Throughout our travel journeys across the Indian subcontinent, we always cribbed about not planning any travel in Central India. The states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh was left out from our travel footprint.
But not anymore ... Finally the day arrived when we set foot onto the History seeped Royal Madhya Pradesh. The state of Madhya Pradesh is located at the heart of India and quite obviously been home to many of our ancient Indian Kingdoms and recent kingdoms like Bundela Kingdom, Chandela, Kingdom, Delhi Sultanate, Mughal Empire, Marathas, Nawabs of Scindia and British Empire and also Madhya Pradesh was at an epicenter of so many battles and historically significant incidents of our ancient and modern India.
Being one of the largest state of India and so much to offer for all kinds of travelers, covering Madhya Pradesh would take more than a few visits and travel plans. So, we focused more on the Northern and Eastern part of Madhya Pradesh (The Bundelkhand Region), which we call as Historical Belt of Madhya Pradesh and chose it for our Phase-1 visit of this majestic state.
Our Madhya Pradesh Phase -1 plan:
Day 1: Arrive at Gwalior City and Explore Gwalior Fort and near by places.
Eateries around Gwalior city center.
Day 2 & 3: Visit Jhansi Fort (Western U.P) & Orchha - Betwa River Ghat (M.P)
Jhansi Fort & Rani Mahal
Day 3 & 4: Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Khajuraho Temple complex
Orchha Royal Chhatris
Khajuraho Western Complex temples.
Day 5: Visit Jabalpur & Bhedaghat and Return Flight to Bengaluru (via Jabalpur Airport)
A map view of our M.P Tour Phase - 1 plan (Aug.30 2022 - Sep.04 2022)
Short Itinerary of Our Madhya Pradesh - Phase 1:
Day 1: Arrive at Gwalior City and Fort Visit.
Gwalior is one of the heritage cities in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Our experience in Gwalior was just like any other chaotic yet interesting Indian city with its own royal heritage and street food culture. This Gwalior city being first central Indian city which we visited, this will be always be memorable for us.
Below was our schedule for Day-1 at Gwalior.
Arrive at Gwalior (Early morning flight from Bengaluru)
Lunch at Panchavati Gaurav (A sumptuous Rajasthani Thali)
Visit to Gwalior Fort (Man Singh Palace / Jahangir Mahal / Karn Mahal/ Vikram Mahal etc. inside the fort complex)
Visit Sahastrabahu Temple near Gwalior Fort
Visit Teli ka Mandir near Gwalior Fort
Explore eateries around Lohiya Bazaar road such as, S.S Kachoriwala (famous for lip smacking kachoris) and Bahadura Sweets (for freshly made bhoondi Laddus).
For evening dinner, we visited Hungry Birds Café right in front of our Hotel. The Pizza / Nachos / Masala Chai and Oreo Shake were excellent here.
Our stay was at - The Ved Mantra Hotel, Lashkar, Gwalior - M.P
Our experience at the Gwalior fort was, even though it had a significant heritage preserved at the fort by the Archeological Survey of INDIA (ASI), but yet it was not well maintained at some places and there could have been more proper informative sign boards at the important places in the fort.
Day 2: Gwalior -> Jhansi (Western U.P) -> Orchha - Betwa River Ghat (M.P)
After exploring Gwalior City on Day-1, We continued our journey across Madhya Pradesh and entered Jhansi, a city famous for its fearless queen Rani Laxmibai and there after we ended our Day-2 in Madhya Pradesh at a heritage town called Orchha by the Betwa River.
Below was our schedule for Day-2 at Jhansi & Orchha.
Early morning breakfast (Poha Jalebi) at Panwadi Poha center close to our hotel.
Bhopal Jan Shatabdi train from Gwalior to Jhansi (103kms / 1hr 15mins train journey) which left at 9:30am at Gwalior and Arrived at 10:45am at Jhansi (U.P).
Took a Local Taxi and Explore Rani Mahal (Jhansi Rani Laxmibai residence) and the art gallery at the mahal.
Visit to Jhansi Fort (Massive fortification of 16th/17th century) which finally fell to British hands during 1857 First Freedom Fight of India.
Took the same local taxi to our Hotel in Orchha (around 13kms from Jhansi town).
Check into our Orchha Hotel - Orchha Palace Hotel & Convention Centre.
In the evening, Visit Orchha Fort which is just 2.5kms / 5min auto ride away and visited Raja Mahal / Jahangir Mahal / Rai Praveen Mahal in the Fort Complex.
Due to heavy rain out of nowhere, we had to rush back to our Hotel skipping other places that evening.
