madhya pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is a central Indian state located in the heart of the country – “Madhya” literally means Central/Center. It is also known by its acronym MP. It is the second largest state in the country by area and the fifth largest state by population. Bhopal is the capital city of Madhya Pradesh.

MP is a mineral-rich state, with the largest reserves of diamond and copper in all of India.


Madhya Pradesh rests on an ancient land that is dated to around 30,000 BCE. Proofs of the history of this land have been found and preserved and can be found even today in many places across the state.

In the ancient and medieval periods, the land was rules by various dynasties that include Maurya empire, Rajput clans, Malwa Sultanate and eventually by the Maratha empire and Mughal empire during the 3rd Mughal emperor Akbar’s rule. Gwalior city became the centre for arts and all the major happenings in the province.

During the British rule in 19th century, this area was in 3 parts – Bhopal state, Madhya Bharat and Vindhya Pradesh. A few years post-independence from British Raj, in around 1956 these 3 states were merged (under independent India’s State Re-Organization act) to form the state of Madhya Pradesh.


Madhya Pradesh has more than 250 cities and town, grouped into 52 districts. 21 of these are identified as large cities.

Some major cities of Madhya Pradesh include: Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Chhatarpur, Ujjain.


Madhya Pradesh has a population of 8.50 crore (as of 2020), out of which 90.9% are Hindus, around 7% are Muslims, and less than 1% are Christians, Sikhs and Jains.


Madhya Pradesh is known for its pompous celebrations of many fairs and festivals, which are a manifestation of the MP people’s culture and traditions.

Some of MP’s important festivals and fairs include:

  • Tansen Music Festival
  • Khajuraho Festival of Dance
  • Chethiyagiri Vihara Festival
  • Fair of Nagaji 
  • Nimar Utsav
  • Shivratri Mela (A fair during Shivratri festival)
  • Pachmarhim Navratri Festival
  • Madai, Bahgoriya


Hindi is MP’s the official language, and is most widely spoken across the state. In some parts it is spoken in different dialects such as Bagheli and Awadhi. But the common language understood and accepted for communication across the state is Hindi.


Madhya Pradesh’s cuisine includes a variety of vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes. The primary grains consumed in the state are wheat, maize and jowar (sorghum).

MP’s cuisine included a variety of kebabs and other non-vegetarian dishes especially in Bhopal – which is sometimes considered a meat-lovers’ paradise in India.

Some popular lip-smacking dishes that belong to MP’s cuisine include:

  • Seekh Kebab (a “Kebab” made of minced lamb, mint, curry paste, green chilies, and other spices)
  • Keema Pulav (A rice dish made with minced meat and vegetables)
  • Daal Bafla (Wheat balls baked or cooked in clarified butter and served with a bowl of lentil stew)
  • Bhopali Ghosht Kurma (a stewy curry made with mutton, and a delicious combination of local spices)
  • Mawa Baati (balls of mawa/milk solids mixed with dry fruits deep fried in ghee/oil and soaked in sugar syrup) – Also known more popularly as “Gulaab Jamun”, this is a dish that defines not just MP’s dessert palate, but is popular throughout India and abroad too!


Trains and Buses are major modes of inter-city transportation within Madhya Pradesh. For travel within cities, there are many other modes such as taxi/cabs, buses, and private vehicles like 2-wheelers and cars, or even walking and cycling.

Airports – Madhya Pradesh has 2 International airports (connecting to various cities across India as well as other parts of the world), and 3 domestic airports (connecting to other cities within India only).

  • Raja Bhoj airport, Bhopal
  • Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar airport, Indore
  • Jabalpur Airport, Jabalpur
  • Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia Airport, Gwalior
  • Civil Aerodrome, Khajuraho

Railway Stations – Madhya Pradesh has a 522 train terminals/railway stations throughout its area, that connect to other cities and towns within the state as well as those in other states in the country. Some of the major train terminals and junctions in the state are:

  • Bhopal Junction, Bhopal
  • Jabalpur Junction, Jabalpur
  • Gwalior Junction, Gwalior
  • Ujjain Junction, Ujjain
  • Indore Junction, Indore
  • Khandwa Junction, Khandwa
  • Bina Junction, Bina
  • Katni Junction, Katni
  • Rewa Railway Station, Rewa
  • Satna Junction, Satna

Bus Terminals – Madhya Pradesh has its own line of state-run buses (by Madhya Pradesh Transport Department) which provide the connection between all the cities and towns within the state and also neighbouring states. These buses can be boarded at major stops/terminals that are available in every district and town in the state. The prominent town/city bus terminals in the state are located in almost every city and town - they can be easily found and are conveniently accessible.


