Exploring India: 11 Top Madhya Pradesh Tourist Places
Are you planning a trip to Madhya Pradesh, India soon? Then you have come to the right place. We are sharing the top Madhya Pradesh Tourist Places with you, so you can be sure that you are not missing out on the top sights in this beautiful state in central India.
Before coming to Madhya Pradesh, do not forget these 3 important points:
- Get Travel Insurance! I use Allianz Travel Insurance and can only recommend them. If you travel a lot, I recommend the Multi-Trip Insurance, but you can read all about whether single trip or multi-trip travel insurance is right for you here – as long as you get insurance.
- Get your Visa for India. Residents from most countries require a visa to visit India. iVisa is a great company that can help you apply for your India Visa.
- Visit my Travel Gear and Resource Page to see my recommendations on useful travel gadgets and helpful travel services that can help you with planning your trip.
Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the top Madhya Pradesh tourist places you should visit. Why? Easy! This National Park has the highest Tiger density and your chances of seeing a tiger are very high. So if seeing these majestic cats in the wild has been on your bucket list, then I highly recommend going to Bandhavgarh National Park.
The core zone of the Tiger Reserve is split up in 3 areas: Tala, Magdhi, and Khitauli, surrounded by a generous buffer zone. I visited the Tala zone and had 3 Tiger sightings on 2 safari drives, and saw a lot of other wildlife as well.
If you are looking for a responsible and eco-friendly safari company, I highly recommend Pugdundee Safaris. I was invited by them to get to know their lodges and safaris and was blown away by the high ethical and environmental protection standards they follow, such as waste reduction, conservation efforts and hiring locals.
They have two properties at Bandhavgarh and both are absolutely amazing. Kings Lodge is a stunning lodge with all the amenities you could wish for, including pool and a spa. The Treehouse Hideaway is something really special: You sleep in a super luxurious tree house and it is definitely a wonderful experience.
Taj-ul-Masjid Mosque Bhopal
Among the architectural landmarks of the city of Bhopal, the nerve center of the province of Madhya Pradesh in the heart of India, the Taj-ul-Masjid mosque truly stands out. Not only for its beauty but also for its size because it is said to be the largest in all of India. Its construction was initiated by Shah Jehan Begum (1868-1901), although the works did not finish until 1971. This mosque receives the largest concentration of Muslims in the entire country, the Ijtima. Some sources say that up to 175,000 people fit inside.
If you visit it early and during a weekday, you may be able to admire how it becomes Madrasa or school for young people. Maybe because of this fact, or for any other reason – who knows – women do not have to cover their heads as in any other mosque as a general rule (please bear in mind that this can change at any time and if you are a woman you may have to cover your head in any case). The shoes must be left at the entrance. Do not forget the camera, the reflections from the central pond and the ‘forest of columns’ inside are impressive.
Kanha National Park
Kanha National Park is definitely one of the must-visit Madhya Pradesh Tourist Places. The beautiful Sal tree forests and rolling meadows, as well as the flourishing wildlife at Kanha National Park was the inspiration for Kipling’s Jungle Book. While I didn’t get to see Shere Khan or Bagheera during my safari there, I still saw beautiful landscapes and many, many other stunning animals. From the Barasingha Swamp Deer to Indian Bison, beautiful birds and lovely butterflies, Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh is a paradise for animal and nature lovers.
It gets really hot starting in April, so if you are not used to the heat, I recommend visiting between October and March. The park is closed from July to Mid-October for the monsoon.
As a place to stay, I highly recommend Kanha Earth Lodge – a Pugdundee Safaris Lodge. Their bungalows are as luxurious as villas and the staff is incredibly friendly. Make sure you go on a sundowner up on the little hill behind the lodge – it is an incredible experience.
Chanderi – Madhya Pradesh Tourist Sites
Chanderi is a quaint town in the heart of Madhya Pradesh steeped with history and heritage and one of the top Madhya Pradesh tourist places. Set amidst a naturally beautiful landscape surrounded by hills, Chanderi had a prominent place in the history of India.
The town of Chanderi fell on the major trade route of Central India and on the route to Malwa and was always in the eyesight of the earlier rulers. This can be seen from the abundant archaeological structures found in the town. There are forts, mosques, temples, and lakes in this small town.
The Kirti Durg or Chanderi Fort is one of the most striking places in the city and at night the lights of the fort can be seen even from a distance. Other places of interest include the Badal Mahal Darwaza, Raja Rani Mahal, Koshak Mahal, Sehzadi ki Roza, Kati Ghati, Jama Masjid, Jageshwari Temple, Parameshwar Taal and many more. Each of the structure seems to tell the stories of the past.
