Madhya Pradesh (Central State), is better known as the 'Heart of India' not only for it's geographical position but more so for it's unique cultural history and its rich natural resources. Its argubaly the most diverse amongst all Indian states as it has dense forests, a scenic platue, ancient temples, hills and lakes and rich wildlife.
Amongst the earliest known dwellings of mankind are found in the pre-historic caves of Bhimbetka. Lovers of history would appreciate the glimpses from the Stone Age that exist on the rock shelters of Bhimbetka, where the primitive man depicts an era when "human beings" were not the dominant species on earth. Madhya Pradesh has inumerable forests and national parks that hold the richest cover of flora anf fauna in the Indian Subcontinent
What we know of Madhya Pradesh now, was originally Gondwana, one of the oldest regions of the world. Madhya Pradesh is home to three mountain ranges of Kaimur, Vindhya and Satpura and the two hill ranges of Maikal and Mahadeo. The state also boasts of four national parks(forests) and gorges and ravines from six rivers.
The Gonds (A Tribe), amongst the first settlers in Madhya Pradesh, trace their origin from pre human era. The ancient caves that exist today clearly indicate the historical presence of tribes such as Kols and Korkus that perhaps founded the Indian civilisation.No other Indian state has a richer culture of tribal people with four established tribes, the largest amongst them being the Bhils and Gonds.
Madhya Pradesh is also home to fourteen great dynasties ranging from the Mauryas to the Mughals. These dynasties have left a mark on the architecture resulting in splendid monuments, each a distinct reminder of a dynasty. The early history of Madhya Pradesh goes back to 320 BC. The Satavahana dynasty of the Deccan ruled the region in between 1st and 3rd centuries AD. Ujjain became the predominant commercial center of western India during the ancient period. Between the 12th and 16th centuries, the region saw continuing struggles between Hindu and Muslims rulers or invaders. Important independent regional kingdoms included Tomara Rajput kingdom of Gwalior and the Muslim Sultanate of Malwa, with its capital at Mandu. From 950 to 1050AD the Paramaras of Malwa and the Chandelas of Bundelkhand constructed the fantastic series of temples at Khajuraho in the north of the state.
The early history of Madhya Pradesh goes back to when Chandragupta Maurya established the Mauryan Empire which included many places of modern day Madhya Pradesh. Ashoka, the great Mauryan emperor was powerful in the plateau of Malwa. With the death of Ashoka, the Mauryan Empire became weak and the region came under the rule of Sakas, Kushanas, and local dynasties. Towards the end of 4th century the region came under Gupta dynasty and it continued for be so for over 150 years and finally collapsed towards the end of the 5th century. Ujjain became the predominant commercial center of western India during the ancient period.
The glorious cultural and geographical history is there to be witnessed even today. The forests, the mountain ranges, the temples and monuments, the caves and rock shelters, the holy towns, it's all there in the very Heart of India, Madhya Pradesh.