Madhya Pradesh ... Spiritual, Religious & Wildlife Experience
The spotlight doesn’t hit Madhya Pradesh (MP) with quite the same brilliance as it shines on more celebrated neighbouring states, so you can experience travel riches ranking with the best without that feeling of just following a tourist trail.
Khajuraho’s temples bristle with some of the finest stone carving in India, their exquisite erotic sculptures a mere slice of the architectural wonders of a region exceedingly well endowed with palaces, forts, temples, mosques and stupas, most gloriously in the villages of Orchha and Mandu. Tigers are the other big news here, and your chances of spotting a wild Royal Bengal in MP are as good as anywhere in India.
Pilgrimage-cum-traveller havens such as Maheshwar and Omkareshwar on the Narmada River are infused with the spiritual and chill-out vibes for which India is renowned
On this tour we take you to some of the destinations off the beaten track ... Maheshwar, Bhopal, Bori Wildlife Santuary, Satpura National Park, Omkareshwar, Ujjain & Indore
- Day 1
Arrival Indore / Transfer Maheshwar / Evening at the Ghats
Arrival Indore â€¦ Meet & greet by our representative at the airport â€¦ You will be escorted to your vehicle for transfer to Maheshwar â€¦ 95 kms. / 2 hours drive
The peaceful riverside town of Maheshwar has long held spiritual significance â€“ itâ€™s mentioned in the Mahabharata and Ramayana under its old name, Mahishmati, and still draws sadhus and yatris (pilgrims) to its ancient ghats and temples on the holy Narmada River. Away from the ghats and historic buildings, Maheshwarâ€™s colourful streets display some brightly painted wooden houses with overhanging balconies.
Maheshwar is a captivating place that packs a lot of punch in a very small area. The ghats are a whirl of colour and interest and the compact old quarter is a pleasure to explore. In many ways, Maheshwar is a sort of refined, spit-shone Varanasi in miniature and the fact that it's well off the beaten tourist path means that the many smiles you'll receive are genuine. If you want to encounter old India at its best, then Maheshwar fits the bill.
Upon arrival, check in at Ahilya Fort & rest for a while
Later visit the Ahilya Fort, Ghats around the fort & take a boat ride
Huge Fort structure houses Shri Maheshwar Fort, Ahilya Bai Fort and Holkar Fort side by side. They are so close and connected that it gets difficult to tell which fort is which one. Right next to the fort is Rani Ahilya Bai Palace (also called as Maheshwar Rajwada). Once widowed, Ahilya Bai stayed in this palace living a simple life and governing his state with a strong will power, establishing her as one of Indiaâ€™s most powerful female leaders, Rani Ahilyabai Holkar.
Narmada Ghat right next to Fort is the biggest of all. Built in 18th Century by Ahilya Bai Holkar, Narmada Ghat offers enchanting sights. Ahilya Ghat, Peshwa Ghat, Kamani Ghat are other prominent ones.
The river ghats are clean and serene. You can easily find a secluded spot from where you can watch the vastness of Narmada river and locals immersed in their own lives, both in their own carefree flow.
Maheshwar Ghats are favourite of movie-makers and several Bollywood and Tamil movies have been shot here
With home to a number of old temples Maheshwar appeals to both, the pilgrim as well as the tourist in you. There are many temples in and around Maheshwar Fort, some of the prominent being â€“ Shri Raj Rajeshwar Temple - A Shiv temple & Ahilyeshwar Temple â€“ Dedicated to lord Ram
Included in your stay is a not-to-be-missed boat ride to Baneshwar Temple, considered to be the Centre of the Universe. Watch the sun setting as you glide down the Narmada on a hand-poled boat to the Temple. Have a cup of tea and then release diyas as an offering to the River.
Dinner & overnight at Ahilya Fort
- Day 2
Maheshwar to Bhopal / Day at leisure for local sightseeing
After breakfast, proceed to Bhopal â€¦ 285 kms., 5 hours 30 mins drive
Split by a pair of lakes, the capital of Madhya Pradesh offers two starkly contrasting cityscapes. North of the lakes is Bhopal's Muslim-dominated old city, a labyrinthine area of mosques and crowded bazaars. About a quarter of Bhopalâ€™s population is Muslim, and the women in black niqabs (veils) are reminders of the four female Islamic rulers, known as the Begums of Bhopal, who developed the city in the 19th and early 20th centuries. North of the old city is a reminder of a more recent, tragic history â€“ the Union Carbide chemical plant, site of the worldâ€™s worst industrial disaster.
