Tourism in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh is called the Heart of India because of its location in the centre of the country. It has been home to the cultural heritage of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism etc. Innumerable monuments, exquisitely carved temples, stupas, forts & palaces are dotted all over the state. Madhya Pradesh bagged the Best Tourism State Award in 2012.
The natural beauty
The natural beauty of Madhya Pradesh is equally varied. Consisting largely of a plateau streaked with the hill ranges of the Vindhyas and the Satpuras, the State has everything. The hills give rise to the main river system - Narmada and the Tapti, running from east to west, and the Chambal, Sone, Betwa, Mahanadi west to east. Spectacular mountain ranges, meandering rivers dotted with hills and lakes and miles and miles of dense forests offering a unique and exciting panorama of wildlife in sylvan surroundings.
One third of the state is forested and offers a unique and exciting panorama of wildlife. In the National Parks of Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Shivpuri and many others one has the rare opportunity to see the tiger, the bison and a wide variety of deer and antelope in sylvan surroundings.
World heritage sites
Although the modern state of Madhya Pradesh came into being in 1956, its cultural heritage is ancient and chequered. Innumerable monuments, exquisitely carved temples, stupas, forts and palaces on hilltops, raise in the visitors mind visions of empires and kingdoms, of the great warriors and builders, poets and musicians, saints and philosophers; of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. The famous Sanskrit poet-dramatist Kalidasa and the great musician of the Mughal court, Tansen, were from Madhya Pradesh. They are known all over the world.
- The Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)
- Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)
- The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)
Other architecturally significant or scenic sites include:
- Sonagiri and Ujjain.
Madhya Pradesh being very large geographically, and the history being spread over several millennia, a developing a comprehensive picture of heritage and architecture is a monumental task.
Madhya Pradesh is home to several National Parks, including:
- Bandhavgarh National Park
- Kanha National Park
- Satpura National Park
- Sanjay National Park
- Madhav National Park
- Van Vihar National Park
- Mandla Plant Fossils National Park
- Panna National Park
- Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh.
There are also a number of nature preserves, including:
- Bagh Caves
- Bori Wildlife Sanctuary
- Ken Gharial
- Kuno Palpur
- Nora Dehi
- Panpatha, Shikarganj
Fairs and festivals
Customs and beliefs in each area in Madhya Pradesh have added colours to the fairs and festivals. Shivratri in Khajuraho, Bhojpur, Pachmarhi and Ujjain; Ramanavami in Chitrakoot and Orchha, Bhagoriya dance in Jhabua and the annual festival of dances at Khajuraho are events for the tourists to remember. The Malwa festival in Indore, Mandu and Ujjain, and the Pachmarhi festival bring alive the rich folk and tribal culture of the state in colourful celebrations. Gwalior trade fair is India's second largest trade fair. It is organised in various sectors which includes electronic sector, automobile sector, food sector, fun (jhula) sector etc. Gwalior carnival is newly introduced festival in 2012. It was organised for 22 days in December. It is planned to organise carnival every year.