Madhya Pradesh is commonly abbreviated as M.P. in India local. Its name "Madhya Pradesh" means "Central Region" because is if located at Central of India in plains. Till year 2000, Madhya Pradesh was the largest state of India in area-wise but after creation of Chattisgarh state from Madhya Pradesh area, it become second largest state in area-wise and 6th largest state in population wise. Is is among few states of India who shares their state border with other states of India and not with any other country or coastal line. Its north-east border touches Uttar Pradesh state, north-west border touches Rajasthan, western border touches Gujarat, south-west border touches Maharashtra state and south-east border touches Chattisgarh.
MADHYA PRADESH ORIGIN
The ancient Vedas record the marriage of king Dashrath of Uttar Kosal, father of Lord Rama of the epic Ramayana, with the princess of Dakshin kosal (a part of modern Madhya Pradesh). It is believed that the Lord Rama & Sita spent a major part of their 14 years exile in Chitrakoot located in the Dandaka forest area, north of the Vindhyas. Archeological explorations & excavations provide a glimpse of the ancient period from the earliest times to about the 13th century AD. The finds speak of a developed ancient civilization & reflect the glorious & chequered history of its rulers & warriors & a rich cultural past. Historically known as Malwa, Madhya Pradesh – the second largest cenrally located state in India is called the very heart of India.
Madhya Pradesh, as its name implies, lies in the heart of India, whose topography ranges from plateau with the Vindhya & the Satpura mountain ranges, the plains in the east, meandering rivers, rocky hills & ravines to lush green forests. State offers all important pillars of Indian tourism like pilgrim tourism, wildlife tourism, heritage tourism, buddhism, adventure sports etc.
The state boasts of a wide variety of attractions to suit all tourist tastes, from ancient temples to national parks & sanctuaries, stupas, forts & palaces, a host of cultural & tourist festivals to splendid venues for international conference & conventions of global standards. The best known tourism products of Madhya Pradesh in global & national tourism market are its heritage & archeological sites, wildlife territories, pilgrimage centres, leisure & business centres & the rich classical, folk & tribal culture. The principal destinations are Khajuraho, Kanha, Sanchi, Mandu, Gwalior – Shivpuri, Pachmarhi, Bandhavgarh, Satpura National Park, Pench, Amarkantak, Ujjain, Omkareshwar, Bhedaghat, Orchha & Chitrakoot & the dynamic business centres of Bhopal & Indore.
Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (MPSTDC), a state government organization is the nodal agency responsible for development & promotion to attract tourists to this very heart of India.
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
The province of Madhya Pradesh is the milieu of fairs and festivals, which also becomes its style mantra. In other words, culture of Madhya Pradesh is nurtured due to exquisite festival celebrations. Apart from celebrating all other Indian festivals like Holi, Dusshera, the tribal festivals and fairs are also observed in full vigor and merrymaking. Revelry, drinks and alien amusement like cock fighting, dancing label these tribal festivals in Madhya Pradesh. `Kalidas Samaroh`, `Tansen Samaroh` and a dance fete in Khajuraho are celebrated, in great fiesta, with vast number of avid participants. Religious festivals too are observed with veneration. In West Nimar and Jabua regions of Mandhyanchal , a colorful festival called Bhagoria Haat is feted by the Bhils and Bhilalas tribes. It is a mass `swayamvara`, is held in vividness before Holi festival in the month of March
The population of Madhya Pradesh is about 60.38 Millions (2001 census), an increase of 24.34% & the population density is 196 people per square kilometer. More than 75% of state population resides in villages whose main occupation is agriculture, while the rest of the population lives in towns. Indore district is the most populated one. Number of females per thousand male (sex ratio) in the state is 919 where as the literacy rate is 63.70%. The majority population is Hindu with Muslims making up the largest minority community.
The life style, culture & customs of this community mostly resemble the Hindu religion though they still strongly believe in orthodox traditions. Gond is the best known tribe & forms the largest group in Madhya Pradesh. Bhils, the second largest tribe are largely concentrated in the area around Jhabua, Khargone, Dhar & Ratlam. Baigas believe themselves to be descendants of Dravid & this backward tribe is found in Mandla, balaghat, Shahdol & Sidhi District. Bharia tribe has major concentration in Jabalpur & Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh.Korku tribal community is administered by the head of a panchayat (called Sarpanch) & they are found in Hoshangabad, Betul, Chhindwara, Harda & Khandwa districts of Madhya Pradesh. Santia is a tribe of Malwawho believe themselves to be originally a martial Rajput tribe. Lesser known tribe like Dhanuk, Panika, Saur still form an important group.
Hindi, the official language of Madhya Pradesh is the most widely spoken language. It is the predominant language of the official work. It is not very difficult for locals even in remote corners to understand Hindi. It is widely spoken by sizeable numbers engaged in the hospitality & service industry.
One would see words of English & Hindi both used on signages, milestones, shop & office signboards. The language Marathi is also widespread. Malwi, Bundeli, bagheli, Nimari are the commonly spoken regional languages. The dilects like, Gondi, Bhilli is the most common spoken language among the tribal community of gond & Bhils respectively. Chhatisgarh is spoken by majority in the east & southeast region of the Madhya Pradesh.