Madhya Pradesh, located in
the geographic heart of India, is surrounded by seven states viz.
Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh in the south, Uttar Pradesh and
Rajasthan in the north, Bihar and Orissa in the east and Gujarat in
the west. Madhya Pradesh is the second largest Indian state in size
with an area of 308000 sq km. Though the state of Madhya Pradesh came
into existence on November 1, 1956 but it came into its present form
on November 1, 2000 following its bifurcation to create a new state of
Chhattisgarh. The concept of District Governance has been implemented
and District Planning Committees have been empowered to plan and
execute development works. A system of village level governance, Gram
Swaraj, has been put in place, from Jan. 26, 2001, under which Gram
Sabhas have been bestowed with considerable powers for development of
villages and welfare activities. Madhya Pradesh, because of its
central location in India, has remained a crucible of historical
currents from North, South, East and West. Except for the valleys of
the Narmada and the Tapti, Madhya Pradesh consists of a plateau with a
mean elevation of 1600 ft above sea level, interspersed with the
mountains of the Vindhya and the Satpura ranges. The main river
systems are the Chambal, Betwa, Sindh, Narmada, Tapti, Mahanadi and
Indravati. Nearly one third of the state's area is covered with
tropical forests ranging between the rivers Chambal in the north and
Godavari in the south. To the east of Chambal, the area has rocky
surface and thick forest. Farther north, the topography of the plains
stretches up to the ravines of Chambal. The magic of Madhya Pradesh
lies in its exquisitely carved temples, proud fortresses and variety
of wildlife. Madhya Pradesh has a number of important pilgrimage
centres. While Ujjain and Omkareshwar have special significance due to
Shrines having two of the twelve jyotirlingas, Maheshwar, Mandleshwar,
Amarkantak, Hoshangabad are also important in their own rights. Rich
archaeological wealth has been unearthed in various parts of the state
throwing light on its history. Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh,
is a fascinating amalgam of an old historic city, and modern urban
planning. It presents a multi-faceted profile: the old city with its
marketplaces and fine old mosques and palaces still bears the
aristocratic imprint of its former rulers. Equally impressive is the
new city with its verdant, exquisitely laid out parks and gardens,
broad avenues and streamlined modern edifices. Madhya Pradesh has
everything from rich history and heritage, divinity, colorful simple
people, art and architecture, wonderful handicrafts to unique
Madhya Pradesh comprises several linguistically and culturally
distinct regions, including:
A plateau region in the northwest of the state, north of the Vindhya
Range, with its distinct language and culture. Indore is the major
city of the region, while Bhopal lies on the edge of Bundelkhand
region. Ujjain is a town of historical importance.
The western portion of the Narmada River valley, lying south of the
Vindhyas in the southwest portion of the state.
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 an historic center of the region.
A hilly region in the northeast of the state, which includes the
eastern end of the Vindhya Range.
The southeastern 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.
Madhya Pradesh has a topography that is crossed from north to south by
plains separated by upland areas. The climate is extreme in the north
of Madhya Pradesh. It is cool and breezy in the central parts and
humid in the eastern and southern regions. Best time to visit is
between September to February. The state has three main seasons:
November to February are the months of winter during which the average
temperatures range from 10° to 27° C (50° to 81° F). Winters are
usually pleasant and dry.
The March-to-May season is hot and dry. Summers are hot, with an
average temperature of 29° C (85° F) and a high temperature that at
times reaches 48° C (118° F).
The climate is monsoonal between June to September. During the monsoon
season temperatures average 19° to 30° C (66° to 86°). Madhya Pradesh
receives an average annual rainfall of about 1200 mm (nearly 50 in),
of which 90 percent falls during the monsoon season.