Madhya Pradesh often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal. Madhya Pradesh was the largest state in India until November 1, 2000 when the state of Chhattisgarh was carved out. It borders the states Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Madhya Pradesh in Hindi can be translated to Central Province, and it is located in the geographic heart of India. The state straddles the Narmada River, which runs east and west between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges; these ranges and the Narmada are the traditional boundary between the north and south of India. The state is bordered on the west by Gujarat, on the north-west by Rajasthan, on the north-east by Uttar Pradesh, on the east by Chhattisgarh, and on the south by Maharashtra.
Madhya Pradesh comprises several linguistically and culturally distinct regions, including:
Nimar (Nemar): the western portion of the Narmada River valley, lying south of the Vindhyas in the southwest portion of the state.
Bundelkhand: a region of rolling hills and fertile valleys in the northern part of the state, which slopes down toward the Indo-Gangetic plain to the north. Gwalior is a historic center of the region.
Chambal: the north-western region. A mountainous region with ravines rich in red, soft, and fragile sandstone. The climate is harsh, and the area is known for murderous dacoits who were active in their hundreds till the late 1900s.
Baghelkhand: a hilly region in the north-east of the state, which includes the eastern end of the Vindhya Range.
Mahakoshal (Mahakaushal): the south-eastern portion of the state, which includes the eastern end of the Narmada river valley and the eastern Satpuras. Jabalpur is the most important city in the region.
Central Vindhya and Satpura region. Which has most of the central Narmada river valley and watershed, and has the highest point in the state – Dhupgarh in Pachmarhi.
The predominant language of the region is Hindi. Urdu is spoken in Burhanpur, the former princely state of Sironj (Tonk), Kurwai and areas with larger Muslim populations. In Old Bhopal, a unique style of very polite Aap janab style of Bhopali Hindi-Urdu mixed language is spoken.
Several cities in Madhya Pradesh are extraordinary for their architecture and or scenic beauty. Three sites in Madhya Pradesh have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: the Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986) including Devi Jagadambi temple, Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989) and the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003). Other architecturally significant or scenic sites include Ajaigarh, Amarkantak, Asirgarh, Bawangaja, Bhopal, Chanderi, Chitrakuta, Dhar, Gwalior, Indore, Maheshwar, Mandleshwar, Mandu, Omkareshwar, Orchha, Pachmarhi, Shivpuri, Sonagiri and Ujjain. MP being very large geographically, and the history being spread over several millennia, developing a comprehensive picture of heritage and architecture is a monumental task.
Madhya Pradesh is home to several National Parks, including Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park, Satpura National Park, Sanjay National Park, Madhav National Park, Van Vihar National Park, Mandla Plant Fossils National Park, Panna National Park, and Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh.
There are also a number of natural preserves, including Amarkantak, Bagh Caves, Bhedaghat, Bori Natural Reserve, Ken Gharial, Ghatigaon, Kuno Palpur, Narwar, Chambal, Kukdeshwar, Narsinghgarh, Nora Dehi, Pachmarhi, Panpatha, Shikarganj, Patalkot and Tamia.
Facts at a glance
Time zone – IST (UTC+5:30). Area – 308,144 km² (118,975 sq mi). Capital – Bhopal. Largest city – Indore. District(s) – 48. Population – 60,385,118 (7th). Density – 196 /km² (508 /sq mi). Language(s) – Hindi. Established – 1956-11-01. Legislature (seats) Unicameral (230). ISO abbreviation IN-MP.