluring attraction. Most of the people who prefer a parikrama here at Omkareshwar would definitely give preference to its religious aspect than the scenic ambiance through which they walks around.

 

Kedareshwar Temple - One of the most important holy shrines situated in the Madhya Pradesh is the Kedareshwar Temple. This temple was built some long years back in the last 11th century. This long familiar temple is one of the striking attractions that are being visited by large tourists groups.

Most people travel to this temple to worship the deity god to bestow good fortune and good luck. The holiness and divinity of this temple grabs the attention of the tourists. Large groups of tourists all around the world travel here to visit the temple..

 

SANCHI

 

Sanchi is a place that gives you a vivid glimpse of the entire gamut of Indian Buddhism. It is where King Ashoka gave shape to his newly acquired fervor for the religion. This led to the flowering of many stupas and Buddhist monuments in the place. These ancient remnants help one in understanding the inherent spirit of the religion and also get the picture of the genesis, efflorescence and collapse of Buddhist art and architecture. Apart from its plethora of attractions, Sanchi is also an important stopover for visiting other tourist attractions near the place. Get to know more about excursions from Sanchi in the article below.

 

Tourist attraction of Sanchi

Udaigiri -
The spurts of creative outpourings of the Guptas were legendary and served as the hallmark of the dynasty. If you want to have a rich glimpse of architectural legerdemain of the Guptas, just check out the Udaigiri Caves of Madhya Pradesh.

Videsha - Located 10 km to the south of Sanchi, Videsha was earlier known as Besnagar and was an important township of the area. During 3rd century BC, the place was governed by Ashoka. This legendary place was also home to his wife. A trip to Videsha commands a visit to the Heliodoros Pillar, of 5th AD, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, which marks the conversion of the Greek Ambassador of Taxila to Hinduism. This monolithic free-standing column is still considered holy by the local fisher folk and known as 'Khamb Baba' amongst them.

Raisen  - 23 km from Sanchi, en route to Bhopal; lays Raisen that borrows its name from its massive fort that rests on a sandstone hill. The town is cozily tucked at the foot of this hill. This hilltop fort goads tourists to dive in its lap, with its colorful display of temples, cannons, three palaces, forty wells and a huge tank. It was an important seat of administration during the Hindu rule. Ancient murals that date back to many centuries are also treasured in the nearby caves of the place.

Gyaraspur - 41 km to the north-east of Sanchi rests this medieval place. It derives its name from the big fair that was once the pride of the town and was held every eleventh month of the year (Gyaras). Gyaraspur is one of the must-visit tourist places near Sanchi. Though the place stands in a dilapidated state today, it is still a striking treasure house of ancient temples. 'Athkhamba' (Eight Pillars), 'Chaukhamba' (Six Pillars) and Mahadev temple, which can be traced back to the 9th and 10th centuries, are the prime attractions of the place.

Udaypur - The colossal Neelkantheswara Temple is the mark of Udaypur, located 60 km from Sanchi. This temple is a brilliant masterpiece that holds out the exactitude of 11th century Paramara architecture. The well-proportioned and gracefully done Shikhar (spire) and alluring carvings that adorn it, bring to notice the exemplary temple architecture of the period. Carved with red sandstone and elevated on a lofty platform, the edifice consists of a Garbha Griha (shrine room), a Sabha Mandap (Hall) and three Parvesh Mandaps (entrance porches).

Sonari and Satdhara - Sonari, 10 km to the southwest of Sanchi, is also a well-known monastic site. It houses eight majestic stupas that are instantaneous tourist delight. Likewise, the Buddhist complex at Satdhara is sited 11km to the west of Sanchi, on the bank of the Beas River, and domiciles fourteen monasteries and 34 stupas belonging to the Mauryan period. The most notable is Stupa I, with its staggering height and broad circumambulatory path around the base. The remains of many apsidal temples are also found in the place.

