Bhopal, the capital, is spread out on 7 gentle hills and around two pretty lakes. It is an amalgam of scenic beauty, evocative monuments (such as the Taj-ul-Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India, Jama Masjid and Moti Masjid), and contemporary buildings.
Just 40 km South, amidst rocky terrain and dense forest, lies the archaeological treasure Bhimbetka. The world’s largest group of rock shelters (nearly 700) belonging to the Neolithic age was found here recently. more than 500 of these shelters have pre-historic paintings on their walls depicting the lives of the cave dwellers-huge figures of bisons, tigers and rhinoceros, hunting scenes, communal dances, mother and child, honey collection and so on. And it has been found that the caves were used by different people over a long period of time from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Early Historic periods.
Sanchi, renowned for the oldest Buddhist stupa in the world, build by Emperor Ashoka (3rd century BC); Orchcha, the capital city if the Bundela rulers (16th and 17th centuries), famous for its grand palaces and temples; Mandu, a fortress town strategically perched at the edge of the Malwa plateau and protected by massive 45 km long fort walls; Shivpuri, the summer capital of the former Scindia rulers; and Chanderi, famous for its fine sarees and brocades, are some of the other places where M.P.’s archaeological treasures are worth exploring.
The holy city, Ujjain, lies 188 km West of Bhopal on the banks of the Shipra river. It is one of the four cities in india where the Kumbh Mela is held every 3 years in rotation (each city getting its turn after 12 years). During the Mela, millions of Hindu devotees come for a purifying dip in the river. The city abounds in temples, and the spire of the Mahakaleshwara Temple ( dedicated to Lord Shiva) dominates its skyline.