Madhya Pradesh – Heart of India
The state is a delight for the historian and a tourist paradise.
It is not hard to realize why Madhya Pradesh is called the “Heart of India”. In addition to its geographical location, in central India, the state has marks of virtually every stage of Indian history – it is full of countless fine Hindu and Jain temples, Buddhist stupas, and imperial fortifications and palaces of Mughal and Britain. Its stunning mountains, winding rivers, dense forests and lawns are home to a wide variety of plants and wildlife – including tigers. The state is a real tourist paradise.
Those looking for religious inspiration will find plenty of food in Madhya Pradesh. Undoubtedly, a central part of Madhya Pradesh is the exquisite temple of Khajuraho, which is the gift of Indian love to the world. A 1000 years ago, under the generous and artistic protection of the Chandela Rajput kings of central India, in a temple, near the village of Khajuraho, eighty five temples were erected, magnificent in shape and richly carved. In an inspired explosion of creativity, temples were completed in just 100 years, j.J. Between 950 and AD 1050. Of the original 85, only 22 survived the devastation of time. These remain collective about life, joy, and creativity — the Chandelas believed that satisfying worldly desires was a step closer to achieving infinity.
But why did the candelas choose Khajuraho or Khajirvahila – the date garden, as it was called at the time – as the place of their powerful conceptions? Even in those days it was just a small village. Due to the eclectic protection of the Chandelas and the diversity of beliefs represented in the temples, it is possible that they intend to create a place of religion and learning in Khajuraho. Another theory is that the erotic matter of Khajuraho and indeed other temples had a special purpose. In times when boys lived in hermits following Hindu law to be “brahmacharis” until they attained manhood, the only way to prepare for the worldly role of “caretaker” was to explore these sculptures and worldly passions. they photographed. There is no doubt that temples represent a manifestation of a very mature civilization.
To the east, near the border of Chhattisgarh, is the city of Amarkantaki. Here, at the meeting point of the Vindhya and Satpura mountain ranges, is the source of Narmada flowing west and Sone rising east. The government brochures show the wooded environment: sacred ponds, high hills, dense forests, breathtaking waterfalls. According to the Ministry of Tourism, intrusive serenity makes Amarkantak a much-desired destination.
Further north, on the border of Uttar Pradesh, is Chitrakoot, which sits on a ‘hill of many miracles’. The spiritual history of the area can be traced to legends that Rama and Sita spent their 11 to 14 years in exile in these deep forests; that the great sage Atri and Sati Anusuya meditated; and that the chief trio of the Hindu pantheon, Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh, took up their incarnations. Today, Chitrakoot, which rests peacefully on the northern shores of Vindhyoja, is a place of peaceful forest streets, rivers and streams.
Located on the west side of the state, Maheshwar is said to have been built on the site of the ancient city of Mahishmat, the glorious capital of Kartivarjun, King of the South Avant. The temple city on the shores of Narmada is mentioned in both Ramayana and Mahabharata. In the late 18th century, Maheshwar became the capital of the state of Indore under the leadership of Queen Rari Ahilyabai of Holkari, who restored it to its former glory. The temples of Maheshwar and the mighty fortress are in a quiet beauty reflected in the river below. Today, the city is also known for its distinctive hand-woven sarees.
The sacred island of Omkareshwari, 77 kilometers south of Indore, is another popular Hindu pilgrimage site. The devotees gathered here say that the island at the confluence of the Narmada and Kaveri rivers is designed like the holiest of all Hindu symbols – Om (in Sanskrit). Be that as it may, according to official sources, the Shri Omkar Mandhata temple is one of only 12 Jyotirlings in India. As with so many holy shrines in Madhya Pradesh, the natural surroundings are awe-inspiring.
