BEST TIME TO VISIT
You can easily spend a fortnight in India’s second largest state to imbibe its varied treasures. With river Narmada flowing westwards, parallel to the Vindhya and Satpura ranges, the state not only offers geographical beauty and wildlife, but also a rich history and heritage, as well as pilgrim centres. You can take shorter trips to visit the Hindu and Jain temples, or visit forts and palaces, or its 10 national parks and 25 wildlife sanctuaries.
HOW TO REACH FROM DELHI…
You can start your trip either from Bhopal or Indore and the rates are similar by air, which takes around 1.5 hours and costs upwards of Rs.3,700. The trip to Bhopal, by train, can take anywhere from 8-13.5 hours, with the sleeper class fares starting at Rs.380 and 2A class fares ranging from Rs.1,470-1,988.
Cost by air
Rs.3,854 (Delhi-Bhopal, 1.5 hours)
Rs.3,709 (Delhi-Indore, 1.5 hours)
Cost by train
Rs.1,470-1,988 (Class 2A)
(Delhi-Bhopal, 8-13.5 hours)
Note:One way, per person. Flight cost on Skyscanner on 21 March. Train cost on Ixigo.
WHERE TO STAY…
Log in to the Madhya Pradesh Tourism website, to locate a variety of stay options, including resorts, hotels, homestays and MP Tourism resorts in popular and lesser known destinations in the state. Homestays are the cheapest, starting at Rs.1,000, and you can easily find an accommodation to suit your budget, which range from budget to luxury.
COST: Rs.48,000 for 12 nights.
WHAT TO EAT…
The state’s Malwa and Nimar cuisines reflect the historical (Mughal, Rajput, tribal) and geographical (Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra) influences. While wheat and meat are staples in the north, rice and fish are in the south. Some famous delicacies include bhutte ka khees (corn street food), daal bafla (wheat balls in ghee), seekh kebab, Bhopali gosht korma (meat dish), chakki ki shak (steamed wheat dough), palak puri (spinach puri), biryani pilaf (rice and meat) and poha (flattened rice snack). Desserts include mawa bati (dough balls in sugar syrup), malpua (sweet pancakes), and jalebi (sweet deep-fried batter).
COST: Rs.500-1,000 per person, per day
WHAT TO DO…
Bandhavgarh (Umaria), Kanha (Mandla, Balaghat), Pench (Seoni, Chhindwara), Panna (Panna, Chhatarpur), Satpura (Narmadapuram), Madhav (Shivpuri), Vanvihar (Bhopal), Sanjay-Dubri (Sidhi), Dinosaur Fossil (Dindori).
Omkareshwar, Mamleshwar (Omkareshwar); Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga (Ujjain); Saas-Bahu temple (Gwalior); Kandariya Mahadeo, Adinath, Lakshamana, Matangeshwar (Khajuraho); Annapurna (Indore); Chaturbhuj (Orchha); Chausath Yogini (Bhedaghat).
FORT & PALACES
Gwalior Fort, Mansingh Palace, Jai Vilas Palace (Gwalior); Jahangir Mahal, Sheesh Mahal (Orchha); Rajwada Palace, Lal Bagh Palace (Indore); Jahaz Mahal, Hindola Mahal, Mandu Fort (Mandu); Bandhavgarh Fort (Umaria); Asirgarh Fort (Burhanpur).
DAY 1-2: Indore-Mandu On day 1, visit the Rajwada Palace, Lal Bagh Palace, Annapurna temple and Kanch Mandir. For food, check out the Sarafa Bazaar, Chappan Dukan and Chokhi Dhani. Next day, take a trip to Mandu, 2 hours away, and visit the Jahaz Mahal, Hindola Mahal, Hoshang Shah’s tomb and Mandu fort. Move to Maheshwar and visit the Ahilya fort. Next, travel to Omkareshwar to visit the Omkareshwar and Mamleshwar Jyotirlinga temples.
DAY 3-4: Ujjain-Bhopal Travel to Ujjain in an hour. Visit Ram ghat on Shipra river and watch the aarti, see the Vedhshala Observatory and try the street food. Move to Bhopal in the evening. Visit the Sanchi Stupa, Tajul-Masjid and Bhimbetka caves. Also visit the Kerwa and Upper lakes, Laxmi Narayan mandir and try Mughlai cuisine here.
DAY 5-6: Gwalior Arrive in 7 hours. The must-visits are Gwalior fort, Saas-Bahu temple, Jai Vilas Palace, Sun temple, Bateshwar group of temples, Gopachal Parvat rock-cut temples, teli ka mandir and Tansen’s mausoleum. For food and shopping, visit Patankar and Sarafa Bazaars.
DAY 7-8: Orchha About 2 hours away is Orchha on Betwa river. Visit Orchha fort complex, with its three magnificent palaces, the Chattris along the Betwa, Chaturbhuj temple, Ram Raja temple, Laxminarayan temple, and Phool Bagh. Also try rafting in the Betwa and stay at the Sheesh Mahal.
DAY 9-10: Khajuraho Arrive in about 3 hours and take a tour of the temples. Then take in the Ajaigarh fort, Raneh falls canyon, ruins of Mastani Mahal, Pandav waterfalls, and State Museum of Tribal and Folk Art. If you have time, visit the Panna National Park.
DAY 11: Bandhavgarh About 2.5 hours away is the Bandhavgarh National Park. If keen, add another day, and visit the Pench and Kanha parks as well.
DAY 12: Jabalpur Arrive in 3.5 hours. Visit Dhuandhar falls, and marble rocks at Bhedaghat on Narmada. Don’t miss the balancing rock and also visit Madan Mahal fort.
DAY 13: Fly back to Delhi