There are no beaches or ocean anywhere in Madhya Pradesh as the state does not have a coastal line, being situated in the center of the country and surrounded on all sides by other states. But it makes up for this by offering a plethora of historic monuments, temples and archaeological sites that will be loved by history and architecture enthusiasts and other interesting spots like wildlife sanctuaries, Ashrams (spiritual retreats) and gardens.

  • Khajuraho temples – One of the most popular UNESCO world heritage sites in India, the temples here include many historic rock carvings and unique architecture worth exploring.
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve – A national park/wildlife sanctuary which houses a significant India’s famous preserved Bengal tigers and many other wild animals local to the region amidst a cluster of forests that are also well preserved and looked after.
  • Sanchi Stupa – A spiritual retreat, built hundreds of years ago. Another UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Chitrakoot – A sacred town, with incredible waterfalls and temples.
  • Madhav Shivpuri National Park .
  • Orchcha – A city on the banks of a river called “Betwa” – having a unique medieval charm and a rich heritage.
  • Bhopal – and of course, the capital city – with its charming art (handicrafts) and exciting food scene, and the amazing heritage sites across the city, it is a must-visit!


Madhya Pradesh has many great and interesting places that people can travel to or explore; and which are perfect for a short vacation or a weekend getaway, such as –

  • Gwalior – A city that is rich in heritage, art, and culture. Has many interesting places to see and explore.
  • Jabalpur – (Another lovely destination to spend an interesting weekend at; places to visit in this city include Rani Durgavati Memorial & Museum, Dumna Nature Reserve, Dhuandhar Waterfall, Marble Rocks, Bhedaghat, Bargi Dam, Pisan Hari Jain Temple, Madan Mahal Fort)
  • Khajuraho – One of the most popular destinations in the state, famous for its ancient temples with stone carvings, sculptures, and fine art specimens; a UNESCO world heritage site; this is a great place to explore in a weekend.
  • Pachmarhi – a hilly place where you can trek or hike and visit places like Jatashankar & Mahadeo Caves, Panar pani, Chauragarh, and Apsara Vihar.
  • Amarkantyak – another beautiful hill station, with historic places; (interesting places to visit here include - Kapil Dhara falls, Shri Yantra temple, and Narmada Kund).
  • Shivpuri – Perfect for a break from the routine/city hustle; (places to visit/explore here - George castle, many waterfalls and lakes, Madhav Palace).
  • Choral Dam – A serene destination, great for picnics with family or friends, or to spend some time close to nature; pleasant climate and greenery; the place also has a beautiful lake (Berchha lake).
  • Bandhavgarh – A place for wildlife enthusiasts; (some things to do here include jeep safaris, stay at Treehouse Hideaway Resort, experience elephant safari).
  • Maheshwar – A famous little town where a good number of Indian movies are shot; also has many religious centres (like Ek Mukhi Datta Temple, and SahastarArjun Temple), and ancient monuments. Also, a great place for shopping enthusiasts - Maheshwari sarees are much loved, and are a must buy from here.


Some thrilling activities and things to do in Madhya Pradesh for adventure lovers are:

  • Trekking (Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary, Chidiya Bhadak Waterfall Trek, Pachmarhi Hill Patalpani Waterfall Trek, Tincha Fall, Bamniya & Mehendi Kund Trek)
  • River Rafting (in Betwa river, Orchha)
  • Speed Boating (in Upper Lake, Bhopal)
  • Sailing (in Bhedaghat, through marble rocks; or at Bada Talab in Bhopal)
  • Kayaking (in river Narmada or Betwa)
  • Water sports like water scooter, speedboating, paddle boating etc. (at Bargi Dam, Jabalpur)
  • Para sailing and Paragliding (in Pachmarhi hills)


Madhya Pradesh has many historical gems to see. Some popular sites of historical significance in the state are –

  • Khajuraho – Known for its ancient temples with stone carvings, sculptures, and fine art specimens; a UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Gwalior – A city with a rich heritage, and historical monuments and places.
  • Orchcha – A city on the banks of a river called “Betwa” – having a unique medieval charm and a rich heritage.
  • Sanchi Stupa – A spiritual retreat, built hundreds of years ago. Another UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Taj-Ul-Masajid in Bhopal (the name means “crown-among-mosques”; a mosque which is a specimen of ancient Mughal architecture).
  • Bhimbetka Rock shelters – A group of 700 rock shelters and caves, some of which are believed to be more than 100000 years old. Located in Amchha Khurd, Raisen, around 200 of these caves have almost 30,000-year-old paintings that show the facets of human life in those times.
  • Ujjain - A city situated on the banks of Shipra River, having numerous ancient temples (including the well-known Mahakaleshwar temple).
Madhya Pradesh

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