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Information about Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is the India’s largest state. The word Madhya Pradesh literally means central province. Geographically, Madhya Pradesh is the heart of India. Madhya Pradesh is the southernmost state of the landlocked states in India. The size of the state is so large that the time is 40 minutes ahead of the local time zone in Ramanujgang, a town on the eastern border of the State and Jabhua, on the western border. Inspite of its central position it has all the characteristics of a marginal territory. The western region has been part of the north-south corridor of population movement for over 4,000 years. Some of the major towns in Madhya Pradesh are Gwalior, Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur. Bhopal is the capital of Madhya Pradesh. Most of the people speak Hindi or some dialect of Hindi.

Madhya Pradesh Map, Map of Madhya Pradesh

The climate of Madhya Pradesh is very hot and dry in summers and pleasant in winters. So, the best time to visit Madhya Pradesh is from September to March.

History of Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh has been a shatter belt between the northern and southern core regions of India’s cultural development. Thus, despite its central position in South Asia it has never been the home of the Indian empire. The state of Madhya Pradesh has been the home of some of India’s earliest settlements. Several remains of prehistoric cultures, rock paintings and stone artifacts were found here. The magnificent paintings and other archaeological discoveries made in rock shelters and caves at Bhimbetka, illustrate the continuity of settlement from before the Acheulian period to the recent historical past. The written history of Madhya Pradesh goes back to the Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C., who built a great Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi. One of the earliest states that existed in Madhya Pradesh was Avanti of which Ujjain was capital, a part of the 3rd to 4th century BC Mauryan Empire. From the 2nd century BC to the 16th century AD, various dynasties ruled part or most of the state. Some of these dynasties were the Sunga dynasty, from 73 to 185 BC in Eastern Malwa; the Andhras (Satavahanas) from 1st Century BC to 3rd century AD and the Ksaptrapas and the Nagas, from 2nd to 4th centuries AD. The Guptas ruled the region to the north of the Narmada, from 4th to 5th century AD and the Hunas (Huns) struggled to seize control of Malwa during this period while in the 7th century it became part of Harsha’s North Indian empire. In the 10th century, various dynasties controlled different parts of the region like the Kalachuris ruled the Narmada Valley, the Paramaras ruled the south-west Madhya Pradesh, the Kachwahas controlled around Gwalior and the Chandelas at Khajuraho. The Paramars are often remembered for some of their great rulers and real patrons of arts like Raja Bhoj who gave his name to Bhopal. Between 950 and 1050 AD, the Chandelas ruled the north-eastern parts of Madhya Pradesh and gave India its famous temples of Khajuraho-a place which remained hidden from the world for a few centuries. Later the Tomaras took Gwalior. Gwalior was conquered by the Muslims in the 11th century. The Delhi Sultanate incorporated Hindu domains in 1231 and the Khalji dynasty took Malwa. Akbar annexed this into his empire in the mid 16th century. The Scindia and Holkar dynasties of Marathas established independent rule at Gwalior and Indore. In 1817-18, territories known as the ‘Saugor-Nerbudda’ were ceded to the British. To the north and west, the Central India Agency was formed in 1854 and comprised of Malwa, Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand. Other districts were added in 1860 and the region came to be known as the Central Provinces. Berar was added in 1903. On independence, the Central Provinces and Berar became Madhya Pradesh. The Central India Agency was first divided into Madhya Bharat (Middle India) and Vindhya Pradesh (Vindhya Provinces) and then added to Madhya Pradesh.

