Here is how and why you should take a trip across Madhya Pradesh.. for atleast 7 days!

Photo of Here is how and why you should take a trip across Madhya Pradesh.. for atleast 7 days! by Geetha Ranganathan

Hindustan ka dil dekho tagline kept ringing in my ears for years.. I was met with a lot of questions on holiday in MP? What's there to see.. my answer to them .. you'll be surprised!

What struck me when we started planning a trip across MP is the sheer size of it! Obviously given its one of the biggest states in India! You can look to have a lot of different kind of experiences-

Heritage and Culture - trace the history of Rajputs and Bundelkhand; exploring some stunning forts and temples - Gwalior, Orchha, Khajuraho, Sanchi, Ujjain etc.

Nature and Wildlife - some of the best wildlife sanctuaries to spot tigers and other wildlife is in MP - Bandavgarh, Kanha, Pench, Satpura etc. Some amazing waterfalls like Bhedaghat, Marble rocks, Dauladhar etc and hill stations like Pachmarhi.

We chose to do a culture and heritage tour from the north to south of MP. The route we finalised - Gwalior-Khajuraho-Orchha-Bhopal. We wanted to cover Indore and Ujjain (for the temple) but were short of days.

Here is how our 7 days were distributed across MP -

Day 1

Day 1 - Gwalior - We landed in Gwalior and covered the Gwalior fort for a little over half a day. Its huge!! Easily takes 4-5hrs. Other sites to see - Tansen's memorial, Jaivilas palace museum, Sarafa bazaar, Sun temple etx. . You can also explore the MP Tourism hotels, we stayed at a few in other cities and it was great.

Gwalior Fort

Photo of Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India by Geetha Ranganathan

Day 2 - Day trip to Morena - we hired a car for the day through a contact from the hotel to drive to Morena to see temples of Miatwali, Padavali, Bateshwar and a Shani temple. We returned around 4pm and even covered a few sites in Gwalior like the Sun Temple.

Bateshwar Temples

Photo of Here is how and why you should take a trip across Madhya Pradesh.. for atleast 7 days! by Geetha Ranganathan
Day 3

Day 3 - Gwalior to Orchha via Khajuraho - We continued with the same car and driver to visit Khajuraho and a drop to Orchha. Gwalior to Khajuraho is a 4-5hr drive. Khajuraho to Orchha about 2-3hr. Mind you, this is a long day. Stay: MPT Sheesh Mahal, Orchha. Its located in the Orchha fort complex and was awesome. Another option is to stay at Khajuraho for a night and drive to Orchha the next morning. MPT has multiple options in Khajuraho as well along with other properties like Ramada.


Photo of Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India by Geetha Ranganathan
Day 4

Day 4 - Orchha - explore the fort(s), Chaturbhuj temple, Raja Ram temple (the only temple where Lord Ram is viewed as a King and gets a gun salute), Chattris - and their gorgeous view!

Orchha Chattris

Photo of Orchha, Madhya Pradesh, India by Geetha Ranganathan
Day 5

Day 5 - Orchha to Bhopal - This would be a long drive if you take a car (7-8hr drive). We instead explored train options from the nearest station which is Jhansi. Being at the border of UP we took a taxi from Orchha to Jhansi - easily available and costs 800 Rs. Autos also available and cost 400Rs. Then a train from Jhansi to Bhopal (~3hrs) to see sights around Bhopal. Stay: MPT Palash Residency, Bhopal.

Photo of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India by Geetha Ranganathan
Day 6

Day 6 - Sightseeing around Bhopal - From Bhopal you can do a day trip covering Sanchi Stupa, Udaygiri caves, Bhimbetka rock shelters and Tropic of Cancer. You can also split this into 2 days since Bhimbetka is to the south of Bhopal and Sanchi and Udaygiri to the east. If covering this in a single day, start early (max 9am) to end by 7pm. We took a taxi from the MPT booking office located on the same premises as our hotel.

Sanchi Stupa

Photo of Sanchi Stupa, Sanchi Museum and Udaygiri Caves, distt, Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India by Geetha Ranganathan
Day 7

Day 7 - took it a bit easy and explored sights within Bhopal. Upper lake, lower lake, new market, Van Vihar National Park.

Van Vihar National Park

Photo of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India by Geetha Ranganathan

Planning Tips -

1. Some days can be hectic but you do have the option to break it up. If a day seems hectic, take it easy the next day.

2. Most places - forts and temples across MP have a lot of history behind the carvings and inscriptions. If you would like to hear the story, a guide is recommended. However it would easily take 2-3 hrs so it is a trade off of time.

3. The forts and temples are full of staircases which are high and narrow. Pack clothes and shoes accordingly.

4. To travel to some places like Morena, Khajuraho, Orchha etc it is convenient to hire a car for the day. It optimises on time but may cost a little more.

6. The drive from Gwalior to Khajuraho has a newly built/in construction highway and the road is good. Takes lesser time. However, If taking long drives between cities try to reach the hotel by sunset if travelling solo or in a small group. The highways get lonely post sunset.

7. MP Tourism is very well organized and has multiple stay options in every city. The properties are well maintained and the food and service is good too! They also offer taxi for day trips around. Rates are reasonable.

8. Digital wallets like Paytm and Phonepe/GPay worked almost everywhere including autos and taxis. You just need to ask 🙂

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