A voyage through the core of India will give you an idea about India’s fabulous natural diversities which attract tourists all through the year. Geographically Central India is droopily defined as regions of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh grouped along with the states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Five major rivers flowing across this region namely Narmada, Tapti, Godavari, Bhima and Krishna make it a home for a wide range of flora and fauna. Central India is surely a place for travellers who want to explore the real India. Starting from wild life sanctuaries and national parks to ancient Buddhist caves, glorious monuments, palaces and holy pilgrimage towns, this part of India holds enough to offer its visitors. An adventurous excursion into the sal forests for a quick sight of wild tigers will also give you a chance to see the tribes of the region whose existence dates back even the oldest sub continental monuments. Though travelers flock to this region mostly to visit the national parks and wild life sanctuaries, the extraordinarily designed ancient temples speak about the rich culture of Central India and should not be missed. Among all the attractions Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, Satpura, Orchha, Pachmarhi and Gwalior are the most popular destinations in Central India that nests magnificent tourist spots to spell bind you.
Kanha National Park
The largest national park in Madhya Pradesh spread across 940 square Kilometres is the best managed park in Asia. It is home to a considerable number of Royal Bengal tigers and more than 350 species of birds and flora. Kanha National Park is known globally for its remarkable achievement in preserving the rare Hardground Swamp Deer (Barasingha), from extinction. The wildlife here also includes Gaur (Indian Bison), langurs, wild boar and jackal.
Of all the wild life sanctuaries Kanha National Park stands out for the frequent sighting of the Royal Bengal tigers roaming in the dense woods apart from numerous other animal and bird species. A jeep safari in Kanha National Park will take you deep into the jungle and experience its diverse landscapes ranging from lush meadows to wooded forests. The park has many charming eco lodges and resorts that make your stay and experience in the park a rich and memorable one.
Bandhavgarh National Park
Once a hunting destination of the Maharaja of Rewa, the park is known for its highest density of tigers today. Declared a National Park in 1968, the park is spread across 65 sq miles that is open to tourists. Apart from tigers Bandhavgarh is also known for its population of leopards and several species of deer. Bandhavgarh is majorly divided in to three zones. The Tala zone were the Bandhavgarh Fort is located, Maghdi zone, which is spectacular for spotting tigers and is never off a tourist’s list and Khitauli, just across the road is very scenic and a great place for bird watching.
Pench National Park
Stimulus for the legendry novel ‘The Jungle Book’, Pench is one of the most popular national parks in Central India. The park borrows its name from the grandiose Pench River flowing right through its woods dividing the park into two equal parts. Nestling a wide variety of flora and fauna Pench National Park is known to be home for many disappearing species of plants. The Magnificent stretch of this park is a living quarter for 285 migratory and resident variety of birds including four varieties of endangered vultures. Pench National Park gains its popularity among the tourists as a place for sighting good number of elusive Leopards. One can reach the park from Pauni on NH7 through either Turiya or Karmajhiri. Tourists can also enjoy boat rides to a few nearby islands which are offered by Pench reserve.
Satpura National Park
Satpura National Park is rich in biodiversity and is located in the Hoshangabad District of Madhya Pradesh. Together with the contiguous Bori and Panchmari wildlife sanctuaries, Satpura National Park is spread across 850 sq miles and forms an exceptional central India highland ecosystem. Satpura in Sanskrit means seven mountains and hence derives its name. Owing to its environmental and commercial significance, Satpura National Park was among one of the first acknowledged reserve forests in India. Located at Central India’s richest forest range, Satpura is blessed with a wide variety of Flora including vital medicinal Plants and exceptional herbs used in traditional ayurvadic medicines. The park offers jeep, elephant and boat safari that make even the tough terrains accessible.
Tadoba National Park
Situated in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, Tadoba National Park is spread across the area of 1727 sq.km. Eclipsed by teak and bamboo, Tadoba National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife like panthers, tigers, sloth bears, jackals, bison, samber etc. Tadoba hosts tourists from across the world that enjoys the adventurous top open jeep safaris accompanied by trained local guides. Summers are tremendously hot here but also the ideal time for spotting the wildlife around water bodies.
Orcha a town of historical significance was founded in the 16th century by Rudra Pratap, a Rajput Chief. The brilliant architecture of the palaces and the temples here speaks of a lot of Mughal influence. As the place is roofed with plantation, it was hence named ‘Orchha’ which means “unseen place”. Here the river Betwa splits into seven channels with quite a number of ancient landmarks to be spotted on either side. Though Orchha has a lot to offer it is not found on too many tourist wish lists and hence is an unknown treasure. The place has retained its serenity and is an ideal place for people who look forward to explore the unexplored. Few must visit places in Orccha are Ram Raja Temple, Lakshmi Narayan Temple and Jahangir Mahal.
