Madhya Pradesh has always intrigued and fascinated visitors with its teeming wildlife parks, quiet rivers and serene lakes, grand architectural marvels, busy pilgrimage destinations, exquisite silk sarees, hand prints and a wealth of crafts. No wonder it is Madhya Pradesh- the heart of India.
At it its geographical heart, Madhya Pradesh, for a larger span of time, mutely lingered on the ignored itinerary map of India. Despite an advantage, this second largest state remained just that — a crucial corridor bypassed umpteen times by the great Indian traveller. But for those who made an effort, overlooking the disconcerting journeys, the rewards stayed as cherished keepsakes. The hazards of the bygone may yet remain — the roads yet gouged in bits, a few places yet remotely distant, but today’s traveller looks surprisingly contended seeking just that. Ignoring the flip-sides with an intentional regard for Madhya Pradesh as a treasured destination, he appreciates, in slow drifts, its forts and monuments, temples and rivers, ethnicity and diversity. Thankfully, the reiterated initiatives of the tourism board paid off — the ‘MP ajab hai, sabse gajab hai’ and other innovative promos ensured the state bagging awards for tourism as also ringing a certain bell in the ardent tourist. Khajuraho may have once been the destination for the love-struck, discreetly admiring its forthrightness of erotic resplendency, and Orchha, en route, may have languished, overlooked by prudent singles ogling for Khajuraho. But that now is passé. With the annual dance festival of Khajuraho getting big draws and conformist scales enlarged, the temples are now more frequented and upheld under ‘family tourism’.
The once fractional tourist traffic is now up and inspired, chasing the ruins of Mandu with the sunrise and tracing the rise of Buddhist Ashoka at Sanchi, wondering at the upturned Great Stupa. Archaeologists’ euphoria on rediscovering the prehistoric rock art at Bhimbetka is certain, as is Gwalior’s landmark, the fort, imposed upon the gritty town, offering no less than six palaces for wanderlust. In the palette are two of the finest wildlife reserves of India — Kanha and Bandavgarh, where a tiger is certain to sight you, if not the other way round, and honeymooners need look no further than Pachmarhi, a fashionable hill station rearing its sandstone peaks; couple that with a moonlit boat ride at Bhedaghat — the marble wonderland — and it is sure to imprint treasured memories. For the sacred, Ujjain, on the banks of the Shipra, maybe mobbed merely during the Kumbh Mela, but the Narmada, with its ghats steeped in ancient temples at Omkareshwar and Maheshwar, is every pilgrim’s calling. With growing inland connectivity, and the traveller weary of its overstated neighbours, Madhya Pradesh is soon to emerge as a much-sought travel destination.
However, to know why is that, we will have to get under the skin of the beautiful state that is Madhya Pradesh. Now to do that, you will have to do the following. Here is the check list.
1. Explore the rich heritage of the state.
2. Know how Madhya Pradesh is a wildlife haven.
3. Experience how divine MP is.
4. Important! Get to know the places where you can shop, get a little adventurous and feel the culture of MP.
5. Last but not the least, the road less traveled. The offbeat places in the state that you might not have even heard of.
Now, what are you waiting for? Start striking them off and find out why MP Gajab hai!
About the author
Kshitiz loves to travel, read and write. And yes, second love: theatre.