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15 Historical Places You Must Explore in Central India

15 Historical Places You Must Explore in Central India

Teeming with rich historical and cultural past, Central India is a paradise for history buffs, archaeologists, architects and artists who come here from different parts of the globe. Replete with opulent palaces, majestic forts and magnificent temples; this central region of the country is where the medieval history of India carved its way. Ruled by several dynasties ranging from Chandelas and Guptas to Mughals, Marathas, Bundelas and British, you will find yourselves to be intrigued with the tales of romance, brutalities, battles, jauhars and bravery that seem to be oozing out from every inch of the monuments, standing tall for many past centuries. If you have a keen interest in history or if rich architectures and splendid art of the bygone era arouses a deep curiosity in you to explore more, come and be part of the region’s turbulent historical journey; here is a list of 15 destinations that you must cover on this trip of your lifetime.

Resplendent Fort of Gwalior

Gwalior fort

Gwalior Fort, Photo: https://goo.gl/OIvFJs

Dating back to 8th century, the impressive Gwalior Fort, perched atop of 3 km. long sandstone plateau in Madhya Pradesh, is one of the most famous historical places in central India. Ranging from the Kachchawahas, Tomars, Mughals and Marathas to British and Scindias, the fort has been the ruling seat for many dynasties in the past, presenting it with many architectural marvels that have today, become the part of its brilliant history. Besides many glorious moments, few gory instants of imprisonments, battles, love affairs and jauhars also share a chunk of the fort’s fascinating history. Today, being the most famous tourist attraction in Madhya Pradesh, it sees a footfall of uncountable tourists both, nationals and foreigners who throng here to be part of its hundreds of years old enthralling journey.

Teli ka mandir

Teli ka Mandir, Photo: https://goo.gl/MJ1DrT

The fort is home to three fascinating temples out of which the ‘Teli-ka-Mandir’ is the most famous and boasts of its remarkable mix of Dravidian and Nagara styles of architecture. Dating back to the 11th century, when the fort was under the rule of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty, the temple is today, one of the oldest surviving structures inside the fort and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the form of his vahana, Garuda. The temple’s splendid architecture and elaborate carvings on its walls and doorway, are a great draw for countless visitors who throng to this place every year. Besides the ‘Teli-ka-Mandir’, the twin ‘Sas –Bahu’ temples also fascinate many travellers visiting the fort. Many would believe these temples to somewhere, be having a story associated with mother-in-law, daughter-in-law; well! that is true in some ways but, the term, ‘Sas-Bahu’ is actually derived from ‘Sahastrabahu’, a manifestation of Lord Vishnu with thousand hands, to whom one of these temples is dedicated. Talking about the mother-in-law & daughter-in-law story, it is believed that the wife of the Kachchawaha king, during whose reign these temples were built, was a keen devotee of Lord Vishnu and hence, got the temple built dedicated to thousand-armed Vishnu. Contrary to his wife, the daughter-in-law of the king was a follower of Lord Shiva and on her request, the second temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, with a similar architecture was built besides the Vishnu temple. Besides the interesting story related to these twin temples, it is the beautiful and outstanding work of the artisans on the roofs and walls of these temples that attract many visitors throughout the year.

Raja Man singh Palace

Raja Man Singh Palace Gwalior Fort, Photo: https://goo.gl/hkK0TH

Apart from housing the ancient temples, the Gwalior Fort also has in its store two magnificent palaces that draw attention of many. The more prominent of these two palaces is the ‘Raja Man Singh Palace’ known for its exquisite architecture and the ornate blue tile and mosaic work adorning its façade and outer walls. Built by Raja Man Singh Tomar in the 15th century, the palace, undoubtedly, speaks of the brilliant artistic skills of the artisans and architects of the bygone era. If you are visiting this palace, make sure to attend one of the country’s best sound and light shows that recreates the magic of love between Raja Man Singh Tomar and his wife, Mrignayani. The backdrop of this illuminated palace just adds to the hypnotic charm of the show that takes all its visitors in a complete awe. Another fascinating palace in the fort compound is the ‘Gurjari Mahal’, again built by Man Singh Tomar for his Gurjar queen, Mrignayani who was the love of his life. The palace has now been converted into an open air archaeological museum where one can have a glimpse at an impressive collection of historical artefacts, sculptures, carvings and frescoes, some of which are even more than 1000 years old.

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Impressive Jain rock sculptures

Jain rock sculptures

Jain rock sculptures, Photo: https://goo.gl/NniUxK

Located along the path leading to the ‘Urwahi Gate’ of the Gwalior Fort on the Southern side, you will come across scores of exquisite and ancient rock cut sculptures that date back between the periods of 7th century and mid-15th century. Carved in the vertical sandstone cliffs along the fortress walls, these imposing sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras stand tall in their full glory and will definitely make you appreciate the brilliant carving skills of the artisans and craftsmen of the bygone era. The most brilliantly carved of all the figures in this ‘Urwahi Group’ is the 17 metres tall figurine of Lord Adinath, the first Tirthankar and founder of the  Jain religion . Besides the sculptures flanked along the ‘Urwahi Gate’, many impressive sculptures can also be seen on the eastern and south-eastern sides of the Gwalior Fort. Sculpted in different standing and sitting meditative postures, these statues give you a deep insight into the ancient Jain art that existed in India hundreds of years back. In spite of having been invaded by the army of the Mughal emperor, Babur in 1527 and not been impacted much by the harsh weather conditions, these sculptures even today, boast of their charismatic splendour that works as a magnet for numerous historians, archaeologists, artists and Jain pilgrims across the world, who visit these historical figurines just to witness their aura and magnificence.

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Spiritually erotic temples of Khajuraho

temples of Khajuraho

Temples of Khajuraho, Photo: https://goo.gl/UXRjLz

Famed world-wide for their exquisite carvings of erotic figures dating back to the era between 900 and 1130 AD during the reign of the Chandela dynasty, the Khajuraho group of temples are on the top of the itineraries for all the tourists planning to visit Madhya Pradesh in central India. As per the historical evidences, there were as many as 85 temples but, today only about 20 of these remain, out of which the ‘Kandariya Mahadeva Temple’ is the most prominent and a brilliant piece of architecture standing tall as a testimony to the exceptional artistic skills of the then artisans and craftsmen. While most of these temples are dedicated to Hindu deities, few of them are also devoted to Jain pantheon. Adorning the temple’s inner and outer walls, are the sculpted figures of celestial nymphs and mithunas depicting various sexual positions and sensuous poses. According to an analytical study, these erotic sculptures reveal a dominant role of women in the ancient Indian society. The beauty and poise of women depicted in these sculptures celebrate womanhood and indicates to the fact that the ancient society of India regarded women as the finest creation of God. Having always awed all the visitors with their stunning architectures and elaborate carvings, these temples have been a subject of study for many historians and scholars trying to find a connect between spirituality and human sexual desires. According to a latest theory, every human being is exposed to myriad of worldly desires with an appetite for sex being the most dominant. Only the ones who are able to transcend these worldly desires can attain self-realization and progress to a spiritual plane.

Standing as a monumental evidence to the love life culture of ancient India between 10th and 12th centuries, the Khajuraho temples are a ‘must visit’ when you are on the central India tour.

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Land of Holkars, Indore

Rajwada Palace

Rajwada Palace, Photo: https://goo.gl/DvcNnN

The largest city of Madhya Pradesh, Indore is rich in history and architecture. Also known as the commercial capital of the state, the city is definitely on the travel maps of tourists visiting Madhya Pradesh. Indore flourished during the reign of Holkar dynasty and was at its peak of glory under the rule of Malhar Rao Holkar in 18th century when several monuments were added to the city. Most famous of all the monuments in Indore is the ‘Rajwada Palace’ that speaks the tales of its glorious past. Built about two centuries ago, Rajwada stands tall in the city centre and treats you with a unique blend of Hindu-Rajputana, Mughal and European styles of architecture. The palace faced a substantial destruction owing to a massive fire in 1984, due to which only the front portion of the palace remains today. It got renovated in recent times with an addition of a beautiful garden and fountains in its rear part.

Lal Baag Palace

Lal Baag Palace, Photo: https://goo.gl/XX8Gw7

Besides Rajwada, the monument that grabs attention of all the tourists is the famous ‘Lal Baag Palace’ built in an Indo-European style of architecture. With its every inch reflecting a highly westernized outlook, it gives you a deep insight into the regal taste of Holkars. Adorned with contemporary Italian marble work, Belgium stained glass windows, ostentatious chandeliers and Italian wall paintings; a visit here will leave you spellbound with the extent of luxury it stores in its heart. The major part of the palace has today, been converted into a museum and is maintained by the Archeological Department of Madhya Pradesh.

Kanch Mandir

Kanch Mandir, Photo: https://goo.gl/O8yIg1

During your visit to Indore, you just cannot miss the splendid ‘Kanch Mandir’, the temple entirely made of thousands of glass and mirrors. Built in the early 20th century by Seth Hukumchand, it is basically dedicated to Lord Mahavir, the founder of Jainism and attracts both Jain pilgrims and tourists. An exemplary piece of art, the temple leaves you mesmerized with its beauty and exquisiteness.

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Ancient city of Maheshwar

Ahilya Fort

Ahilya Fort, Photo: https://goo.gl/BX6YWf

Located on the banks of the holy Narmada River, Maheshwar is a 4000 years old town in Madhya Pradesh that once served as the capital of the Malwa Kingdom. This small town enjoyed its golden period under the legendary queen, Ahilya Bail Holkar who ruled the kingdom during the 18th century. Rani Ahilya Bai was the daughter-in-law of Maharaja Malhar Rao Holkar (the founder of the Holkar kingdom of Indore) and is well known for her great diplomatic and administrative skills. Trained in military matters, she herself led armies in the battles protecting her kingdom from Muslim invaders. She was also a patron and builder of many Hindu temples that dotted the cities of Indore and Maheshwar. Besides building temples in her own kingdom, she also got renovated, many important Hindu shrines and temples across India, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple of Varanasi, being one of them.

The ‘Ahilya Fort’ built during the 16th century, is the primary attraction of the historical town of Maheshwar. During the reign of Ahilya Bai, she got a palace and numerous temples added to the fort. The palace served as the residence to the queen and was also the administrative headquarters of the Holkars. Today, the palace has been converted into a heritage hotel and makes for a great accommodation option in the town. During your visit to the fort, you can take a stroll around the courtyard and palace that is open to public. The life-size statue of Rani Ahilya Bai sitting on her rajgaddi or the royal throne in the courtyard, makes for an excellent site to get yourself a picture clicked with this legendary queen of her times, who left no stones unturned for the wellbeing of her subjects; the Rehwa society established by the Holkar royal family, still supports the local Maheshwari saree weavers with the profits. When in the fort complex, do not miss a visit to the small beautiful temple with exquisite stone carvings adorning its walls and ceiling.

Ruins of Mandu

Jahaz Mahal Mandu

Jahaz Mahal, Photo: https://goo.gl/k0vKp9

A city that stands as a testament to the beguiling tales of love between the poet Prince Baaz Bahadur and his beloved, Rani Roopmati, Mandu was founded in the 10th century by the Parmar rulers of Malwa in the west of Madhya Pradesh. Changing hands amid many Afghan rulers between the periods of 14th and early 16th centuries, it was during this time when the city reached its pinnacle. In the late 16th century, the city came into the hands of Mughal rulers. One of the best places to visit in central India, Mandu today, boasts of its exotic ruins of palaces, reservoirs and tombs. The most impressive and famous of the tourist attractions in Mandu is the splendid ‘Jahaz Mahal’, built by Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji during early 15th century. Known to be a pleasure seeker, Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji had a large harem of almost 15000 women for whom he got this palace made. Located inside the walled Mandu fort, the palace stands tall at a height of 110 metres on a narrow strip of land between two artificial lakes, Munj and Kapur Talao, giving it an impression of a floating structure on water and hence, the name ‘Jahaz’ (ship).

Hindola Mahal

Hindola Mahal, Photo: https://goo.gl/VluX3r

Another interesting site in the city is the ‘Hindola Mahal’ also known as the ‘Swinging Palace’. Again, built in the late 15th century under the reign of Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji, it is the sloping side walls of the palace that gives its visitors an illusion of the palace been swaying. The architectural simplicity and minimalistic ornamentation makes this palace stand apart from other monuments in the city.

Hoshang Shah’s Tomb

Hoshang Shah’s Tomb, Photo: https://goo.gl/hJ1EeX

The ‘Hoshang Shah’s Tomb’ is yet another great site to visit in Mandu. The first marble structure of India with brilliant lattice work, it is the architecture of this tomb that inspired the design of ‘Taj Mahal’, which was built centuries later. The tour of the city remains incomplete without visiting the ‘Roopmati’s Pavillion’ that brings to life, the immortal tales of love between her and her beloved, Prince Baaz Bahadur. Overlooking the serene waters of the Narmada River, the pavilion served as a retreat for her private time with the prince. The pavilion also overlooks the ‘Baaz Bahadur’s Palace’ that is perched atop a hill slope with beautiful surroundings. Baaz Bahdur was the last sultan of Malwa and reigned between 1555 and 1562 before succumbing to defeat in the hands of Mughal ruler, Akbar. It is believed that after his defeat, the prince fled leaving behind Roopmati. When the news of Baaz Bahadur fleeing, reached the ears of Roopmati, she committed suicide by consuming poison.

The heart-breaking tales of the tragic love story still resonate in the breathtakingly beautiful ruins of Mandu. One of the fascinating central India travel destinations, Mandu certainly makes for a perfect day trip.

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Medieval town of Orchha

Orchha Fort

Orchha Fort, Photo: https://goo.gl/kAX6L5

Located on the banks of Betwa River in Madhya Pradesh, Orchha is another prominent historical destination in Central India. The town once served as the capital of Bundelkhand during the rule of Bundela Rajput kings and is today, well known for its ancient temples and palaces that still retain their artistic grandeur. The little city is dotted with many historical sites that make for a real treat to history buffs and curious travellers keen in knowing about the glorious past of the town.

When in Orchha, you can start your city tour by visiting the ‘Orchha Fort Complex’ that dates back to the 16th century and houses three beautiful palaces. The ‘Jehangir Mahal’ within the fort complex is its primary highlight and was built by Raja Bir Singh Deo to honour the visit of the Mughal emperor, Jehangir. Built in a Rajput-Mughal styles of architecture, the palace consists of several rooms, courtyards and hanging balconies providing panoramic views of the Betwa River. The delicate lattice work on its windows and striking chhatris (cenotaphs) also adds to the charm of this stunning citadel. The other famous tourist attraction within the fort complex is the ‘Raj Mahal’, built by Madhukar Shah and is one of the oldest historic monuments in the city. While the exteriors of the palace are plain and simple with few cenotaphs, the interiors adorned with brilliant mural paintings, depicting a variety of religious themes, leave all its visitors spellbound. The ‘Rai Parveen Mahal’ is yet another interesting site to visit in the fort complex. Built for the musician & poetess, Rai Parveen, the love of Raja Indramani, the palace boasts a classic Mughal style of architecture with well-manicured gardens and pathways. The second storey of the palace with its walls adorning the scenes of dancers in different dance postures, is truly a feast for eyes.

