Madhya Pradesh
The Heart of Incredible India

Madhya Pradesh (MP), meaning Central Province, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and the largest city is Indore. Nicknamed the "heart of India" due to its geographical location in India, Madhya Pradesh is the second-largest state in the country by area. With over 72.6 mn (2011 census) inhabitants, it is the sixth-largest state in India by population. It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the north-east, Chhattisgarh to the south-east, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west and Rajasthan to the northwest. Its total area is 308,245 Sq.Kms.

Madhya Pradesh, in its present form, came into existence on November 1, 2000 following its bifurcation to create a new state of Chhattisgarh. The undivided Madhya Pradesh was founded on November 1, 1956.

Over the last decade Madhya Pradesh has witnessed a radical transformation in terms of economic and social development. The state has recorded an impressive growth in GSDP averaging over 9% during the last decade of stable governance, supplemented by creation of a robust support infrastructure in terms of roads, water supply, irrigation capacity and a year round 24x7 power supply. The abundant manpower of the state has been developed into a skilled technical workforce, with the presence of world class institutes like IIM, IIT, AIIMS, Engineering colleges and several ITIs. The state is leading in textile manufacturing, automobiles, food processing, soya processing, engineering and agriculture equipment manufacturing. The peaceful manpower of the State is an advantage for industrial development.

Having established a strong pedestal for rapid economic development, the people centric transparent policies and hassle-free investment procedures in the state are gradually making Madhya Pradesh a Global Investment Hub. Already, domestic and global multinational firms including TEVA, TCS, Infosys, John Deere, Bridgestone, Reliance, Rio Tinto, Cummins, Volvo, Novartis, P&G, AkzoNobel, and Essar have made investment in the state.

Population (Census 2011) 72,627 (In Thousand)
Male 37,612 (In Thousand)
Female 35,015 (In Thousand)
Sex Ratio 931 Females/ 1000 of Males
Literacy 69.32%
Male Literacy 78.73%
Female Literacy 59.24%
Area (in Sq.Kms.) 308,245
Districts 51
Total Villages 54,903
Languages Hindi (Official), Marathi

Government & Administration

Madhya Pradesh has a 230-seat state legislative assembly. The state also sends 40 members to the Parliament of India: 29 are elected to the Lok Sabha (Lower House) and 11 to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House). The constitutional head of the state is the Governor, appointed by the President of India. The executionary powers lie with the Chief Minister, who is the elected leader of the state legislature. The current Governor of the state is Shri Ram Naresh Yadav, and the Chief Minister is Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).


Rock Painting Bhimbetka

The prehistoric history of Madhya Pradesh begins with the Stone Age. Isolated remains of Homo erectus found in Hathnora in the Narmada Valley indicate that Madhya Pradesh might have been inhabited in the middle pleistocene era. Painted pottery dated to the later mesolithic period has been found in the Bhimbetka rock shelters. Chalcolithic sites belonging to Kayatha culture (2100–1800 BC) and Malwa culture (1700–1500 BC) have been discovered in the western part of the state.

Dynastic history of the state begins with the time of Ashoka, the great Buddhist emperor whose Mauryan empire was powerful in Malwa and Avanti. King Ashoka's wife is said to be from Vidisha, a town located north of today's Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. The Maurya Empire declined after death of Ashoka and central India was contested among the Shungas, Kushanas, Satvahanas and local dynasties during 3rd to 1st century BC. In the 1st century BC, Ujjain, a prominent urban centre of present Madhya Pradesh, was the predominant commercial centre. This area became part of northern India during Gupta Empire from 4th to 6th century AD. Onslaughts of Huna brought about the collapse of Gupta Empire resulting in its disintegration into smaller states. However, a king Yasodharman of Malwa defeated the Hunas in 528 AD ending their expansion. Later Harsa of Thaneshwar reunited northern India till 647 AD. In the medieval period Rajput, clans like Paramaras of Malwa and Chandelas of Bundelkhand dominated Madhya Pradesh during 950 to 1060 AD. The paramara king Raja Bhoj, who gave the name to capital city of Bhopal, ruled over Indore and Dhar. Gond Kingdoms emerged in Gondwana and Mahakoshal. In the 13th century, northern Madhya Pradesh was conquered by the Delhi Sultanate which collapsed in 14th century giving emergence to regional kingdoms like Tomars of Gwalior and Muslim Sultanate of Malwa with its capital at Mandu.

