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Madhya Pradesh State Information

Capital: Bhopal
Districts: 48
Languages: Hindi

Introduction to Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is a cluster of innumerable districts and varied topographic and climatic characteristics. Housing the magnificent Vindhyachal mountain range, river valleys and plateau Madhya Pradesh is famous for its wonderful art, craft, music and dance. Rich in geographical varieties, the state also has a good number of important mines that has a good influence on the economy of the country. Engaged mostly in agricultural activities, the state is the homeland of many tribal races.

Geography of Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh lies in the middle of the India, sharing its border with six neighbouring states.

The northern border of the state has two neighbour states namely the state of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The western border of the state is shared by a part of Rajasthan and a part of Maharashtra with Gujarat in between. On the southern part of the state of Madhya Pradesh lies the states Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The entire eastern border of the state is bounded by the states of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand.

The total geographical area the state of Madhya Pradesh covers is approximately 308,000 sq km divided among the 45 districts of the state. Forests cover a major part of the state and the cultivated area accounts to almost half of the total landmass of the state. The state covers a wide area of the Indian plateau region.

A number of significant rivers flow through this land. Thus, with the mountain ranges, rivers along with the plains, Madhya Pradesh has a varied physical feature.

Brief History of Madhya Pradesh

Historical record reveals the fact of it being ruled by a number of famous empires of India. The empires included the Mauryan Empire to the Mughals and later off course by the British. During the rule of the Mughals, famous musician Tansen of Madhya Pradesh used to be the official singer of the Mughal Samrat Akbar's court. There are many interesting legends and folklore related to Tansen and Birbal in the court of Akbar.

Madhya Pradesh is also the homeland of Kalidasa, the famous immortal Indian poet and dramatist. The innumerable monuments, carved temples, stupas, forts and palaces on hilltops signify the aesthetic sense of the empires and kingdoms, of great warriors and builders, poets and musicians, saints and philosophers.

In the earlier times influence of religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam are still evident in the historical places here. Dynasties like that of Sungas, Andhras, Satavahanas, Ksaptrapas, Nagas and last but not the least the Guptas ruled over this place. During and after the tenth century different regions of the state were ruled by different dynasties like Chandellas, who ruled in Khajuraho, Muslims in Gwalior and the Holkar in Indore etc.

After the British took over the state, the state had been declared as the central province. After India gained her independence, under the provision of the state reorganization act of 1956, Madhya Pradesh was given the status of a full-fledged state with effect from 1st November 1956.

Madhya Pradesh Travel Information

This land is a fascinating amalgam of scenic beauty, history and modern urban planning. Madhya Pradesh is famous for its legendary tourist destinations such as the temples of Khajuraho, the majestic forts of Gwalior, Buddhist stupas of Sanchi and the various wildlife sanctuaries that Madhya Pradesh is peppered with. Among the important cities of Madhya Pradesh Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior, Jabalpur, and Ujjain are some of those that must need a mention here. Some new circuits can be experienced in the northern part of Madhya Pradesh where the Golden Triangle of Gwalior-Jhansi-Khajuraho has been stretched to include Shivpuri and Orchha is situated at an easy 16 kilometers from Jhansi.

Monuments in Madhya Pradesh

As one of the prehistoric ancient states of India, the state of Madhya Pradesh is full of architectural heritage ranging from rock cut caves, Stupas, Viharas, temples, mosques to the three World Heritage Sites of UNESCO - the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi and the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka. The historical monuments of Madhya Pradesh are also maintained and preserved by both the State Department of Archaeology and Archaeological Survey of India. Some of the famous destinations of historical monuments of Madhya Pradesh are Bhimbetka which is famous for over four hundred rock-shelters containing paintings of men and animals; Vidisha contains a Brahmi inscription erected by a Greek, Heliodoras; Udaigiri is famous for twenty rock-cut caves; the Bagh caves are famous for paintings like those Ajanta and rock-cut Buddhist caves; the Stupas at Sanchi is famous for Buddhist Stupas and a damaged inscription of Ashoka; Bhojpur is famous for sculptures and architectural works at the Shiva temple; Khajuraho is famous all over the world for its magnificent temples; the city of Orcha is famous for the Jahangir Mahal and Raja Mahal; the city of Gwalior attracted the tourists for early temples of Teli-Ka-Mandir, the Sas-Bahu temple and the historical monuments with its beautiful Jali work and valuable antiquities.

Food of Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh Food is characteristic of typical north Indian cuisine. Roti is the staple food of the state. The vegetables are cooked with tomato and onion as the major ingredients. Generally spicy and rich, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food are cooked.

Arts & Culture of Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is home to majority of India's tribal population who, in most cases, live apart from mainstream India. The Gonds tribe is found in the jungles south of Jabalpur. On the west lives the Bhils, while the Oraons inhabit the eastern part of the state. The Bhils get their name from a Dravidian word for bow, which is the hallmark of the tribe.

Despite the encroaching influence of 20th century urban life, the tribals have largely managed to retain their own way of life, relatively untouched by modernization. However, besides the original tribes of the region, a number of other people belonged to different ethnicity has settled in the major centers of the state for varied reason.

The art and craft of the state is unique from region to region. A long heritage of tradition continues to add a highly distinctive, individualistic touch to the crafts of Madhya Pradesh.

The state is famous for its hand printing, generally with vegetable dyes. The major hand printing centers of the state includes, Jawad, Bhairongarh, Mandsaur, Umedpura, Burhanpur, Bhopal Indore, Gotampura, Sohawal, Tarapur and many more. Garments, bedspreads, tablecloths and curtain material are produced at Umedpura and Tarapur in Nandana prints that were once in vogue amongst the villagers of the legendary Nimar plain. From Bhairongarh come printed quilt covers in attractive colors and designs, lungies, odhanis, jajams (floor coverings), bedspreads and tablecloths. Tie and dye chunris are the specialty of Tarapur and Mandsaur. Textile weaving in Madhya Pradesh is as refined as the hand printing craft. Soft, subtle shades in delicate weaves come off the looms in Chanderi, near Gwalior.

The famous Chanderi sarees some of them with gold checks and rich gold border along with two gold bands on the pallav, give each saree a special touch. The craftsmanship of the famous Maheshwari sarees has a wide variety of checks. Madhya Pradesh is also famous at producing tussar silk handloom fabrics. Skilled craftsmanship of Madhya Pradesh also displayed in a variety of zari embroidered (gold and silver threads) articles.

There are zari wall hangings, handbags, sarees and splendid brocade borders. Carpet weaving center of Gwalior, in Madhya Pradesh is regarded as Mecca of crafts.

Madhya Pradesh is not only the geographical center stage of India it also occupies a similar position in India's traditional heritage of music. Genius like Tansen who perfected the dhrupad style of singing was born here. Moreover, the Gwalior Gharana of Madhya Pradesh is a famous name in the world of Indian classical music today.

Festivals of Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh celebrates almost all the festivals of Hindu solar calendar. Besides the usual Hindu festivals, there are festivals that are unique from region to region. The Bhagoria or the spring festival of Jhabua, Shivaratri of Khajuraho, Bhojpur, Pachmarhi and Ujjain, Ramnavami of Chitrakoot and Orchha and the famous Khajuraho dance and music festival (tourism festival) are some of the festivals need to be mentioned here. The Pachmarhi festival is the storehouse of the rich tribal and folk cultural extravaganza. The attire again differs here from region to region and tribe to tribe. Though the most common among them is the usual Indian saree for women and kurta pyjama for men.

Madhya Pradesh