Want to get into the heart of India? Feast your eyes on the region of Madhya Pradesh, located in the heart of India, and home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites, 25 sanctuaries and nine national parks. And if it’s tigers your clients are into, then it’s “MP,” as it’s lovingly called, they’ll want to visit as the destination accounts for almost 20 percent of India’s tiger population, with six tigers reserves. And even literary hounds will get their fill as this is the area that inspired “The Jungle Book,” and many of the novel’s locations can still be found here.
According to representatives from the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, with whom Recommend recently chatted, “visitors can experience all of India in Madhya Pradesh without moving around too much. It’s a truly authentic experience.”
Those aforementioned UNESCO sites are at the forefront of the many reasons to visit this exotic destination: the temples of Khajuraho, built between 950 to 1050 AD, with 22 surviving temples; Bhimbetka, with over 600 rock shelters belonging to the Neolithic age filled with detailed paintings depicting the life of the prehistoric cave dwellers; and the town of Sanchi, home to an ensemble of Buddhist monuments that are considered to be one of the oldest stone structures in India.
While exploring MP, visitors will also encounter culture—there are festivals throughout the year, including the Khajuraho Dance Festival, held near the Khajuraho Temples; cities with names like Rewa, Jabalpur, located on the shores of the River Narmada, and Bhopal, known as the city of lakes and MP’s capital; and a plethora of wildlife opportunities.
Of course, to truly experience the destination in-depth, your clients, the tourism board suggests, should visit for 14 to 16 days, but knowing that not everyone has so much time on their hands, we’ve put together a cheat sheet of tour options provided to us by the tourism board that are ideal for recommending to clients.
- The 4-night World Heritage Route takes visitors to Bhopal, Bhimbetka, Bhojpur, Sanchi and Khajuraho. Overnights are in Bhopal and Khajuraho.
- The 6-night Jungle Trails takes visitors to the Bandhavgarh National Park, home to the highest density of tigers in the region (you can opt for a white tiger safari here); Kanha National Park, with ample opportunity to spot wildlife; and Pench, made up of mostly teak-tree forest so has a different flavor than the other national parks. Overnights are in Pench, Kanha and Bandhavgarh.
- The 4-night Tiger & Temple Tour takes visitors to Panna, famous for its diamond mines; and Khajuraho. Overnights are in Panna and Khajuraho.
- The 7-night Majestic Forts, with stops at various forts including Mandu, Raisen, Gwalior and Jhansi. Overnights are in Mandu, Burhanpur, Chanderi and Gwalior (known for its palaces and temples).
A top accommodation choice in MP’s capital is the 100-room Jehan Numa Palace, set on the slopes of Shamla Hill. Formerly a 19th century residence, the property, which combines British colonial, Italian renaissance and classical Greek architecture, features accommodations with all the must-have amenities, four restaurants, two bars, an outdoor pool, a fitness center and the Palace Spa and Salon.