During the period of 1156 to 1605 AD, most of the area of present Madhya Pradesh came under Mughal Empire while Gondwana and Mahakoshal remained under Gond control who acknowledged Mughal supremacy, but enjoyed virtual autonomy. Mughal control began to weaken after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 AD and Marathas began to expand. Marathas took control over most of Madhya Pradesh – Holkars ruled much of Malwa from Indore, Scindias ruled Gwalior and Bhonsales ruled Mahakoshal from at Nagpur. At the same time, Bhopal was ruled by a Muslim dynasty whodescended from Afghan General Dost Mohammed Khan. In course of time, the British expanded their dominion from their strongholds in Bengal, Bombay and Madras, they defeated the Marathas between 1775 to 1818 AD and entered into treaty relationships with the rulers of Madhya Pradesh. Most of Madhya Pradesh, including the large states of Indore, Bhopal, Nagpur, Rewa and a number of small states came under British Empire. In 1853, the British annexed the state of Nagpur which included south-eastern Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra and most of Chhattisgarh which were combined with Saugor and Nerbudda Territories to form Central Province in 1861. The princely states of northern Madhya Pradesh were governed by the Central India Agency.

Independence of India in 1947 was followed by the merger of hundreds of princely states into the Union with the formation of the Republic of India on 26th January, 1950. The boundaries were rationalised with the reorganisation of states. In 1950, Madhya Pradesh was created from former British Central Provinces and Berar, princely states of Makarai and Chhattisgarh and Nagpur as the capital. The new states of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh and Bhopal were formed out of Central India Agency. In 1956, as a result of reorganisation of states, the states of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh and Bhopal were merged into Madhya Pradesh, some districts of erstwhile CP and Berar were transferred to Maharashtra and some minor adjustments were made with Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. Then Bhopal became the new capital of the state. Initially, the state had 43 districts. Subsequently, two large districts were bifurcated in the year 1972, Bhopal was carved out from Sehore and Rajnandgaon from Durg; the total number being 45. In the year 1998, 6 more districts were carved out from larger districts and the number of districts became 51. In November 2000, the south-eastern portion of the state was split to form a new State of Chhattisgarh. Thus, the present Madhya Pradesh State came into existence, the 2ndlargest state in the country, spread over a geographical area of about 308,245 Sq.Kms.


Climate Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh has a subtropical climate. Like most of north India, it has a hot dry summer (April–June), followed by monsoon rains (July–September) and a cool & relatively dry winter. The average rainfall is about 1,371 mm. The south-eastern districts have the heaviest rainfall, some places receiving as much as 2,150 mm, while the western and north-western districts receive 1,000 mm or less.


Ecology Madhya Pradesh

According to the 2011 figures, the recorded forest area of the state is 94,689 Sq.Kms. constituting 30.72% of the geographical area of the state. It constitutes 12.30% of the forest area of India. Legally this area has been classified into "Reserved Forest" (65.3%), "Protected Forest" (32.84%) and "Unclassified Forest" (0.18%). In terms soil type, the state is divided into five major parts – Black soil, predominantly found in Malwa, Mahakoshal and southern Bundelkhand region; Red and yellow soil, predominantly found in Baghelkhand region; Alluvial soil, predominantly found in Northern Madhya Pradesh; Laterite soil, predominantly found in highland areas and Mixed soil, predominantly found in parts of Gwalior and Chambal region.

Flora & Fauna

Flora Fauna Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is home to 10 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, Pench National Park and Ratapani National Park. There are also a number of natural preserves, including Amarkantak, Bagh Caves, Balaghat, Bori Natural Reserve, Ken Gharial, Ghatigaon, KunoPalpur, Narwar, Chambal, Kukdeshwar, Narsinghgarh, Nora Dehi, Pachmarhi, Panpatha, Shikarganj, Patalkot and Tamia. Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve in Satpura Range, Amarkantak biosphere reserve and panna national park are three of the 18 biosphere reserves in India.

Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, Panna, Satpura and Ratapani National Parks are managed as Project Tiger areas. Sardarpur sanctuary in Dhar and Sailana are managed for conservation of Kharmor or Lesser Florican. Ghatigaon sanctuary is managed for great Indian bustard or Son Chiriya. The National Chambal Sanctuary is managed for conservation of Gharial and Mugger, River Dolphin, Smooth-coated Otter and a number of Turtle species. Ken-gharial and Son-gharial sanctuaries are managed for conservation of Gharial and Mugger. Barasingha is the state animal and Dudhraj is the state bird of Madhya Pradesh.

Teak and Sal forests are the important forest formations in the state while bamboo-bearing areas are widely distributed.


Rivers Madhya Pradesh

There are nine major rivers in Madhya Pradesh – Narmada, Tapti, Betwa, Chambal, Son, Mahanadi, Shipra, Kewai and Johila. Out of these Narmada, Tapi and Betwa are most important from agricultural and urban water supply terms.

The Narmada originates in Amarkantak, the highest peak of the Vindhya Range, it flows westward through Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat before finally ending its journey in the Gulf of Khambat. Its tributaries include the Banjar, Tawa, Machna, Shakkar, Karam, Choral, Barna, Hiran, Denwa and Sonbhadra rivers. Its length is 1,312 Kms, out of which 1,077 Kms in Madhya Pradesh. Earlier known as Reva and Mahakalasuta, the Narmada is also referred to as the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh.

Apart from the Narmada, the Tapti River (Tapi) is the only river that flows westward and falls into the Arabian Sea, in the Gulf of Khambat, to be precise. The 724 Kms long Tapti is agriculturally very important as it drains an area of over 65,145 Sq.Kms. spread over Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. This river originates at a height of 762m in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh (to the south of the Satpura Range). The Tapti journeys almost parallel to the Narmada, though it is much shorter in length than the Narmada and has a smaller catchment area.

Originating in the Kumra village in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, the Betwa flows for 380 km. After meandering through Madhya Pradesh, it enters the neighbouring state, Uttar Pradesh and joins the river Yamuna in Hamirpur.

Handicrafts & Handlooms

Handicrafts Madhya Pradesh

Folk Paintings

The folk art of Madhya Pradesh is well-known and the ceremonial and ritual art here is distinguished by the variations between the crafting in different areas as well as that practised by different tribes. The folk painters of Bundelkhand have a flair for ritualistic and auspicious wall paintings and floor decorations. Ceremonial decorations in flour are also made on almost all auspicious occasions. The drawings of different idols are made on Nevala Ashtami, Sheetla Saptami, RadhaAstami, Sanjhi, MahaLaxmi, Mamulia, KarwaChoth, Gahoi Ashtami, Bhai Dooj, Deepawali, Ekadashi, Makar Sankranti, and a whole range of other festive, religious, and auspicious occasions. The artistic expression and aesthetics of Malwa's folk painting are remarkable. These paintings area also made traditionally on festivals and auspicious occasions. However, they are also made for commercial purposes. Traditional themes are related to festivals, rituals, and other religious motifs. Traditional paintings include wall paintings, floor paintings drawn in ochre or chalk paste, ceremonial squares of coloured chalk, hand-prints made with turmeric or saffron paste on Deepawali, wall paintings of pitora or pithori and also pictures depicting worship of the river Ganga. Professional paintings are made by members of the chitera caste. These paintings are known as Chitravans. The themes include mythological characters, and social motifs.

Wood Craft

The wood craft of Madhya Pradesh unveils marvels in refinement and intricacy. Figures carved out of wood from the very small like miniaturized animals and human figures to large objects of furniture find representation in the traditional wood craft of Madhya Pradesh and its tribal areas. Images and objects from nature and real life fish, cock, warriors with bows and arrows, peacocks, horse riders, elephants, lion's head carved out of wood speak for themselves the expertise and beauty of this craft. Locally available shisham, teak, dhudhi, sal, kidar and bamboo are carved into various shapes providing utilitarian and decorative creations.

