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Madhya Pradesh

CAPITAL BHOPAL
AREA IN Sq.km 308,000
PRINCIPAL LANGUAGE HINDI

 

Landlocked in the central part of the country, it is bounded by the states of Rajasthan to the northwest, Uttar Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east and Maharashtra to the south, and Gujarat to the west.

Madhya Pradesh has a topography that is crossed from north to south by plains separated by upland areas. The state has three main seasons: winter (November through February), summer (March through May), and the monsoon season (June through September). During the winter average temperatures range from 10 to 27 C (50 to 81 F). Summers are hot, with an average temperature of 29 C (85 F) and a high temperature that at times reaches 48 C (118 F). During the monsoon season temperatures average 19 to 30 C (66 to 86). Madhya Pradesh receives as average annual rainfall of about 1200 mm (nearly 50 in), of which 90 percent falls during the monsoon season.The capital of the state is Bhopal.

History

The history of Madhya Pradesh goes back to the time of Ashoka, the great Mauryan ruler. Major portion of Central India formed part of the Gupta Empire (300-550 AD). In the first half of the seventh century it was part of domains of famous emperor Harsha. The close of tenth century was a period of confusion. In the early eleventh century the muslims entered central India, First Mahmud of Ghazni & then Mohammad Gori who incorporated certain parts with Sultanate of Delhi. It also formed part of Mughal empire with the rise of Maratha's. Till the death of Madhoji Scindia in 1794, Marathas ruled supreme in Central India, but after that independent & smaller states came into being. The disintegrated smaller states paved way for British suzerainty. Some great women rulers like Rani Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore, Gond queen Rani Kamla devi & Rani Durgawati have carved a nick for them in history.

When India became independent in 1947, the British Indian province of Central Provinces and Berar formed Madhya Pradesh. Boundary changes followed; the state of Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.

Society and Culture

Madhya Pradesh has at least four agro-climatic zones, and thus, has the most interesting mix of people and ways of life. It is home to about 40 percent of India's tribal population. There are three distinct tribal groups in the state. The largest chunk is formed by the Gonds, who once ruled a major part of the state and after whom Gondwana, the central portion of the state is known. Western Madhya Pradesh is inhabited by the Bhils, a colourful group of warriors and huntsmen. Eastern Madhya Pradesh is dominated by the Oraons, most of whom have now turned Christians.


Hindi is the most widely spoken language though Marathi is also widespread. Urdu, Oriya, Gujarati and Punjabi are each spoken by sizeable numbers. The Bhils speak Bhili and the Gonds Gondi, the independent in origin of the Indo-European and Dravidian language groups.

The Gonds, Bhils and Banjaras have several vibrant tribal dances like Phag (a sword dance), Lota (dance by women full of water on their heads), and other stilt dances. Textiles are important but Madhya Pradesh also has a strong traditional village handicraft industry. Handloom Chanderi and Maheshwar silks are especially sought after. The tribal population produce attractive handicrafts.

Among the temples known throughout the world for their erotic art are those at Khajuraho in the Chhatarpur district in the north of the state; dating from AD 1000, they were built by the Chandella kings. The temples at Gwalior and in its vicinity should also be mentioned. The palaces and mosque at Mandu (near Dhar), the majestic Bandhogarh fort built in the 14th century, and the Gwalior fort--perhaps the most impressive of the residences of the former princes of Madhya Pradesh--represent other notable architectural achievements.

The state has several well-known annual cultural events, such as Kalidas Samaroh (for performing and fine arts) in Ujjain, Tansen Samaroh (music) in Gwalior, and a dance festival in Khajuraho, where artists from all over India participate. In Bhopal there is a unique multifaceted cultural complex, the Bharat Bhavan, which functions as a meeting ground for artists from various fields. Located along the Bhopal Lake, this sprawling complex houses a museum, a library, an open-air theatre, and a number of conference halls. The state has important yearly religious melas (gatherings) in Mandasor and Ujjain, as well as the religious Dashhara festival in the Bastar region

Economy and Infrastructure

Agriculture is the basis of Madhya Pradesh's economy. Less than half of the land area is cultivable, however, and its distribution is quite uneven because of variations in topography, rainfall, and soils. The main cultivated areas are found in the Chambal valley, the Malwa Plateau, the Rewa Plateau, and the Chhattisgarh Plain. The Narmada valley, covered with river-borne alluvium, is another fertile area.

The most important crops are rice, wheat, sorghum ( jowar), corn (maize), pulses (legumes such as peas, beans, or lentils), and peanuts (groundnuts). Rice is grown principally in the east, where there is more rainfall, while in western Madhya Pradesh wheat and sorghum are more important. The state is the largest soybean producer in India. Other crops include linseed, sesame, sugarcane, and cotton, as well as inferior millets, which are grown in hilly areas. The state is a large producer of opium (in the western district of Mandasor, near Rajasthan) and marijuana (in the southwestern district of Khandwa [East Nimar]).

Madhya Pradesh is rich in minerals, though these resources have not yet been fully exploited. There are large reserves of coal and important deposits of iron ore, manganese ore, bauxite, limestone, dolomite, copper, fireclay, and china clay. Diamond reserves at Panna are of particular interest.

The major industries of the state are electronics, telecommunications, petrochemicals, food processing and automobiles. The state has also taken a lead in the production of cement. The state is also famous for its traditional handicrafts and handlooms manufactured at Chanderi and Maheshwar.

The state is well endowed with potential hydroelectric power. Main hydroelectric projects (jointly developed with other states) are the Babanthadi with Maharashtra, the Ban Sagar with Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the Chambal Valley with Rajasthan, the Narmada Sagar with Gujarat and Rajasthan, and the Rajghat and Urmil with Uttar Pradesh. The Hasdeo Bango, Bargi, and Birsinghapur thermal power projects are also within the state. The Narmada Sagar project has been a source of controversy because of its potential for damaging the environment.

In comparison with other Indian states, Madhya Pradesh is poorly served with transport and communications facilities. The main railroads that pass through the state were originally laid down to connect the ports of Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta with their hinterlands. Important railway junctions include Bhopal, Ratlam, Khandwa, Bilaspur, and Katni. Also connecting the state with other parts of India are airports at Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Raipur, Jabalpur, Rewa, Bilaspur, and Khajuraho, as well as several national highways.

Tourist Centres

Khajuraho, once the capital of Chandella rulers is 595 km from Delhi. The embodiment of the great artistic activity of the 9th to the 12th centuries, only 22 temples temple out of 85 have survived. Ujjain where Kumbha Mela is held every 12th year, Sanchi with ancient Buddhist monuments, Bhopal the lake-side capital city, Jabalpur, famous for marble rocks and Gwalior with beautiful forts, Indore the largest city in the state, Panchmarhi, the hill station, Mandu the historical town and Amarkantak, the source of the Son and Narmada rivers are among the other tourist attractions. Kanha National Park near Jabalpur is one of the most beautiful wild life sanctuaries in India.