Ujjain is another holy city where Hindu pilgrims gather in large numbers. The modern Ujjain is located on the banks of the Shipra River, which has been considered sacred since ancient times. This belief comes from the mythological story of the churning of the ocean by gods and demons, the stringed snake Vasuki. The story tells how 14 gems were obtained from the ocean floor, then the goddess of wealth Lakshmi, and finally the coveted nectar spirit that would make the drinker immortal. In the midst of a scramble of gods and demons in the sky, a few drops fell from the cup. They are said to have landed in Hardwar, Nasik, Prayag and Ujjayin, hence the sanctity of Shipra’s waters.
Bhojpur, 28 km from Bhopal, was founded and named after the legendary king of Parmar Dhar. Raja Bhoj (1010-1053) is known for its magnificent Shiva temple and the ruins of Cyclopean dam. The temple, often called the eastern Somnath, is known as the Bhojeshwari Temple. The construction of the temple is incomplete and the ground frame used to lift it on the sloping dome is still upright. If it had been completed, it would have had very few competitors. Today, even during the devastation of the era, the Department of Tourism has rated it as one of the best examples of early medieval temple architecture.
The Sanchi Buddhist complex houses the country’s earliest religious structures. Its stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars date back to the 3rd century BC. to A.D.12. The most famous, Sanchi Stupa 1, was built by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, then ruler of Ujjayin, whose wife Devi was the daughter of a merchant of Vidisha descent. Legend has it that their son Mahindra and daughter Sanghamitra were born in Ujjayin and sent to Sri Lanka, where they converted the King, Queen and Buddhism of their people. The Chunar sandstone column, which shines with the proverb of Maurjan’s Polish, is located near Stupa 1 and bears Ashoka’s famous warning against schism in the Buddhist community. Built in 1 BC, the four gates of the stupa are carved with stories of the Buddha’s past and present. According to official sources, they are among the best copies of the subcontinent’s early classical art.
The state also offers joy to nature lovers. Bandhavgarh National Park is compact but full of wildlife; the density of the tiger population in Bandhavgarh is the highest in India. Rewa’s white tigers were once home there, but unfortunately they were hunted out of existence. The last registered wild white tiger was captured by Maharajah Martand Singh in 1951 as a son and housed near his palace. The tiger from which he earned the name Mohan or wizard. Thanks to the science of taxidermy, Mohan is out today for visitors to the palace. The national park is spread over 448 square kilometers and supports deer, leopard, moss, wild boar and more than 200 bird species. The silhouette of the park is dominated by Bandhavgarh Fortress. Also worth a visit are the numerous caves, the interior of which reveals prehistoric inscriptions and drawings.
Kanha National Park is known as one of the best and best managed national parks in Asia. The shelter for its animal and bird population was established by law in 1955, and management has worked hard to protect wildlife that moves around the 940-square-kilometer area. Its grass and bamboo forests, rolling grasslands and meandering streams form the core of the Tiger Reserve, created in 1974 as part of the Tiger project. The park is the only habitat for the rare hard-surfaced barasingha (Cervus duvauceli branderi).
Panna National Park is just a half-hour drive from the Khajuraho Temples. Tiger sightings are not guaranteed, but cheetah, sambari, nilgai, chinkara, chowsingha, langoor, wild boar and jackal are often seen. During the monsoon, the park turns lush green and is full of cascading waterfalls. The most popular of these is the Pandavi Falls on the Ken River. The relics of the Gondwana period (the rule of the tribal people of Central India) are scattered throughout the reserve.
And, of course, we can’t forget Pench National Park, the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s most famous work, The Jungle Book. Perhaps surprisingly for those familiar with this book, the park is proud of India’s most vegetarian densest.
Bhedaghat, a relatively little known destination, is breathtakingly beautiful. Two huge marble rocks rise to a height of one hundred meters on both sides of the Narmada River. The marble-white peaks are lined with black and green volcanic rock and cast a dapple shadow on the clear waters of the river. The moonshine has a wizard effect at night. A little further away, the river becomes turbulent and dives into the mighty Dhuandhar Waterfall.