Tales of the past is strewn all around Chanderi. Chanderi is most famous for the Chanderi sarees, a very fine fabric that is said to have been weaved since the fourteenth century. These fine fabrics were patronized by the Mughals and the royals of the country. The weavers or Bunkaars are still trying to maintain their heritage while weaving and even till date Chanderi sarees are one of the best sarees in the country. Chanderi is a hidden gem in the tourism map of Madhya Pradesh. With so many wonderful historical structures, natural beauty and weaving of the Chanderi fabric, the place is sure to win the heart of its visitors.
Described by Mughal emperor Babur as the Pearl of India’s fortresses, Gwalior Fort is truly magnificent.
Although there’s been a fortification here since 525 A.D., this current fort was built, its thought, in the 8th century. The fort location was selected when, legend says, a local chief received waters which healed leprosy – he then founded Gwalior, which stands for “saint” in Hindi”.
There are two entrances to the fort, the west gate, which you can take a taxi or auto-rickshaw to, or the east gate, which you can approach only on foot. I seriously recommend the short walk of around 15 minutes if you don’t stop and admire the view up from the Gwalior Gate through the East Gate. This lets you appreciate the truly magnificent location and display the fort puts on. En route you’ll pass 5 gates (or their remains) and also a memorial to the first recorded zero as it was Indian mathematicians who first invented the circle that we know as zero.
Once at the top, the fort covers an area that is 3km long and there are various temples and areas to visit. Go early to avoid the heat, take a break and enjoy the peaceful surrounds. Walk down, past the superb Jain carvings after the Urvai or west gate and then take an autorickshaw back to town. This is a truly magnificent fort and well worth the visit.
Pench National Park
Pench National Park offers a variety of activities that is not just limited to wildlife and jeep safari. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Pench Tree Lodge where you can do a Nature Walk within the property, bush dinner, picnic, organic farm dinner, cycle and more. The property itself feels like you are in the middle of nowhere and all the greenery surrounding it makes you feel like you are in Paradise.
If you had had enough of wildlife excursions, you can also go for the village experience and the market where you can interact with the locals. I really loved my visit to the Village. We observed how their daily life is like out there and interacted with them. It was sad that I couldn’t speak their language and that the guide had to translate everything but despite that we had meaningful interactions with them as they showed us their home, their lifestyle and more.
Bhimbetka Rock Shelters UNESCO World Heritage Site
This UNESCO Heritage Site features prehistoric rock paintings that are over 30,000 years old, but first human settlement in this area dates back more than 100,000 years. The complex is evidence of the oldest human settlement in India. Due to its historic significance, it became a UNESCO Site in 2003.
The various rock paintings from the different time period show animals and people, dancing and hunting scenes and is one of the largest prehistoric complexes in the world.
The Bhimbetka Rock Shelters are about 1 hour from Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh.
Orchha is one of those Madhya Pradesh tourist places where I wish I could stay longer. As soon as I arrived the calm and relaxed vibe of this town got me and I wanted to explore more. Orchha means “hidden” and as its name, is still one of those places where tourism has not arrived in masses yet. Being the testimony of the medieval times when the monuments and palaces where built when Orchha was the capital of the Bundelkhand Empire, being in Orchha is like traveling back in time.
It will take just catching one sunset at the gorgeous Jehangir Mahal palace to grab your heart and a walk near the river Betwa, where in summer you can do great rafting, or grabbing a tea in one of the palace hotels to feel the beauty and magic of this place. The best time to visit Orchha is from October to March, when you find the best temperatures and weather, avoiding the months of the Monsoon or the summer when temperatures can rise up to 50ºC.
Satpura National Park
There is no doubt that going to Satpura National Park is one of the best things to do in Madhya Pradesh and that this is one of the best places to visit in India. This is one of the top destinations in the country to have an opportunity to see tigers in their natural environment, though doing so requires a lot of patience, and some early wake up calls as these animals are incredibly elusive.
UNESCO Site Buddhist Monument at Sanchi – Madhya Pradesh Tourist Places
The UNESCO World Heritage Site Sanchi is definitely a must-visit Tourist Place in Madhya Pradesh. It is about a 1-hour drive from Bhopal. The stone Stupa at Sanchi is one of the oldest structures in India and dates back to 300 B.C. It was inscribed as a UNESCO Site in 1989.
The four gateways that surround the Mahastupa (Great Stupa) have intricate carvings that show important events in Buddha’s life and supposedly the ashes of Buddha himself have found their final resting place inside the Great Stupa.
Like most sights in India, you can visit from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Indian citizens pay an entrance fee of 60 INR and foreign citizens pay 500 INR.
Khajuraho Group of Monuments – UNESCO Site India
Another one of the top Madhya Pradesh tourist places is the Khajuraho Monuments in Chhatarpur. They were built between 950-1050 AD and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Out of the original 85 temples, only 20 remain, but they are well worth a visit. The temple complex is most known for its celebration of eroticism and showcases a plentitude of sculptures in suggestive poses. Their intricate carving and architectural skill will leave you in awe.
A big thank you to Madhya Pradesh Tourism for inviting me to the Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart and showing me this stunning region.
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