Geography of Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh shares boundaries with Uttar Pradesh in the north, Bihar in the north-east, Orissa in the east, Andhra Pradesh in the south-east, Maharashtra in the south and south-west, Gujarat in the west and Rajasthan in the north-west. It covers a land area of 4,50,000 km. Geographically, the entire state occupies the northern part of the Deccan plateau. Its northern part lies in the Indo-Gangetic Plains. Along the northern edge is an old erosion front joined by the Vindhya range that runs diagonally across the state from Dhar to Khajuraho. The Kaimur range runs through Baghelkhand, overlooking the Gangetic plain around Varanasi and Allahabad. Both ranges are frequently broken by the Ken river and deep ravines. Behind the Kaimur range is the Baghelkhand plateau with an average altitude of 300 m above see-level. In the east, the Hazaribagh range juts into the state and south of Raipur around Bastar is the plateau behind the Eern Ghats. Some parts of the state consists of upland plateaus and hills interspersed with deep valleys, dense forests and rivers flowing into the Bay of Bengal. About one-third of India’s forests lies in Madhya Pradesh. The main forested areas are the Vindhya-Kaimur ranges, the Satpura and Maikala ranges and the Baghelkhand plateau. The forests are rich with some of the finest varieties of wood in the world like teak, sal, Indian ebony and resewood. There are plenty of bamboo and magnificent fruit and flowering trees in the forest. The Malwa region has rich black cotton soil of volcanic origin whereas the low lying areas of Gwalior, Bundelkhand, Baghelkhand and Chattisgarh have lighter soil. The best soil is found in the Narmada Valley with its rich alluvial deposits. Madhya Pradesh is also the source of some of the most important peninsular rivers like the Narmada, Chambal, Mahanadi and Tapti. The Narmada river rises in the heart of the state and along with the Tapti is one of the two major rivers in peninsular India. In Jabalpur it runs through some impressive marble gorges. Along its northern edge are the Bhanrer Hills, outriders of the Vindhya Range. The landscape in some places is stony and inhospitable. In other places, the Chambal river has dug deep gorges, creating a badlands area or hideouts for the dacoits.

Climate of Madhya Pradesh

The climate of Madhya Pradesh is monsoonal where the yearly rainfall falls from June to September. Bhopal receives 1210 mm per annum of rainfall in the rainy season. The annual rainfall tends to decrease from south to north and east to west. During the monssons, the humidity level is much higher than at other times of the year. The monsoon causes luxuriant plant growth and places like Mandu are particularly attractive. From March to May, the climate is hot and dry with temperature ranging from 33 to 44 degree Celsius. The winters from November to February are dry and pleasant and the average daily maximum temperature ranges from 27 to 10 degree Celsius.

Economy of Madhya Pradesh

The economy of Madhya Pradesh is based on agriculture. The main agricultural region are located in the Chambal Velley, the Malwa Plateau, the Narmada Valley, the Rewa Plateau and the Chhattisgarh plains. The main food crops are jowar, wheat and rice and coarse millets such as Kondo and Kutki. Pulses and groundnuts are also grown. Madhya Pradesh is also the largest soya bean producer in India. Some of the important commercial crops are oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane. The extensive forests are logged for teak, sal, bamboo and salai which yields a resin used for incense and medicines. Irrigation is carried out by means of canals, tanks and wells. There are 22 major irrigation and power projects. The seven major river systems in the state offer good potential for hydro-electric power generation. The Chambal Valley project is jointly run with Rajasthan and other schemes include those at Rajghat, Bansagar, Mahanadi Reservoir, Hasdeo Bango and Bargi. The state is also rich in minerals. The country’s largest diamond mine is the Panna near Khajuraho. This has recoverable reserves of 1 million carats. Other minerals include limestone, dolomite, iron ore, manganese ore, copper, coal, rock phosphate and bauxite. The state is also the country’s only producer of tin ore. An extensive programme has been undertaken to explore gold deposits in Raipur and Raigarh district. The major industries in the state are the steel plant at Bhilai, the heavy electrical plant at Bhopal, an aluminium plant at Korba, paper mills at Hoshangabad and Nepanagar, an alkaloid battery factory at Neemuch and numerous cement works. There are about 25 textile mills in the state, seven of them are nationalized. Madhya Pradesh also has a strong traditional village handicraft industry. Chanderi and Maheshwari silks saris are especially sought after. The tribal population also produce attractive handicrafts.

People of Madhya Pradesh

The distribution of the population is highly uneven and the western part of the state have much higher densities than the eastern part. The majority of the population live in villages and there are no very large cities. There are various tribal groups that lives in Madhya Pradesh and are least touched by modernization. These tribes are the Bhils, Baigas, Gonds, Korkus, Kols, Kamars and Marias. Many of these tribes have been painfully absorbed into the mainstream of Indian life, with mixed results. About 20% of the total population of the state are classified as members of scheduled tribes, the highest in India. About 400 years ago, Madhya Pradesh was inaccessible. Here the tribal people, driven from the comparatively well-watered Gangetic plains by its succession of invaders, took refuge. The gonds are the largest tribes in India. Most of the Gonds have retained their primitive ways. Traditionally, the tribal

were semi-nomadic, some living solely on hunting, and others on shifting cultivation. Most of them have now been settled and country liquor and drug dependency are common among the men. Many of them cling to their older, deep set beliefs, such as burying their dead. Over the centuries, the tribal territory has gradually been nibbled away, and everywhere their way of life is under threat due to large scale modernization, irrigation dams. Some tribal traditions, especially mythology and folklore, have been preserved, though they have been exposed to outside cultural influences. The Pandwani and the Lachmanjati legends are equivalent to the Mahabarata and Ramayana. Songs and ceremonies mark life’s milestones.