Our stay was at Orchha Palace Hotel & Convention Centre, Orchha, M.P https://goo.gl/maps/xKwFgpY8NxkT9Vnj7
The experience at Jhansi fort was good and we went back in time to experience the courage and determination of Queen Laxmibai in her resolve to fight against the British. The Rani Mahal was a surprise for us, as we could see lots of preserved artifacts and statues from all across the region were kept in the basement for further relocation or display.
The amazing experience was at Orchha, as we did not expect a quiet dreamy town of Orchha with river front and timeless forts silently telling their story to us and end of the day there was a stormy rain literally washing away all our tiredness and electric auto ride from Orchha town to our Hotel.
Day 3: Orchha -> Jhansi -> Khajuraho (Eastern M.P)
After the first 2 days exploring the Royal Heritage of Madhya Pradesh, It was time to explore and experience the culture and historical temples of Madhya Pradesh and we were already on our way to Khajuraho to do the same.
Below was our schedule for Day-3: Orchha to Khajuraho.
Early morning we again went for Orchha town as we could not visit previous day due to heavy rains in the evening.
Visit to Chaturbhuj Temple.
A quick visit to Royal Chhatris and Betwa River Ghat.
Visit to Laxmi Temple nearby village.
After Orchha, we left for Jhansi Bus station, to hop onto a bus going towards Khajuraho (180kms / 4hrs Bus ride)
Arrived at Khajuraho in the afternoon and checked into our Hotel - Ramada by Wyndham Khajuraho.
In the evening, we paid a quick visit to Khajuraho Western Temple complex, and covered 2 important temples (Lakshmana Temple & Vishwanath temple along with few other) before we were gifted with a mesmerizing sunset over the ancient Khajuraho temples.
We also attended the Sound & Light show at Khajuraho temple complex at 7:30pm to get a glimpse of history of these heritage temples.
Early dinner at Raja Café right in front of Khajuraho Entry gate.
Our stay was at - Ramada by Wyndham Khajuraho, Khajuraho Road, M.P https://goo.gl/maps/7VzkhM8MLbzCwVdNA
A tiring, yet eventful bus journey from Jhansi to Khajuraho and an evening spent exploring the masterclass architecture of ancient temples and intricate carvings on the walls of Khajuraho temples. Travelling in bus with locals gave a glimpse of the people of Madhya Pradesh and also their "Love for Pan masala" and "spitting all the way and everywhere" A negative aspect which we observe through out the country especially in the Northern Part of India.
The endless hordes of abandoned cows taking over the roads and highways, creating a self hazard for themselves and to the oncoming traffic on the road was another sight to behold through out the Madhya Pradesh road journey.
The town of Khajuraho was sleepy little town with very little chaos and calm serene place for tourists to walk around and explore the town on their own without the spoils of the large city. The evening spent observing the Mystical Khajuraho temples and watching the birds soar in the sky amidst the colorful evening sky of Khajuraho was a memorable experience along with the Light and Sound show at Khajuraho Temple complex in the evening.
Day 4: Visit Khajuraho Western Temple Complex -> Travel to Jabalpur and reach by evening.
After exploring the Khajuraho temples in the previous evening, we wanted to cover the remaining temples in the western complex and then head towards our last destination of the M.P Tour Phase-1 which is Jabalpur.
Below was our schedule for Day-4: Khajuraho to Jabalpur.
Early morning we head back again to Khajuraho entry gates and had Poha Jalebi as breakfast in a small hotel near the gate.
We covered the rest of the main temples of Khajuraho on our morning visit (Kandariya Mahadev Temple / Jagadamba Temple / Chitragupta temple).
On the way back to our hotel, we had lunch at Badri Seth Marwari Bhoj (Rajasthani Traditional restaurant) near Khajuraho Bus station.
We checked out from our hotel, and hop onto the bus Going towards Jabalpur (275kms / 7hrs Bus ride) from Khajuraho Bus station.
After a long and harsh bus ride, we were completely wrecked but somehow reached Jabalpur around 9pm and reached our hotel for the dinner and a much needed rest.
Our stay was at - Hotel Samrat, Russel Chowk, Jabalpur - M.P https://goo.gl/maps/Y7yCZWSrKsQTRkGh6
The bus journey from Khajuraho to Jabalpur was really long, tiring and mostly negative experience due to the bad quality of Public transport in Madhya Pradesh, literally the Govt. Public transport was non-existent here and only relied on Private transport which is a scam to say the least. If you are really short on time or care about not wasting valuable time, then its better opt for some private taxi transport rather than public bus service when you are on this route.