Ram Raja Temple

Ram Raja Temple, Photo: https://goo.gl/VArrjV

After spending few hours in the fort complex, tourists can make way to the ‘Ram Raja Temple’ that is situated right in the heart of Orchha. Dedicated to Lord Rama, the temple was originally built as a palace for the queen of Madhukar Shah. It was then, when the idol of Rama, temporarily installed in the palace proved impossible to move, the palace was converted into the temple. The temple today, continues to bustle with pilgrims and tourists who come here to pay their obeisance to Lord Rama, worshipped as king. Located south of the Ram Raja Temple, is the ‘Chaturbhuj Temple’, the original site where the deity of Lord Rama was to be enshrined. But, when the idol could not be moved from the Ram Raja palace, the deities of Radha-Krishna were enshrined in this temple. The exquisite architecture and heavily ornamented exteriors of the temple with carvings of various religious motifs, stand as a testimony to the architectural legacy of the bygone era. Visited by several devotees from far and wide to seek divine blessing and eternal happiness, the temple is today, one of the prominent travel attractions in Orchha. Yet another beautiful temple in the town is the ‘Laxmi Narayan Temple’ that showcases a unique mix of temple and fort architecture. Dedicated to Goddess Laxmi, the temple is mostly visited for its exquisite frescoes and murals painted in vibrant colours.

Orchha’s 14 ‘chhatris’, the solemn memorials of the Orchha rulers, also warrant a visit when you are in the town.

Orchha is not just a city strewn with historical buildings, but, a place where every monument speaks stories of friendship, romance and betrayal. So, when visiting central India, make sure to take an excursion to this intriguing destination.

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Prehistoric Buddhist city of Sanchi

Sanchi Stupa

Sanchi Stupa, Photo: https://goo.gl/mO9RLq

One of the most ancient Buddhist cities in India, Sanchi is a small village located in Madhya Pradesh, known for its numerous stupas and other Buddhist structures. Besides the historical and archaeological significance of Sanchi, it also holds a great religious significance for many Buddhists. The ‘Great Stupa’, built in the 3rd century BC on orders of the Mauryan King Ashoka, is the primary attraction of the town today and is known to enshrine the old Buddha relics. Standing tall in its perpetual splendour, the stupa is considered to be the oldest stone structure in India and has also been ranked amongst the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Originally built as a simple plain structure with half the diameter of the present hemispherical edifice, it was during the reign of Sunga dynasty that the stupa was enlarged in its size and was adorned with elaborately carved railings, stairways and harmika on the top. Again in 1st century BC, the Satavahana kings, presented the stupa with four beautifully carved gateways that added to the grandeur of the structure. The carvings on these gateways, depicting scenes from the early life of Buddha, his seven incarnations and Jataka tales today, stand as a testimony to the classical Buddhist art. Near the Stupa, one can also notice a fragment of the famous ‘Ashoka Pillar’ erected in 3rd century BC. Besides the Great Stupa, the ‘Stupa 2’ and ‘Stupa 3’ are also worth visiting during your trip to Sanchi. Towards Stupa 2, you will also notice a huge bowl carved from a monolithic black rock. Known as the ‘Great Bowl’, it is believed to have been a storehouse of food that was distributed to the resident monks of Sanchi.

Gupta Temple

Gupta Temple, Photo: https://goo.gl/ZZVZKU

Sanchi flourished between the periods of 2nd and 12th centuries AD with Kushanas, Kshatrapas and finally Guptas taking over the rule. During this period, many more temples and monasteries came into existence, most of which lie in ruins today. The ‘Gupta Temple’ dating back to 5th century AD, is the best preserved monument in Sanchi today that speaks of the glory of the Gupta dynasty. Anyone visiting Sanchi, cannot miss a visit to this temple, which is also known as the symbol that marked the beginning of temple architecture in India. The architecture of the temple itself is quite small and simple as compared to many ancient Hindu temples found in South India. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple also signifies a great harmony between the Buddhist and Hindu cultures that co-existed in ancient India.

The Buddhist land of Sanchi lay deserted for many centuries after the decline of the Gupta dynasty till it was rediscovered in 1818 by British General Mark Taylor. The restoration of this historical city commenced from 1912 till 1919 during which the important structures were repaired and restored. The archaeological society of India, also established a museum here showcasing the ancient artefacts found during the excavation of the region. Main highlight of this museum is the crown of the ‘Ashoka Pillar’ with its four lions seated back to back.

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City of valiant queen Rani Lakshmibai, Jhansi

Jhansi Fort

Jhansi Fort, Photo: https://goo.gl/qCBw1V

One of the most famous historical towns not only in Madhya Pradesh but, also in entire India, Jhansi is where the first war of Independence against British took place in 1857. It is the same town where India’s one of the greatest queens and freedom fighters, Rani Lakhshmibai attained martyrdom while fighting for the nation’s freedom. Dotted with numerous historical monuments, the city is no less than a treat for history freaks.

Rani Mahal Jhansi

Rani Mahal Jhansi, Photo: https://goo.gl/ND47od

Near the Jhansi Fort is the ‘Rani Mahal’ from where Rani Lakshmibai controlled the administration of Jhansi. It is where she listened to the petitions of the common people of the city, passed judgements and punished the guilty. It is also the place where Laskhmibai, Tantya Tope and Nana Sahib worked on plans and strategies against the British. The palace has now been converted into an archaeological museum where one can get a glimpse at a brilliant collection of priceless artefacts dating back to the Gupta, Pratihara and Chandela periods. The Darbar Hall of the palace is worth noticing with its walls adorning beautifully coloured paintings exhibiting floral and faunal motifs.

One of the most important historical places in central India that gave birth to many prominent freedom fighters of India, a visit here will definitely leave you enlightened with the role that Jhansi played in shaking the foothold of British in India.

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Ancient ruins of Pawaya

Pawaya

Pawaya, Photo: https://goo.gl/bpqKcE

Pawaya is a small village located at a distance of around 70 kilometres from the popular tourist town of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. The village is believed to be located at the same spot where once, the ancient city of Padmavati was located. The name of this ancient city of Padmavati was found in many classical Sanskrit texts that described the city to be lined up with rows of tall mansions and temples with the city’s location to be somewhere on the confluence of the Para and Sindhu Rivers.

As per the legendary melodrama of Bhavabhuti’s love story of Malati and Madhava, the romance between the two characters was described to flourish in the backdrop of the beautiful city of Padmavati where tall shikharas, exquisite temples, beautiful gardens adorned with trees of Kadamb and crystal clear lakes blooming with lotuses; added to the pristine charm of the city. The city was also described to be surrounded with thick forests and beautiful rivers, Sindh, Para, Mahuar and Nun to be flowing in the vicinity. There are also few notable touches of a picturesque waterfall on the Sindh, a tantric cult temple and a holy site dedicated to Lord Shiva in this ancient text.

Besides the poetic drama of Bhavabhuti, several ancient Vedic texts also described this beautiful city which intrigued many historians to search for the city’s actual location. It was in 1915-1916 that Mr. M V Lele, a renowned historian of his times, succeeded in identifying Padmavati with Pawaya. The excavations carried out at Pawaya under the lead of archaeologist, M B Garde in 1924-25, 1933–34 and 1941, confirmed to the correct identification of the city.

The ruins of Padmavati in Pawaya are spread over an area of around two square miles and are protected by the archaeological society of India. One reaching the excavated site, you can get a glimpse at the ruins of a ‘Gupta age temple platform’ that totally stands deserted today. The size of the platform truly indicates at the magnificence of the entire temple that still needs to be excavated. One can also see the bricks jutting out from the underground. Many fragments of stone sculptures, terracotta images and coinage of the Naga Kingdom from the Pawaya excavation site are housed in the Gurjari Mahal of Gwalior Fort.

Pawaya, does not find its name on a conventional tourist map and is seldom visited by tourists. Unfolding many silent pages of an era that is now lost, a visit to this small village definitely warrants a visit if you have keen interest in history.

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Prehistoric rock shelters of Bhimbetka

Bhimbetka Rock Shelter

Bhimbetka rock shelters, Photo: https://goo.gl/sSbG7J

Nestled in the foothills of the Vindhya Mountains in the Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh, lie hidden, numerous clusters of natural rock shelters or caves with ancient rock paintings dating back to approximately 30000 years or even more. One of the most archaeologically significant sites in India, these rock shelters and paintings clearly indicate towards the earliest traces of the Stone Age era on the India subcontinent. Ensconced amidst dense forests and craggy cliffs, these caves were discovered in 1957 by Dr. Vishnu Wakankar, a passionate archaeologists of his times, when he was exploring the area and accidentally came across this treasure of pre-historic Indian art. Then, began the series of excavations that brought to limelight, many rock art paintings belonging to the Palaeolithic and early medieval eras. One can find the scenes of hunting, fighting soldiers, communal dances, men drinking and animal fights depicted on the walls and ceilings of the caves. The paintings of animals like tiger, bison, wild boar, elephants and peacocks can also be noticed. These paintings today, give a deep insight into the social life and activities of humans of pre-historic era. The scenes of hunters equipped with bows & arrows, spears etc. also give a clear picture of the types of weapons used by these nomad people in earlier times. With all the paintings executed in red, white, green and yellow also make you wonder how the pre-historic men must have discovered the ways of creating colours from combining different natural elements like manganese, red sandstones, leaves, vegetables and fruits.

Ranked amongst the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Bhimbetka today, invite hordes of tourists including historians, archaeologists and chroniclers from across the globe. If you are planning a trip to Central India and archaeological discoveries interest you, make sure to keep Bhimbetka on your travel itinerary.

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Originally chosen site for Taj Mahal, city of Burhanpur

Shahi Qila Burhanpur

Shahi Qila Burhanpur, Photo: https://goo.gl/gjK6Lm

Located on the north bank of Tapti River in Madhya Pradesh, Burhanpur is a small historic town in central India, which was discovered during late 14th century by the Sultan of Khandesh who gave the city its name. Under the reign of Khandesh dynasty, many palaces were built in Burhanpur and it also emerged as a major textile hub. In 1601, city got in the hands of Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Even under the rule of Mughals, Burhanpur saw many additions of beautiful palaces and monuments that today, stand as a testament to its glorious past. After the decline of Mughal control in the region, the town came under Marathas and subsequently under British in 1818. The remnants of Mughal opulence and its great architectural importance lures thousands of tourists every year, especially history buffs and art lovers.

While there are many historical sites of attraction for tourists in the city, the monument that impresses its visitors the most is the majestic ‘Shahi Qila’, built during the reign of Shah Jahan. Though a major portion of the fort is in ruins today, a stroll through it, is sure to give you a feel of its majestic opulence during the bygone era. Primary highlight of the qila is the ‘Zenana Shahi Hammam’, the royal bath that was built for Mumtaz Mahal, wife of Shah Jahan to enjoy luxurious bath. Adorned with exquisite carvings and painted frescoes, most of which are carefully preserved till date, provide you an insight into the excellent skills of the then artisans. Right opposite the fort, is the ‘Ahukhana’ or the deer park which was the favourite hunting ground for Shah Jahan. The enclosed garden consists of a tank, a pleasure house and a covered elevated platform which is believed to have housed to tomb of Mumtaz Mahal for 6 months before being shifted to her final resting place at Taj Mahal in Agra.

Asirgarh Fort Burhanpur

Asirgarh Fort, Photo: https://goo.gl/uAUUGp

For anyone travelling to Burhanpur, an excursion to the ‘Asirgarh Fort’ definitely warrants a visit. Perched atop the Satpura Hills, the fort was built strategically to regulate control over Southern part of India and that is the reason it also acquired the name of ‘Dakkhan ka Darwaza’ or ‘Gateway to South’. Built by the Khandesh rulers in 1400, the fort today, stands as one of the most magnificent forts of India and is visited by hundreds of tourists travelling to central India. Inside the fort, you can see an ancient Shiva temple and a mosque built from black stone.

While majorly Burhanpur remains a historical town, it also makes for an important pilgrimage destination for Bohra Muslims and Sikhs. ‘Dargah-e-Hakimi’ built under the reign of Akbar is one of the most beautiful tomb complexes in India with a mosque, well-manicured gardens and world-class accommodation facilities. The mosque is a prominent religious destination for people of Dawoodi Bohra community who visit here to pay respect to their spiritual guru, Syedi Hakimuddin, who lies buried in the tomb complex. The 400 years old ‘Burhanpur Gurudwara’ in the city contains religious book of ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ and weapons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, making this site a prominent pilgrim destination for Sikhs who come here from different parts of India and abroad.

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Cultural town of Chanderi

Chanderi Fort

Chanderi Fort, Photo: https://goo.gl/iWs8OT

Chanderi is an eminent historic and cultural town located in the valley of Betwa River in Madhya Pradesh. The city is believed to be existent from the Vedic times with its name mentioned in the Mahabharata as the kingdom of King Shishupal. Surrounded with lofty hills and lush forests, the modern Chanderi has in its store, ample historical monuments that were presented to it by the Malwa Sultans and Bundela Rajputs during their reigns in the region. Besides its historical monuments, the city and its surroundings are also replete with scores of ancient Jain temples that make it a prominent pilgrim destination for Jains. Chanderi also finds a special name on world’s textile map as being the hub for exquisite handwoven Chanderi silk and brocade.

For every tourist visiting Chanderi, the city tour must start with the ‘Chanderi Fort’ dating back to the Mughal era. Located at a commanding height on top of a hill, the approachable enemy forces could be easily monitored through this fort. The entry to the fort is through the ‘Khooni Darwaza’ that stands tall till date. According to historical records, the gate derives its name from a bloody battle between Babar and Medni Rai, which took place in 1528. The battle was so gruesome that the blood of the soldiers came flowing up to this gate and hence, giving it this name.

Near the entrance of the fort, you will find a small and impressive structure of a mosque built during the reign of Babur. The walls and pillars of this mosque are intricately carved with various patterns and verses of holy Quran.

Badal Mahal Gate

Badal Mahal Gate, Photo: https://goo.gl/Kvdrx7

Another most famous and photographed monument of Chanderi is the ‘Badal Mahal Gate’. Not sure why it is called a gate because as per historians, it is neither a gate nor a palace. It is an independent standing structure with two towering minarets joint by a beautifully carved arch with an intricate jali work on its top. According to local legends, this is where the famous singer Baiju Bawra used to sing welcoming the visitors to the fort and every time he sang, rains blessed the city. The picture of this iconic gate can also be seen on the postal stamps of Chanderi and also, on the stamps of the state’s Handloom Department.