There is an ancient and rich tradition of wood craft in the tribal belts of the state. The Gond and Baigas of Mandla region use wood for constructing their homes, artistic door frames, doors, chowkies, musical instruments. Baigas continue to use wooden masks. The traditional wooden doors of the Gonds and the Korkus and the memory reliefs and the wedding pillars of the Barihaya tribe are fascinating. In the Bhil dominated area of Dhar, Jhabua and Nimar, practice of erecting memory pillars, Gatha, prevails. The containers for grinding stones and chowkies for measuring up the grains are made of wood and are beautifully carved. The doors bear the beautifully carved figures of animals, birds as well as various patterns, while knives and combs boast intricate carvings. Alirajpur and Jhabua are the two main centers to see the tribal Bhil woodcraft.

Basket Bamboo

Basket and mat weaving is a major craft in Madhya Pradesh because of readily available Bamboo. A variety of baskets and woven mats can be found at local haat (market) in Balaghat, Seoni, Chhindwara and Betul. The Toori community in Betul district weaves about 50 different types of baskets which are used for various daily needs and ceremonial presentations during the festive occasions. Beautifully crafted baskets and windows of bamboo are found in Alirajpur. Bamboo and cane are used for chairs, tables, lamps and many other furniture accessories. Things made of bamboo are collectable art pieces.

Bagh Print Sarees

In the town of Bagh in Dhar district, a dedicated community of printers known as cheepas extract colors from the roots of the Aal plant and transform them into intricate patterns on fabric in Bagh printing style. Characterized by the use of black and red colors on a white background, a Bagh saree can typically take up to three to four weeks for production, as their three dimensional tone is an effect achieved only by hand. The extremely attractive Bagh bedspreads are also very popular giveaways.

Chanderi Sarees

Small medieval town of Chanderi has not only preserved the rare craft of weaving through the centuries, but has also evolved new forms and designs suited to the tastes of both the royalty and the modern women. Patronized by the nobility in the past, the weavers of Chanderi produce sarees in silk and cotton that are the very epitome of grace and splendor. Designer sarees created by weavers are connoisseur's delight and are preferred for special occasions.

The patterns of fruits, flowers, leaves and birds are evocative of intense presence of the nature. The vivid and unique colors of sarees present the sublime hues and vibrant shades of the nature in all its bounty.

Maheshwari Sarees

The 18th century saw the blossoming of an art form, inspired by the genius of Holkar Queen Ahilya Bai. This was Maheshwari saree an ingenious marriage of cotton with silk, embellished with zari. Its outstanding combination of strength and elasticity has found admirers all over the world. The names of motif are poetry in themselves, "Guldasta", "Ghungroo", "Mayur" and "Chand Tara". The colors whisper softy. Maheshwari sarees are abiding expressions of grace and quite splendor.


The cuisine in Madhya Pradesh varies regionally. Wheat and meat are common in the North and West of the state, while the wetter South and East are dominated by rice and fish. Milk is a common ingredient in Gwalior and Indore. The street food of Indore is renowned, with shops that have been active for generations. Bhopal is known for meat and fish dishes such as rogan josh, korma, qeema, biryani, pilaf and kebabs. There is a street named "ChatoriGali" in old Bhopal where one can find traditional Muslim non-vegetarian fare like Paya Soup, Bun Kabab, and Nalli-Nihari as some of the specialties.

Dal Bafla is a common meal in the region which can be easily found in Indore and other nearby regions, consisting of a steamed and grilled wheat cake dunked in rich ghee, which is eaten with daal and ladoos. The culinary specialty of the Malwa and Indore regions of central Madhya Pradesh is poha (flattened rice); usually eaten at breakfast with jalebi. Beverages in the region include lassi, beer, rum and sugarcane juice. A Local liquor is distilled from the flowers of the mahua tree. Date palm toddy is also popular. In tribal regions, a popular drink is the sap of the sulfi tree, which may be alcoholic if it has gone through fermentation.