 

SHIVPURI

 

The small town of Shivpuri is set amidst a very picturesque landscape. A Tour to Shivpuri will surely be imbibed in your minds all your life because this is a kind of place that is generally seen in paintings and photographs. The beautiful greenery of the verdant deciduous forests and the brown of the gently sloping hills combine to create a fascinating effect.

In addition to its scenic beauty there are several interesting places in Shivpuri that are a must see on your Tour to Shivpuri.

Earlier known as Sipri, this town has a rich royal legacy and the palaces in Shivpuri still stand to reflect the glory of that by gone era. Legend says that the forests of Shivpuri were the hunting grounds of the Mughals. Shivpuri was also the summer capital of the Scindhis of Gwalior.

You are sure to be impressed by the Madhav Vilas Palace. The rose pink color of the palace is extremely soothing to the eye. Reflective of colonial architecture, the structure is indeed very elegant. A Ganapati Mandap is there within the palace.

For the adventure loving a visit to the Madhav National Park is a must on your Tour to Shivpuri. It is indeed very exciting to watch the wild animals in their natural surroundings. Deer’s are seen in large numbers. You will easily sight the Chital, the Chinkara and the Indian gazelle. The amazing variety of fauna also includes Nilgai, Sambar, Chausingha or four-horned Antelope, Blackbuck, Sloth Bear, Leopard and the ubiquitous common Langur.

Tourist attraction in Shivpuri

Madhav National Park - 156 sq km in area, the park is open throughout the year. With a varied terrain of wooded hills, the forest being dry, mixed and deciduous with flat grasslands around the lake, it offers abundant opportunities of sighting a variety of wildlife. The predominant species that inhabits the park is the deer, of which the most easily sighted are the graceful little Chinkara, the Indian gazelle, and the Chital. Other species that have their habitat in the park are Nilgai, Sambar, Chausingha or four-horned Antelope, Blackbuck, Sloth Bear, Leopard and the ubiquitous common Langur.

The National Park is equally rich in avifauna. The artificial lake, Chandpata, is the winter home of migratory Geese, Pochard, Pintail, Teal, Mallard Gadwall, Red Wattled Lapwing, Large Pied Wagtail, Pond Heron, White - Breasted Kingfisher, Cormorant, Painted Stork, White Ibis, Laggar Falcon, Purple Sunbird, Paradise Flycatcher and Golden Oriole.

Chhatris - Set in a formal Mughal garden, with quiet nooks under flowering trees, intersected by pathways with ornamental balustrades and illuminated by Victorian lamps, is the complex in which the cenotaphs of the Scindias are set. Facing each other across a water tank are the Chhatris of Madho Rao Scindia and the dowager queen Maharani Sakhya Raje Scindia, synthesising the architectural idioms of Hindu and Islamic styles with their shikhara-type spires and Rajput and Mughal pavilions.

Madhav Vilas Palace - Standing upon a natural eminence, the elongated rose-pink summer palace of the Scindias is a fine example of colonial architecture. The 'Mahal' as it is called, is remarkable for its marble floors, iron columns, graceful terraces and the Ganpati mandap.

Sakhya Sagar Boat Club - Edging the forests of the Madhav National Park is the Sakhya Sagar Lake, habitat of a variety of reptiles. Seen here are the Marsh Crocodile or Mugger, Indian Python and the Monitor Lizard. On the shores of the lake and connected to it by a broad pier is a Boat Club, an airy, delicate structure with glass panels.

Bhadaiya Kund - A scenic spot by a natural spring. The water here is rich in minerals, supposedly of a curative nature.

The glittering white marble surface of Madho Rao Scindia's cenotaph is inlaid in the pietra dura style, with lapis lazuli and onyx to create a spectacularly rich effect heightened by the delicacy of the trellis, work on the sides. The dowager queen's cenotaph has a noble dignity of line and superb structural harmony. Both memorials contain life-size images of the Scindias and these are tended to with extreme devotion by ceremonially dressed retainers who perform the rituals of placing flowers and incense before the statues each day. In the evening the hush is broken by the sound of music as artistes of the Gwalior gharana render classical ragas before the statues.