Located few kilometres from the Chanderi town is the ‘Boodhi Chanderi’ or ‘Old Chanderi’, hidden amidst a dense forest. The remnants of ancient Jain temples dating back to 10th and 11th centuries can still be seen at this place. Various broken idols and stone inscriptions also lay scattered around the Boodhi Chanderi.

The town and its surroundings are a treasure trove of historical monuments and temples, a complete tour of which can take days to complete. So, when in Central India, make sure to visit this little gem of Madhya Pradesh.

Expert Tips for Solo Travelers in India

Lost town of Chhattisgarh, Sirpur

Lakshmana Temple Sirpur

Lakshmana Temple Sirpur, Photo: https://goo.gl/3mVFL2

Located on the banks of Mahanadi River in Chhattisgarh, Sirpur is a small town with both, an archaeological and historical significance. Once an important Buddhist centre between 6th and 10th centuries AD, the town came into limelight for its ancient masterpieces of art only in recent years when the first round of excavations started here in the year 2000. Visited by hordes of travellers ranging from casual day-trippers to historians, archaeologists and art lovers, Sirpur today, finds one of the top places on the itineraries of many tourists in central India.

The most famous attraction of the town is the ‘Lakshmana Temple’ dating back to 7th century AD. One of the most well-preserved structures, the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and makes its position amongst the finest brick temples of India. The ornamentally carved walls of the temple with scenes from Krishna’s raasleela and Vishnu’s seven incarnations, grab the attention of many.

Buddha vihara

Buddha Vihara Sirpur, Photo: https://goo.gl/o1vHKv

Another interesting site in Sirpur is the ‘Buddha Vihara’, one of the most recent discovery from the excavations. This Buddhist shrine is believed to be much larger is size than the vihara in Nalanda University of Bihar. Claimed to be dating back to the Gupta dynasty, the structure is a masterpiece with splendid carvings; the depiction of monkey and alligator story from Panchatantra beautifully carved is sure to leave you awed.

Besides the above two major attractions, Sirpur is replete with many more archaeological gems comprising of an underground granary market, an Ayurvedic treatment centre, Gandeshwar Temple, Balesvara Mahadeva Temple Complex and sculpture of the Lord Buddha in the ‘Bhumisparsh mudra’.

14 Museums That Any History Buff Would Love to Visit

Forts of Bilaspur

Ratanpur Fort

Ratanpur Fort Bilaspur, Photo: https://goo.gl/egbZQ0

Located on the banks of Arpa River in Chhattisgarh, Bilaspur is the second largest city of the state and a prominent tourist destination owing to plethora of historical monuments it stores. The city is also a major pilgrim destination with many ancient temples in its vicinity. For history buffs, it is the abundance of historical forts that lures them to this small town. While most of the forts stand in ruins today and are not very well-known, there are few of them which interests ardent historians. The ‘Ratanpur Fort’ is the most prominent of all the forts and lies at a distance of 25 km. from Bilaspur. Dating back to the 11th century, it was built by King Ratnadev but, today major part of it stands in remnants. Apart from the ‘Ratanpur Fort’, ‘Fort Bahadurpur’ and ‘Fort Sariun’ also interest many keen explorers.

Ten Days in India: Where to Go, What to See?

Hope the above list of sites and destinations give you a sneak peek into India’s rich historical and architectural heritage. Please do write to us if you have any comments, suggestions or queries.

Anil Rana

About Anil Rana

As a tour manager at TourMyIndia.com, Anil Rana has helped his clients in exploring the Indian wildlife and cultural heritage. His love for travel has imparted him immense knowledge of Indian wildlife, cultural heritage, leisure destinations. To help travellers all across the world, he loves to pen down his experiences and wisdom about cultural, wildlife and leisure travel in India.

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10 Best Places to Visit in Central India

Satnam Singh

  • Last Updated April 17, 2023
  • On Apr 14, 2023

Travel Guide to Pachmarhi Hill Station, Satpura Ki Rani

Central India is a vicinity with a wealthy history, various subcultures, and beautiful herbal beauty. It’s home to some of India’s most iconic locations, together with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, historic temples, and national parks. The top 10 locations in Central India are Khajuraho, Kanha National Park, Pachmarhi, Sanchi, Mandu, Bhedaghat, Chitrakoot, Bhopal, Orchha, and Pench National Park.

Each destination gives a unique experience, from exploring medieval temples and historic palaces to recognizing the exotic natural world and soaking in scenic perspectives. A ride to Central India guarantees memorable enjoyment for any vacationer.

List of the Top 10 Places to Visit in Central India:

1. khajuraho.

kandariya mahadeva temple, khajuraho

Khajuraho is a small town placed within the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. It is well-known for its historical temples, recognized for their difficult carvings and sculptures. These temples were constructed between 950 and 1050 AD and are considered exceptional examples of Indian artwork and structure.

The temples of Khajuraho are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and appeal to a big quantity of visitors from all around the globe. The maximum well-known temples of Khajuraho consist of the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, the Lakshmana Temple, and the Chausath Yogini Temple.

Apart from the temples, Khajuraho is also acknowledged for its vibrant bazaars, where you can store handicrafts, textiles, and souvenirs. The city also hosts the Khajuraho Dance Festival, showcasing first-rate Indian classical dance forms. Read More: 10 Most Famous Places to See in Khajuraho .

2. Kanha National Park

Jungle Safari, Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Kanha National Park is one of the most important national parks in Central India and is placed in the Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh. The park covers over 940 square kilometres and is notion for its tigers, leopards, sloth bears, and plenty of other species of plant life and fauna.

The park is also home to the Barasingha, a species of deer this is endemic to the location. Kanha National Park is a should-visit vacation spot for natural world fanatics and nature enthusiasts. The nice time to visit the park is between November and June.

Sanchi-Stupa-Madhya-Pradesh

Sanchi is a small town positioned within the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh. It is well-known for its ancient Buddhist monuments, particularly the Sanchi Stupa. The stupa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of India’s oldest stone systems.

The Sanchi Stupa was built in the 3rd century BC and is thought of for its excellent carvings and sculptures. The stupa is a should-go to destination for records buffs and those interested in ancient Indian art and architecture.

Apart from the stupa, Sanchi is likewise home to numerous other Buddhist monuments, which include the Ashoka Pillar and the Great Bowl. Explore more: Sanchi Stupa, Bhopal – History, Tickets, Timing, Nearby Attraction

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4. Pachmarhi

Travel Guide to Pachmarhi Hill Station, Satpura Ki Rani

Pachmarhi is a hill station positioned inside the Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. It is known for its scenic beauty and natural points of the hobby. The town is surrounded using lush forests, waterfalls, and hills and is a well-known excursion spot for trekking, hiking, and nature walks.

Pachmarhi is also domestic to numerous ancient temples and forts, including the Jata Shankar Temple, the Chauragarh Fort, and the Mahadeo Temple. The city is an ought-to-go-to excursion spot for those searching to break out of the hustle and bustle of town life and immerse themselves in the natural splendour of Central India. Read More: Nature’s Paradise: A Travel Guide to Pachmarhi Hill Station, Satpura Ki Rani

Mandu, Madhya Pradesh

Mandu is a historical metropolis located within the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. It is thought of for its wonderful forts and palaces and is regularly known as the “City of Joy”. The city became as soon as the capital of the Malwa Sultanate and is domestic to some of the pleasant examples of Afghan structure in India.

The maximum famous sights of Mandu encompass the Jahaz Mahal, the Hindola Mahal, and the Jami Masjid. The town is likewise recognized for its lovely gardens, consisting of the Rupmati’s Pavilion and the Baz Bahadur Palace, which can be popular picnic spots for travellers.

Mandu is an ought-to-visit vacation spot for records buffs and those curious about ancient Indian architecture. The first-class time to go to Mandu is between October and March, whilst the weather is great and cosy.

6. Bhedaghat

Bhedaghat Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh

Bhedaghat is a small city placed in the Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh? It is understood for its beautiful marble rocks and the Narmada River that flows via them. The metropolis is a popular vacation spot for river cruises and boat rides, which offer beautiful perspectives of the marble rocks and the surrounding landscapes.

Bhedaghat is likewise home to the Dhuandhar Falls, which can be a should-visit vacation spot for nature enthusiasts? The falls are placed close to the marble rocks and provide a breathtaking view of the Narmada River because it cascades down them.

7. Chitrakoot

Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh

Chitrakoot is a small town located within the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh. It is known for its herbal splendour and religious importance. The city is home to numerous ancient temples and is considered a sacred pilgrimage site by Hindus.

Chitrakoot’s most well-known points of interest include the Ramghat, the Kamadgiri Temple, and the Hanuman Dhara. The metropolis is a to-go-to destination for those seeking to discover the spiritual side of Central India. Read Also: Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh, Best Guide & Attractions

Shaukat Mahal, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Bhopal is the capital city of Madhya Pradesh and is known for its wealthy statistics and way of life. The town is home to numerous ancient forts, palaces, and mosques, including the Shaukat Mahal, the Gohar Mahal, and the Taj-ul-Masjid.

Bhopal is likewise famous for its lovely lakes, and the Upper Lake and Lower Lake are famous locations for boating and water sports activities. The town is a must-go to vacation spot for those curious about exploring the cultural and historical past of Central India. Read More: 10 Best Places to Visit in Bhopal

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Orchha Fort, Madhya Pradesh

Orchha is a small town positioned in the Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh. It is understood for its historical temples and palaces, considered among India’s first-rate examples of the Bundela structure.

The most famous sights of Orchha encompass the Jahangir Mahal, the Raj Mahal, and the Chaturbhuj Temple. The town is also well-known for its beautiful cenotaphs, which are located on the banks of the Betwa River.

Orchha is a destination for those interested in historic Indian structures and records. The excellent time to visit the town is between October and March when the climate is first-rate and comfortable.

10. Pench National Park

Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Pench National Park is a natural international reserve located at the border of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The park is thought of for its tigers, leopards, sloth bears, and many distinctive flora and fauna species.

The park is also domestic to several ancient forts and palaces, which include the Ramtek Fort and the Nagpur Fort, which might be popular traveller factors of the hobby. Pench National Park is an ought-to-visit excursion spot for natural world fanatics and nature fanatics.

Central India is a region rich in herbal splendour, records, tradition, and traditions. The area has something to provide each person, from the historical temples and forts to the sprawling country-wide parks and scenic hill stations. So, if you plan to visit Central India , check out those have-to-visit destinations.

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Satnam Singh

Satnam Singh

Satnam is a writer who loves traveling, meeting new people, and sharing his experiences through captivating blogs that you'll enjoy reading.

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Top 10 Places to Visit in Central India

Central India is simply the heart of the country, a soft and mystical land peppered with ancient temples and majestic forts, whose forests and jungle teem with wildlife and punctuated by some of her most vibrant and historical cities. Although one of the least explored regions of the country, Central India has a huge amount to offer the modern traveller. Jumping off the busier tourist trails of Rajasthan and the Ganges River plain, here you will find many stunning historical monuments, a plethora of national parks and a rural life-style that will take you back to the Kipling-esque India of our childhood.

Hampi Ruins Central India

Here are our Top 10 Places to Visit in Central India: 1.    Explore the ruins of Hampi

Perfect Jungle Book territory, Hampi's spectacular ruins, decorated with the finest carvings, are associated with Kishkinda, the fabled monkey kingdom in the Ramayana. Early settlements here date to the 1st Century AD, but by 1300 Hampi was a stronghold of the Vijayanagara Empire, protected by the Tungabhadra River and easily defended surrounding hills. With rare architectural gems like the 'musical pillared' Vithala Temple, the Virupaksha Temple, the Hampi Bazaar and the Monolith Bull, spread out across 26 square kilometres of evocative Indian plains, Hampi is an unmissable explorer's dream. 2.    Track Tigers in Madhya Pradesh - Bandhavgarh National Park

The days of Tiger hunting are thankfully gone, but you can still experience the rare thrill of a photographic chase, in the true 'Kipling Country' of Madhya Pradesh. On foot, in jeeps or even on the back of a majestic elephant, you're safe to follow in the paw pads of the world's most magnificent animal, the wild tigers that roam India's most magnificent national parks. A quintessential travel experience, these safaris take you through some of the region's most beautiful scenery, offering an opportunity to glimpse any other animals and some 175 species of Indian bird. Deep in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh, with a touch of that old Maharajah spirit, you can turn a new page in this living Jungle Book.

Hyderabad Central India

3.    Shop in the City of Pearls – Hyderabad

Though now a gaudy fusion of ancient and hyper-modern, the once richest city in India, so-called City of Pearls, is famous for its bustling bazaars. A shopping trip through the labyrinth of jewelers shops, bangle merchants, sari sellers, spice traders, and dealers specialising in Nirmal and Kalamakari paintings, is such a riot of life and colour, it feels like walking straight into a film set. Still largely beyond the tourists trails, this is one of India's most lively and fascinating urban centres and for any Indiaphile is well worth a visit. 4.    Stay at the world’s most lavish heritage hotel – Hyderabad

Perched on a hill above the old town, the Falaknuma Palace has to be the most extraordinary place you will have ever stayed. Designed by British architect, William Merritt, built in striking Louie XIV style between 1884 and 1893, the 120 room building was the sixth nizam’s favourite pleasure dome, housing his harem and place he came to party. It fell derelict after the war, only to be rejuvenated by the Taj Group of hotels who, with the help of the former princess, have managed in our opinion to turn it into the most spectacular heritage hotel in the world. When you arrive, probably tired after a long journey, you will be taken by horse drawn carriage up the hill to the palace, where you will be escorted like two heads of state from some bygone era into the palace’s luxurious halls. The palace has libraries, Japanese drawing rooms, a snooker room and bar, a vast marble staircase, and a dining room with the longest table in the world – it seats 101 for dinner! One of the problems of coming to Hyderabad was the rather corporate style accommodation... not any longer; this hotel is worth coming to just for itself.