One of the highlights and must do's of Indore is to experience the local food and 'chaats' stalls in the local markets. One of the major food markets is Sarafa, which is an area in the old town near Rajwada. Originally a market of jewelers, Sarafa is now known as the foodie bazaar. Late in the evening around 9 pm when businesses start closing down, jewelers down their shutters, Sarafa starts getting festive. Traditional 'Chaat' houses open and sweet sellers sit with their huge assortments of freshly made Indian sweet like Gulab Jamuns, Rabdi, Kalakand and Malpuas. One can see people gorging on 'Kachoris', 'Samosas' and 'Tikkis'. Alongside the traditional chaat places, a slew of cuisines have set up shop in the form of Indo Chinese stalls, Sandwiches and Pizza stalls. Another popular hangout for youngsters in Indore is 'Chappan Bazaar' which originally considered of chappanor fifty six shops. Further Indore visit cannot be completed without a visit to one of the many popular namkeen stores.


Bhopal's cuisine has a strong Muslim influence as well as adaptations from Marwari culinary cultures. Non-vegetarian lovers can have a gala treat here. Do not miss the mutton dish, 'AchariGosht' to experience the royal nature of the city. A street named ChatoriGali in old Bhopal offers traditional Muslim dishes such as 'Paya soup','Bun kebab', 'Nallinihari' etc. Do not leave the city without having the exotic 'BhopaliPaan', believed to aid digestion after the heavy treats.


The heritage city of Gwalior encompasses one of the richest cuisines of India. With kitchens dominated by grains such as wheat and soya, vegetarian dishes such as 'Paneer pilaf', 'Parathas','Samosha', 'Kachori' are highly recommended. Non-veg lovers can opt for the 'Godoroo meat stew' - a combination of Mughlai and Persian food. Gwalior is also popular for its sweets such as the crunchy 'Gajak', 'Anjeer' and 'Khuskhus' rolls.


Jabalpur's rich, spicy and creamy dishes are influenced by its British history and it's neighboring States. 'Khoprapak','Chicken samosa' and 'Sabudana Khichri' are popular delicacies here, in addition to 'Malpua' and 'Khoyakijalebi'.


Cities Madhya Pradesh
Name Population (2011 Census) Details
Indore 2,167,447 Commercial Capital of Madhya Pradesh and Central India
Bhopal 1,883,381 Capital City of Madhya Pradesh
Jabalpur 1,267,564 A historical military town
Gwalior 1,101,981 A historical tourist town

Energy and Connectivity

Infrastructure Energy and Connectivity Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh has available power capacity of about 17,000 MW, most of which is under the control of the state and the central governments.

In terms of connectivity, bus and train services cover most of Madhya Pradesh. The 160,000 Kms. long road network of the state includes 20 national highways. A 4,948 Kms. long rail network criss-crosses the state. 425 trains transit through the state, daily. The state has a total of 20 major railway junctions. Major inter-state bus terminals of the state are located in Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur. The intra-city transit systems mostly consist of buses, private autos and taxis. Metro trains projects are under implementation in Bhopal and Indore.

The state is well connected to major Indian ports including Kandla and JNPT (Mumbai).

In terms of air connectivity, the state has five commercial airports (Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior and Khajuraho) which are well connected to other major Indian cities. Additionally, there are 20 operational airstrips in the state.


Education Madhya Pradesh

The state had over 100,000 primary schools, about 6,500 high schools and about 5,000 higher secondary schools. The state has over 200 engineering & architecture colleges and 12 medical colleges. Around 100,000 engineers pass out of Madhya Pradesh, annually.

The state is home to some of the premier educational and research institutions of India including Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (Bhopal), IIM Indore, IIT Indore, Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology(Bhopal), IIITDM Jabalpur and IIITM Gwalior, Indian institute of Tourism and Travel Management(IITTM, Gwalior),SPA Bhopal, IIFM (Bhopal), National Law Institute University (Bhopal) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences Bhopal.The state also has a veterinary science university (Nanaji Deshmukh Veterinary Science University, Jabalpur) with three constituent colleges at Jabalpur, Mhow and Rewa.

The state has 20 universities including 18 state and private universities and 2 central universities.