George Castle - Deep within the forests of the park, on its highest point, is the turreted George Castle built by Jiyaji Rao Scindia. From here the view of the lake is unparalleled and the best time to visit the castle is at sunset when the lakes below mirror the changing hues of the evening sky.

Satpura national park is an evergreen deciduous forest. Sal, teak, mahogany, bamboo is the most common trees that you will find in this forest. There are other varieties of plants and trees which have various medicinal and biological importances. This forest is the home ground for various birds. During the months of winter various migratory birds come and make their nests in this place. This national park is the best place to study plants. Authority has taken the step to prevent deforestation as that is creating a void in the eco-system.

Tucked away in the Satpura mountainous ranges, Satpura National Park rests in the Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. Set up in 1981, the park borrows its name from the Satpura hill ranges (Mahadeo Hills). An important wildlife sanctuary of India, the park shelters a rich biodiversity amidst its terrains. The panorama of the place, coupled with its herbaceous surroundings, makes it an ideal abode of many wildlife species of the country. The park has a jutted landscape, embedded with plain lands, and the altitude of the place ranges from 352 m to 1352 m.

Tourist attraction in Satpura National Park

Birds in Satpura National Park - There are various birds who visit this Satpura national park every year. The trees and the atmosphere fill with vitality and thus this creates a wonderful ambience. There are safaris that are arranged by the authority where you can hear the beautiful sounds and spot various colorful birds.

There are the following birds: Malabar Pied Hornbills, Crested Serpent Eagles, Crested Hawk Eagles, Paradise Flycatchers, Honey Buzzards, Pittas, Thrushes, Peafowl, and Pheasants.

The pure sound will surely make your mind fresh and will; surely rejuvenate your senses. Early morning is the ideal place to locate the birds in their natural habitat

 

 Wildlife in Satpura National Park - The national bird is the home ground of various birds, animals and reptiles. The place is ideal for the animals and authority takes care of everything. There are Tiger, Gaur, Indian Giant Squirrel, Sambar, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Chital, Rhesus Monkey, Langur, Nilgai, Wild Dogs, Smooth Otter, Hyena, Pangolin, Porcupine, Mars, Ratel, Four Horned Antelope and many other species of wildlife have made their home ground in this place. The wide varieties of animal are the main attractions of the place and you will not return empty handed. This park is ideal for wildlife photography.

 

Hunting or causing any harm to the animals is criminal offence that can lead to serious punishment.

 

Flora in Satpura National Park


Landscape and Flora
The landscape of Satpura Park is a veritable haven reflecting all the aspects of natural splendor. There are rocky sandstone peaks complemented by deep and dramatic ravines. The dense forests undulate with all its verdure and remains interspersed with some rare bryophytes and pteridophytes. Central Indian mixed deciduous vegetation is common in most of the areas. There are abundant sal, teak, tendu, aonla, mahua, bel and bamboo trees that throw in to the wealth of fauna in the park. Grasses and plants with therapeutic and medicinal properties are also widespread.

Fauna & Avifauna
When it comes to fauna, the Satpura National Park is a rare and exciting jungle treat. Its fauna comprises of animals like tiger, leopard, sambar, chital, bhedki, nilgai, four-horned antelope, rhesus monkey chinkara, bison, wild boar, wild dog, bear, black buck, fox, porcupine, flying squirrel, mouse deer and Indian joint squirrel, to name a few. There is also a huge collection of birds, about 254 species. Birds like Malabar pied hornbills, crested serpent eagles, crested hawk eagles, honey buzzards, paradise flycatchers, thrushes, peafowl and pheasants contribute to the varied avifauna of the park.