Central India

5.     Explore Hyderabad

With the help of one the country’s best guides, enjoy a day out and about in this impressive historical metropolis. After breakfast your guide meet you at your hotel, first explain the history and geography of the city, filling you in on how the nizams accrued such wealth, before taking you off on an in-depth tour. You will visit the weavers of the region, famed for their unique stitch, followed by a visit to the Golconda Fort. From here you will visit the sixth nizam’s palace, Chowmahalla, where you’ll take local chai, before continuing on to a family home to enjoy a home-cooked lunch of the town’s famous biriyani. In the afternoon you’ll visit the Char Minar, the Makka Majid and explore the old bazaar where you will meet bangle makers and sari embroiderers. You might also like to add some white mogul sites to your tour, with visits to some of the old British mansions. Hyderabad is a fascinating city, offering history at every corner. With the help of our wonderful guide, you’ll have a day to remember. 6.    Enjoy a dawn walk in Satpura National Park

Although definitely not the place to come if ‘bagging’ a tiger is your raison d’etre, Satpura National Park is a glorious place to visit, offering a magical, off-beat wilderness experience, without the madding crowds. And the best way to see it is to take a dawn walk through the jungle. With the sun sliding up from behind the Pachmarhi Hills, cross the Denwa River and into the jungle, the early morning light dances through the foliage. Crystal dew hangs like jewels on the intricate cobwebs that stretched between the trees. Out of the corner of your eye you’ll catch langaur monkeys flit between the shadows. You’ll hear the breaking of twigs, of leaves rustling; the bark of a samba deer alerting others to your presence. High above, a giant squirrel will scurry along a branch. This is India of the storybooks, of your childhood imagination; this is an India as old as the hills that surround you and the rock art painted on them.

Central India Food

7.    Enjoy a heritage walk to Bhopal

By using an expert local guide it is possible to take an early morning tour of Bhopal’s many historical sites. Echoing the mogul magnificence of Lahore, Peshawar and old Delhi, the streets of the old town are a colourful labyrinth of narrow alleys and noisy bazaars, spectacular mosques and exquisite palaces – albeit in a shocking state of repair. Nowhere was this more in evidence than the extraordinary Taj Mahal. With your guide procure the keys from the nazwar seller on the right of the entrance and walk into one of the most amazing buildings you’ll have ever seen. A palace built in the 19th century, it is now so dilapidated that the town council wanted to pull it down. You will also be able to visit various other palaces and mosques, including the towering Taj-ul-Majid, its reflection shimmering in the adjacent lake. En route grab a fresh pomegranate juice from one of the many sellers! 8.    Explore Pachmarhi – Bhopal

Situated more than a thousand meters above the plains, in the heart of the Satpura Range, this pretty Victorian hill station was founded by Captain James Forsyth in 1857. It is home to one of the finest colonial churches in the country, made of sandstone and terracotta tiles with a tall spire and exquisite stain glass windows, and a number of elegant British mansions, some of which have been turned into small local guesthouses. There are plenty of local attractions in the form of five caves – from which the town takes its name – a number of spectacular waterfalls and mountain views and some interesting troglodyte temples. But the best thing to do here is get out of town, into the hills with your guide and go on a day trek into the jungle. By doing so you can visit some more remote cave paintings, the jungle villages of the Adavasi tribal people and of distant hilltop temple.

Goa Beach Central India

9.    Explore Palaeolithic Caves – Bhopal

Although the civilisation of the Indian subcontinent often carries you back a very long way, it’s not often it takes you to Palaeolithic times. But the extraordinary maze of rocks that make up Bhembetka, itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site, does just that, as cave after cave offer up a staggering array of rock art varying in age from some 12,000BC to 300AD. One of our favourites was from the Neolithic period (between 5,000 and 2,500BC), as it showed people dancing to a drummer in the exact same style as the Kalash in Northern Pakistan – a favourite WF haunt. Other scenes show hunters, people riding horses and elephants, using bows and arrows. But apart from the cave paints the place itself is immensely captivating, and wandering through the semi enclosed tunnels, or standing on the high rocks looking out over the plains below, it’s not hard to let your imagination carry you back to a very different time.

10.    Enjoy sunset on a Goan beach

Goa has a reputation for parties, hippy living, and the psychedelic dreams of generations of pleasure seekers. But peace and solitude is what this equally relaxed tropical paradise offers, with delicious seafood food, local wine and a chance to plant bare feet firmly in Goa's warm sands, and whispering surf. After a day's swimming, walking and shopping from one of the many entertaining beach traders, just stop and enjoy the fiery glory of a triumphant Indian sunset rising above the mellowing waters of the Arabian Sea. Many of the top 10 places to visit in Central India are included in our  C entral India Odyssey tour .

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Central India travel guide

A journey through India’s core takes in the full spectrum of the country’s history: from the earliest Buddhist caves at Ajanta  and Ellora  through the splendours of medieval Hinduism at Khajuraho , to splendid wildlife in the national parks of Kanha and Bandhavgarh  and, finally, the modern metropolis of Mumbai .

Central India's landscape

Five major river systems flow through this west-central region of India: the Naramada and Tapti in Madhya Pradesh, and the Godavari, Bhima and Krishna in Maharashtra, whose sources lie in the Western Ghats (here known as the Sayadhris) and run eastwards. By trapping the monsoon rains blowing off the Arabian Sea to the west, the mountains form a divide between the lush, densely populated coastal lowlands of the Konkan, and the more arid uplands of the Deccan plateau.

The contiguous states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh cover a vast area of central India. Between them, they hold enough ancient monuments, wildlife reserves, sacred pilgrimage towns and remote forests and mountain ranges to occupy intrepid travellers for several lifetimes. Yet, compared with other parts of the country, India’s interior sees comparatively few visitors. Along the way, forays into the central Indian sal forests for a glimpse of wild tigers will bring you into contact with descendants of tribespeople whose presence predates even the oldest stone monuments in the subcontinent.

Exploring the Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, (photo by Abe Nowitz)

What to see in Central India

The bright lights of mumbai.

Nowhere else in the country looms as large in the popular imagination, or exerts such far-reaching influence as this teeming metropolis.  Read More about Mumbai...

Ancient cave murals at Ajanta

‘The finest gallery of pictures to survive from any ancient civilisation’ is how historian John Keay described the Buddhist cave murals at Ajanta. Read More about Ajanta...

Stunning cave temples at Ellora

These caves were scooped out of the rocks 10 centuries ago, a feat comparable to carving an entire cathedral out of solid rock. Read More about Ellora...

Erotic sculpture at Khajuraho

Famed for their eyebrow-raising erotic sculpture, the temples at Khajuraho were built under the reign of the Chandellas, who controlled a large area of the northern Deccan between AD950 and 1310. Their façades are fabulously decorated with myriad deities, nymphs and carvings depicting a mind-boggling variety of sexual acts. 

Many of the surviving 22 temples are in a remarkable state of preservation. This is due mainly to their relative isolation. When the early Muslim invaders of the Delhi Sultanates arrived in the 10th century they destroyed or defaced many Hindu shrines. Khajuraho was at the time far removed from the centres of conflict, and so was ignored, and the temples were gradually forgotten by the outside world. By the time they were ‘rediscovered’ by British scholars in the late 19th century, they had been surrounded by thick jungle for centuries.

The best selection of wildlife in India at Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks

www.kanhanationalpark.com ;  www.bandhavgarhnationalpark.com

For sheer abundance of wildlife, Kanha National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park, in the east of Madhya Pradesh, are the best national parks in India. The journey to them might be a little long, but it’s well worth the effort. The best season is February to May, when you’ll be able to see plenty of beautiful cheetal (spotted deer), blackbuck, sloth bear, gaur or bison (largest of the wild cattle), wild boar, barasingha (‘12-pointer’) swamp deer, and also monkeys galore. Enthusiastic birdwatchers might also spot black ibis and the crested serpent-eagle. 

The parks, however, are most famous for their tigers; with the big cat population perennially under threat from poaching, sightings are by no means guaranteed, but over the course of a two-night/three-day stay you stand a good chance of seeing India’s greatest wildlife symbol.

Read more about India...

• When to visit India 

• Visit India's star attractions

• Spot tigers in India's national parks

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Places to visit in Central india

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Central India

central india tourist places

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Central India , sometimes called Madhya Bharat , is a region comprising the states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh . Indore is the largest city in the region, which also feature the historical Gwalior Fort and the industrial city Bhilai .

States [ edit ]

Map

  • Vidarbha , the eastern portion of the state of Maharashtra , is often considered part of Central India because of its geography.

Cities [ edit ]

The following are eight major cities in Central India:

  • 21.366667 81.716667 1 Bhilai — major city and often called Steel City because of its steel plants
  • 23.25 77.416667 2 Bhopal — the capital of Madhya Pradesh, notorious for the Bhopal incident in 1984
  • 22.15 82.016667 3 NOT EXISTING LISTING IMAGE Bilaspur — third largest city in Chhattisgarh near to the old capital of the Chhattisgarh state, Ratanpur
  • 26.215 78.193056 4 Gwalior — an historic city famous for the Gwalior Fort
  • 22.720556 75.847222 5 Indore — the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh and the largest city of Central India
  • 23.166667 79.933333 6 Jabalpur — ancient city in on the shores of the holy river Narmada and the tributary plains of the Hiran, Gour, Ken and Son rivers
  • 21.237947 81.633683 7 NOT EXISTING LISTING IMAGE Raipur — the capital of Chhattisgarh
  • 23.182778 75.777222 8 Ujjain — city of Shree Mahakaleshwar Temple (Jyotirlinga) with many temples to visit

Other destinations [ edit ]

  • 23.64602 81.0313 1 Bandhavgarh National Park , Madhya Pradesh — among the best national parks of India where Asian tigers can be easily viewed
  • 22.93955 77.61243 2 Bhimbetka , Madhya Pradesh — a UNESCO World Heritage site noted for its cave paintings
  • 19.20589 81.0313 3 Indravati National Park — a famous tiger reserve and park that has hilly terrain, forest and grasslands. This habitat provides home for the tiger, water buffalo and deer. There is also a rich diversity of birds, smaller mammals and reptiles inhabiting the area
  • 18.77866 81.99711 4 Kanger Ghati National Park , Chhattisgarh — a dense area with several waterfalls and limestone caves. Several species of animals and a wide tribal population are present in this beautiful park. The diversity of landscapes makes ideal habitats for many species. Wildlife includes tigers, langurs, sloth bears, lizards, snakes, peacocks and parrots to name a few.
  • 22.45317 78.11841 5 Satpura National Park , Madhya Pradesh — located in the rugged terrain of the Satpura hills, this park habitat for a large diversity of animals such as the tiger, leopard, wild dog, chital, wild boar and wide variety of birds. On rare occasions, elephants, lions and water buffalo have visited the park.

Understand [ edit ]

Central India is a plateau region, and the home of some of the famous mountain ranges, including Satpura and Vindhya. The region is drained by several rivers, including the Chambal, the Son and the Narmada.

Madhya Pradesh was the only state in the region from 1956 until 2000, when its southeast portion was split off and became the state of Chhattisgarh .

Central India has many large tribes and castes. Tribal groups inhabit the Vindhya mountain range areas of the region.

Talk [ edit ]

Hindi is the mother tongue of Central India. As in the rest of India, English is a very commonly learned second and third language, and can be sometimes heard inside the cities. However, do not expect anyone to speak English outside the main cities.

Get in [ edit ]

Get around [ edit ], see [ edit ].

central india tourist places

Situated in the historic city of Gwalior , the Gwalior Fort is one of the most famous landmarks in Central India. Built in the 8th century CE, the Gwalior Fort is one of the examples of the Hindu-Islamic architecture.

The small town of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh is renowned for its Tantric temple complexes that some art historians consider to represent the pinnacle of erotic art.

Do [ edit ]

Eat [ edit ].

You can have the delicacies of regional cuisines from all over India in this region. Besides, local Central Indian cuisine (Malwi food) is delicious: local poha, and daal baflae of certain places such as Ujjain, Indore and Ratlam are delicious.

Drink [ edit ]

Stay safe [ edit ].

Central India has had serious law and order problems for a long time, though the situation has improved a lot.

Also verify the hygiene of eateries, as food-borne illness is a concern in this region. Madhya Pradesh is notorious for its highest malnourishment among Indian states.

Go next [ edit ]

central india tourist places

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24 Places To Visit In Central India

central india tourist places

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Travelling in Central India is a unique and unforgettable experience, full of adventure and cultural richness. From the bustling cities of Nagpur and Bhopal to the stunning natural beauty of Kanha National Park and the ancient rock shelters of Bhimbetka, there are a number of exciting places to visit in Central India and something for everyone to indulge in.

Central India is known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes. Wildlife lovers will enjoy visiting one of the many national parks, including Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna, and Satpura, which are home to tigers, leopards, and other wildlife. Khajuraho is famous for its temples with intricate carvings, while Sanchi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient Buddhist stupas. Ajanta and Ellora Caves are famous for their rock-cut caves and sculptures. Orchha and Mandu are historic cities with stunning palaces and temples. Gwalior, Bhopal, and Indore are modern cities with a mix of historical and contemporary attractions. Chitrakoot, Ujjain, and Bilaspur are holy cities with numerous pilgrimage sites. Places like Nagpur offer a blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and modern amenities.

Here is a list of 20 places to visit in Central India on this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

central india tourist places

Source:  Wikimedia Commons

Orchha is a historical town in Madhya Pradesh, India, renowned for its grand palaces and temples with intricate carvings. Situated on the banks of the Betwa River, it is famously referred to as the “City of Palaces.” The town’s old-world charm is a result of its classic mural paintings, frescos, and Chhatris, which were built in honor of the Bundela rulers. These structures attract tourists from all over the world, who come to marvel at Orchha’s rich cultural and architectural heritage. The town’s well-preserved palaces and temples serve as a testament to the grandeur of the Bundela dynasty, offering a glimpse into India’s rich history.

2. Bhedaghat

central india tourist places

Bhedaghat, located in Madhya Pradesh, is a scenic destination known for its stunning natural wonders. The main attraction of the town is the Dhuandar Falls, a massive waterfall that drops 98 feet into a breathtaking pool of water. The waterfall’s name, which means “smoke flow,” accurately describes the mist that rises from the cascade. Bhedaghat offers a unique experience of boating on the river, especially on a moonlit night, which is an unforgettable experience. The boatmen in the area are skilled storytellers, who entertain visitors with tales and legends about the region, making the boating experience even more enriching. Exploring Bhedaghat is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

3. Bandhavgarh National Park

central india tourist places

Image Source:  Santu4799 (Flickr) 

Bandhavgarh National Park, located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. The park, which was formerly a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Rewa, is well-known for its high density of Bengal tigers. In fact, the park boasts one of the highest populations of Bengal tigers in the world, with an estimated 44-49 individuals living in the park in 2012. In addition to tigers, the park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including more than 22 species of mammals and over 250 species of birds.

Visitors to Bandhavgarh National Park have the opportunity to experience the thrill of spotting a royal Bengal tiger in its natural habitat, making it a must-visit destination for all wildlife enthusiasts. The park offers various modes of exploration, including jeep safaris, elephant rides, and nature walks, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and wonder of this pristine wilderness.

