MUSBA HASHMI travels to the hidden gems of Madhya Pradesh to explore what the cities have on offer and how these destinations of eternal beauty call for attention, making them a must visit on your travel list
A not-so-dense forest with rocks up for a toss and an enchanting zigzag road canopied by the trees leading towards nothing less than heaven sound like a faraway fancy land. Often underrated because of famous tourist hubs and numerous hill stations, the place leaves you spellbound with a wish to revisit it innumerable times. A place that gives you a peek into India’s culture and history, Orchha makes you fall for its beauty. Known for its temples, one of the most famous being Raja Ram Temple, Orchha gives you a walk down the memory lane of the country’s remarkable past.
The owl-shaped Lakshmi Temple, now non-functional, takes the visitors on other-worldly experiences filled with spirituality. The exquisite interior and the exterior of the temple are hard to ignore, with every wall telling the history through engraved paintings of mythological stories. According to a local tourist guide, though the paintings have faded with time, the preservation work is trying to bring it back to old glory or save other paintings from a similar fate.
Madhya Pradesh does not fail to mesmerize you when you venture out in search of peace, tranquility, and a slice of history. When you drive around and look beyond the usual humdrum of life, Chhatris on River Betwa will open up the book of Bundela dynasty rulers’ grand life as if you are living in that era. These 15 chhatris, resembling a semi-open umbrella, are built in the memory of the rulers and their members.
Not only taking you on a trip down memory lane and bask in the glory of the past, but Madhya Pradesh also gives you a lesson or two on conservation of nature’s balance. Being developed as Vulture Conservation Centre by Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, Chhatris allow you to relive the times when it was normal to spot vultures near your city. Once in abundance, this beautiful bird has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2002. It is magical to witness these regal birds going about their daily life and providing the much-needed balance to life. It takes you back to the question: Why humans had to intervene when Mother Nature has provided these scavengers to save us from the rotting carcasses strewn all over the place. Well, the question calls for a different debate altogether; the fact remains that such commendable work needs appreciation as you see these birds happily frolicking here on a piece of land in Madhya Pradesh.
When in Orchha, how can you not hop, skip and jump to a place that is merely at a distance of 200 kms. It is a place that sometimes evokes smirks, but the glimpse it gives in the past life is incomparable. This mystical land is of Khajuraho, which magnetically pulls you towards its highly decorated temple walls with engravings of love etched intricately to make you feel the innate emotions and divinity behind it. A stroll amidst the well-preserved ruins is a must to understand the deeper meaning hid behind the engravings. Well, you might also have to ignore the voyeurs in between. Known for nagara-style architectural symbolism and erotic sculptures, Khajuraho also attracts visitors to the Khajuraho Dance Festival, a one-week long annual fest that is held in February 20 to February 26, that showcases all the classical dance forms and lots of Bundelkhandi food along with options of taking souvenirs for an unforgettable visit.
After a long day, a well-deserved rest is a must and MP Tourism’s Kutni Island, less than 25 minutes away from Khajuraho, having a scenic view of a river makes you forget all the leg work you did to capture the history, culture, and nature of the state. Situated near Kutni Dam, this stay-over place will make your heart skip a beat as you get drown in the sound of flowing water as you grab a cup of coffee sitting at Sunset Point to watch the scorching sun go down to make way for a cool Moon.
Last, but not the least, a trip to The Tiger State of India is definitely incomplete without visitng a National Park.
With only a 15 minutes drive away, Panna National Park, spread over 542.7 sq km calls for your attention. More so, if you want to catch a glimpse of P1 51’s (tigress, P stand for born in Panna, 5 stands for fifth generation) recently born cubs who are seen playing in the core area, but only if you are lucky enough.
The rich fauna of the National Park includes leopard, chital (spotted deer), chinkara, nilgai, sambhar, and sloth bear. It is also home to more than 200 species of birds including the bar-headed goose, honey buzzard, king vulture, blossom-headed parakeet, changeable hawk-eagle and Indian vulture.
However, this is not the sole reason why one should visit Panna, one must go there to experience the serenity of the jungle. And if you dig deep into the forest, you can also experience the wild talking to you.
Even a four-hour safari will fall short to experience and talk to the wild. There are chances that you might not be lucky enough to see too many animals, but don’t be disappointed, you will return rejuvenated and with tranquility because this is what the power of the wild can do to you.
For a luxurious stay
Any trip is incomplete without a beautiful place to stay in. And no matter how enchanting your destination is, if your stay doesn’t speak of luxury, it will definitely leave you with a bad taste. To solve all your travel woes, we have a few options that will make your stay as pleasant as your trip.
When in Orchha, choose best
This beautiful property is situated overlooking the Betwa River and is appealing enough to catch your attention. However, what makes Betwa Retreat, Orchha stand out of the clutter is its half-tent rooms. Yes, you read that right. Giving you a cozy feel, the half-tents gives you a slight feeling of living in a forest. The scenic view of the property also speaks the same.
Welcome to khajuraho
This one will definitely give you a luxurious experience. Less than 10 minutes away from Khajuraho Dance Festival, MPT Payal and its staff makes sure that there is nothing to complaint about. The best part of these spacious rooms is the view from the window. You open the curtains only to see loads of greenery and langoors soaking in the sun, if you are lucky to make it there on a bright sunny day.
True experience of Panna
If you are to visit Panna Tiger Reserve, Tendu Leaf Resort is waiting to give you a grand welcome to the jungle. This beautiful location will small hut-shaped cozy rooms makes you feel at home.
If you are a sea food lover, the resort is heaven for you. The greenery makes sure you to give you a detox so that you can go back home rejuvenated.