Gwalior is a prominent city of Madhya Pradesh that has been ruled by numerous North Indian Empires. The influence of all the ruling dynasties is prominently seen in the architecture of the various imperial monuments across the city, which is itself located in a valley with rocky hills surrounding it. The hill-top fort which is popularly known as “the pearl amongst fortresses in India” is a major tourist attraction that invites people from across the globe. Gwalior is also known for its supreme contribution in Indian classical music and is a birthplace of many legendary musicians. The city’s royal palaces, temples, statues and mosques speak volumes about its rich heritage. Sun Temple, Gwalior fort and Jai Vilas palace are few of the must visit places of the city.
Bhopal – Bhimbetka caves & Sanchi Stupa
Bhopal the capital city and the administrative headquarters of the state of Madhya Pradesh is also known as the city of lakes. Being one of the greenest cities of India, Bhopal is hallowed with a number of natural and artificial lakes. Bhopal speaks of the royal lineage of being ruled by the wives of the Nawabs for around hundred years. A pair of lakes divides the city into two halves. One part of the city will fascinate you with gorgeous havelis, narrow and twisting lanes, rushing crowd, native market places and captivating mosques. While the other part of the city will keep you awestruck with wide roads, up-to-date lavish shopping malls and luxury hotels. The Bhojtal is the largest manmade lake in India and surely deserves a visit while in the city. For a traveller who wants to understand the life and living of the locals should take a tour of the Chawk area and its native market places.
Bhimbetka Rock Shelter
Just 45Kms southeast of Bhopal is the UNESCO world heritage site that displays the earliest hints of human life in Indian Subcontinent. Bhibbetka has seven hills and more than 750 rock shelters, few of which were peopled more than 100,000 years ago. The shelters indicate the evolution of human race and also display primitive cave paintings. Bhimbetkar- India’s oldest art gallery is an archeological treasure and is a must visit when in Central India.
Located i46Kms northeast of Bhopal is another UNESCO world heritage site which is known for being the oldest stone structures in India. Custom-built in 3rd century BC by the Emperor Ashoka to preserve and spread the Buddhist philosophy is beautifully maintained till date and talks volumes about the history and art of Mauryan period.
Pench Jungle Camp
Pench Jungle camp offers an extravagant living amidst wildlife which is sure to impress you by all means. Rated as one of the best, Pench Jungle Camp is situated at the right of the National Park. It is a perfect lodging for tourists who wish to live the wilderness of Pench National Forest. The camp has fantastic arrangements of skilled local guides who help the guests to explore the magnificent variety of flora and fauna that Pench is blessed with. The camp boasts of its friendly staff and customized services.
Rooms – The camp has a total of 23 rooms in total comprising safari Tents, Premier Rooms and cottages.
Denwa Backwater Escape
Standing in an area of 10 acres forested land by the river, Denwa Backwater Escape charms tourists with its location that overlooks the backwaters of the dam on Denwa River. It is an ideal place to sit back and relax after a daylong safari at Satpura National Park. The resort is built on 10 acres of land right across the river. The tourists can have an adventurous entry to the National park by a boat and then explore the forest on a jeep safari. The lodge has 2 river facing tree houses along with 8 river facing cottages. The cottages are constructed in modern safari style with baked tiles, leather and vintage iron furniture. It has almost all the amenities to make your stay lavish like an eco-friendly swimming pool, dining area overlooking the river, out-door barbeque and bush dining areas and a variety of Indian, continental and local cuisine to choose from.
Tree House Hideaway, Bandhavgarh
As the name indicates The Tree House Hideaway is spread across 21 acres of woods that gives you a cozy experience of living amidst the wild. Living in this property is itself an experience where you can choose to enjoy your solitude in the woods or venture out to the National Park. The five air conditioned fully equipped tree houses are beautifully designed with exceptional local craft knowledge and traditional proficiency. The balconies open up to the Tiger reserve and the sight of wild life from your own balcony is definitely a thing to relish for a long time.
Amar Mahal, Orchha
Amar Mahal is an 18th century Rajput house of Bundelkhand which is now converted into a luxury heritage resort. A stay at Amar Mahal is like living the rich history of Orchha through the grand room décor, the rich gold work, metal artifact etc. 46 fully-equipped, lavish rooms and suits overlooks the greenery and the magnificent monument of Orchha. Located at the outskirts of the city away from the chaos of city life Amar Mahal is perfect place to have a relaxing holiday in the lap of nature while enjoying the royal treatment. The sunset and sunrise from the window of your room is a treat to your eyes and a reason enough to choose this for your stay while in Orchha.
Sarai at Toria
Nestled very close to Khajuraho and Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, Sarai at Toria is an eight room luxury space by the bank of river Ken run by conservationists Raghu and Joanna. Staying in a mud packed bamboo cottages you can experience the variety of local cuisine at it its best. An evening in the four side open sitting area called baithak enjoying the soothing sound of the water flowing in Ken with a sight of sky full of stars is a breathtaking experience to stay with you for the rest of the life. With wildlife all around it, safaris are arranged in Panna National Park for some excellent wildlife experience. Sarai also arranges for a number of cultural experiences nature tours by experienced naturalists and guides. When in Serai one should not miss the boat ride on the Ken River.