The roads are often way laid by the abandoned cows and wannabe passengers who stop the bus literally every 5 to 10mins. The co-passengers who were generally locals, are always finding windows or doors to spit their pan masala or tobacco out on the road. So, somehow we managed to survive the journey and reach Jabalpur :)
Day 5: Explore Jabalpur & Visit Bhedaghat Ropeway / Dhuandar Falls and Return flight to Bengaluru.
After exploring the Heritage Forts and Temples, it was time for some experiencing the fast paced city life and also exploring some natural places of Madhya Pradesh and we chose Jabalpur city to do the same. After reaching Jabalpur, the previous night and having taken a good night's rest, we were all set to spend our final day of the tour in Jabalpur.
Below was our schedule for Day-5: Explore Jabalpur and Bhedaghat.
In the morning, we booked a Local taxi for our local sightseeing in Jabalpur and Bhedaghat visit.
We took off around 8:30am in the morning and had our breakfast at Indian Coffee House - Jabalpur.
As suggested by the taxi driver, we visited the local attractions like Balancing Rock & Madan Mahal Fort which is just in the outskirts of main city.
We proceeded towards Bhedaghat (35kms / 1hour ride from Jabalpur), a famous tourism attraction near Jabalpur and reached by 11am.
We took a ropeway ride from Bhedaghat to Gopala Hills (New Bhedaghat) overlooking the roaring Dhuandar waterfalls. It was breathtaking to say the least.
We explored all the possible views of Dhuandar Waterfalls from Gopala Hills and head back to Bhedaghat via the same ropeway (return fare is included the ropeway ride ticket).
We also explored the Bhedaghat market and the actual ghat (religious significance) from Bhedaghat side (the Dhuandar waterfalls on the Narmada river is also visible from here).
After the Bhedaghat visit, we head back to Jabalpur City and had our final lunch of our M.P Tour at Navnita Restaurant at the heart of the city. The Kashmiri Pulao and Paneer Mirch Masala was the highlight of our lunch and it was lip smacking.
We took the same taxi and reached Jabalpur Airport (18kms / 35mins taxi ride).
We boarded on our return flight to Bengaluru on the evening, just to be greeted by heavy rains and flooding in the Bengaluru city.
It was quite an adventure reaching our home sweet home, from the BLR Airport amidst all the rains/flood and eventful auto ride.
The day was made comfortable thanks to the Taxi Driver who was resourceful and very polite and made sure our short day tour of Jabalpur and Bhedaghat, including the airport drop was peaceful.
The ropeway across Bhedaghat to Gopala Hills was a thrilling experience and literally flying experience over the majestic Dhuandar waterfalls.
The final lunch experience at Navneet Restaurant was one of the highlight of the day and the Paneer Mirch Masala was really to crave for once we hear the name of Jabalpur anytime in future.
So, this was our short yet fulfilling first experience of Madhya Pradesh state and for sure there will be another tour of Madhya Pradesh in coming years to explore rest of the important places in this Heritage and wonderful state.
Commuting options in Eastern Madhya Pradesh:
The region we travelled in MP was part of Bundelkhand and Govt public transport was literally non-existent here, hence we relied heavily on the private public transport which was point to point but very slow and time consuming travel.
If you are on a aggressive schedule of travel, better book any self driving car or hired private taxi transport with local driver for a multiday contract.
Must Visit places on the above Itinerary:
Gwalior Fort (Gwalior)
Sahastrabahu Temple (Near Gwalior Fort)
Rani Mahal in Jhansi.
Orchha Fort (Orchha)
Royal Chhatris & Betwa River view (Orchha)
Khajuraho Temple (Kandariya Mahadev / Vishwanath Temple)
Bhedaghat / Dhuandar Waterfalls (Near Jabalpur)
Navneet Restaurant for their lip smacking Kashmiri Pulao & Paneer Mirch Masala.
Other places to visit in Madhya Pradesh:
Indore - An experience of the Cleanest city of India.
Bhopal - Float away in the City of Lakes.
Sanchi - Remnants of Ashoka Empire History & Buddhist heritage city.
Pachmarhi Hillstation - A getaway into the lap of hills and nature.
Ujjain - A heritage city and famous for Mahakaleshwar temple.
Image Gallery from our M.P Phase 1 Tour of 2022:
For more detailed itinerary on our Madhya Pradesh Tour or other awesome places in India, please contact HillTrotters@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page "HillTrotters", also subscribe to us on YouTube channel with "HillTrotters Travelogues".
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