With its rich biodiversity, fascinating history, and unparalleled opportunities for wildlife viewing, Bandhavgarh National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the beauty of Central India’s wilderness.

4. Kanha National Park

central india tourist places

Kanha National Park, located in Madhya Pradesh, boasts a diverse range of wild animals including tigers and over 300 species of birdlife. Divided into two sanctuaries, Hallon and Banjar, it is the largest park in central India and considered one of the best in Asia. With scenic grass plains and bamboo forests, it is a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts, particularly for its popular royal Bengal tigers.

central india tourist places

Gwalior, a city in Madhya Pradesh, is steeped in history and boasts a rich cultural heritage. The hilltop fort of Gwalior is a must-visit and serves as a symbol of the city’s proud history. The city is also home to several magnificent palaces and temples, including the Jai Vilas Palace and the Teli Ka Mandir, which showcase the architectural brilliance of the bygone era. With its well-preserved historical monuments and stunning architecture, Gwalior is a popular destination for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in India’s rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or just looking for a unique travel experience, Gwalior is a destination worth exploring.

6. Khajuraho

central india tourist places

Source:  Wikimedia Commons 

Khajuraho is a charming town in Madhya Pradesh, famous for its ancient temples and their intricate carvings. The Khajuraho Group of Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts of over 20 Hindu and Jain temples showcasing the creative and artistic finesse of Indian architecture during the medieval period. The temple walls are adorned with sensual and erotic carvings, which are unique to this place and offer a captivating glimpse into the cultural heritage of India. Apart from the architectural marvels, Khajuraho is also known for its rich history and cultural heritage, making it a popular destination for both domestic and international travelers.

7. Bhimbetka

central india tourist places

Bhimbetka is a unique travel destination located in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is a treasure trove of ancient rock art and paintings, with over 500 rock shelters and caves showcasing the evolution of prehistoric Indian art. The oldest paintings are estimated to be 30,000 years old and some of the geometric figures date back to the Middle Ages. The drawings were made using vegetable colors that have withstood the test of time and are still visible today. The site offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives and cultures of our ancestors and is a must-visit for history and art lovers. The serene and scenic surroundings of Bhimbetka make it an ideal place for a peaceful and educational day trip.

8. Pench National Park

central india tourist places

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Pench National Park is a nature lover’s paradise located in Madhya Pradesh, India. The park is known for being the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s iconic novel, “The Jungle Book.” The Pench River runs through the park, providing a serene environment for visitors to relax in. Wildlife enthusiasts can indulge in jeep safaris and watch animals such as tigers, leopards, deer, and a variety of birds in their natural habitat. In addition to wildlife sightings, visitors can also take a boat ride and explore the local tribal life, visit famous dams and temples, and witness the breathtaking scenery of the park. Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for an adventure, Pench National Park is a must-visit destination.

central india tourist places

Source:  Flickr

Mandu is a historic city located in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, India. The city, also known as the “City of Joy,” was once a flourishing capital of the Parmar dynasty. The city’s iconic structures, such as Jahaz Mahal, Hindola Mahal, and Jahaz Palace, are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Malwa region. The monuments showcase a perfect blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, making them unique in their own way. The Jahaz Mahal, for instance, is a massive palace built in the middle of a lake, while Hindola Mahal is a sloping palace that gives the illusion of being tilted. Visitors can also witness the beauty of the ancient monuments and palaces while exploring the sprawling lawns of the city. Mandu is also known for the love story of Prince Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati that finds a special mention in Hindi and regional literature.

10. Pachmarhi

central india tourist places

Pachmarhi is a serene and beautiful hill station located in Madhya Pradesh. It is the highest point in the state and is known as the “Queen of the Satpura Range.” With its lush greenery, tranquil atmosphere and scenic beauty, it offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The town is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including leopards and bison. Pachmarhi is also known for its colonial-era bungalows, waterfalls, and caves. Visitors can explore the beautiful caves and take a dip in the waterfalls to rejuvenate and relax. Additionally, the town offers a glimpse into India’s colonial history, making it a great destination for history enthusiasts as well.

central india tourist places

Sanchi, a small town in Madhya Pradesh, is a must-visit destination for all history and culture buffs. The ancient Stupas, monasteries, Ashoka Pillar, and Toranas at Sanchi are masterpieces of Buddhist architecture and artwork. The Great Stupa, built to commemorate Lord Buddha, is a hemispherical dome over 50 feet tall and 30 meters in diameter. It houses several sacred Buddhist relics and serves as a sacred burial mound for Lord Buddha’s remains. The site, dating back to the 3rd century BC, attracts pilgrims from around the world and is considered one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India. Come and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Sanchi.

12. Shivpuri

central india tourist places

Shivpuri, a city in Madhya Pradesh, is rich in history and heritage. Named after Lord Shiva, it was once a safe haven for Kachhawaha Rajputs until it was taken over by the Scindias in 1804. The city is also significant as the place where the great freedom fighter Tatya Tope was hanged before independence. With its serene environment and scenic surroundings, Shivpuri is a popular destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway. It is located at an altitude of 478 metres above sea level and is surrounded by a variety of exotic attractions, making it a perfect destination for a quick break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

13. Maheshwar

central india tourist places

Source: Pixahive

Maheshwar, located in Madhya Pradesh, is a charming town situated on the banks of the Narmada River and is referred to as the temple town of Madhya Pradesh. The town has both mythological and historical significance, being mentioned in the ancient Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Maheshwar was once the capital of Rani Ahilyabai, the Queen of the Maratha Malwa kingdom. Visitors can explore the town’s numerous temples, including the Ahilyabai Temple, which is dedicated to the Queen. Maheshwar is also famous for its intricate handwoven sarees, known as Maheshwari sarees, making it a popular shopping destination for tourists.

14. Omkareshwar 

central india tourist places

Omkareshwar is a Hindu temple town located in Madhya Pradesh, India, along the banks of the Narmada River. The town is named after the revered Omkareshwar Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines in India. In addition to visiting the Jyotirlinga, tourists can take a scenic boat ride on the Narmada River, go for a trek in the surrounding hills, and admire the majestic waterfalls. The town also has a rich cultural heritage, with historical buildings and monuments such as the Omkareshwar Fort, which is a prime example of medieval Hindu architecture. With its sacred significance and natural beauty, Omkareshwar is an unmissable destination for religious travelers and nature enthusiasts alike.

central india tourist places

Ujjain, a city in Madhya Pradesh, India, is renowned for its religious significance. Located on the eastern bank of the Shipra River in the Malwa region, it is one of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism, and one of the four locations for the Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest human gathering. The city has a rich history dating back to the 6th century BCE and is home to numerous temples and religious sites, including the Mahakaleshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and the Harsiddhi Temple, dedicated to the goddess Annapurna. Ujjain is also a popular destination for students of astrology and Hindu scriptures, as it is one of the few cities in India where traditional knowledge is still studied and preserved.

16. Bhopal 

central india tourist places

Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, is a city with a unique blend of old and new. The city is divided into two parts by the Upper Lake and Lower Lake, with the old town to the north of the lakes and the new town to the south. The old town is rich in cultural heritage, with rustic mosques, bustling bazaars, and serpentine alleys. Meanwhile, the new town offers modern amenities such as shopping complexes and wide roads. This contrast between the old and the new makes Bhopal a fascinating destination to explore, offering a glimpse into the city’s past and present. Whether you are interested in history or modern-day comforts, Bhopal has something to offer for everyone.

17. Panna 

central india tourist places

Panna, a small town located in Madhya Pradesh, is a fascinating destination with a rich history and cultural heritage. The town was once a Gond settlement and is now known for its diamond reserves, making it a unique place in India. Visitors to Panna can explore its historic landmarks and temples, which offer a glimpse into the town’s past and cultural heritage. Additionally, Panna is home to the Panna National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important wildlife conservation initiative. The park is known for its diverse range of flora and fauna, including tigers and other big cats, as well as its birdlife. A visit to Panna is an opportunity to experience India’s rich cultural history and its natural beauty, all in one destination.

18. Jabalpur

central india tourist places

Jabalpur, located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, is a historic city steeped in culture and natural beauty. Situated on the banks of the Narmada River, Jabalpur boasts of several scenic ghats and breathtaking waterfalls, including the 98-foot-high Dhuandhar waterfall. The city is known for its unique marble rocks, which can be explored at Bhedaghat, and its historical structures such as the 17th-century Madan Mahal Fort. The Chausath Yogini Temple and the Balancing Rock are other must-see attractions for visitors to Jabalpur. With its rich cultural heritage, stunning natural beauty, and rich history, Jabalpur is a destination not to be missed.

19. Burhanpur

central india tourist places

Burhanpur is a historical town in Madhya Pradesh, situated on the banks of the Tapti River. It is famous for being the place where Mumtaz Begum, the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, died while giving birth to her 14th child. This is one of the reasons why the Taj Mahal was built in her memory. Burhanpur was also an important gateway to South India due to its strategic location. The city is home to several historical monuments, including the Asirgarh Fort, Jahaz Mahal, and the Hathi Mahal, that attract tourists and history enthusiasts. Visitors can also explore the religious structures like Jama Masjid, Badi Masjid, and Shri Radha Krishna Temple. Overall, Burhanpur is a perfect blend of historical significance, cultural heritage, and scenic beauty that can offer a memorable experience to travelers.

20. Amarkantak

central india tourist places

Amarkantak, located in Madhya Pradesh, is a revered hill station and a pilgrimage site, nestled between the Vindhya and Satpura mountain ranges. The Narmada River, one of India’s Holy Rivers, flows through Amarkantak, making it a unique and picturesque destination. Visitors can explore the stunning temples and witness the captivating views of the surrounding mountains. Amarkantak is also a popular trekking destination, with trails that lead to breathtaking views and waterfalls. The hill station is also known for its healing hot springs, which are believed to have therapeutic properties.

21. Bilaspur

Bilaspur, located in the state of Chhattisgarh, is a charming city known for its rich cultural heritage and scenic beauty. One of the main attractions of Bilaspur is the Bilasa Temple, an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Bilasa. The temple is famous for its intricate carvings and beautiful architecture. Bilaspur is also home to the Chhattisgarh State Museum, which showcases the state’s rich cultural heritage through its various exhibits, including traditional textiles, sculptures, and paintings. The nearby Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts, with a diverse array of flora and fauna, including tigers, leopards, and various species of birds. Overall, Bilaspur offers a unique blend of history, culture, and nature.

22. Prayagraj

central india tourist places

Prayagraj is a holy city located in Uttar Pradesh, India, known for its spiritual significance and rich cultural heritage. The confluence of the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati (invisible) at Triveni Sangam is considered to be one of the holiest places in India. The city is a major attraction for pilgrims who come to take a dip in the sacred waters during the Kumbh Mela and the Mahakumbh Mela, held every six and twelve years, respectively. Prayagraj is also home to numerous ancient temples and monuments, making it a must-visit for those interested in India’s rich history and spirituality.

23. Varanasi

central india tourist places

Image Source:  LoriQoPB (Flickr)

Varanasi is a city of rich cultural and spiritual heritage located on the banks of the sacred River Ganga in Uttar Pradesh. It is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world and is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus. Visitors can explore its intricate network of alleyways, ancient domes, ashrams, and temples, as well as its vibrant markets selling Benaresi sarees. A highlight of a visit to Varanasi is a walk along the Ghats, where one can witness intimate life and death rituals being performed. A boat ride at sunrise provides an unforgettable experience and the chance to witness the city in a new light.

central india tourist places

Source: Wikipedia

Nagpur, located in the state of Maharashtra, is a must-visit destination for nature and history enthusiasts. Nicknamed the “Tiger Capital of India,” Nagpur is surrounded by several tiger reserves, including the Pench Tiger Reserve, which is located just 100 kilometers from the city and can be easily reached via the Nagpur-Jabalpur highway. In addition to its natural beauty, Nagpur is also home to several religious structures that hold significance for people of different faiths. Deekshabhoomi and Dragon Palace are important Buddhist pilgrimage sites, while the city also houses several museums, including the Nagpur Central Museum and the Narrow Gauge Rail Museum, offering visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re interested in tigers, history, or culture, Nagpur is the perfect destination for you.

25. Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Ajanta and Ellora Caves, located in the state of Maharashtra, are a series of rock-cut cave monuments that date back to the 2nd century BCE. The Ajanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are known for their stunning frescoes and sculptures that depict Buddhist themes. The Ellora Caves, another UNESCO site, are a combination of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain cave temples, each one showcasing intricate carvings and sculptures. The caves are a testament to the remarkable skills of ancient Indian artists and architects. Visitors can explore a variety of cave temples, each one with its own unique style and themes, including the famous Kailasa Temple at Ellora, which is considered one of the largest rock-cut temples in the world.

central india tourist places

26. Chitrakote Waterfalls

Chitrakote, located in the state of Chhattisgarh, is a breathtaking waterfall that is known as the “Niagara Falls of India”. The waterfall is surrounded by lush green forests and is formed by the Bastar River. The unique horseshoe shape of Chitrakote sets it apart from other waterfalls and creates a mesmerizing display of falling water. Visitors can explore the surrounding area, including the nearby tribal villages, and gain a deeper appreciation for the region’s culture and traditions. In addition, the nearby Kanger Valley National Park is a popular destination for trekking, bird watching, and wildlife spotting.

central india tourist places

27. Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh

Chitrakoot is a historical and mythological town located in Madhya Pradesh, India. It holds great significance in Hindu mythology as it is believed to be the place where Lord Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana spent 11 out of their 14 years of exile. Chitrakoot is also known for its numerous temples, stunning waterfalls, and scenic beauty. Some of the must-visit places in Chitrakoot include Kamadgiri Hill, which is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, and the picturesque waterfall at Janki Kund. Additionally, visitors can also explore the ancient caves of Ramghat, which is said to have been used by Lord Rama and his brother, Lakshmana, during their stay in Chitrakoot.

central india tourist places

Source: Saurabh Chatterjee (Flickr) 

In conclusion, Central India is a land of beauty and adventure. With its stunning waterfalls, breathtaking wildlife, and rich cultural heritage, it is no wonder that it is considered one of the best places to visit in India. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime as you explore the best places to visit in Central India. Get ready to be transported to a world of ancient civilizations, beautiful landscapes, and memories that will last a lifetime!

central india tourist places

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central india tourist places

Travel Blogs

Top 10 Places to Visit in Central India

Central India is famous for culture filled past, interesting history and amazing architectural beauty. Majestic forts, temples, ruins, exotic parks and monuments are just a remainder of numerous empires that ruled the place as a whole or in parts. Starting from Guptas to British, this place has been beautified by different people and thus, diversity is guaranteed.

Here we are discussing about Top 10 Places to Visit in Central India are:-

#1. khajuraho.

