Tourist Attractions of Madhya Pradesh
This is a small National Park; compact, yet full of game. The
density of the Tiger population at Bandhavgarh is the highest known
in India. This is also White Tiger country. These have been found in
the old state of Rewa for many years. The last known was captured by
Maharajah Martand Singh in 1951. This White Tiger, Mohun, is now
stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharajahs of Rewa.
Steeped in the splendour of its past, the ancient capital of Gwalior
has yet made a successful transition into a modern Indian city,
vibrant and bustling. A multitude of reigning dynasties, of the
great Rajput clans of the Pratiharas, Kacchwahas and Tomars have
left indelible etchings of their rule in this city of palaces,
temples and monuments. Gwalior's tradition as a royal capital
continued until the formation of present day India, with the
Scindias having their dynastic seat here. The magnificent mementoes
of a glorious past have been preserved with care, giving Gwalior an
appeal unique and timeless.
Sanchi is known for its stupas, monasteries, and pillars stretching from the 3rd century BC to the 12 century AD. The most famous of these monuments, the Sanchi Stupa 1,was originally built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. The site is one of the most evocative in India, and a good base for a number of interesting bicycle excursions.
Orchha 75 miles from Gwalior, was founded in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chieftain Rudra Pratap, on the banks of Betwa river. Orchha's fort complex, approached by a multiarched bridge has three palaces, set in an open quadrangle. The most spectacular of these are Jehangir Mahal built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in the 17 th century, the Raj Mahal an example of Bundela Rajput architecture and the Ram Raja of palatial architecture.
One of the greatest cities of ancient India, Ujjain is renowned still for its traditions of spirituality, learning and culture. The temple of Mahakaleshwara in Ujjain, with its soaring shikhara dominates the skyline and life of Ujjain. Here, the God Shiva reigns eternal and lingam at Mahakaleshwara, one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India, is believed to be swayambhu (born of itself), deriving its shakti or power, from within itself. Another unique feature of this majestic shrine is the idol which faces the south, a positioning upheld by tantric traditions and found only in Mahakaleshwara.
Amarkantak is where the Vindhaya and the Satpura ranges meet. It is a pilgrimage for Hindus as it is the source of the rivers Narmada and Sone. This place is famous for the Amrkantak Shivratri Mela which is held here annually during the festival of Shivratri. The Mela is reputed to be about 80 years old. There is a temple here called Narmada Udgam at the source of the river Narmada, situated just south of the main road. There are also several temple ruins and the Kapildhara and Dugdhdhara waterfalls about 12km away are worth a visit.
The town was established as far back as 1406-7 by Badshah Nasiruddin Faroqui as part of his kingdom, Khandesh. All throughout history this town, especially the nearby fort Asirgarh, remained important strategically.
One of the most important centres of Hindu faith and culture, Chitrakoot is known for its scenic beauty and its holiness. The Ganges Valley, considered to be the seat of Hinduism, one of the most ancient religions of the world, is only 50km away from this small, yet important pilgrim centre. Chitrakoot was considered to be a very sacred place in the Tretayuga, or the third epoch of the Hindu cosmogony. It is said that Rama and Sita visited Chitrakoot during their 14-year long exile.
Datia is the small palace town founded by the Bundela chief Raj Bir Singh Deo. Bir Singh supported Prince Salim (later Emperor Jahangir) when he rebelled against his father, the Mughal Emperor Akbar (see Orchha for details). The palaces at Datia and Orchha are the best surviving examples of a style of architecture that arose in the late 16th and early 17th centuries in the Bundelkhand area under the reign of the Bundela Rajputs.
Indore is spread out along the two small rivulets, Saraswati and Khan, which unite at the centre of the city where a small 18th century temple of Sangamnath exists. Indore has prospered into being the fourth largest centre of cotton textile industry in India. It is also justly famous for its beautiful bangles.
More than anything else, Maheshwar is now synonymous with the exquisitely delicate cotton and silk blend handloom saris woven by its people. Maheshwar was a veritable hotbed of culture, religion and politics. It even made it to the great Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, where it finds mention as, Mahishmati. The sacred Narmada that flows by lends Maheshwar charm and sanctity.
Mandu is the city of love and delight. Situated on an outcrop of the Vindhyas, the hillfort is separated from the surrounding plateau by a deep ravine called Kakra Khoh, which encircles it on the east, west and north. The ruins are spread over an area of 21sq km and are surrounded by luxuriant undergrowth and crystal clear lakes and ponds.
Pachmarhi, like most hill stations and monuments of India, was rediscovered by a British officer, Captain Forsyth, in the year 1857. He obviously realized that the saucer-shaped valley would serve as an excellent retreat in the summer and truly peaceful environment for convalescing British soldiers. A special mention must be made of the various Shiva temples in the area and the annual festival of Shivaratri which attracts lakhs of devotees and scores of trishuls which are offered to Lord Shiva.
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