Madhya Prades pronunciation , English: Middle State, IPA often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal. Madhya Pradesh was originally the largest state in India until November 1, 2000 when the state of Chhattisgarh was carved out. It borders the states Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The city of Ujjain (also known as Avanti) arose as a major center in the second wave of Indian urbanization in the sixth century BC, and served as the chief city of the kingdom of Malwa or Avanti. Further east, the kingdom of Chedi lie in Bundelkhand. Chandragupta Maurya united northern India c. 320 BCE, establishing the Maurya empire (321 to 185 BCE), which included all of modern-day Madhya Pradesh. King Ashoka's wife was said to come from Vidisha- a town north of today's Bhopal. The Maurya empire went into decline after the death of Asoka, and Central India was contested among the Sakas, Kushanas, and local dynasties during the 3rd to 1st centuries BCE. Ujjain emerged as the predominant commercial center of western India from the first century BCE, located on the trade routes between the Ganges plain and India's Arabian Sea ports. It was also an important Hindu and Buddhist center. The Satavahana dynasty of the northern Deccan controlled parts of Madhya Pradesh during the 1st to 3rd centuries CE.Northern India was conquered by the Gupta empire in the 4th and 5th centuries, which became known as India's "classical age". The Vakataka dynasty were the southern neighbors of the Guptas, ruling the northern Deccan plateau from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. These empires collapsed towards the end of the 5th century.
The attacks of the Hephthalites or White Huns brought about the collapse of the Gupta empire, and India broke up into smaller states. A king Yasodharman of Malwa defeated the Huns in 528, ending their expansion. King Harsha of Thanesar reunited northern India for a few decades before his death in 647. The Medieval period saw the rise of the Rajput clans, including the Paramaras of Malwa and the Chandelas of Bundelkhand. The Paramara king Bhoj (c. 1010-1060) was a brilliant polymath and prolific writer. The Chandelas created the temple city of Khajuraho between c. 950 and c. 1050. Gond kingdoms emerged in Gondwana and Mahakoshal. Northern Madhya Pradesh was conquered by the Muslim Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century. After the collapse of the Delhi Sultanate at the end of the 14th century, independent regional kingdoms reemerged, including the Tomara Rajput kingdom of Gwalior and the Muslim Sultanate of Malwa, with its capital at Mandu. The Malwa Sultanate was conquered by the Sultanate of Gujarat in 1531.
Most of Madhya Pradesh came under Mughal rule during the reign of the emperor Akbar (1556 – 1605). Gondwana and Mahakoshal remained under the control of Gond kings, who acknowledged Mughal supremacy but enjoyed virtual autonomy. After the death of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1707 Mughal control began to weaken, and the Marathas began to expand from their base in central Maharashtra. Between 1720 and 1760 the Marathas took control of most of Madhya Pradesh, and Maratha clans were established semi-autonomous states under the nominal control of the Maratha Peshwa. The Holkars of Indore ruled much of Malwa, and the Bhonsles of Nagpur dominated Mahakoshal and Gondwana as well as Vidarbha in Maharashtra. Jhansi was founded by a Maratha general. Bhopal was ruled by a Muslim dynasty descended from the Afghan General Dost Mohammed Khan. Maratha expansion was checked at the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761.The British were expanding their Indian dominions from bases in Bengal, Bombay, and Madras, and the three Anglo-Maratha wars were fought between 1775 and 1818. The Third Anglo-Maratha War left the British supreme in India. Most of Madhya Pradesh, including the large states of Indore, Bhopal, Nagpur, Rewa, and dozens of smaller states, became princely states of British India, and the Mahakoshal region became a British province, the Saugor and Nerbudda Territories. In 1853 the British annexed the state of Nagpur, which included southeastern Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra and most of Chattisgarh, which were combined with the Saugor and Nerbudda Territories to form the Central Provinces in 1861. The princely states of northern Madhya Pradesh were governed by the Central India Agency.
After Indian independence
Madhya Pradesh was created in 1950 from the former British Central Provinces and Berar and the princely states of Makrai and Chhattisgarh, with Nagpur as the capital of the state. The new states of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh, and Bhopal were formed out of the Central India Agency. In 1956, the states of Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh, and Bhopal were merged into Madhya Pradesh, and the Marathi-speaking southern region Vidarbha, which included Nagpur, was ceded to Bombay state. Bhopal became the new capital of the state. In November 2000, as part of the Madhya Pradesh Reorganization Act, the southeastern portion of the state split off to form the new state of Chhattisgarh.
