Madhya Pradesh, a large state in central India, retains landmarks from eras throughout Indian history. Begun in the 10th century, its Hindu and Jain temples at Khajuraho are renowned for their carvings of erotic scenes, most prominently Kandariya Mahadeva, a temple with more than 800 sculptures. The eastern Bandhavgarh and Kanha national parks, noted Bengal tiger sanctuaries, offer guided safaris.
Madhya Pradesh is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and the largest city is Indore with Gwalior, Jabalpur, 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 km. 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.
Madhya Pradesh has been a shatter belt between the northern and southern core regions of India's cultural development. Thus, despite its central position in South Asia it has never been the home of the Indian empire. The state of Madhya Pradesh has been the home of some of India?s earliest settlements. Several remains of prehistoric cultures, rock paintings and stone artifacts were found here. The magnificent paintings and other archaeological discoveries made in rock shelters and caves at Bhimbetka, illustrate the continuity of settlement from before the Acheulian period to the recent historical past.
The written history of Madhya Pradesh goes back to the Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C., who built a great Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi. One of the earliest states that existed in Madhya Pradesh was Avanti of which Ujjain was capital, a part of the 3rd to 4th century BC Mauryan Empire. From the 2nd century BC to the 16th century AD, various dynasties ruled part or most of the state. Some of these dynasties were the Sunga dynasty, from 73 to 185 BC in Eastern Malwa; the Andhras from 1st Century BC to 3rd century AD and the Ksaptrapas and the Nagas, from 2nd to 4th centuries AD. The Guptas ruled the region to the north of the Narmada, from 4th to 5th century AD and the Hunas struggled to seize control of Malwa during this period while in the 7th century it became part of Harsha?s North Indian empire. In the 10th century, various dynasties controlled different parts of the region like the Kalachuris ruled the Narmada Valley, the Paramaras ruled the south-west Madhya Pradesh, the Kachwahas controlled around Gwalior and the Chandelas at Khajuraho. The Paramars are often remembered for some of their great rulers and real patrons of arts like Raja Bhoj who gave his name to Bhopal. Between 950 and 1050 AD, the Chandelas ruled the north-eastern parts of Madhya Pradesh and gave India its famous temples of Khajuraho-a place which remained hidden from the world for a few centuries. Later the Tomaras took Gwalior.
Gwalior was conquered by the Muslims in the 11th century. The Delhi Sultanate incorporated Hindu domains in 1231 and the Khalji dynasty took Malwa. Akbar annexed this into his empire in the mid 16th century. The Scindia and Holkar dynasties of Marathas established independent rule at Gwalior and Indore. In 1817-18, territories known as the ?Saugor-Nerbudda? were ceded to the British. To the north and west, the Central India Agency was formed in 1854 and comprised of Malwa, Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand. Other districts were added in 1860 and the region came to be known as the Central Provinces. Berar was added in 1903. On independence, the Central Provinces and Berar became Madhya Pradesh. The Central India Agency was first divided into Madhya Bharat (Middle India) and Vindhya Pradesh (Vindhya Provinces) and then added to Madhya Pradesh.
Language And Culture
The official language of the state is Hindi. In addition Marathi is spoken by a substantial number of the population since the state was home to several important and prestigious Maratha states. The state in fact has the highest concentration of Marathi people outside Maharashtra. Several regional variants are spoken, which are considered by some to be dialects of Hindi, and by others to be distinct but related languages. Among these dialects are Malvi in Malwa, Nimadi in Nimar, Bundeli in Bundelkhand, and Bagheli in Bagelkhand and the southeast, and Rajasthani in the area near to Rajasthan. Each of these languages has dialects of its own. Other languages include Telugu, Bhilodi (Bhili), Gondi, Korku, Kalto (Nahali), and Nihali (Nahali), all spoken by tribal groups.
Four sites in Madhya Pradesh have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: the Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986) including Devi Jagadambi temple, Khajuraho, Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989) and the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003). Other architecturally significant or scenic sites include Ajaigarh, Amarkantak, Asirgarh, Bandhavgarh, Bawangaja, Bhopal, Vidisha, Chanderi, Chitrakuta, Dhar, Gwalior, Indore, Namavar Jabalpur, Burhanpur, Maheshwar, Mandleshwar, Mandu, Omkareshwar, Orchha, Pachmarhi, Shivpuri, Sonagiri, Mandla and Ujjain.
Madhya Pradesh is noted for its classical and folk music. Some of the noted Hindustani classical music gharanas in Madhya Pradesh include the Maihar gharana, the Gwalior gharana and Senia gharana. Two of the medieval India's most noted singers, Tansen and Baiju Bawra, were born near Gwalior in present-day Madhya Pradesh. Noted Dhrupad exponents Aminuddin Dagar (Indore), Gundecha Brothers (Ujjain) and Uday Bhawalkar (Ujjain) were also born in present-day Madhya Pradesh.The birthplaces of noted playback singers Kishore Kumar (Khandwa) and Lata Mangeshkar (Indore) and singer and composer Aadesh Shrivastava (Jabalpur) are also located in MP. The local styles of folk singing include Faga, Bhartahari, Sanja geet, Bhopa, Kalbelia, Bhat/Bhand/Charan, Vasdeva, Videsia, Kalgi Turra, Nirgunia, Alha, Pandwani Gayan and Garba Garbi Govalan.
The major folk dances of MP are Rai,Karma,Saila, Matki, Gangaur, Badhai, Baredi, Naurata, Ahiri and Bhagoria.
State animal: Barasingha (Rucervus duvaucelii)
State bird: Indian paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi)
State flower: Madonna lily (Lilium candidum)
State tree: Shala tree (Shorea robusta)
Khajuraho Erotic Temples
Bandhavgarh National Park
Kanha National Park
How to Reach
Madhya Pradesh State is well linked through flight from major tourist destinations and cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Vishakhapattnam, Bangalore, Srinagar, Ahmedabad etc.
The major train stations in Madhya Pradesh are Bhopal, Indore, Katni, Jabalpur, Ujjain, Khandwa, Itarsi and Ratlam. These train stations are well-connected to other major cities of the country like Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.
National and State highways connect Madhya Pradesh with all the neighbouring states namely Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra.