Bandhavgarh National Park
Formerly a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Rewa, this National Park is world-renowned as a tiger reserve. The Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh is a beautiful forest with wildlife and vegetation in abundance. Bandhavgarh is known to have the highest density of Royal Bengal Tigers in the world and the frequent sightings of royal tigers make this national park a must-visit for all wildlife enthusiasts. In 2012, around 44-49 tigers were living in the park. There are more than 22 species of mammals and 250 species of avifauna.
Among the carnivores, Tigers, Asiatic jackals, foxes, sloth bears, ratels, gray mongoose, striped hyenas, jungle cats, and leopards are found here. Deer, monkeys, Wild boars, Nilgai, Chinkara, and Gaur, are also found here. A jeep safari into the park can take for a ride through adventure and enjoyment. The park got its name from the Bandhavgarh fort situated at the height of 800 m high cliffs nearby. The fort is in ruins now, but an hour trek to the fort is worth it as it provides a generous view of surroundings.
A symbol of the vast heritage present throughout the culturally rich India, the Buddhist monuments of Sanchi are one of the oldest stone structures in India. Designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO, the Great Stupa was installed in the 3rd century BC by Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty. The sculptures and monuments present at the site are a fine example of the development of Buddhist art and architecture. The stupa sits atop a hill in Sanchi, surrounded by lush gardens, providing visitors peace and serenity at this grand tribute to the peaceful religion of Buddhism.
Sanchi is a small village situated at the foot of a hill, located very close to the capital city of Bhopal. This place is known for its ancient Stupas, monasteries and other remnants of the rich Buddhist culture which date back to the 3rd century B. C. It is one of the most important places for Buddhist pilgrimage and pilgrims from around the world visit this place, especially to see Sanchi Stupa which is also a World Heritage Site. The magnificent structure attracts scores of tourists and history buffs who come to marvel at the architectural integrity of these monuments as well as gain a deeper understanding of the cultural history of India.
A historic city founded by king Surajesan, Gwalior is galore with beautiful monuments, palaces and temples, giving this city a majestic charm which speaks volumes of its glorious past. The city’s heritage has remained captured in the imposing architecture of mosques, rock temples and statues. Surrounded by beautiful hills and greenery. Being a historic city where one of India’s most eminent royalties once resided, Gwalior is full of palaces and glorious temples. The Gwalior fort, which gives a panoramic view of the entire city, the Jai Vilas palace and the Sun Temple are few of the tourist spots in Gwalior that cannot be missed. The great Indian musician Tansen was born in Gwalior and the tomb of Tansen is also an important place here. Every year, in the month of November/December, a four-day Tansen Music festival is celebrated in the city and it sees various classical musicians from all over the country performing on the stage near the tomb itself. Gwalior is also the birthplace of former Indian Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, music maestro Amjad Ali Khan and the famous percussionist Alla Rakha.
Ujjain, considered to be one of the holiest cities of India, is an ancient city situated on the eastern bank of the Shipra River in the Malwa region. Ujjain is one of the four sites for the Kumbh Mela, the largest peace gathering on the planet that attracts 100 million people to the festival. This makes Ujjain a region of high religious significance for the Hindus. To add to that, it is also home to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines to the god Shiva. Ujjain is one of the most glorious cities of ancient India as it is also reckoned to be the educational hub of various Indian scholars. The immense wealth of Ujjain in terms of religion, architecture, and educational value makes this is a top attraction amongst not only Indian travellers but also foreign.
Kanha National Park
A delightful town situated in the district of Mandla, Kanha National park is a haven of an exceptionally wide variety of wild animals, including the majestic creature tiger. Wide open grass plains with a backdrop of the city scrapers, scattered bamboo forests play host to a wide variety of wildlife and diverse birdlife with over 300 species recorded. The present-day area stretches over 940-kilometre square which is divided into two sanctuaries: Hallon and Banjar. Located in a central region of Madhya Pradesh it is the largest National Park in central India and has been ranked as one of the best parks in Asia. Among the 22 species of large mammals, the royal Bengal tigers are a major attraction.
The park was established in the year 1955 and has since actively contributed to the preservation of many endangered species. The National Park was taken under the Project Tiger Reserve in 1974. Abundant in flora and fauna, the Kanha National Park houses one of the rarest species of deer- the Barasingha. One of the most scenic wildlife reserves in Asia today, this National Park came to be known the world over through Rudyard Kipling’s book- The Jungle Book.
Being a highly commercialised forest, the Kanha National Park has plenty of stores from where you can buy traditional handicrafts, t-shirts and souvenirs. The Sudhanyakhali watch tower is a popular spot that provides a view of the Mangrove forests for spotting this royal creature. Visitors can enjoy the park’s walking trails, picnic sites and three campsites for wildlife spotting and leisure activities.
Khajuraho is known around the world for its stunning temples adorned by erotic and sensuous carvings. A small town located in the Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is a brilliant example of Indian architecture and its culture back in the medieval period. The architecture of these Hindu and Jain temples depict the innocent form of love, the carvings on the walls display passion in the most erotic yet aesthetic ways.
Built between 950 to 1050 AD the sheer confrontational nature of these carvings show a stark paradox with the conventional Indian ideals about eroticism, leaving everybody spellbound. Art in this small town is ingrained in all of its structures and are a classic example of the finesse of India’s cultural and artistic heritage.
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Happy holidays folks!