Madhya Pradesh in itself is a place of unfathomable historical and cultural significance to India. Right from the prehistoric times to the recorded ancient history, the medieval and modern history- Madhya Pradesh has stood a silent witness to the unfolding and formation of India as a place and an idea. Although there are a dozen heritage destinations in MP worth visiting, here’s a list of some of the most significant of them, covering a wide spectrum in time, that are enough to take you on a trip through human history:
One of the best known specimens of the temple art in the world, Khajuraho was initially a cluster of 85 temples of which 22 still stand. Famous or, more accurately, infamous for the eroticism displayed in the art here, the architecture of the temples and the engraving and sculptures on their walls make Khajuraho one of the foremost World Heritage Sites in India.
For over 1500 years, from 300 BC to 1200 AD, Sanchi was a center of Buddhist propagation and learning. Despite waning in importance ever since, it still has monuments and relics of the time it was central to Buddhism. Premier among them is the Great Stupa, built by King Ashoka the great, a great example of Buddhist inscription and architecture.
Located on the banks of River Shipra, is one of the leading places of significance to the Hindu religion. Ancient as ancient gets, Ujjain hosts the once-in-12-years human spectacle of Kumbh, a religious fair that attracts millions of devotees to the Shipra River banks. Visit the Sri Mahakaleshwar Temple, one of the 12 ‘jyotirlings’, the Kal Bhairav Temple and the Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory built by Jaipur’s King Jai Singh.
Truly underappreciated as a place of heritage, Gwalior is a glowing example of the military prowess of its medieval rulers and of music and culture. The Gwalior Fort, located on a single hillock, is considered one of the most formidable and beautiful Indian forts architecturally, and the first written reference to the number Zero was found in a temple here. Also worth visiting is the Jai Vilas Palace Museum inspired by Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian architecture which is famed for its art collection, and the tomb of the mythical musician Mughal court musician Tansen, which hosts music festivals all through the year.
Located on the banks of the Betwa river, MP, Orchha was founded in the 16th Century, and it looks it has been forgotten ever since. The many palaces, temples and royal chhatris seem untouched by time, in a good way. Visit the Ram Raja temple, the Purana mandir and come what may, visit the medieval royal palace-fort loacted on an island on the Betwa river, which is like a crash course in the historical architecture of Madhya Pradesh.