Central India

Often referred to as the ‘Heart of India’ due to its geographical location, Madhya Pradesh is India’s second largest state. This part of India is spectacular for its heritage and wildlife sites. The stunning Hindu and Jain temples at Khajuraho are renowned for their carvings of erotic scenes, most prominently the Kandariya Mahadeva, which features over 800 sculptures. The ancient fort of Mandu display examples of ancient Afghan architecture through beautiful palaces and mosques, built during the state’s Afghan era of rule.

Madhya Pradesh is home to 10 National Parks, of which six are tiger reserves. – few places in Asia, let alone India, offer as much choice in exploration and experiences in the wild as this state. Key parks in clued Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench, Panna – these national parks are noted for their high density of tiger population, while the relatively unknown Satpura is particularly blessed with a high leopard population.

If the lure of ancient civilizations interspersed with the wild isn’t enough, Madhya Pradesh offers the active traveler encounters with great rivers and mountain peaks – it straddles the sacred Narmada River, worshipped throughout the region, on which unforgettable boat rides allow you to experience gliding between giant marble rocks and taking in rarely seen spots of pristine nature. Spend time on its’ mesmerising banks in the lovely city of Maheshwar, where a rich architectural and cultural legacy is supported  by the Holkar Dynasty, who also hold an annual Sacred River Festival, featuring classical music performances, and held at Ahilya Fort each February.