South of the lakes, Bhopal is more modern, with wide roads, some excellent museums, and upmarket hotels and restaurants nestled comfortably in the Arera and Shyamla Hills. The central district here is known as New Market.
The largest of the two lakes is huge and lends the city an attractive focus.
Upon arrival check in hotel
Later, day at leisure for local sightseeing
Located on western side of the city, the beauty of this tranquil lake brings together people to spend some time at peace here. The sunrise and sunset views are just amazing from this place. Along with being one of the top places to visit in Bhopal, the lake is also a major source of drinking water for the residents of the city.
Bharat Bhawan Centre for the Performing and Visual Arts
Bharat Bhavan is an autonomous multi-arts complex and museum was established and funded by the Government of Madhya Pradesh.The architect of Bhavan is Charles Correa.
Taj ul Masajid
Taj-ul-Masjid or â€˜Crown among Mosquesâ€™ is the largest mosque in the country. The building of this mosque was started by Nawab Shah Jahan Begum (1868-1901) and continued to be built by her daughter Sultan Jahan Begum, till her lifetime. After decades of dormancy, the construction was restarted in 1971 and finished in 1985. The most impressive features of this mosque are its main hall with inter-arched roof, broad facade, spacious courtyard, and smooth marble flooring.
Lower Lake is an incredible artwork of the city. It contributes highly towards beautifying the landscape of Bhopal. Along with the Upper Lake, it creates the Bhoj Wetland. The order for the construction of this lake was given by Chote Khan, a minister of Nawab Hayat Muhammad Khan Bahadur. The lake is among the must visit attractions of Bhopal.
Striking 19th-century mosque with an ornate white facade offset by a pair of imposing red towers.
Overnight at Bhopal
- Day 3
Bhopal Heritage Walk / Later drive to Bori Wildlife Sanctuary
Morning, Heritage Walk
Explore the streets of Old Bhopal and hear the incredible stories of history captured in the grand buildings and busy alleyways.
The heart of the old city of Bhopal is the Chowk, where the cityâ€™s heritage comes together with grand palatial buildings and labyrinthine lanes lined with shops and cafes. Exploring this part of the city â€“ either with a guide or independently â€“ offers a fascinating insight into the history of Madhya Pradeshâ€™s capital city.
In the centre of the old city is the Jama Masjid mosque, built between 1832 and 1857 by the first female ruler of Bhopal, Qudsia Begum. Although it was her granddaughter Shah Jahan Begum, the third female ruler of Bhopal, who created the magnificent Taj-ul-Masajid mosque that has become one of the cityâ€™s most impressive landmarks.
Close to another of OId Bhopalâ€™s main mosques, Moti Masjid, is a fine collection of old palaces built during the period of the Begums, the Muslim female leaders. Some of the palaces have had restoration work, while others are in various levels of disrepair. Most are centred around the Iqbal Maidan garden, where youâ€™ll find market stalls, people playing games, and views through the old city gates down to the lake.
The Islamic history in this part of Bhopal and the magnificent public buildings that are left from the time of the Begum leaders are well worth exploring to see a different side to the city.
Back to hotel for breakfast, check out & drive to Bori Wildlife Sanctuary â€¦ 145 kms., 4 hours drive
The Bori Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most exciting emerging tiger landscapes in Madhya Pradesh, and is home to tigers, sloth bears, leopards, wild dogs, giant squirrels and a variety of other Central Indian species of birds and animals. This destination is less explored, far from the usual tourist hotspots and is a haven for nature lovers.
On arrival check in at Bori Safari Lodge
1530 hrs - Drive for sun downer
At Bori Safari Lodge, we arrange a number of activities to make your time with us adventurous and rewarding. The lodge, is just 3 kilometers away from the Bori Wildlife Sanctuary and about 2.5 hours away from the Satpura National Park, offers guests the perfect opportunity to explore the wilderness. We arrange for various wildlife tours, be it buffer rides, walking safari or 4X4 jeep safari at Bori Wildlife Sanctuary. We have best-in-class naturalists who guide you impeccably in the park to ensure that you have a great wilderness experience.
