The second largest state of India, Madhya Pradesh, as the name suggests is centrally located state of India. Surrounded by Uttar Pradesh in the North and North east, Rajasthan in the North West, Gujarat in the West, Maharashtra in the South and South west and Chattisgarh in the East, Madhya Pradesh was the largest state in the Indian Union till the new state of Chattisgarh was formed in the year 2000.
Other than the valleys of Narmada and Tapti, the rest of Madhya Pradesh is high plateau region. The climate can be very dry in summers and chilly in winters. But the state also boasts of the highest percentage of forest in India.
About Madhya Pradesh:
Historically known as the Malwa region, Madhya Pradesh is centrally located and also easily accessible from any major place of India. A fascinating amalgam of ancient cities with modern urban planning is what is fascinating about Madhya Pradesh. Decorated with Vindhya and Satpura mountain ranges, Narmada and the TaptiRivers, dense forests; the whole state is dotted with temples and forts and mosques built in unique architecture. There is much more to Madhya Pradesh than the world famous heritage site of Khajuraho and Sanchi. The huge and magnificent forts and beautifully carved temples; the magnificent marble rocks at Bedaghat and the tigers roaming freely in the thick forests, are equally mesmerizing. The forests of Madhya Pradesh have 22% of world’s total tiger population. It is the land of the famous poet Kalidas, the land of Tansen and Baiju Bawara, Madhya Pradesh has always had a strong cultural heritage.
The history of Madhya Pradesh dates back to 12 thousand years and more with the rock cave paintings at Bhimbetka near Bhopal. Some believe that the Aryans entered the central part of India, pushing the local tribes down south of the state. It is also believed that the state holds a history dating back to same Indus civilization that is present in the North West part India. Although the ancient history has left little of its impact on Madhya Pradesh, the known history of the place comes in light with the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. During the 3rd century B.C. Ashoka ruled nearly entire of India, thus also ruling the Malwa region. The Sung and the Gupta dynasty followed the Mauryan before the Huns swept across giving away to the Paramars nearly 1000 years ago. Raja Bhoj an important character in the history of India belonged to this dynasty. The Chandelas made impact in the northern part of the state from 950 to 1050 AD. Later the tussle remained between the Maratha and the Muslim rulers. While the Marathas captured Indore and Gwalior while the Muslim rulers controlled Bhopal and later the region fell in the hands of the British.
Madhya Pradesh initially was a very big state with parts of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra and the whole of Chattisgarh state falling into it. When the new state of Maharashtra was formed the Marathi speaking area of Madhya Pradesh went into Maharashtra. The state was further divided and the new state of Chattisgarh was formed in the year 2000, thus giving a new shape to the present state of Madhya Pradesh.
Today Madhya Pradesh has the natural beauty beyond comparison, the various temples, form Khajuraho to Orcha to Ujjain which are unique in its architecture, magnificent forts of Gwalior and Mandu which still stand witness to the royal legacy of the past and the dense forests where animals roam freely in their most natural habitat. Infact it as from these jungles that the famous story of Mowgli came to be alive. Rudyard Kipling came across a real life account of a boy being nurtured by wolves form where he took the clue and framed the world famous story of Jungle Book.
The cuisine of Madhya Pradesh is a blend of the all the states that it is surrounded with. One can taste the flavours of India in Madhya Pradesh. Hinduism, Islam, Jainism and Buddhism all have left its impact on Madhya Pradesh which is evident all over the state. The famous sarees of Chanderi with delicate waves and riot of colours, the dazzling lacquer work and the heavy silver jewellery all are worth as souvenirs of Madhya Pradesh