Places to Visit in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh (MP) is called as “Hindustan ka Dil” (The Heart of India) because it lies in the exact center of India. It is the second largest state of India after Rajasthan in terms of area. The official language of MP is Hindi. However, regional languages also exist with various dialects. Here is a look at some of the key attractions and places to visit in Madhya Pradesh, “The Heart of India”.
Jahaz Mahal in Mandu, Dhar District, MP believed to be built in the 15th century, a double storeyed structure, lies between Munj Talao (Lake) and Kapur Talao (Lake), and the reflection of the palace seems like a ship in the lake, hence, the name was given Jahaz Mahal (Jahaz = Ship, Mahal = Palace). It was built for the purpose of transit accommodation for the pilgrims from Afghanistan, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, and Turkey who came to visit Muslim shrines in Delhi.
Jahaz Mahal is surrounded by a long dried moat. It was said to have the entrance from the southern end via a wooden bridge, but it vanished with time and the new entrance is through the eastern side of the palace. The main attraction of Jahaz Mahal is its U-shaped courtyard which is surrounded by the dome structures with eloquent and decorative squinches. On top of that, glossy coverings of blue tiles called “Chattris” over the dome are pleasing to the eyes.
The festival “Phoolwalon Ki Sair” (procession of the florists) mesmerizes the view of Jahaz Mahal even more. I believe that this festival is undoubtedly one of the great examples of secularism and unity of the nation because anybody from any religion can take part in this festival.
Almost 600 km away, there is Orchha which is a bit far away from Mandu but probably the best spot to visit by far, because Orchha has some worth watching tourist destinations such as Orchha Fort, Jahangir Mahal, Raj Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Chaturbhuj Temple, and Betwa River.
Although Orchha has too many tourist spots, the spot which allures tourists the most is Jahangir Mahal. Intriguing history lies behind the construction of the palace. The name itself connotes that the palace must have been built by Jahangir or any other Mughal emperor, however, the palace was constructed by the Bundela Ruler Bir Singh Deo just to express his gratitude towards Jahangir for his favour of declaring him as the king of Orchha empire.
The architecture of Jahangir Mahal shows the fusion of Hindu and Islamic essence. Domes, rooms, entrance gates, terraces, and corridors give the Islamic touch to the architecture while elephant images and paintings imprint Hindu influence. The palace is three-storied with almost 136 rooms decorated with beautiful wall paintings. Furthermore, one can even take a glimpse of the grand palace in the night with the artificial light show.
The Raj Mahal and Jahangir Mahal are most visited spots for sightseers. It is to view the sunset from the beautiful Betwa River at Orcha. Likewise, do visit the Elephant Stable, light and sound show at Raja Ram Mahal, and if possible, then experience the rare view of Indian Vulture. Tourism department of MP runs Sheesh Mahal as the resort.
Panna National Park
Panna National Park is located in Panna and Chhatarpur districts of MP. If you fancy wildlife excursions then I would recommend Panna and Kanha National Parks of MP. Panna National Park is known worldwide for its wild cats, tigers, antelope, vultures, etc. In 1994, it was declared 22nd Tiger Reserve of India. It has spread over the area of around 540 sq km. One can do the Jungle Safari during the period between 16th October to 30th June (dates may vary according to the forest department rules and monsoon). In addition to the Jungle Safari, one can even go for the boating in Ken River for the sight of long-snouted alligators.
Furthermore, almost 50 km away from the Panna National Park, there is the Khajuraho Temple, which is renowned worldwide for its erotic sculptures, and is obviously a no miss. One can stay in Khajuraho for a night and may visit the Panna National Park. Khajuraho Temples are the centre of attraction for international tourists because of its well-known archaeology. Notwithstanding the lack of proper records, the Khajuraho temples are believed to be built in the 9th century by the Chandela dynasty. Opinions vary depicting the meaning of Khajuraho’s inscriptions, few say, it regards sex as an important part of the human development and the attainment of the absolute. Others believe, it was built to bring men and women together in the worldly life, which is the robust symbol of Hinduism.
Lastly, the Gwalior Fort, surrounded by concrete walls of sandstone, reckoned to be the most invincible fortress of North and Central India. Saas-Bahu Temple and Teli-ka-Mandir are the most fascinating and renowned temples of the Fort. Gwalior Fort has three temples, six palaces among which the Man Singh Palace is the most noteworthy. It has numerous tanks among which the Jauhar Kund is the one in which the women of the harem burnt themselves after the defeat of the king of Gwalior in 1232. Tomb of Tansen and Scindia Museum are other points of attraction.