Our location, in the middle of farmland, helps you experience the village life of Dhapadamal and surrounding villages. With our escorted village and anthropological excursions, get a glimpse of the rustic way of life and get a chance to interact with the locals. You could also enjoy eco-tourism activities â€“ learn about the farming practices in the area, how they grow their crops, rear their livestock and much more.
1930 hrs - Drive back to the lodge
Overnight at Bori Safari Lodge
- Day 4
From Bori - Safari to Churna / Later through jungle to Madhai - Reni Pani Jungle Lodge
0530 hrs - Check out and proceed for full day safari â€¦ Total 170 kms. drive
Depart for Churna safari through the national park with a naturalist. On this drive, guests may see Leopard, Sloth Bear, Indian Giant Squirrel, Four- Four Horned Antelope, Munjac and other common herbivores. If lucky, there is also a chance of seeing Wild Dog and Tiger.
We reach Churna Camp by afternoon in time for Lunch. Food will be basic vegetarian Indian cuisine cooked at the Forest Rest House.
At the camp, there is a resident Giant Flying Squirrel that we will attempt to see.
Later continue drive through the forest, where there is a significant amount of predator movement.
By evening arrive at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge
Check in & at leisure
Overnight at Reni Pani Jungle Lodge
- Day 5
Reni Pani Jungle Lodge
After breakfast, full day at leisure
Explore wilderness like never before! The Naturalists at our Madhai Resort are knowledgeable and give the guests some insight into local species and their behaviour. This Satpura National Park Resort offers the perfect opportunity for the adventure seekers to explore their surroundings. At Reni Pani Jungle Lodge, we focus on non-motorized ways of exploring the landscape. Our resort in Satpura uniquely offers walking, canoeing, cycling, and camping safaris apart from jeep and motorboat excursions to see wildlife.
Reni Pani's seasonal nullah, a stretch of teak, rugged hillocks and gauges are an accurate representation of terrain one should expect in the Satpura Tiger Reserve. Its forest environment coupled with the neighbouring patches of agricultural land makes Reni Pani and its surrounding areas a perfect spot for animals, birds and other wildlife. The abundance of Reni Trees (a type of berry after which the lodge and village are named) also attracts a number of sloth bears and birds to Reni Pani. This diverse wildlife and soothing canopy of green are what make us one of the most sought-after resorts in Madhya Pradesh.
After Lunch, proceed for night jungle drive experience.
The most common activity that patrons at our hotel in Madhya Pradesh can indulge in is the 4X4 safari drives that are offered in the Satpura Tiger Reserve. Guests will be escorted by Reni Paniâ€™s highly trained and well-versed naturalists in our jeeps till the water body (Denwa River) that marks the boundary of the park.
The forest department boats run a shuttle service to transfer people to Madhai (the park entrance). From Madhai, forest department guides along with our naturalists will attempt to deliver a truly exhilarating experience filled with insightful knowledge on the flora and fauna that is indigenous to the Satpura Tiger Reserve.
Dinner and overnight at Reni Pani Lodge
- Day 6
Reni Pani Lodge â€“ Omkareshwar â€“ Indore
After breakfast, drive to Indore â€¦ direct 325 kms., 7 hours drive
Enroute visit Omkareshwar Temple â€¦ Total 375 kms. â€¦ 2 hours detour
This Om-shaped island in the holy Narmada River attracts pilgrims in large numbers and has become a spiritual chill-out destination for some travellers. A controversial dam just upstream has changed the look of Omkareshwar considerably, but the island has retained its spiritual vibe and remains a pleasant and authentic â€“ if typically commercialised â€“ pilgrimage point.
Much activity takes place off the island, in the town on the south side of the river. Two footbridges 400m apart link town and island: the western old bridge crosses from the market square called Getti Chowk, and the eastern new bridge crosses from a large parking area. Halfway between the bridges you'll find the ghats, where you can cross the river on boats
Later continue drive to Indore â€¦ 80 kms. / 2 hours drive
Madhya Pradesh's biggest city and commercial powerhouse has much more of a cosmopolitan buzz than anywhere else in the state. Apart from some splendid buildings created by the Holkar dynasty, there's a shortage of outstanding sights, and Indore's traffic and crowds are as hectic as in any Indian city of this size, so for most tourists this is little more than a gateway to Mandu, Maheshwar or Omkareshwar. But with its bustling bazaars, good eating scene and a better-than-average crop of hotels, Indore is a place you may well grow to like if you spend a couple of nights here.
