(Last Updated On: September 14, 2018)

“Unlike many other states in India, Madhya Pradesh does not evoke one single image. This is partly because it does not possess typical attractions such as the mountains or the sea, and partly because its immensity and the astonishing variety of what it does have to offer do not permit its confinement to a stereotype.”

This is the claim Probir Sen has made in his book “Madhya Pradesh: Unhurried, Unspoilt, Undiscovered” and this is also exactly what Rizwan concluded after touring Madhya Pradesh.

In order to pull off an adventure of an exceptional level, one needs to have some craziness in them. Rizwan Khan, an avid traveller, both by passion and profession, did something noteworthy and his story deserves to be read by everyone. He covered 14 cities of Madhya Pradesh on a 15-day road trip. He did not only visit these cities but also explored and experienced the rich variety these places held for him to unravel.

After having explored the natural abundance and tribal cultures of northeast India, Rizwan had decided to take his wanderlust ahead and explore the natural and cultural nuances of his native state Madhya Pradesh. And that is when it all started. That is when the idea of a crazy 15-day road trip in Madhya Pradesh was incepted.

Rizwan’s journey started off on the 6th of July in Bhopal, from where he drove to a different place every day for the next 14 days, and finally came back to Bhopal on the 20th of July.  He says, “Before I took this road trip, I was living with a misconception that Madhya Pradesh was a state with agriculture as its identity as three-fourths of the total population here depends on agriculture. But this trip has changed my conception drastically, and I can’t start to describe what all the state has on offer. Madhya Pradesh is not only the heart of India but also its crown.”

He further adds, “The kind of variety the state of Madhya Pradesh offers, it is hard to imagine any other place in India offering such an extensive range of sites and places of interest for tourists. No kind of traveller can ever find a moment of boredom here.”

Let us read the following excerpts from Rizwan’s road trip in Madhya Pradesh and explore the vibrant and hearty state through his experiences!


The Heart of the Heart – Bhopal

There was no better place to start the journey than the capital city – more fondly known as The City of Lakes – Bhopal. The restless tyres kissed the roads of the charming city and took him to places that still cling to the glorious past.

After spending some quiet moments at the popular sites including Upper Lake and Taj-ul-Masajid, he headed towards the renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bhimbetka Caves located in Raisen Town. What followed on the route for the day were interesting sites like Sanchi Stupa and Udaigiri Caves. While the divine atmosphere at Udaigiri mesmerized him, he was taken aback after seeing the prehistoric art as old as 30,000 years at Bhimbetka Caves.


The Heritage and Spirituality of Indore

Another day, another exploration!

Day 2 was reserved to explore the cultural heritage in Indore, and when it comes to art, architecture, and history, nothing in the region beats the ruins of Mandu. The grand palaces, forts, and temples exemplifying the most brilliant form of architecture took Rizwan by surprise because what Mandu had in store was much more than what he had ever thought. Afterwards, he spent the day bathing in the colours of spirituality at Omkareshwar, a revered Hindu temple located on an “OM” shaped island in Narmada River and Maheshwar, a historical town on the banks of the river.


The Magnificent Mandu

The destination for Day 3 was Burhanpur that was once the capital of Mughal Kingdom. Rizwan was buckled up to experience a trip into the history and art of the era of Mughals in Madhya Pradesh since he was aware of the great collection of historical monuments this quaint town on the banks of Tapi River housed. Leaving no stone unturned to impress the history and art lover in Rizwan, Burhanpur made a home in his heart with truly magnificent sites like Asirgarh Fort, Jama Masjid and Shahi Qila.


Satpura Ki Rani

It was time for Rizwan to rejuvenate in the lap of nature, and there could have been nothing more refreshing than the untainted air and the verdant landscapes of Pachmarhi. After enjoying and capturing the sights of various magnificent waterfalls including Rajat Prapat, plunging from great heights under the covers of greenery, he resumed his exploration by visiting Pandav Caves.

Then the journey took Rizwan to Jatashankar Cave, where he learned about various tales associated with the existence of the cave. It is believed that this is where Lord Shiva took refuge to escape the wrath of Bhasmasur. The cave is also famous for housing a rock formation that looks like matted locks of Shiva.


Tiger Encounter at Pench National Park

The road trip took a sharp turn towards jungle adventure on Day 5. It was time for Rizwan to experience the thrill in the pure wilderness of Pench National Park. He realized why Madhya Pradesh is a favourite destination for wildlife enthusiasts all over the world when he spotted a Royal Bengal tiger crossing their path while he was on an open jeep safari.

That moment became a highlight of his entire trip for obvious reasons. He couldn’t be happier. And anyway, the next stop was Kanha National Park, the true essence of the state’s wildlife.


Capturing Tiger Family at Kanha National Park

Kanha National Park is one of the top wildlife parks in the country, famed for housing the highest density of tigers in its jungles, and that is where Rizwan’s journey took him on Day 6. After having spotted the tiger at Pench the previous day, Rizwan’s desire to sight tigers peaked. So, he was more than eager to not only spot a tiger again in Kanha National Park but also to click some great shots. And the luck was truly in his favour. He got lucky to capture a tigress with two cubs roaming in the wilderness of Kanha National Park, least bothered about the presence of the safari jeeps.