Language and Religion in Madhya Pradesh

Hindi is the most widely spoken language in Madhya Pradesh. Marathi, Urdu, Orya, Gujarati and Punjabi are also spoken by the people and popular in Madhya Pradesh. The Bhils speak Bhili and the Gonds speak the Gondi language. Both these tribal languages are independent in origin of the Indo-European and Dravidian languages. Hinduism is the main religion which is followed here after Islam, Sikhism, Christianity and Buddhism.

Festivals of Madhya Pradesh

The traditional religious festivals of the Hindus, Muslims and other communities are also celebrated in Madhya Pradesh enthusiastically like in the rest of India. The tribal fairs and festivals celebrate the ethnic life-styles of the colourful tribes of the land. Some of the tribal fairs and festivals which are celebrated in Madhya Pradesh are Madai Festival, Bhagoriya Festival, Dusshera of Bastar, Karma Festival and Nagaji Fair. The Khajuraho Dance Festival and the Tansen Music Festival in Gwalior are the famous cultural festivals that celebrates the Indian classical dance and music.

Tourist Attractions in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh Attraction, Attraction of Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh has some of the magnificent archaeological and historical sites and superb buildings. The stupa at Sanchi is one of the finest monuments in India. The Chandela temples at Khajuraho are testimony to a period of great artistic merit and the splendid fort and palaces at Gwalior reminds of the magnificence of many Indian princely states. Mandu occupied a strategic position on the important corridor from Delhi to the western seaboard. This delightful hilltop fort and citadel of palaces, mosques and tombs was fortified as early as the 6th century AD, and under the Muslim Sultans of Malwa it was named as Shadiabad, the City of Joy. Ujjain is one of the seven holy cities of India and a center of Hindu pilgrimage. The Kanha National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park are the famous national parks in Madhya Pradesh.

Wildlife in Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is a veritable heaven for wildlife. About one-third of the land is forested, offering a unique and exciting panorama of wild life. The Mahadeo Hills of the Satpura range are the home of the tiger, panther, Indian bison, Leopard, chital, sambhar, black buck and wild buffalo. The sal and bamboo forests in Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna, and various other national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are teeming with all kinds of wildlife and many hundred species of birds. Kanha National Park, the only habitat of the hardground Barasingha (swamp deer), Panna and Bandhavgarh National Park, known for its white tigers are the famous

Madhya Pradesh Wildlife, Wildlife of Madhya Pradesh

national parks in Madhya Pradesh. Pench National park is also an upcoming national park in Madhya Pradesh.

How to reach here

The communication facilities are well developed along the north-south corridor in the west but very less, elsewhere. Good road and rail communications exist in the western part of the state, particularly along the corridor running from Gwalior to Bhopal. In many districts, however, the road network is very poor. This has hindered the development efforts.

States in North India
Delhi || Jammu & Kashmir || Haryana & Punjab || Himachal Pradesh || Madhya Pradesh || Rajasthan || Uttar Pradesh || Uttaranchal

Information about Madhya Pradesh
Introduction || History || Geography || Climate || Economy || People || Languages || Festivals || Tourist Attractions || Wildlife Sanctuaries

Cities in Madhya Pradesh
Bhopal || Gwalior || Indore || Jabalpur || Khajuraho || Mandu || Orchha || Sanchi || Ujjain

Distances from Cities in Madhya Pradesh
Bandhavgarh || Bhopal || Gwalior || Hissar || Indore || Jabalpur || Kanha || Khajuraho || Shivpuri || Ujjain

Fair and Festivals of Madhya Pradesh
Madai Festival || Bhagoriya Festival || Karma Festival || Nagaji Fair || Mahashivratri || Khajuraho Dance Festival || Tansen Music Festival

Tourist Attractions in Madhya Pradesh
Eastern Group of Temples || Western Group of Temples

Wildlife Sanctuaries of Madhya Pradesh
Bandhavgarh National Park || Kanha National Park || Panna National Park

Frequent group departures...
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