The city feels notably richer and cleaner than most other towns and cities in central India. Indeed, locals like to tell visitors how in India-wide surveys held in 2017 and 2018, Indore was ranked as the cleanest city in India.
Check in to hotel and rest
Later visit Sarafa Night food market for street food experience.
Indoreâ€™s love affair with food is long and legendary, with street food being a much-discussed and passionately debated topic in foodie circles. The flavours of Indoreâ€™s diverse kitchens mingle madly at the legendary Sarafa Bazaar, which comes to life at 8 pm, when the jewellery market behind the Rajwada Palace, a crumbling remnant of the Holkar dynasty, closes down. Though no one is sure about the origin of this bazaar, it is believed that it started some 100 years ago and was encouraged by jewellery shop owners so the noise and bustle would secure their own shops at night. With this in mind, they willingly started offering space in front of their shops to food vendors and, thus, Sarafa Bazar came into existence. Today, when most of Indore is asleep, this late night market gets nearly 3000 visitors, both locals and tourists.
The cheerful and chaotic festivity on the streets of Sarafa is mesmerising â€“ neon signboards strung up on the shutters of closed jewellery shops, well-lit carts breaking up stretches of darkness, people carefully negotiating their way past large kadais bubbling with hot oil, and food vendors busily serving up a dazzling fare. Sarafa Bazaar stays open well into the night, both fuelling and satiating the cityâ€™s irrepressible appetite.
One look at the goodies on offer and itâ€™s easy to understand why this night market is placed so high on the foodie pedestal. Generations of tweaking & perfecting classic recipes have led to Sarafa Bazaar being the heart of street food culture in Indore, with its lanes crammed with sounds, smells and one-of-a kind culinary options. About 50 different dishes are available at Sarafa Bazaar. Since Indori food is rarely subtle, most of the fare is all about richness and tartness.
Overnight at Indore
- Day 7
Indore / Day trip to Ujjain / Departure flight from Indore
After breakfast, drive to Ujjain â€¦ 55 kms. one way, 1 hr. drive
Weave your way between pilgrims along the river ghats, make an offering at some of Ujjain's famous temples, and get lost in the old city's maze of alleyways, and youâ€™ll see why the holy town of Ujjain has been attracting traders and pilgrims for hundreds of years. An undeniable energy pulses through the sacred sites here â€“ not surprising given this is one of Hinduismâ€™s seven sacred cities and also one of the four cities that hosts the gigantic Kumbh Mela pilgrimage festival every 12 years. An estimated 75 million people crowded into Ujjain during the month of its most recent Kumbh Mela in 2016.
Later back to Indore for onward flight
Round the year destination ... Extension recommended to Khajurahoo, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench & Other Destinations across MP
Bori Wildlife Sanctuary
Reni Pani Jungle Lodge
MP Inclusions ... Spiritual, Religious, Wildlife
6 nights accommodation
Daily breakfast at hotels
Dinner at Maheshwar, Bori Safari Lodge & Reni Pani Lodge
All transfers & sightseeings by private vehicle
Boating on Narmada at Maheshwar
Jungle Safaris at Bori Wildlife Sanctuary & Satpura National Park
Services of Guide at Bhopal & Indore
Notes on itinerary
All our itineraries are "Just for Ideas" ... We will get to know you and customise an itinerary just for you that matches your requirements ... dates of travel, category of hotels, preferred airline, flexibility in choosing sightseeing, mode of travel between cities, etc.
Many of our clients have us design more relaxing, slower paced holidays with more in-depth experiences whereas some simply want to visit various destinations and cover only the highlights.
Together, we will determine the ideal route, pace of travel, accommodations, levels of pampering, style of touring, sightseeing to be included, dining preferences, adventure levels, options to meet locals, dates of travel & much more ! and based on this arrive at a price.
Do feel free to get in touch with us by a quick call on +91 79 29602961 or a short mail on email@example.com ... Looking forward