So, if you plan a trip to Madhya Pradesh, make sure you take a quick trip to the Satpura Park. You can easily access the place from Pachmarhi, connected with regular bus services with Bhopal, Hoshangabad, Nagpur, Pipariya and Chhindwara. On the other hand, Pipariya (47km) on the Bombay-Howrah main line is the most convenient railhead for reaching the Satpura National Park. The nearest airport is Bhopal (195km), connected by daily flights with places like Delhi, Gwalior, Indore and Bombay.

UJJAIN

The early history of Ujjain is lost in the midst of antiquity. As early as the time of the Aryan settlers, Ujjain seems to have acquired importance. By the 6th century B.C. Avanti with its capital at Ujjaini, is mentioned in Buddhist literature as one of the four great powers along with Vatsa, Kosala and Magadha. Ujjain lay on the main trade route between North India and Deccan going from Mathura via Ujjain to Mahismati (Maheshwar) on the Narmada, and on to Paithan on the Godavari, western Asia and the West. The Northern black polished ware - the NBP as it is often called which is technically the finest pottery of the time, with a brilliantly burnished dressing almost of the quality of a glaze in colour from jet black to a deep grey or metallic blue and iron, found their way to the northern Deccan from the Gangetic plains through Ujjain. The articles of export to the western Asia such as precious stones and pearls, scents and spices, perfumes, silks and muslin, reached the port of Brighukachcha from the remote north through Ujjain. All this finds a detailed and interesting description in the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea.

 

An account of an unknown Greek merchant who made a voyage to India in the second half of the first century AD. The Periplus talks of a city called Ozene to the east of Barygaza (Broach) which fed all commodities to trade like onyx, porcelain, fine muslin and quantities of ordinary cottons, spikenard , costus bodellium to this important port and to other parts of India.

Tourist attraction in Ujjain

 

Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir - Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir is an important historical sight in Ujjain. The temple is mainly known for the gigantic statue of Ganesha. Apart from the statue of Ganesha there is an idol of Hanuman who is also known as Monkey God. The statue and the ancient art is the true representation of Vedic culture in India. The temple is not only a place of prayer but an important site of learning where Sanskrit, Astrology are taught and to the general people. This shows the enriched customs of Hindus. The ancient architecture, the old tradition can still be experienced in this temple which bears various historical significances.

 

Mahakaleshwara Temple -- Mahakaleshwara is a Shiva Temple. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. The temple has an idol of Omkareshwara Shiva consecrated in the sanctum above the Mahakal Shrine. The temple also has some exquisitely carved images of Ganesh, Parvati, Kartikeya and Shiva`s Bull, Nandi. The temple was destroyed by Iltitmush in 1235 but rebuilt in the 19th century. Legend has it that Shiva established his supremacy in the Trinity when Vishnu & Brahma even after 1000 years taking the form of a Boar & an Eagle could not to find out the source of an incandescent beam of light emitting from deep inside the earth. As they gave up he emerged as this light.

 

Chintamani Ganesh - A temple of enormous antiquity. This is a very popular place of pilgrimage since it is believed that the idol of Lord Ganesha is self-formed and not man made.

 

Bhartrihari Caves - These caves are on the banks of the river Shipra near Gadkalika Temple. The great scholar-poet Bhartrihari lived and meditated in these caves which today is a tourist spot.

 

Harsiddhi Temple - An important shrine consecrated with the image of Goddess Annapurna, a fulfiller of all wishes hence the name Harsidhhi.

 

Kal Bhairava - The antiquity of this temple is its intricate paintings done in the Malwa style.

 

Observatory - This is a 17th century observatory. It has a planetarium as well as a telescope. Study of outer space had fascinated the kings in the 17th century maybe this explains why a number of such observatories came up in India at that time.

 

Vikram Kirti Mandir - This mandir houses the Scindia Oriental Research Institute, an archaeological museum and an art gallery. This actually is a cultural centre, dedicated to the memory of King Vikramaditya whose sense of Justice & the stories woven around this theme are dear to all Indians.

 

Gopal Mandir - A sanctum inlaid with marble , with silver plated doors is the main attraction of this temple.

