Madhya Pradesh (MP; ( listen); meaning Central Province) is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal, and the largest city is Indore, with Jabalpur, Gwalior, and Ujjain being the other major cities. Nicknamed the "Heart of India" due to its geographical location in India, Madhya Pradesh is the second-largest state in the country by area. With over 75 million inhabitants, it is the fifth-largest state in India by population. It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the southeast, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, and Rajasthan to the northwest. Its total area is 308,252 km2. Before 2000, when Chhattisgarh was a part of Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh was the largest state in India and the distance between the two furthest points inside the state, Singoli and Konta, was 1500 km. Konta is presently in Sukma district of Chattisgarh state.
The area covered by the present-day Madhya Pradesh includes the area of the ancient Avanti Mahajanapada, whose capital Ujjain (also known as Avantika) arose as a major city during the second wave of Indian urbanisation in the sixth century BCE. Subsequently, the region was ruled by the major dynasties of India. By the early 18th century, the region was divided into several small kingdoms which were captured by the British and incorporated into Central Provinces and Berar and the Central India Agency. After India's independence, Madhya Pradesh state was created with Nagpur as its capital: this state included the southern parts of the present-day Madhya Pradesh and northeastern portion of today's Maharashtra. In 1956, this state was reorganised and its parts were combined with the states of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh and Bhopal to form the new Madhya Pradesh state, the Marathi-speaking Vidarbha region was removed and merged with the then Bombay State. This state was the largest in India by area until 2000, when its southeastern Chhattisgarh region was made as a separate state.