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State of India - Madhya Pradesh
QUICK FACTS Climate (Degree C.): Summer - Max: 47, Min: 22, Winter - Max: 23, Min: 4 | Best Season: October - March | Languages Spoken: Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi and Gujarati | Capital: Bhopal

Madhya Pradesh (literally "the Middle Land") is known as the ' heart of India', not just because of its location in the centre of the country, but also because, it has been home to the cultural heritage of the Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Innumerable monuments, exquisitely carved temples, forts and palaces are peppered all over the state - glorious reminders of emperors and kings, warriors and builders, poets and musicians, saints and philosophers.

Geography of Madhya Pradesh:
Madhya Pradesh is surrounded by Gujarat on the west, Rajasthan on the northwest, Uttar Pradesh on the northeast, Chhattisgarh on the east, and Maharashtra on the south. In context to area, Madhya Pradesh is the second largest state of India. One third of the state accounts for the thickly covered forests. Madhya Pradesh is filled with all types of topography including hills, plains, plateaus, rivers and forests.

History of Madhya Pradesh:
One of the earliest dwellings of mankind can be found in the pre-historic caves of Bhimbetka, a place close to Bhopal. The history of Madhya Pradesh goes back to 320 BC when Chandragupta Maurya established the Mauryan Empire. Ashoka, the great Mauryan emperor was powerful in the Malwa region. Mauryan Empire became weak after Ashoka's death and the region came under the rule of Sakas, Kushanas, and some local dynasties during the 3rd to 1st centuries BC. The Satavahana dynasty of the northern Deccan ruled the region in between 1st and 3rd centuries AD. With the end of 4th century the region came under Gupta dynasty and it continued for over 150 years and finally collapsed towards the end of the 5th century Madhya Pradesh also became the imperial seat of the Mughal Kingdom. But the death of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1707 saw the emergence of the Marathas, who gained total command over the state, until their expansion impeded with the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761. After defeating the Marathas, the Britishers gained total control over the state.

Tourist Places of Madhya Pradesh:
Consisting largely of a plateau, the state has everything - awesome mountain ranges, meandering rivers, and miles and miles of dense forests. The most famous tourist places of Madhya Pradesh include - the fascinating temples of Khajuraho, the capital city of Bhopal, the holy city of Ujjain, the hill station of Panchmarhi, the famous Buddhist site of Sanchi which is a as well as famous for Ashoka pillar. Gwalior, Dhar, Indore and Orcha are the heritage places of Madhya Pradesh. With almost a third of India's forest reserves, the state is also rich in natural beauty, high mountain ranges, flowing rivers making a perfect habitat for animals like Tiger, leopard, Sambar, Nilgai, barking deer etc. Madhya Pradesh is home to world's most famous tiger reserves which include Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park, Pench National Park, Panna National Park and many more.

Fairs & Festivals of Madhya Pradesh:
Madhya Pradesh is deeply entwined with its festivals and fairs. All festivals of Madhya Pradesh are celebrated with genuine enthusiasm and belief. These festivals and fairs in turn are deeply rooted in mythology and old cultural traditions. The main festivals in Madhya Pradesh include: Khajuraho Festival of Dance, Tansen Music Festival, Shivratri Mela, Navratri Festival, Chethiyagiri Vihara Festival, Dussehra and Ramnaumi.

Cuisine in Madhya Pradesh:
Wheat is the staple food of Madhya Pradesh. Major share of the dishes in the state are vegetarian. The most famous of all the dishes is 'bhutte ki kees'. Corn and milk are the major ingredients in the meal. Chakki ki shaak is another famous dish. The famous non vegetarian dishes here include the spicy rogan josh, korma, seekh kebab and shami kebab. Madhya Pradesh is also famous for many sweet dishes like 'mawa-bati', 'khoprapak', 'shreekhand' and 'malpua'.

Shopping in Madhya Pradesh:
The most important buy in Madhya Pradesh will surely be the traditional handicrafts made by the tribes. The textile weaving of the state is also cherished by the tourists. The beautiful Maheshwari and Chanderi sarees alongwith the silk of Raigarh and Champa are worth checking out. Leather items that are to be purchased comprises of purses, bags and crafted diyas. The Zari work of Madhya Pradesh will surely sweep you off your feet. Another foremost acquisition will be the products of Bamboo. The carpets and Dhurries produced in Madhya Pradesh match up to those produces in Kashmir and are enough to arrest your eyes.