Madhya Pradesh in Hindi can be translated to Central Province, and it is located in the geographic heart of India. The state straddles the Narmada River, which runs east and west between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges; these ranges and the Narmada are the traditional boundary between the north and south of India. The state is bordered on the west by Gujarat, on the northwest by Rajasthan, on the northeast by Uttar Pradesh, on the east by Chhattisgarh, and on the south by Maharashtra.Madhya Pradesh comprises several linguistically and culturally distinct regions, including:Malwa: 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.
Nimar (Nemar): the western portion of the Narmada River valley, lying south of the Vindhyas in the southwest portion of the state.
Bundelkhand: 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.
Chambal: the north-western region. A mountainous region rich in red, soft, and fragile sandstone. The climate is harsh, and the area is known for murderous pirates who were active in hundreds in the late 1900s.
Baghelkhand: 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.
Central Vindhya and Satpura region. Which has most of the central Narmada river valley and watershed, and has the highest point in the state - Dhupgarh in Pachmarhi.
The majority of the population of Madhya Pradesh are Hindus. Hindus contribute nearly 90% of the state population. Muslims are nearly 6% and rest are Sikhs, Jains, Zoroastrians, Christians and Buddhists.
The predominant language of the region is Hindi. Urdu is widely spoken in Bhopal, Burhanpur, the former princely state of Sironj (Tonk), Kurwai and Muslim dominated areas of urban agglomerations. In Old Bhopal, a unique style of very polite (Aap janab style of Bhopali hindi-Urdu mixed language)is spoken.In addition to standard Hindi, several regional variants are spoken, which are considered by some to be dialects of Hindi, and by others to be distinct but related languages. Among these languages are Malvi in Malwa, Nimadi in Nimar, Bundeli in Bundelkhand, and Bagheli and Avadhi in Bagelkhand and the southeast. Each of these languages or dialects has dialects of its own. Other languages include Bhilodi (Bhili), Gondi, and Kalto (Nahali), all spoken by tribal groups. Due to rule of Marathas, Marathi is spoken by a substantial number of people.
Heritage and architecture
Several cities in Madhya Pradesh are extraordinary for their architecture and or scenic beauty. Three sites in Madhya Pradesh have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: the Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986) including Devi Jagadambi temple, Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989) and the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003). Other architecturally significant or scenic sites include Ajaigarh, Asirgarh,Bawangaja, Bhopal, Chanderi, Dhar, Gwalior, Indore, Maheshwar, Mandleshwar, Mandu, Omkareshwar, Orchha, Pachmarhi, Shivpuri, Sonagiri and Ujjain. MP being very large geographically, and the history being spread over several millennia, a developing a comprehensive picture of heritage and architecture is a monumental task.
Flora and fauna
Madhya Pradesh is endowed with rich and diverse forest resources. Lying between lat. 21°04'N and long. 74°02' and 82°49' E, it is a reservoir of biodiversity. The geographical area of the state is 308,144 km² which constitutes 9.38% of the land area of the country. The forest area of the state is 95,221 km² constituting 31% of the geographical area of the state and 12.44% of the forest area of the country. Legally this area has been classified into "Reserved Forest, Protected Forest and Unclassified Forest", which constitute 61.7%, 37.4% and 0.9% of the forest area respectively. Per capita forest area is 2,400 m² as against the national average of 700 m²
Central, eastern and southern parts of the state are rich, whereas northern and western parts are deficient in forest. Variability in climatic and edaphic conditions brings about significant difference in the forest types of the state. There are four important forest types viz. Tropical Moist, Tropical Dry, Tropical Thorn , Subtropical broadleaved Hill forests. The forest area can also be classified based on the composition of forest and terrain of the area. Based on composition, there are three important forest formations namely Teak forest , Sal forest and Miscellaneous Forests. Bamboo bearing areas are widely distributed in the state. To obviate pressure on the natural forests , plantations have been undertaken in forest and non forest areas to supplement the availability of fuel wood , small timber , fodder etc. MP lost a good amount of forrest recently when Chattisgarh was carved out of it, as that region was the richest reserve of forrests in MP.
Madhya Pradesh is home to several 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, and Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh.There are also a number of nature preserves, including Amarkantak, Bagh Caves, Bhedaghat, Bori Nature Reserve, Ken Gharial, Ghatigaon, Kuno Palpur, Narwar, Chambal, Kukdeshwar, Narsinghgarh, Nora Dehi, Pachmarhi, Panpatha, Shikarganj, and Tamia.