Navagraha Mandir :- Since time immemorial, the belief that the nine planets (Navagraha) and their effect on human life have found them to have an important place in the Indian rites & rituals. This temple is dedicated to them. It is located on the Triveni Ghat of the Shipra river.

 

Fairs Festivals in Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is a land that exudes vibrancy from all its alcoves. It not only cradles people belonging to different religions and communities, but is also home to numerous exotic tribes of India. This has led to its unique cultural and religious matrix that poses a colorful stance, as far as its festivities are concerned. These fairs and festivals interweave all the people of Madhya Pradesh in a common web and see much aplomb and gaiety throughout the state. In fact, the spirit of celebration is entrenched in the culture and tradition of Madhya Pradesh and finds best expression through these different seasons of revels.

The rich cultural riches of Madhya Pradesh have indeed, led to the birth of many religious and cultural festivals. A major progenitor of art, in the form of dance and music, the state revels in traditional cultural festivals that exalt these art forms. In fact, two of its most famous festivals- the Khajuraho Dance Festival and the Tansen Music Festival celebrate the traditional art forms of dance and music. Apart from these spectacular vaudevilles, various tribal festivals of the state add on to its festive spirits. Here, we have provided information on the major festivals of Madhya Pradesh.

Khajuraho Dance Festival - No one can deny the entrancing aura that envelops the cluster of temples in Khajuraho. These monuments are the finest examples of the fusion of beauty, spirituality and sensuality, which delineates art in its most spectacular form.

Bhagoria Festival - The tribal people of Madhya Pradesh form an important part of its culture and contribute to the colorful graffiti of the state. They have their indigenous norms, moral yardsticks and tribal heritage that they strive to preserve. This unique tradition and vibrant culture comes alive in the Bhagoriya festival of Jhabua.

Tansen Music Festival - Hindustani Classical Music is known for its poignant ragas and mellifluous notes and showcases its musical splendor in the form of Tansen Music Festival, held in Gwalior every year. Gwalior, acclaimed as the oldest Gharana in Hindustani music, has managed to retain its musical spirit and tradition.

Mandu Festival - Madhya Pradesh, known for its overpowering gaiety and pomp during festive celebrations, exhibits the Mandu festival every year with the same exulting fervor. This festival falls in September/October and coincides with the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in other places.

Kumbh Mela - Kumbh Mela is the largest religious congregational fair of the Hindus and has known celebration from many centuries. This pilgrimage is observed four times every twelve years, at each of these four places - Prayag, Ujjain, Haridwar and Nashik. The celebration of Kumbh Mela sees the convergence of millions of devotees, shamans, monks and religious saints across India, making the festival the largest of all Hindu fairs. According to astrologers, Kumbh Mela takes place when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries.

Karma - One of the most important religious festivals of Madhya Pradesh, Karma originally belongs to the list of festivals celebrated by the Korba tribal. However, other tribes too participate in the merriment of the Karma. The festival falls in the month of August. People undergo a full day, fast from the morning of the festive day to the morning of the next day. During the night, people indulge in singing, dancing and merrymaking, around a branch of Karam tree.

Fair of Nagaji  - Nagaji fair or 'mela' of Madhya Pradesh is popular amongst the tribal people and is a way of paying homage to Saint Nagaji, who lived at the time of Emperor Akbar, nearly 400 years ago. With the onset of the winter season, generally in November or December, the adivasis or tribals congregate at Porsa village in the Murena district. They stay there for about a month and indulge in various communal activities that bring about lot of conviviality and merry making. Various domestic animals traded in the markets form a major draw of this fair.

Madai Festival - The Madai festival, held at various tribal hamlets of the state, is especially dear to the people belonging to the Gond community. This festival takes place in the third or fourth week of February. Though it is a gala event, marked by singing and dancing, yet the religious overtone of the festival remains evident. During Madai, devotees assemble under the shade of a sacred tree and make sacrificial offerings, in the form of a goat, to the Mother Goddess. During the night, the tribal people gloat and make merry.



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