Jabalpur Offering Sites To Behold

Day 7 brought in a perfect mix of history and nature for Rizwan. Riding through the scenic roads, he finally reached Jabalpur. After getting insights into the glorious past of Jabalpur by visiting Madan Mahal Fort and Rani Durgawati Museum, he left for Bhedaghat. When he came across the beauty of the Marble Rocks standing tall in the waters of Narmada River, the time came to a standstill for him as he had never seen such a pretty sight in his life before.

He indulged in boating there to relish an up-close look of the rocks.  Visiting the Smoke Cascade AKA Dhuandhar Falls and capturing the overview of the picturesque place on a cable car ride elated Rizwan’s joy manifold.


Jungle Fun Once Again at Bandhavgarh

The next stop on Day 8 on Rizwan’s journey came in the form of Bandhavgarh – another treasure trove of wildlife in Madhya Pradesh. Though the visit could not satisfy his urge to spot tiger once again, his luck compensated by letting him spot a leopard instead, hiding in the dense forests of Bandhavgarh National Park. As far as nature photography is concerned, he had a memorable experience at the wildlife park before he left for his next destination, Panna, the same evening.


Exploring Panna

Rizwan reached Panna taking a detour to Satna en route. The most exciting moment of Day 9 for him was standing face-to-face with Raneh Falls, soaking in the undiluted beauty of these falls plunging from the plateau of Rewa. Adding a flavour of a thrill to the affair, he also visited the famous Ken Gharial Sanctuary and captured some giant gharials on his camera to embellish his Instagram gallery with the exotic wildlife of Madhya Pradesh.


The Art Mine of Khajuraho

Long before the wheels hit the soil of Khajuraho, Rizwan knew that something extraordinary was waiting for him next on Day 10. He knew that the temples of Khajuraho, built between 950 and 1050 AD would change the way he saw art and architecture, and when he visited the temple complex, he realized he wasn’t wrong. The brilliant designs, the erotic sculptures, and the intricate carvings of the temples made him stare in disbelief.

He took his merry time and explored every nook and cranny of the complex with utmost diligence because this site was just an exemplifying demonstration of the boundlessness of human imagination. But he had to keep moving because Orchha was calling.


The Quaint and Quiet Orchha

Overwhelmed by the beauty of Madhya Pradesh, Rizwan was full of hope when he drove towards Orchha on Day 11, and the historical town did not disappoint him a bit. The town was established by Rudra Pratap Singh around 1500 AD but every part of this pretty town, located on the banks of the river Betwa, still holds a sense of regalness in its atmosphere. 

Rizwan enjoyed exploring the heritage sites of Orchha, namely Jahangir Mahal, Raja Mahal, Ram Raja Temple, and Laxmi Narayan Temple, putting on a show of art and architecture. The adventurous activity of river rafting in the waters of the river Betwa became the high point of the day.

The next destination on the roadmap was Gwalior!


Capturing The Architectural Brilliance of Gwalior

Rizwan, being a history enthusiast, had always been eager to explore the cultural heritage of Gwalior. And the time had finally come when he could materialize his dream on Day 12 of his road trip. He started his exploration by visiting the 8th century Gwalior Fort which is said to be one of the most beautiful and impenetrable forts in the entire country.

It was an enlightening experience for Rizwan to learn about the rich history of the fort and the region. He also captured the captivating architecture of Man Singh Palace and Jai Vilas Mahal during the Gwalior phase of his journey.

Before leaving for Shivpuri, Rizwan resolved to visit Gwalior once again soon.


Vivid Colours of Shivpuri

The next destination on Rizwan’s trip was not as popular as the ones he had been to so far, but it was an important one owing to the blend of spirituality, history, and nature it offers. It was Day 13, and by now he had developed a strong taste for wildlife exploration, so he started discovering Shivpuri with the rich flora and fauna collection at Madhav National Park. After witnessing the beauty of exotic creatures in their natural habitat, it was time for him to check sites like The George Castle and the Chhatris famous for their architectural brilliance. Later in the evening, Rizwan concluded his Shivpuri tour by visiting Madhav Vilas Palace.


Chanderi Fort, Chanderi Saree, and Much More!

It was Day 14, and the last destination of the road trip before driving back to Bhopal was Chanderi, a historical town located in Ashok Nagar District at a distance of 130 km from Shivpuri. He had two major reasons to visit Chanderi on this trip – Chanderi Fort and Chanderi Sarees. The quaint town is replete with numerous Hindu and Jain temples, palaces and forts.

Rizwan visited major sites like Chanderi Fort, Babar’s Mosque, Koshak Mahal and Shahzadi ka Roza and was quite impressed with the architecture and the carvings these monuments bear. And then, he finally hit the markets and bought souvenirs in the form of, obviously, Chanderi fabric and sarees.


Back To Square One – Bhopal

After riding for a distance of almost 230 km, Rizwan finally reached Bhopal on the evening of the  15th and the last day of the trip. Though this extraordinary road trip of Madhya Pradesh had exhausted him physically, his mind was at peace and a sense of triumph reigned his mood. He had pulled it off successfully!


Rizwan, with a hint of nostalgia, expresses, “Madhya Pradesh has given me much more than I could have possibly expected, and I am short of words to confine and describe my whole journey in a couple of pages. In order to feel what I felt there, you ought to ignite the engine and embark on a journey to explore Madhya Pradesh, and the state will surprise you every minute with its diverse offerings. That is my promise!”

You can check the highlights of Rizwan’s journey on his Instagram and Facebook profiles. But beware, you’ll lose your heart to Madhya Pradesh once again!