Madhya Pradesh is richly endowed with unexploited and spectacular natural environment. Playing this strength to its advantage, the state has metamorphosed into a sought after eco-destination.
Home to revered pilgrimage shrines, historical monuments, lavish places, rich culture and gracious hospitality, Madhya Pradesh is both mysterious and mesmerizing. It’s many abandoned cities provide an intriguing glimpse into the rich and colourful past. Here, one can get a firsthand experience of ancient Indian history – right from a visit to the Sanchi Stupa, built, built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka to the unique temples of Khajuraho. Endowed with immense natural beauty and splendour, Madhya Pradesh is also famous for its wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, offering you the opportunity to enjoy its rich variety of flora and fauna.
The Way Forward
Understanding the importance and significance of preserving nature, the government of Madhya Pradesh has been quite vigilant with regards to eco-tourism and policies pertaining to the same have been framed since the year 2001. The ecotourism policy has helped identify areas and a host of districts for eco-promotions. Attraction such as national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and activities like canoeing, trekking, jungle safari, white-water rafting, rock climbing, mountaineering, parasailing, paragliding and hot-air ballooning have seen a tremendous rise.
To garner further support, tour operators, travel agents and different members from the hospitality industry along with several other private investors were encouraged to partake in the mission of developing and popularizing these activities. Ecotourism has not only enabled tourist to enjoy nature and see wildlife in its natural habitat, but has also helped develop the region as a whole. Here are some of the must-visit destinations of Madhya Pradesh that are bound to leave you enchanted.
Bandhavgarh & Kanha National Parks
Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks are among the top national parks in India. Bandhavgarh, while being relatively difficult to reach, is the best place for you to spot tigers in the wild in India. The sprawling Kanha National Park has the honour of providing the setting for Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel, The Jungle Book. The two parks are today being recognized as examples in wildlife preservation and according to nature experts, the national parks thoroughly follow the principles of ecotourism and are committed to maintaining the ecological balance in nature. Serious eco-friendly measures have been incorporated to protect the reserve, including a ban on pollution-causing diesel jeeps. The original tribal’s of the region, apart from receiving alternate accommodation facilities, have also been involved in the activities of the forest preservation and protection plan. Apart from garnering popularity in the international market, the two sanctuaries also generate large sums of foreign exchange for the state of Madhya Pradesh.
Located in Chhatarpur district, Khajuraho has the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, famous for their erotic sculptures. Originally housing 85 temples of which 25 remain in a reasonable state, Khajuraho is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Here, you can get a glimpse into the explicit depiction of the sexual life during medieval times. Moreover, they sow a celebration of love, life and worship. It is said that although the locals were well always aware of the presence of these temples, it was pointed out to the English only when the wrath of nature had taken a toll on the monuments. The Khajuraho group of temples has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered to be one of the seven wonders of India.
An abode of tranquillity, Pachmarhi is Madhya Pradesh’s most verdant gem. Bridle paths lead you into placid forest groves of wild bamboo, Jamun, dense Sal forest and delicate bamboo thickets. The lovely hill station perched in the majestic Satpura Range offers you an escape from the crazy rush of an urban life with its lush greenery, breathtaking views, waterfalls, mountain streams, rich and rare wildlife.
Conveniently located at a mere distance of two hours’ drive from the Taj Mahal, Gwalior is full of history. Its main attraction, the massive hilltop fort that towers over the city, is bound to bowl you over. Reputed to be one of the most invincible forts in India, its history stretches back over 1,000 years. The regal fort has changed hands many times – from the Tomaras in the 8th century, it was passed on to the Mughals, and then the Marathas under the Scindias. The Mughal emperor Babur is said to have described it as ‘the pearl amongst fortresses in India’. While in Gwalior you must visit the marvellous Jivaji Rao Scindia Museum, which exhibits a wide range of articles from all over the world. Objects on display include miniature paintings, weapons, bronzes, sculpture, manuscripts and coins. Gwalior is one of the largest cities of Central India and is often referred to as the tourist capital of Madhya Pradesh.
Dhuandhar Falls, Bhedaghat
The Dhuandhar Falls are located on the Narmada River in Bhedaghat. Whilst the river makes its way across the very famous Marble Rocks, it narrows down and then plunges in a waterfall known as Dhuandhar. The plunge, which creates a bouncing mass of mist, is so powerful that you can hear its roar from a far distance. Watch the spectacular waterfalls and witness the power of nature unleashed at Bhedaghat.
Eco Resorts in Madhya Pradesh
Nature Heritage Resort, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
Spread across a sprawling six acres at the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, the Nature Heritage resort houses 22 elegantly furnished, air-conditioned cottages, with a personal veranda and garden. Get pampered with some farm fresh cooked meals served at their three restaurants. Being environmentally sensitive, the resort has restrained itself from adding a swimming pool.
Banjaar Tola, Kanha National Park
Situated along the banks of the Banjaar River, directly overlooking the heart of Kanha National Park, Banjaar Tola houses two elegant camps of nine suites each. Both the camps have their own intimate tented sitting area. The luxurious, yet lightweight, en-suite tents have been designed in a contemporary style giving an opportunity to experience luxury amidst the wilderness.
Mahua Vann, Pench National Park
Spread across 11 acres and housing over 300 large trees, the Mahua Vann Resort at Pench Tiger reserve is an eco-sensitive resort. It houses 20 beautiful cottages, out of which 12 are designed to give you a sense of privacy, while eight cottages are in cluster, allowing visiting groups an opportunity to bond with each other. Equipped with a conference room, a comfortable lunge and library, well-spread restaurant and plenty of sit out spots in nature, the resort truly helps you connect with nature.