Bhimbetka’s stone shelters are located at the foot of the Vindhya Mountains in the middle of a rocky landscape of dense forest and rocky cliffs, 46 km south of Bhopal. More than 500 of them have painted scenes from the lives of Neolithic cave dwellers who once lived in the area. They are an invaluable chronicle of human history and the region has recently been designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). According to the UNESCO website, elements of the hunter-gatherer economy depicted on the rocks can be found in the surrounding Adivasi tribes.
Pachmarhi Mountain Station, 295 km from Bhimbetka, is also an archeological treasure chest. The surrounding Mahadeo Hills cave shelters also feature rock paintings, most of which are located between A.D.500-800. According to the Department of Tourism, the earliest paintings are 10,000 years old. The mountain station is cool, quiet and there are some good hiking trails.
Indore is located in the west of Madhya Pradesh, on the banks of the Saraswati and Khan rivers, about 186 km from Bhopal. The city takes its name from the 18th-century Indreshwar Temple. The history of Indore is inseparable from the history of the Holkers. The founder of the Holkar Chamber was Malhar Rao Holkar, born in 1693. Peshwa rewarded the territory of Indore for his skills on the battlefield. Malhar Rao was succeeded by a grandson. The grandson, who had no heir, died to the throne by his mother, Maharani Devi Ahilyabai. The city, designed by the Queen herself, is dotted with beautiful monuments and a true homage to the Holkar dynasty.
Far from Indore, at 2,000 feet above the Vindhya Ranges lies Mandu, the fortified capital of the rulers of Malwa Parmar. At the end of the 13th century, it fell under the rule of the Sultans of Malwa, the first of whom called it Shadiabad, the “city of joy”; according to local government sources, the spirit passing through Mandu was fun. The rulers establish magnificent palaces such as Jahaz and Hindola Mahals, decorative canals, washups and marquees. Each Mandu structure is an architectural gem; some are prominent. The large size of Jami Masjid is worth noting. Centuries later, the tomb of Hoshang Shahi inspired the builders of the Taj Mahal.
At the bottom of the country is the temple city of Orchha – a medieval stone city on which the hand of time is lightly rested. Orchha was founded in the 16th century by Rudra Pratap, the chief of the Bundela Rajput, who chose this plot of land along the Betwa River as his capital. The most notable of the subsequent rulers was Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo, who built the exquisite Jehangir Mahali, a stepped palace crowned by graceful chhatris. It overlooks the soaring temple towers and kenotaphs. The bright murals at the Laxminarayan Temple and Raj Mahal, the Bundela School of Painting, cover a variety of religious and secular themes and enliven the walls and ceilings.
To the north is another city steeped in history. The ruling dynasties of the great Rajput clans of the Pratiharas, Kacchwahas, and Tomatars left indelible traces of their rule on the city of palaces, temples, and monuments. The fortress that the battles raged over can be seen from afar. Gwalior’s royal seat passed through several hands, Tomar, Mughal, Briton and others, but eventually reached Scindia until independence. Their descendants live in Gwalior today. Gwalior’s rich cultural tradition is woven into the fabric of a vibrant and vibrant city. But the past of princes can be found in the city’s great palaces and museums.
Shivpuri, 94 km west of Jivsin, was the summer capital of the Gwaliori rulers of Scwindia. In the past, its dense forests were the hunting grounds of the tuber emperors – Emperor Akbar allegedly captured large herds of elephants. Tigers also migrated through forested hills, but many of them fell victim to royal hunting. Today, Shivpuri is a protected area for rare animals and birds.
To make the most of the tourism potential and natural diversity of so much history, the government of Madhya Pradesh is taking a number of measures to improve the state’s infrastructure, especially air, road and rail links. Bhopal and Indore airports will soon become international. Khajuraho that currently has got a domestic airport which is to be connected to the railway network by the year end.
The government is supporting private hotels and taking steps to renovate 45 hotels and seven restaurants run by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation. The organization’s head office and the converted Shan-e-Bhopal train-restaurant-bar were recently ISO 9001-2000 certified.
According to Ashwan Lohan, managing director of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, initiatives of the past 2-3 years have paid off – in 2006-07 the state received one million tourists, at least 10 GEL more than usually.