North, south, east or west… not sure where you should be heading this vacation…then we suggest you stay put in the centre!!! That’s Madhya Pradesh… we are talking about -an absolutely dream-come-true for traveling enthusiasts. Explore a land known for exotic wildlife, natural splendor, rich history, artistic and cultural heritage and so much more here!  From the one and only erotic Khajuraho temples to numerous  wildlife sanctuaries that house some of the rarest and the most sought after specimens of flora and fauna found in the Indian subcontinent, this State has a lot to offer and could just be what you need this holiday!

A great destination for heritage tourism, Madhya Pradesh has a lot to offer, starting with its internationally renowned 12th century AD temple group at Khajuraho, with sculptures in erotic postures. Khajuraho is a celebration of human passion in its purest form, without inhibitions! Moving from Khajuraho, Bhopal is another significant world heritage site and one of the most beautiful historical cities in India famous for its Buddhist stupas and monasteries, also known for its mosques and temples like the Laxmi Narayan Temple, Moti Masjid, Taj-ul Masjid, Shaukat Mahal, Sadar Manzil which are architectural marvels. Other places that present some architectural wonders include Asigarh, Sonagiri, Mandleshwar, Omkareshwar, Ujjain, Chtrakuta, and Chanderi.

A city where Indian history comes alive in its rugged forts and palaces, a city that witnessed many a battle in the earlier day, that’s how Gwalior can best, be described. It is said that antiquity and elegance run through the vein of Gwalior with it being known for its royal lineage. Besides the Gwalior Fort built in the 15th century, other important attractions include the Man Mandir, Gujari Mahal, Telika Mandir, Sas Bahu Temple, the Chhatris, Scindia Museum and the Kala Vithika.

While Indore is better known as the industrial and financial capital of Madhya Pradesh, it is also known for its tourist attractions such as palaces, monuments and temples that are architectural marvels and speak volumes of its historic past. The Rajwada or the Old Palace is a perfect blending of the occidental and oriental style of architecture – the French, Mughal and Maratha styles. Lal Bagh, is another architectural marvel was used for holding important meetings and celebrations and reflects the opulence and aesthetic sense of the Holkars. Amongst temples, renowned ones are the Kanch Mandir and Jain temple with plain exteriors but dazzling interiors brilliantly done up with intricate mirror work.

One must tour Orchha to discover the rich architectural splendor of the town.  Once the capital of the Bundellas, this city houses the famed Orchha Fort, an architectural wonder, Sheesh Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, the Chhatris that portray the old glory and grandeur of the rulers of Bundelkhand, the Rai Praveen Mahal & others.

Sanchi, a town known for its vast expanse of Buddhist temples, chaityas, stupas and monasteries, is a charming blend of historicity and modernisms. Sanchi presents Buddhist works of art dating back to the third century B.C.! Buddhists from many countries all over the world come to Sanchi to celebrate the birth, enlightenments and Parinirvana of Gautama Buddha here

Capturing the hearts of nature enthusiasts are amazing destinations like Bandhavgarh, Pench, Ken Ghariyal, Satpura, Pachmari, Gangau & Umaria. It is said that over 31% of the total land area is covered by forests.

While Umaria is covered with dense jungle infested with a multitude of wild animals and birds it is also known as the gateway city to the famous Bandhavgarh National Park, one of the few remaining havens of the fabled Royal Bengal Tiger. Not only does Umaria provide one with an opportunity to watch, possibly, the fiercest animal in the world, but also an opportunity to view white tigers in their natural habitat. Also pay a visit to the impressive Bandhavgarh Fort perched at a height of 800meters. Legend has it that Lord Rama bequeathed the fort to his brother Laxmana, hence the name “Bandhavgarh” which means brother’s fort. This sprawling fort houses the monolithic statue of Lord Vishnu reclining on the seven-hooded snake. Bahdhavgarh is also home to numerous ancient caves and rock shelters, with shrines and inscriptions. Approx. 7hrs away from here is the spectacular Kanha. Visit it for its jungle landscape- dramatic as a photographic representation of Kippling’s Jungle Book.

Bordered by hills and mountains, Jabalpur not far away from Bandhavgarh has earned its name from the Arabic word Jabal, which means mountain. Possessing both spectacular natural beauty and places with immense historical importance, Jabalpur is fascinating for its varied interests.

Situated at a distance of 45 km from the sprawling Bhopal city, are the Bhimbetka caves, an agglomeration of more than 600 caves famed for housing the marvelous collection of India’s prehistoric paintings. An eminent UNESCO World Heritage Site it stands unperturbed by the ravages of time

Out of the fascinating assortment of caves of all shapes and sizes, only 12 of them are open to tourists. The vibrant paintings that adorn its walls, showcase the talent and creative expressions of prehistoric man and are possibly the biggest feather in Madhya Pradesh’s cap. The spectacular caves owe their nomenclature to Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers. The etymological significance of the term Bhimbetka signifies the place where Bhima sat down to rest.

And last but not the least is Pachmarhi, the only hill station of Madhya Pradesh located on a large plateau amidst the Satpura ranges, also called ‘Queen of Satpura’ for its magnanimous beauty. Legend has it that it was in the forests of Pachmarhi that the Pandavas spent some part of their exile. Pachmarhi is surrounded by exquisite jungles, ravines, serene pools, quiet glades, low lying rugged hills and waterfalls!

For shopaholics too, this place is a delight with craftsmen known to weave the finest muslins. The tradition still seems to be alive in exquisite Chanderi and Maheshwari saris. While the Zari work is also quite famous; do look out for the handicrafts of Bastar which are acclaimed globally. From wildlife to architecture, hills to heritage sites, this state has it all, and is known to delight tourists not just from India but across the globe.

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