Khajuraho

Best time to visit Khajuraho – July to March

Top attractions in Khajuraho – temple complex, dance festival, light and sound show

Location of Khajuraho – 175 km away from Jhansi

Nearest airport in Khajuraho – Khajuraho

Kahjuraho is famous around the world for one-of-its-kind. It holds a group of temples and monuments with unparallel architectural beauty, sculptures and erotic carvings. It is a heritage site for holding nagara styled architecture. Most of the temples in this complex were built between 900 AD and 1050 AD. There were 85 temples in 12 th century and now, there are only 25 temples that stand as one. An annual dance festival is also conducted in February or March.

Get to know more about Khajuraho:-

  • How to Reach Khajuraho
  • Shopping in Khajuraho

Suggested article:-  Enjoying Khajuraho Tour in Each Season

Orchha

Best time to visit Orchha – October to March

Top attractions in Orchha – Betwa River, Chhatris, temples, Jahangir Mahal, Raja Mahal and others

Location of Orchha – 15 km away from Jhansi

Nearest airport in Orchha – Khajuraho

Orchha is a historic place located in Madhya Pradesh . The city is famous for medieval architecture, temples and mural temples. Apart from these architectural marvels, the river is an important attraction. Rafting and boating are two main activities to enjoy in the river. There is a boat club on the river shore and you can buy tickets for required activities. A single raft would take up to 6 people on an one hour rafting session.

If you love shopping, explore shopping in orchha , you can find exotic items like accessories made of beads, gemstone articles, handicrafts and others. Trailing, trekking and swimming are other activities to enjoy here. It is also a good spot to try ayurvedic massages.

Explore some more information about Orchha while travelling:-

  • How to Reach Orchha
  • Festivals in Orchha

#3. Gwalior

Gwalior

Best time to visit Gwalior  – November to March

Top attractions in Gwalior – Gwalior fort, Gujri Mahal, Jai Vilas Palace, Gopachal Parvat, sun temple, Shyam Vatika, zoo, Tighra dam, Swarna Rekha River and others.

Location of Gwalior – 319 km away from Delhi

Nearest airport in Gwalior – Gwalior

Gwalior is an ancient city that thrived under different emperors . The place is famous for royal structures, sculptures, temples and others. Apart from architectural sightseeing, Gandhi zoological park can be a good retreat to find white tigers, bisons, hyena, serpents and others. You can enjoy boating at Tighra dam, Swarna Rekha River and others. Bird watching at Chambal River is a good sport for nature lovers. Chambal is located a little away from Gwalior . Top items to buy here are fabrics, wall hangings, leather good, moccasins, wire metal works and woolen carpets.

About Gwalior:-

  • How to Reach Gwalior
  • Shopping in Gwalior
  • Festivals in Gwalior

Suggested article:-  Amazing Facts about Gwalior Fort that you might never knew

#4. Bhedaghat

Bhedaghat

Best time to visit Bhedaghat – November to March

Top attractions in Bhedaghat – Dhandhar waterfalls, Bandar Kodini, river Narmada, Chaunsath Yogini temple and others

Location of Bhedaghat  – 30km from Jabalpur

Nearest airport in Bhedaghat   – Jabalpur

Bhedaghat is a small town that can be scaled in a day or two. The city has got its place in this list for some of the exotic attractions that it has in its reign. The main attraction here is Bandar Kodini. To reach the spot, one has to travel between marble rocks on the river Narmada on a boat. You can spot monkeys at very close quarters. Taking this trip in moonlight is a wonderful attraction

#5. Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh National Park

Best time to visit Bandhavgarh National Park – November to March

Top attractions in Bandhavgarh National Park – Elephant rides, Jeep safari, Lodge stay, Baghel museum, Bandhavgarh fort, Climbers point and others.

Location of Bandhavgarh National Park – 165 km from Jabalpur

Nearest airport in Bandhavgarh National Park – Jabalpur

This is a cliché national park destination . You can find many attractions in and around the destination. Jeep safari through the park helps you spot tigers, deer and other mammals. You can also trek on elephants. Bird watching is also a common activity here. There are 22 mammals in this park including monkeys, tigers, deer, mongoose, hyena, boars and others.

You can also enjoy 10 Days Bandhavgarh Tour from Delhi

#6. Kanha National Park

Kanha National Park

Best time to visit Kanha National Park – February to June

Top attractions in Kanha National Park – Spotting wildlife including Tigers, Bird watching, Jeep safari and others

Location of Kanha National Park – 160 km away from Jabalpur

Nearest airport in Kanha National Park – Jabalpur

Famous for leopards, tigers, wild cats, foxes and other mammals. You can find hundreds of local and migration birds here. The land forms found here are meadows, open forest, grassland and others. Jeep safari is an iconic attraction here.

Enjoy  16 Days  Wildlife Tour of India

Ujjain

Best time to visit Ujjain – October to March

Top attractions of Ujjain – Bhaironath temple, Chintaman temple, Gopal Mandir, Bhartrihari caves, Jantar Mantar, Mahakaleshwar temple, Ram Mandir Ghat, palaces and other.

Location of Ujjain – 56 km from Indore

Nearest airport in Ujjain – Indore

Located on the banks of holy Shipra River, this city is linked with history and religion. The city was at prime beauty because of its location on the trade route. The city is best visited during festivals like Maha Shivratri, Kumbh Mela and others. Ujjain tour will take you close to history, architecture and culture of the land. There are many getaway spots around Ujjain, if you are ready to travel a little more.

#8. Pench National Park

Pench National Park

Best time to visit Pench National Park – November to May

Top attractions of Pench National Park – Gypsy safari, jungle home stay, bird watching, tiger spotting, owl breeding and others

Location of Pench National Park – 92 km from Nagpur

Nearest airport in Pench National Park – Nagpur

Pench National Park is a good destination to bring out the photographer in you. Pench National Park is a good spot for those who love photography and nature. Elephant rides, jungle walks, night safari, gypsy safari and bird watching are very common activities here. You can buy musk right outside the park. Some resorts near the park allow camping and other activities.

Also read –  Travel Guide to Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh

Indore

Best time to visit Indore – October to March

Top attractions of Indore – Rajawada, Lal Baag palace, BadaGanpathi, KanchMandir, Town Hall, Bapna statue, Chhatris, Central museum and others

Location of Indore – 593 km away from Delhi

Nearest airport in Indore – Indore

Located on the Malwa Plateau, this destination is for those who want to enjoy the rich culture of the land. Indore is the right place for sightseeing. You can enjoy a long list of temples, monuments and museums to enjoy. Apart from those, you can find migration birds in Sipur Lake, amusement park, Regional Park and others . Top items to buy are craft items and fabrics

#10. Sanchi

Sanchi Stupa

Best time to visit Sanchi – July to March

Top attractions of Sanchi – stupas, Buddha temples, archaeological museum, Udayagiri caves, Gupta temple, Ashoka pillar and others

Location of Sanchi – 46km from Bhopal

Nearest airport in Sanchi – Bhopal

Sanchi lies on the footpath of Lord Buddha. It is a very famous Buddhist pilgrim spot in Madhya Pradesh . The main tourism attractions of this city are linked with pilgrimage. It is a good spot to enjoy Natu.

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central india tourist places

CENTRAL INDIA

central india tourist places

The 9th to 12th century temples of Khajuraho is the evidences of the architectural geniuses during the times of Chandela dynasty.

central india tourist places

The land of Varanasi (Kashi) has been the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus for ages. Often referred to as Benares, Varanasi is the oldest city

Orchha City in Madhya Pradesh

A town in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh state, India. Orcha combines the architectural beauty of a medieval town

central india tourist places

Chattisgarh

Chattisgarh is the state in Central India, endowed with a rich cultural heritage and attractive natural diversit also known land of waterfalls

Discover the Top Tourist Places in Central India

Central India, is a land that is steeped in history and culture and offers a glimpse into the heart and soul of the country.

From ancient temples and forts to breathtaking natural wonders, this region is a treasure trove of tourist attractions that are sure to leave you spellbound.

Continue reading to discover the top tourist places in Central India.

10. MP Tribal Museum

Location: Madhya Pradesh

MP Tribal Museum

MP Tribal Museum in Bhopal showcases the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous groups of Madhya Pradesh. The museum has an impressive collection of artefacts, including traditional costumes, jewellery, weapons, and musical instruments. Visitors can also learn about the lifestyle, customs, and beliefs of the various groups through interactive exhibits and displays.

9. Shri Pitambara Peeth

Shri Pitambara Peeth

Shri Pitambara Peeth is a famous Hindu temple in Datia, Madhya Pradesh, India. It is dedicated to the goddess Pitambara and is known for its vibrant architecture, intricate carvings, and religious significance. The temple attracts a large number of devotees and tourists throughout the year.

8. Chitrakote Waterfalls

Location: Chhattisgarh

Chitrakote Waterfalls

Chitrakote Waterfalls is a stunning natural wonder in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. The horseshoe-shaped waterfall cascades down a height of 29 meters, creating a picturesque scene that attracts visitors from around the world. The waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery and is a popular destination in Chhattisgarh for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

7. Meghdoot Garden

Meghdoot Garden

Meghdoot Garden is a serene park located in the heart of Indore, India. It offers lush green lawns, walking trails, a musical fountain, and a lake with boating facilities. It is an ideal spot for nature lovers and a popular destination in Madhya Pradesh for locals and tourists alike.

6. Kamla Nehru Prani Sangrahalaya

Kamla Nehru Prani Sangrahalaya

Kamla Nehru Prani Sangrahalaya is a popular zoological park in Indore, India. It covers an area of 51.975 acres and features a wide variety of animals, including tigers, lions, elephants, and monkeys. The park also has a large bird aviary and offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy a safari ride through the natural habitats of the animals.

5. Khajrana Ganesh Mandir

Khajrana Ganesh Mandir

Khajrana Ganesh Mandir is a popular Hindu temple located in Indore, India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesh and is known for its beautiful architecture and peaceful atmosphere. Visitors come from all over to seek blessings from the deity and enjoy the spiritual ambience of the temple.

4. Gwalior Fort

Gwalior Fort

Gwalior Fort is a magnificent hilltop fortress located in Gwalior, India. Built in the 6th century, it boasts stunning architecture and a rich history, with highlights including the impressive Man Singh Palace, the Teli Ka Mandir temple, and the ornate Saas Bahu Temple.

3. Kaal Bhairav Mandir

Kaal Bhairav Mandir

Kaal Bhairav Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to the fierce form of Lord Shiva, located in Ujjain, India. The temple is known for its unique architecture and spiritual significance, attracting devotees from all over the world. It is believed that worshipping here can help one overcome fear and attain courage.

2. Rajwada Palace

Rajwada Palace

Rajwada Palace, located in Indore, India, is a historical palace that was once the residence of the Holkar dynasty rulers. It boasts a unique blend of Mughal, Maratha and French architectural styles and houses a museum that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the region.

1. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is a sacred Hindu temple located in the ancient city of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, representing Lord Shiva and is revered as one of the most powerful and significant places of worship for Hindus worldwide. The temple’s unique architecture, religious significance, and historical importance make it a must-visit destination for spiritual seekers and travellers alike.

As we conclude our list of the top tourist places in Central India, we can’t help but wonder – which destination caught your eye the most?

Was it the magnificent hilltop Gwalior Fort?

Or perhaps the stunning natural wonder Chitrakote Waterfalls?

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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About central india

The Central region of India gives you a peek into the splendid wildlife, rich heritage and architectural splendours of the country. Covering the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, Central India spreads over an area of 443, 439 Sq Km. These contiguous states hold enough pilgrimage spots, wildlife sanctuaries, ancient monuments, mountain ranges and remote forests to attract travellers of different tastes. At the heart of India, in Madhya Pradesh, lies Narmada river with two hill ranges - the Vindhya and the Satpura. It is also an intriguing landscape of plateaus, rivers valleys, rolling hills and forests. From the prehistoric site of Bhimbetka to ancient Hindu and Buddhist monuments at Khajuraho, Orchha, and Sanchi, the finest of ancient civilisation is found here. For wildlife lovers, the tiger-rich forests of Bandhavgarh and Kanha are a major attraction. The region also encapsulates the hilly town of Mandu and the contemplative towns of Maheshwar, Omkareshwar and Amarkantak by the Narmada. In Chhattisgarh, a large part of the population is tribal. Over 40 percent of the state is covered under forest, or is noted for its mineral wealth. The main attractions here include no less than three national parks and 11 wildlife sanctuaries. Raipur, Bilaspur, and Jagdalpur are the main hubs for tourists providing a wealth of fabulous temples, royal palaces, Buddhist monuments and natural wonders to explore. Central India is undoubtedly the Hindi heartland of the country. Various dialects of Hindi such as Bundeli, Malvi, Nimadi, and Bagheli are spoken here followed by Dakshin Kosali and some tribal languages. It also imbibes the best of food culture from its neighbouring states. The cuisine here is a mix of sweet and salty. You can enjoy a variety of dishes from mild to very spicy ones. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajra, and lentils are staples in the diet. Though variations can be seen as you move from one town to another. Bhutte ki Khees, Dal Bafla, Poha, Jalebi and Khurma attract travellers from far and wide. Not to miss, the amazing Dal Pithi, Chila and Kadi Pakora! Blending the best of cultures, Central India boasts many folk dances, art and music forms as well. Jawara dance and classical music from the region is prevalent in various other Indian states too. This region creates a colourful amalgamation of culture, cuisine, trade and tradition. And, it certainly gives you the glimpse of splendour that the rich heritage of India offers.

States In central india

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13 Historical Places You Should Visit in Central India

Rani Roopmati Mahal, Mandu

With the richness of great culture, traditions and a historical past, Central India is the ideal place for archaeologists and history buffs. From magnificent forts to majestic palaces and palatial temples, the region makes for a must-visit historical site . If you are someone always curious to explore history and architecture, then check out these amazing places to visit.

1. the ethereal and alluring temples of khajuraho.

The temples of Khajuraho are the most famous tourist attractions of Maddhya Pradesh. They are famous worldwide for the erotic figures and breathtakingly beautiful carvings on the walls of the temples. Built during the reign of Chandela dynasty, from 900 to 1130 A.D., it is believed that there were about 85 temples in total, out of which only 20 remain. The most prominent of the remaining temples is the Kandariya Mahadev Temple, where the walls and carvings have been a great subject of study for those seeking the relationship between spirituality and human desires.

Khajuraho Temple Complex, Sevagram, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India, +91 84475 24510

central india tourist places

Erotic sculptures on the walls of Khajuraho temples | © baluda/Pixabay

central india tourist places

2. Sirpur, Chattisgarh’s lost town

The town of Sirpur has great archaeological and historical significance. Lakshman Temple, built in 7th-Century A.D., is the most famous here, and known to be the finest brick temples in India. Sirpur is a wonderful archaeological site as it has Lord Buddha’s sculpture, the Balesvara Mahadeva Temple Complex, the Gandeshwar Temple, an Ayurvedic treatment center and an ancient underground granary market. For those with keen interest in archaeology, Sirpur is a must-visit.

