Top 5 Places To Visit In Madhya Pradesh

July 20, 2015   /   byRavi Atwal  / Categories :  Uncategorized
Khajuraho Temples

Madhya Pradesh is the geographical and arguably, cultural centre of the most diverse nation in the world, India. If the land could talk, it would tell fascinating stories of history, mythology, natural beauty and discovery that have come and gone with time. A tribute to time itself, Madhya Pradesh has much to offer to all who visit.

1. Khajuraho Temples

Khajuraho Temples

Photo by Dennis Jarvis, CC BY-SA 2.0

Built between 950 and 1050 CE, the Khajuraho Temples are famous all over the world as one of the oldest and boldest expression of sexuality and eroticism known to mankind. Located in the small town of Khajuraho, close to Jhansi, these temples were constructed by the Rajput Chandela clan and are a tribute both to the Hindu and Jain religions, thereby depicting the accepting and open-minded nature of these religions. Excerpts on the magnificence of these temples have been written by famed travellers such as Ibn Batuta.

By the 12th century the Khajuraho temple had expanded to comprise of 85 temples. However, the 13th century saw the beginning of the Mughal dynasty, after which the temples saw periods of destruction and neglect, and only twenty of the temples have survived today. Thus these temples are indeed a fascinating walk through the ravages of time.

2. Bhandavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh National Park

Photo by JP Bennett, CC BY 2.0

Bhandavgarh derives its name and origin from the Ramayana, and is said to be the place designated to Lakshmana to keep a watch on Lanka. Today, this is one of our country’s ecological treasures, with a vast biodiversity of 37 species of mammals, including one of the highest populations of tigers in the country, 250 species of birds and a large number of reptile species. Bhandavgarh was declared a national park in 1968 under the Wildlife Protection Act and is now a delightful experience of nature spread across 1131 square kilometres. Once a hunting ground for the royal family of Rewa, Bhandavgarh has contributed to the discovery and study of some of India’s famous species, such as the white tiger.

Exotic species to be found at the Bhandavgarh National Park include the Bengal tiger, leopard, gaur, nilgai, sambar, sarus crane, black stork, spotted dove, white-tailed swallow etc. Definitely a must see for any wildlife enthusiast!

3. The Great Stupa At Sanchi

Great Stupa At Sanchi

Photo by Nagarjun Kandukuru, CC BY 2.0

The very oldest stone structure in India and having been built by the Great Emperor Ashoka himself after his legendary conversion to Buddhism, the Great Stupa is an internationally acclaimed tourist attraction. Legend has it that it is centred over the relics of the Buddha himself, and that Ashoka’s wife, Devi supervised the construction of this temple.

Built in the 3rd century B.C, the stupa has since been added upon by the Sanga, Satavahana, Gupta and other prominent ruling dynasties. As such, the architecture and inscriptions have offered historians valuable insight upon the olden times and the story of Central India over the years. The Stupa is located with proximity to the capital city of Bhopal.

4. Gwalior Fort

Gwalior Fort

Photo by Prashant Ram, CC BY-ND 2.0

In a country that has a history marked with battle and heroism, the Gwalior Fort has stood out as a centre for some of the most historic battles of all time. Built by Mansingh Tomar in the 14th century, this fort was cleverly designed on top of the Vindhyas so as to allow a clear aim towards approaching enemies. Great kings such as Ibrahim Lodi, Humayun, Sher Shah Suri, Akbar, Aurangzeb have captured and ruled from this fort over the years. In 1857, Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi had led her rebellion against the British from this fort. Located within the city of Gwalior, this fort is proof of the rich heritage and sturdy nature of our nation.

5. Omkareshwar And Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlingam

Omkareshwar

Omkareshwar Temple

Photo by Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 3.0

As a city that was built around the Narmada, or Rewa, many devotees of the Hindu deity Shiva are found within Madhya Pradesh, who is said to have the power to control the flow of the river. As such, it is only befitting that two of the greatest temples dedicated to Shiva are located within Madhya Pradesh. Omkareshwar and Mahakaleshwar are two of the twelve sacred jyotirlingas, which are said to be the abodes of Lord Shiva. They each have various mythological stories attached to them, each centred, in some way or another, to Lord Shiva. Interestingly, Mahakaleshwar is also one of the Shakti Peeths, where one worships Shakti or Sati, the ultimate symbol of womanhood in Hinduism.

Nestled between different states and cultures in the most diverse nation in the world, Madhya Pradesh has contributed to the discovery of our past and roots in a way that few other places have been able to. Any history enthusiast is sure to be fascinated in this state and leave feeling enriched.