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  Madhya Pradesh Travel Guide

Madhya Pradesh, perhaps, is the second largest state of the Indian sub continent. It is a vast plateau surrounded by the Vindhya and Satpura mountains that make a rugged descent into the valleys of the Narmada and Tapti rivers.

Tour to Madhya Pradesh Madhya Pradesh has been home to the cultural heritage of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam, since ages. Dotted with innumerable monuments, extraordinarily carved temples, world renowned stupas, exemplary forts and palaces, Madhya Pradesh is one of the most sought after destination of the tourists in India. Besides the temples and monuments, Madhya Pradesh is famous for its wonderful art, craft, music and dance. Tour to Madhya Pradesh helps you explore the land of rugged mountains and primitive people.

Location : Central part of India

Capital City : Bhopal

Major Attractions : Pachmarhi, Bandhavgarh National Park, Bhedaghat

Mostly Visited For : Khajuraho Temples

The history of Madhya Pradesh : The state's cultural lineage is ancient and checkered. Madhya Pradesh, because of its central location in India, has remained a crucible of historical currents from North, South, East and West. It was perhaps one of the earliest dwellings of human beings.

The history of Madhya Pradesh goes back to the time of Ashoka, the great Mauryan ruler. Later, the Mughals ruled the state. Dynasties like that of Sungas, Andhras, Satavahanas, Ksaptrapas, Nagas the Guptas also ruled over this place. After the British took over the state, Madhya Pradesh was declared as the central province.

Places of Interest to visit

Gwalior : With a glorious past, Gwalior has transformed into a modern city. It was ruled by some of the great Rajput dynasties such as Pratiharas, Kacchwahas and Tomars who have left their mark on the every aspect of the place. It was also the capital of the Scindias. Teli Ka Mandir, Sas Bahu Ka Mandir, the Gwalior Fort, Gujari Mahal, Man Mandir Palace, Suraj Kund, Gurudwara Data Bandhi Chhod, Tansen's Tomb and Jai Vilas Palace and Museum are some of the places of interest in this cultural city.

Indore : Planned and built by Rani Ahilyabai of the Holkar dynsty, Indore, a bustling and vibrant city, is situated on the banks of the rivers Saraswati and Khan. Deriving its name from the 18th century Indreshwar Temple, the city is the place of several palaces and institutions of higher learning.

Lal Baag Palace, Chhattri Bagh, Kanch Mandir, Rajwada, Geeta Bhavan, Nehru Park are the places of prime attraction.

Ujjain : Ujjain, a place of antiquity, is situated on the banks of the Shipra River. One of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus, Mahakaleshwar, Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir, Chintaman Ganesh, Pir Matsyendranath, Bhartrihari Caves, Kaliadeh Palace, Durgadas Ki Chhatri, Harsiddhi Temple, the Vedha Shala (Observatory) are the places of attraction for the tourists.

Bhopal : Tours to Bhopal, a perfect blend of tradition and modernity, is the capital of Madhya Pradesh. A fascinating amalgam of scenic beauty, old historic city and modern planning, it is situated on the site of an 11th century city, Bhojapal, founded by Raja Bhoja.

Taj-Ul-Masjid, Chowk-Shopping Place, Jama Masjid, Moti Masjid, Shaukat Mahal and Sadar Manzil, Gohar Mahal, Bharat Bhawan, Laxminarayan Temple & Museum are some of the interesting places to visit in the city of Bhopal.

Khajuraho : Now a quiet village Khajuraho was the principal seat of government of the Rajput rulers of Chandella dynasty who adorned it with many tanks, several lofty temples of sculptural grace and architectural splendor. Tradition has it that there were eighty-five temples but now only twenty-five are intact. But for Chausath-Yogini, Brahma and Mahadeva which are of granite, all the other temples are of fine grained sandstone, buff, pink or pale yellow in color.

Fairs and Festivals of Madhya Pradesh

The adivasis of MP have a zest for life that can be observed from the countless tribal fairs and festivals celebrated every year. Clad in their colorful best with loads of jewelry flowers and fancy headgear, men and women set out days in advance to reach the site of the fair or festival.

Madai Festival : Fair at DhuandharOne of the unique attractions of Bastar is the Madai festival held in the different villages extending from Mandla to Bastar. It is especially dear to the Gonds who come from far off places to meet their kith and kin and to purchase items like salt and cooking oil. Though the Madai is organized in many villages, the most renowned Madai is that of Narayanpur in Bastar. Held in the third or fourth week of February, it is a day of great religious importance. Devotees gather under the shade of a sacred tree to sacrifice a goat to the mother goddess. Amidst much singing, beating of drums and bells, the goat is slaughtered and then taken round the entire village. The night is spent in dancing, eating and making merry.

Bhagoriya Festival : Ever heard of a festival where you are officially allowed to elope with your lover? Check this one out, guys. Held in the Jhabua district, the Bhagoriya is to the Bhils what the Madai is to the Gonds – a festival of fun and joy.

It is held a week before the Hindu festival of colors, Holi. Men and women celebrate it with ritual dancing to the beat of drums and thalis and the sweet melody of shehnai and bansuri (flutes). Bhagoradev or the god of dance is worshipped on this occasion. The most respected village elder presides over the ceremony and offers sweetmeats to the god.

The festival is special for Bhils because it could well mean love, romance and even marriage. Young men go around applying gulal (red colored powder used to play Holi with) to the girls they like. If a girl reciprocates the sentiment then she too applies gulal in return and that is all the permission a young man needs to marry her. Even the mutual exchange of pan or betel leaf is a declaration of love.

Dusshera of Bastar : The Dusshera of Jagdalpur is said to be quite a celebration. Held annually in the months of October-November, the venue for this one is Jagdalpur in Bastar.

Karma : The festival of Karma,a religious festival, calls for a huge celebration every year among the Korba tribals of MP. On the day of worship, devotees fast from morning till the next day. A branch from the Karam tree is planted in the middle of an open ground and the night is spent singing and dancing around it.

The Fair of Nagaji : This fair or mela is a way of remembering and paying respect to Saint Nagaji who lived at the time of Emperor Akbar, nearly 400 years ago. Tribals flock to Porsa village in Murena district every winter (November-December) and make merry for as long as a month. Earlier monkeys were sold at this fair, but now domestic animals top the charts.

Dance & Music : Can there ever be a tribal community without a rich tradition of dance and music? The adivasis of MP are no exception. Musical instruments like the tabla, dholak, thali and bansuri are commonly used as accompaniments to song and dance. colorful costumes, chunky ornaments and stunningly bright headgear are vital to all their dances. Sometimes ghungroos and tiny tinkling bells are tied to the body to add that extra magic.

Most of the dances are executed to the tune of a love song celebrating a meeting with the beloved. Sometimes they might even express the pain and anguish of separation from the beloved. Here are the three most popular dances.

Sela : The Sela is favored by the Baigas of Chattisgarh and is performed with wooden sticks or poles.

Karma : Both the Baigas and the Gonds perform this dance.

Bhagoriya : The Bhils dance the Bhagoriya with great verve during the festival of Bhagoriya when the lord of dance is worshipped too.

(Madhya Pradesh Travel Guide : Reservation Form)

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