Sirpur, Chattisgarh, India

central india tourist places

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Indore – The land of Holkars

Indore is known to be the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, and also the largest city of the state. The city hugely prospered during the reign of Malhar Rao Holkar . The greatest tourist attraction is the Rajwada Palace situated in the center of the city. Here you get to see the unique blend of European, Mughal and Hindu-Rajputana architecture. Other historic places to visit include the Lal Baag Palace, and the Kaanch Mandir, which is a temple dedicated to Lord Mahavir, and built entirely out of mirrors and glass.

Rajwada Palace, Rajwada, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India, +91 1800 233 7777

Lal Baag Palace, Triveni Colony, Indore, India

Kaanch Mandir, Itwariya Bazaar, Indore, India

The Rajwada Palace near the bustling Khajuri Bazaar

The remains of Mandu

The city of Mandu is a testimony to the love between Rani Roopmati and Prince Baaz Bahadur. The city has exotic remains of ancient palaces, tombs, and reservoirs. The most popular tourist attraction of Mandu is the Jahaz Mahal, which was built by Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji. The palace is built between two artificial lakes called Munj and Kapur Talao, at a height of 110 meters, on slender land, and therefore looks like a floating structure or Jahaz (ship). Other interesting places include Hindola Mahal or Swinging Palace, and Hoshang Shah’s Tomb, which is India’s first marble structure and also known to have inspired the Taj Mahal .

Jahaz Mahal, Sulibardi, Madhya Pradesh, India

Hindola Mahal, Sulibardi, Madhya Pradesh, India, +91 79996 84105

Hoshang Shah’s Tomb, Mandu, Dhar, Madhya Pradesh, India, +91 72922 63225

Jahaz Mahal, Mandu

4. The prehistoric city of Maheshwar

Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh is a 4,000-year-old town, situated on the banks of river Narmada. Once the capital of Malwa Kingdom, Maheshwar witnessed great history under the reign of the heroic queen Ahilya Bai Holkar, Maharaja Malhar Rao Holkar’s daughter-in-law. Ahilya Fort is the most prominent tourist attraction here. The palace of queen Ahilya has been converted into a heritage hotel today that includes a life-size statue of the queen siting on her royal throne. It makes for an excellent place to take photographs. As you go around visiting the city, you can also take a peek into the production of handwoven Maheshwari sarees.

Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, India, +91 11 4155 1575

central india tourist places

Ahilya Fort on the bank of Narmada River | © Jean-Plerre Dalbera/Flickr

5. The medieval city of Orchha

The ancient city of Orchha is situated on the banks of river Betwa. The small city was once Bundelkhand’s capital, and is hugely rich with palaces, temples and historical sites. The Orchha Fort Complex comprises of three magnificent palaces – Jehangir Mahal, Raj Mahal and Rai Parveen Mahal – each a beauty in itself. In the heart of the city lies the Ram Raja Temple dedicated to Lord Rama. Other ancient temples include the Chaturbhuj Temple and the Laxmi Narayan Temple.

Orchha, Madhya Pradesh, India

central india tourist places

Orchha Fort Complex on the bank of river Betwa | © Prashant Ram/Flickr

The city of Rani Lakshmibai, Jhansi

Jhansi is known to be the most famous historic town of India. It is the city where the first Independence war against the British took place in 1857 . Jhansi Fort is the most popular tourist attraction here, which was built by Raja Bir Singh Deo of Bundel. Such is the architecture, that to enter the walls of the fort, you have to cross the 10 gates that are spread across the outer edge of the city. The Jhansi Fort is a mix of Jain, Rajputana and Indo-Islamic style of architectures. The Rani Mahal near the fort has been converted into an archeological museum which houses a great collection of ancient artifacts.

Jhansi Fort, Jhokan Bagh, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India, +91 510 244 2325

Rani Mahal. Manik Chowk, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India, +91 510 232 8220

View of the city from the Jhansi Fort

6. The Buddhist city of Sanchi

Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh is a small Buddhist city. The center of attraction is the Great Stupa, built during the 3rd-century B.C. by Ashoka, the Mauryan king. It is the oldest stone structure in the entire country and one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites . Next to the stupa is the Ashoka Pillar. There’s also a Great Bowl which was used to store food for the monks of Sanchi. A number of Gupta Temples also form the site of attention here.

Sanchi Stupa, Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India, +91 78050 06888

central india tourist places

The four pot-bellied figures holding the Torana in front of the Great Stupa | © Nagarjun Kandukuru/Flickr

7. The famous forts of Bilaspur

The second largest city of Chattisgarh state, Bilaspur, is situated on the banks of river Arpa. It is known to be a major pilgrim destination. 25 kilometers away from the city of Bilaspur is one of the most prominent forts, the Ratanpur Fort. People visiting Bilaspur also visit Fort Bahadurpur and Fort Sarium.

Bilaspur, Chattisgarh, India

8. The rock shelters of Bhimbetka

Rock shelters

In the Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh are numerous hidden rock shelters and rock paintings which are believed to be approximately 3,000-years-old. These Bhimbetka caves are believed to be the oldest traces of Stone Age in India. Dr. Vishnu Wakankar discovered these caves in 1957 and found many rock paintings from the medieval and Paleolithic era. The rock shelters are ranked as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On your visit, you can look forward to scenes and paintings of animal fights, hunting, men drinking and communal dances.

Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, Bhojpur Raisen, Madhya Pradesh, India

central india tourist places

Stone art on the walls of Bhimbetka caves | © solarisgirl/Flickr

9. The culturally rich town of Chanderi

Located near Betwa River in Madhya Pradesh, Chanderi is a culturally and historically rich town. Its existence dates back to the Vedic times, and has a great number of ancient monuments and Jain temples. A famous attraction here is Chanderi Fort, where entry is through the Khooni Darwaza. The most photographed of all monuments is the Badal Mahal Gate. As you go on this historic trip, make sure to shop for the famous Chanderi sarees and brocades too.

Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh, India

The historic town of Burhanpur

Burhanpur is situated on the bank of river Tapti and was discovered as well as named by the Sultan of Khandesh. The most impressive of all monuments is the Shahi Qila. Built inside the Qila is the Zenana Shahi Hammam, which was a royal and luxurious bath built for Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz. Just opposite to the fort lies the Ahukhana or the deer park which was the hunting ground of Shah Jahan. Other places to explore include Aasirgarh Fort, Dargah-e-Hakimi and the Burhanpur Gurudwara.

Shahi Qila, Rajpura Road, Monin Pura, Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh, India, +91 96172 74414

Dargah-e-Hakimi, Shah Colony, Lodhipura, Burhanpur, India, +91 73252 45152

Aasirgarh Fort, Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh, India

Dargah-e-Hakimi, Burhanpur

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Central India Travel Guide

Explore the Marvels of Central India: A Tapestry of Wildlife, Heritage, and Architecture Embark on a journey through the heart of India as the Central region unveils a tapestry of splendid wildlife, rich heritage, and architectural wonders. Encompassing the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Central India sprawls across an expansive 443,439 square kilometers. With pilgrimage spots, wildlife sanctuaries, ancient monuments, mountain ranges, and remote forests, this region caters to the diverse tastes of travelers.

Nestled in Madhya Pradesh, the Narmada River meanders through two majestic hill ranges – the Vindhya and the Satpura. The landscape is a captivating blend of plateaus, river valleys, rolling hills, and dense forests. From the prehistoric wonders of Bhimbetka to the ancient Hindu and Buddhist marvels at Khajuraho, Orchha, and Sanchi, Central India is a repository of ancient civilization.

For wildlife enthusiasts, the tiger-rich forests of Bandhavgarh and Kanha stand as major attractions. The region also features the picturesque town of Mandu and contemplative towns like Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, and Amarkantak along the banks of the Narmada.

In Chhattisgarh, where over 40 percent of the state is covered by forests or noted for mineral wealth, a large tribal population adds to the cultural richness. Three national parks and eleven wildlife sanctuaries make it a haven for nature lovers. Tourist hubs like Raipur, Bilaspur, and Jagdalpur offer a treasure trove of temples, royal palaces, Buddhist monuments, and natural wonders.

Central India is the Hindi heartland of the country, boasting various dialects such as Bundeli, Malvi, Nimadi, and Bagheli, along with Dakshin Kosali and tribal languages. The region’s cuisine is a delectable fusion of sweet and savory flavors, featuring staples like wheat, rice, jowar, bajra, and lentils. Culinary delights like Bhutte ki Khees, Dal Bafla, Poha, Jalebi, Khurma, Dal Pithi, Chila, and Kadi Pakora draw travelers from far and wide.

Beyond its culinary and natural splendors, Central India is a melting pot of diverse cultures, folk dances, and music forms. Jawara dance and classical music from the region have left an indelible mark on various Indian states. Central India, with its vibrant blend of culture, cuisine, trade, and tradition, provides a captivating glimpse into the rich heritage of India. Explore and immerse yourself in the wonders of this culturally rich and diverse region.

States In Central India

Chhattisgarh Madhya Pradesh

Explore the enchanting state of Chhattisgarh, where vibrant tribal culture meets pristine natural wonders. With over 40 percent of its expanse covered in forests and rich mineral wealth, Chhattisgarh offers a unique blend of tradition and wilderness. This travel guide unveils the hidden treasures of the state, from the tribal heartlands to the lush national parks. Discover the captivating allure of Raipur, Bilaspur, and Jagdalpur, each offering a wealth of fabulous temples, royal palaces, Buddhist monuments, and natural wonders. Immerse yourself in the rich tribal heritage that defines Chhattisgarh, making it a cultural mosaic waiting to be explored. From bustling markets to serene landscapes, Chhattisgarh promises a travel experience like no other.

Embark on a journey through the heart of India with the Madhya Pradesh Travel Guide. Unravel the tapestry of heritage and wildlife that adorns this central state. From the ancient wonders of Bhimbetka to the architectural marvels of Khajuraho, Orchha, and Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh is a living testament to India’s rich history. Immerse yourself in the tiger-rich forests of Bandhavgarh and Kanha, where wildlife enthusiasts can witness nature’s majesty. The Narmada River, with its two hill ranges – the Vindhya and the Satpura, adds to the scenic beauty of the region. This guide takes you on a virtual tour of Mandu, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, and Amarkantak, offering a glimpse into the cultural and spiritual gems that Madhya Pradesh holds. Discover the heart of India through the lens of its heritage and wildlife.

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central india tourist places

  • Central India

Central India Tours

Central India is known for its fabulous diversities and therefore attracts tourists throughout the year. It has so much to offer its guests. The major Indian states and famous tourist destinations are included in it. Central India is a hub of wildlife sanctuaries or national parks and therefore it is considered as one of the most frequented regions of India. Generally, Madhya Pradesh is known as the "Heart of India" for being located at the center of India. It is also considered as the second largest state of the country. Besides wildlife, it has many popular pilgrimage sites , magnificent forts, monuments and exquisite palaces. Tourists also take extended tour to its surrounding regions like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan , Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra , Delhi and Gujarat as a part of central India tour . Buddhist devotees from all across the world prefer Central India tours as it covers all the major Buddhist pilgrimage sites and vibrant culture . The temples with fabulous architecture add charm to the beauty of Central India.

The never to miss places in and around Central India include Delhi , Bandhavgarh, Kanha , Jaipur , Agra , Gwalior, Orchha, Khajuraho , Varanasi , Bhopal, Ujjain, Indore, Mandu, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Jalgaon, Ajanta & Ellora , Aurangabad and Mumbai that will make your tour to Central India worth remembering. Our range of exclusive tour packages will help you experience the best of Central India .

1 Itinerary Found Select Destination Jaipur Kanha Pench Sawai Madhopur Ranthambore Bandhavgarh Bharatpur Tadoba Kaziranga Sariska Jodhpur Ranakpur Udaipur Assam

10 Nights 11 Days - Central India Tour, Heritage, Culture

11 Days - Central India Tour Package

Delhi - Jaipur - Agra - Jhansi - Orcha - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Delhi

central india tourist places

  • Visit Red Fort, Jama Masjid and monuments in Delhi
  • Excursion to Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, City Palace - Jaipur
  • Visit Fatehpur Sikri enroute to Jaipur
  • Embark with the beautiful Taj Mahal
  • Witness the temples of Khajuraho
  • Enjoy the boat ride at river ganges - Varanasi
  • Visit Durbar Square, Patan and Bhaktapur - Nepal
  • Visit Tibetan Refugee Craft Centre

Bandhavgarh National Park

Panna national park, frequently asked questions, q. what are the best cities to visit in central india, q. which is the central city of india, q. which city is centrally located in india, q. how many states are there in central india, q. where should i go for vacation in central india.

Visit Orchha and Khajuraho for enjoying monuments and heritage sites. Visit Madhya Pradesh for its list of national parks and tiger reserves. Gwalior, Ujjain, Omkareshwar, and Sanchi are famous for pilgrimage sites. Panchmarhi is the only hill station of MP.

Q. Which is the best time to visit in central India?

Q. which season is best for pachmarhi central india, q. which are the most historical places in central india, q. which are the best cultural tours in central india.

Top trending cultural tours in Central India are 11 days Central India , 16 days Best of India tours, and Indian Panorama of Maharajas’ Express.

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Central India Tourism

The heart of India, Central India Tourism is a place of variance. With some of the best temples and wildlife sanctuaries in India, the region attracts hundreds of tourists.

The strong forts of Gwalior, the ancient temples of Khajuraho,

the spectacular stupas at Sanchi and the archaeological sites of Chhattisgarh are adequate to take you on an exciting quest to Central India Tourism.

River valleys, enchanting plains, and dense forests add to the charm of this famous centre place of India. States like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh form the geographical seat of India.

Central India is spread over an area of 443,439 square kilometers, covering the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

These adjacent states have enough journey sites, wildlife sanctuaries, ancient monuments, mountain ranges, and remote forests to attract travelers to different pilgrimage sites.

For its unique blend of religions, customs, and ethnicities, India is spread across different parts of Central India with a wide diversity of tourist attractions and places to see in India.

If we discuss discovering the story of this magical country. no other country fits the bill well in the central part of India.

Central India tourism is also recognized as ‘The Heart of India’, It comprises the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh which are famous for their distinct landscapes and extraordinary cultural setup. 

A large number of Heritage tourist destinations like Mandu, Maheshwar, Khajuraho, Gwalior, etc can be found in Central India Tourism.

Here we can see the magnificent building of art and sculpture. All of its heritage tourism destinations are known worldwide and visited by tourists from many countries.

Top Places to visit in Central India

Central India enjoys the pride of India’s heartland. There are many places to woo tourists in Central India, where thousands of people come every year.

If you too are thinking of visiting Central India, then keep reading this post till the end so that you can decide which places in Central India you want to visit.

Gwalior: A Probe Into The Bygone Era

Orchha: hidden treasure of india, ajanta caves: extremely important historic site, bhopal: epitome of architectural beauty, bandhavgarh national park: major tourist attraction of the region, kanha national park: embrace the wildlife beauty, pench national park: home of the royal bengal tiger, khajuraho: a famed heritage city, pachmarhi: queen of the satpura range.

Gwalior is a city full of many palaces, buildings, blocks, temples, and tourist places. This city attracts tourists and holds a fair of tourists throughout the year.

central-india-tourism

Gwalior is not only for royal structures, statues, temples but also for architectural sightseeing.

It can be a good retreat for finding white tigers, bison, hyenas, serpents, and others. You can enjoy boating at Tigra Dam, Swarna Rekha River, and other places.

A fort city like Gwalior is located on the New Delhi-Mumbai and New Delhi-Chennai rail links of the main states in central India tourism. It is about 321 km from Delhi.

Gwalior expands from latitude 26° 14′ in the north to 78 ° 10′ in the east. It is a land rich in multi-rich land, mythological pilgrimage sites, natural beauty, and wildlife.

Gwalior is famous for its magnificent natural beauty and rich cultural inheritance. Tourists can do a lot of things in Gwalior, like  Gwalior Fort, Tomb and Scindia Palace, Sun Temple,  and  Maharaja Bada, or go shopping in Gwalior.

The heartland of India known as Malwa in ancient times preserves around 1800 monuments that bear witness to its past glory. The mighty Gwalior fort was built in the 15th century by King Mansingh Tomar on a hill overlooking the city.

The outer wall of the fort is two miles and 35 meters in length. In front of the statues of Jain Tirthankaras, the winds of a steep road leading to the fort, which is carved into the face of the rock.

central-india-tourism

Orchha is renowned for primitive architecture, temples, and mural temples. Apart from these architectural wonders, the river is an important attraction.

Rafting and boating are the two main activities to enjoy in the river. The city is steeped in memorials and its renowned palaces and temples built in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The architectural majesty of the monuments indicates the glory of their rulers. The Betwa River, on whose banks are located, and the forests around it engage tourists in this place.

The ancient city seems frozen over time, with many of its monuments continuing to retain their prime magnificence even today. Here you will notice some of the most attractive and beautiful temples and palaces that will help you realize your childhood fantasy – traveling back in time!

This is located in the central zone of India in the northern part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is located near the Malwa plateau. The Betwa River flows through the city.

Best time to visit this town: The winter months between October and March are the best times to explore the historical heritage. The heat remains comfortable during the winter and is a central Indian tourist attraction.

The famous Ajanta caves in Aurangabad, Maharastra have always been a major centre of tourist attraction for history and art lovers.

central india tourist places

Tourists visiting Ajanta are capable of sight of the grand carvings,  architecture and experience the rich cultural inheritance of ancient India.

Description Ajanta caves are 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments dating from the second century BCE to around 480 BC in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra state of India.

The UNESCO inheritance site of Ajanta caves from Mumbai 420 km at  NH160 is situated in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

These caves were dug as a part of the first wave of cave architecture in India.

It became an important centre of Buddhism and art under the enlightened patronage of the Vakataka rulers.

Ajanta caves are easily accessible from various parts of the country.

The nearest airport is located in Aurangabad city. Regular buses, cars, and autos are easily available to Ajanta Ellora caves from Aurangabad.

connected with various parts of the country through well-developed railways and roadways.

Ajanta – Ellora caves are one of the most troubled ancient buildings in India and also one of the best places in Central India tourism. There are 29 caves in all – each important in displaying a story related to the life of Lord Buddha.

The best time to visit Ajanta Caves:

Just because June to March is the best Ellora Caves due to pleasant weather that’s why this time is the most suitable for visiting

From June to September (monsoon) the region receives average rainfall, which makes the exploration experience enjoyable.

While during the moons of November to February the temperature drops moderately.

So, if you are preparing for a trip then try to avoid this season.

The season months (March to May) can actually be particularly hot during the day.

central india tourist places

The capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh, which is the largest state in India.

Towards the north, you have the old city, a tempting area of mosques, serpentine streets, milling crowds, foreign Havelis, and crowded cities. has many tourist attractions.

There are many major mosques, but the most prestigious is the Taj-ul-Masjid, the largest mosque in India.

The Jama Masjid and Moti Masjid of the city are other significant mosques constructed by local Begums in the 19th century.

Shaukat Mahal and Sadar Manzil situated in the Chowk Walled area, situated in the middle of the old walled city, are other important places in India.

Bandhavgarh National Park is one such national park that is surrounded by 32 hills and situated in Umaria, a district in Madhya Pradesh.

central india tourist places

The archaic Bandhavgarh Fort is regarded as true to have great significance as it was gifted by Lord Rama to his younger brother Lakshmana.

In English, ‘Bandhan’ means brother and ‘Garh’ means fort. Hence the name, Bandhavgarh.

This forest area is known for its rich biodiversity, where you can see a huge number of tigers. This National park has the highest density of Royal Bengal Tigers in the world and the constant sight of royal tigers makes this national park a must-see for all wildlife enthusiasts.

In 2012, about 44–49 tigers were living in the park.

More than 22 species of mammals and 250 species are avifauna. Bandhavgarh was a world-famous hunter’s delight even before this place became a national park.

Now, this majestic bliss is a thing of the past. The Indian government is making efforts to protect tigers from poaching, and the tiger population is steadily increasing.

Best time to visit Bandhavgarh National Park. Every year Bandhavgarh National Park is open for visitors from 15 October to 30 June.

According to the climate of the central state in India, October to March is the best time to visit Bandhavgarh National Park.

central india tourist places

This famous National Park is a host of major animals (mammals), including the Barasingha or Swamp deer, the Indian wild dog, and the most famous tiger in India.

Known as the “Tiger Reserve”. A significant amount of tiger population in Kanha land.

Kanha safari booking has attractive facilities for many visitors, among which Varieties of wildlife make the whole environment more enjoyable. The tropical central highlands of the region make it perfect.

Habitat for the splendor of wild animals. Spread over 940 square kilometers, Kanha National Park safari is one of the best Jungle safaris of the largest parks in Madhya Pradesh. Royal Bengal Tigers can be found in good numbers in this national park.

The best season to visit here because February to June Although cool weather, October to February is much more comfortable and still great for wildlife.

The park remains closed from July 01 to October 15 due to the storm. Bandhavgarh (Tal zone is premium zone) has 3 core zones – Talla zone, Magadhi Zone, and Khitauli zone.

Guests can enjoy the excess forest life here and tribal villages can also be one of the major tourist attractions.

central india tourist places

The Pench National Park provides all the morality with the wild together with a wildlife package for a memorable holiday in this national park.

For every wildlife enthusiast, based on tourists’ interest and choice Pench national park has recommendations based on their interest and choice with which it guarantees just the right itinerary.

Qualified accommodation options, jungle safari tours, sightseeing, and a whole host of services and facilities. Pench National Park is known for its wildlife, flora, and fauna. You can see Royal Bengal Tiger and Leopard here.

Apart from this, Pench National Park is also approved for “Birds” because Owl breeding into Pench National Park is extra performance.

Located in the Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh, Pench National Park is named after the Pench River, which cuts its way within the forests.

Safari in  Pench National Park is the best of its kind in the whole country. In addition, exercises such as nature trails, elephant safari, canoeing, bonfires, bird wildlife spotting, and cycling rides add magic and excitement to your stay.

Visitors to Pench National Park are expected to take their original identification during Safari Drive as it is verified at the entrance. Safari tickets are non-transferable.

Companies to Pench National Park are required to carry their primary records during Safari because Drive as it is checked at the door.

Safari tickets are non-transferable. To experience the wildlife adventure in Park, you can offer the kind of experience you are assuming from this wildlife safari.

If you are an animal or wildlife lover, then you might be interested in jungle safari in Corbett National Park .

central india tourist places

Khajuraho temples have attracted thousands of tourists from all over the world.

Clearly famous for erotic sculptures and intricate carvings on the outer walls of many temples, Khajuraho Tourism is the gateway that lets you enter the history of India.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is mainly known for the Western Group of Temples. Khajuraho is one of its kind worldwide.

It houses a group of temples and monuments with unique architectural beauty, sculptures, and erotic carvings. It is a heritage site for holding nagara-style architecture.

The majority of the temples in this complex were built between 900 AD and 1050 AD. There were 85 temples in the 12th century and now, there are only 25 temples that stand as one.

central india tourist places

A beautiful hill station in central India tourism and the highest point, It is often known as the “Queen of Satpura” or “Queen of the Satpura Range”. 

This lovely city located at a height of 1,067 meters, It is a part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, home to leopards and bison.

This place is made sure you feel relaxed, like the way you felt when you first put your bare feet on the grass of the garden as a child.

Famous as the queen of Satpura is the only hill station in Madhya Pradesh. Pachmarhi can be visited throughout the year due to the year-round weather.

Months- June to October is the best time to tour. this is a popular tourist retreat. Tourists visit throughout the year. There are many other places to visit in central India.

The hotels in the city are mostly located near the market, a few cottages and resorts, and MP tourism hotels which are located in a peaceful place. this place is 2 or 3 km from the bus stand.

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Travel Central India Tourism with us

The Central region of India gives you a peek into the splendid wildlife, rich heritage and architectural splendours of the country. Covering the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, Central India spreads over an area of 443, 439 Sq Km. These contiguous states hold enough pilgrimage spots, wildlife sanctuaries, ancient monuments, mountain ranges and remote forests to attract travellers of different tastes. At the heart of India, in Madhya Pradesh , lies Narmada river with two hill ranges - the Vindhya and the Satpura . It is also an intriguing landscape of plateaus, rivers valleys, rolling hills and forests. From the prehistoric site of Bhimbetka to ancient Hindu and Buddhist monuments at Khajuraho, Orchha, and Sanchi,

the finest of ancient civilisation is found here. For wildlife lovers, the tiger-rich forests of Bandhavgarh and Kanha are a major attraction. The region also encapsulates the hilly town of Mandu and the contemplative towns of Maheshwar, Omkareshwar and Amarkantak by the Narmada. In Chhattisgarh , a large part of the population is tribal. Over 40 percent of the state is covered under forest, or is noted for its mineral wealth. The main attractions here include no less than three national parks and 11 wildlife sanctuaries. Raipur, Bilaspur, and Jagdalpur are the main hubs for tourists providing a wealth of fabulous temples, royal palaces, Buddhist monuments and natural wonders to explore.

Central India is undoubtedly the Hindi heartland of the country. Various dialects of Hindi such as Bundeli, Malvi, Nimadi, and Bagheli are spoken here followed by Dakshin Kosali and some tribal languages. It also imbibes the best of food culture from its neighbouring states. The cuisine here is a mix of sweet and salty. You can enjoy a variety of dishes from mild to very spicy ones. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajra, and lentils are staples in the diet. Though variations can be seen as you move from one town to another. Bhutte ki Khees, Dal Bafla, Poha, Jalebi and Khurma attract travellers from far and wide. Not to miss, the amazing Dal Pithi, Chila and Kadi Pakora ! Blending the best of cultures, Central India boasts many folk dances, art and music forms as well. Jawara dance and classical music from the region is prevalent in various other Indian states too. This region creates a colourful amalgamation of culture, cuisine, trade and tradition. And, it certainly gives you the glimpse of splendour that the rich heritage of India offers.

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  1. 20 Places To Visit In Central India

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  2. 24 Places To Visit In Central India 2024

    1. Maheshwar 4.1 /5 1 out of 24 Places To Visit in Central India Located on the banks of the River Narmada, this gorgeous town is largely referred to as the temple town of Madhya Pradesh. It also holds a lot of mythological and historical importance given the fact that it has found a mention in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Read More 2.

  3. The Best Cities and Towns to Visit in Central India

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  4. 10 Best Places to Visit in Central India

    Special Interest Tours +91-9212777225 +91-9212777225 From Temples to Wildlife: 10 Best Places to Visit in Central India The wide and varied region of Central India is home to a diversity of experiences just waiting to be explored.

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  6. 10 Best Places to Visit in Central India

    The top 10 locations in Central India are Khajuraho, Kanha National Park, Pachmarhi, Sanchi, Mandu, Bhedaghat, Chitrakoot, Bhopal, Orchha, and Pench National Park. Each destination gives a unique experience, from exploring medieval temples and historic palaces to recognizing the exotic natural world and soaking in scenic perspectives.

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    1. Explore the ruins of Hampi Perfect Jungle Book territory, Hampi's spectacular ruins, decorated with the finest carvings, are associated with Kishkinda, the fabled monkey kingdom in the Ramayana.

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    The following are eight major cities in Central India: 21.366667 81.716667. 1 Bhilai — major city and often called Steel City because of its steel plants. 23.25 77.416667. 2 Bhopal — the capital of Madhya Pradesh, notorious for the Bhopal incident in 1984. 22.15 82.016667.

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    Dhuandhar Falls (source) Madan Mahal Fort (source) Balancing Rock (source) Bhedaghat-marble rocks (source) Sanchi Stupa no.1 (source) Next Central India Best Time: Winter Season (October-March) Read More Central India Tourism Comprising of the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Central India is the very heart of India.

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    Gwalior, Bhopal, and Indore are modern cities with a mix of historical and contemporary attractions. Chitrakoot, Ujjain, and Bilaspur are holy cities with numerous pilgrimage sites. Places like Nagpur offer a blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and modern amenities. Here is a list of 20 places to visit in Central India on this once-in-a ...

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    #1. Khajuraho #2. Orchha #3. Gwalior #4. Bhedaghat #5. Bandhavgarh National Park #6. Kanha National Park #7. Ujjain #8. Pench National Park #9. Indore #10. Sanchi Here we are discussing about Top 10 Places to Visit in Central India are:- #1. Khajuraho Best time to visit Khajuraho - July to March

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    A large number of Heritage tourist destinations like Mandu, Maheshwar, Khajuraho, Gwalior, etc can be found in Central India Tourism. Here we can see the magnificent building of art and sculpture. All of its heritage tourism destinations are known worldwide and visited by tourists from many countries. Top Places to visit in Central India

  23. Central India Tourism Tourism, Places to Visit in Central India Tourism

    Travel Central India Tourism with us The Central region of India gives you a peek into the splendid wildlife, rich heritage and architectural splendours of the country. Covering the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, Central India spreads over an area of 443, 439 Sq Km.

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