MP Diaries: Jyotirlinga temple Omkareshwar, The Divine OM Parikrama

During our discussion over a quick lunch, we decided to skip Omkareshwar and Maheshwar and head straight to Mandu due to time constraint. Without wasting any more time, we headed towards Mandu and the closest route was via Maheshwar. Around 3:40 pm, we reached a cross road leading to Omkareshwar and realised that Mandu was about 150 km from here. Thinking again, we modified our plan and drove towards Omkareshwar as we were aware we wouldn't be able to make it to Mandu before sunset. We reached the village of Omkareshwar within ten minutes and were greeted by the narrow lanes of this temple town. Navigating through these lanes, we reached the southern bank of river Narmada. While we were on a look out for a place to park our vehicle, we were surrounded by numerous priests (read them as touts/agents) who offered to take us to a direct darshan of the Lord Omkareshwar. We managed to find a parking spot finally through one of the agent inside a compound for Rs 50/-.
Omkareshwar Temple Ghat
Omkareshwar Temple Ghat
Omkareshwar is one of the 12 Jyothirlinga shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated on an island resembling the holy symbol OM on the banks of the triveni sangam (holy confluence) of rivers Narmada, Kaveri and invisible Saraswathi. There are two ways to reach the temple from the southern bank of river Narmada, either a walk via hanging bridge or a boat ride. We zeroed in on the boat ride as our little one enjoys being in, around and surrounded by water! After a hard bargaining negotiation, our agent he agreed to show us three places for Rs 200/- which were the confluence of the rivers/dam, the Omkareshwara temple and the Vishnu temple. Our boat man first took us close to the dam and told us about that place being the confluence of the rivers which we realised later to be untrue. The point of confluence lies behind the dam and can be reached by walk from main temple. Later we were dropped at the bank of Omkareshwar temple. He informed us that the temple would open by 4:30 pm for darshan and here again while we waited in queue for darshan, we were approached by many priests/agents offering direct darshan at a cost. We had a tough time avoiding them. We stood in the queue for, say 20 minutes before we had the darshan of Lord Omkareshwar. 
Omkareshwar Dam across River Narmada
Omkareshwar Dam across River Narmada
Lord Omkareshwar Jyothirlinga
Lord Omkareshwar Jyothirlinga 
 The main temple of Omkareshwara is multi-storeyed, with each storey housing one Shivalinga dedicated to the various forms of Lord Shiva. The temple has some beautiful sculptures which are spread across the temple complex. Thanks to Madhya Pradesh government, this place is very cleanly maintained despite being a pilgrimage center. Here on while returning to our boat, we found a cave temple dedicated to Guru Shankaracharya. This sacred cave is the place where Shankaracharya met his guru Govindphada. We reached the boat, and rode towards the Vishnu temple. We had to see this huge idol of Lord Vishnu from the boat only and later were dropped near the Gomukh Ghat. Gomukh ghat is a ghat on the southern bank of river Narmada and a flight of steps here lead us to the temple complex of Mamleshwar. This temple is considered to be the oldest temple here and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. We managed to make a quick visit to all the temples in the complex and stopped by to have a cup of tea. In between our exit from the temple and sipping hot tea, we had picked up a book about Omkareshwar written in Hindi. As we sipped tea, we brushed through the book only to find many other interesting places worth a visit here and around. At the tea stall, we inquired about a few places given in the book and were informed that most of those structures were located on the hillock behind the main temple. Though we were contemplating and initially quite hesitant to ascend the hill, by heart because of our tired legs, we desperately wanted to visit this place and finally put a step forward. Our hearts finally winning won over legs. Unknowingly we were along the divine OM Parikrama or the Narmada Parikrama, a circuitous path regarded as sacred when completed by pilgrims. We crossed the hanging bridge and started our ascent by the steps laid to the top of the hill with the beautiful sun setting, in the back ground. We had to hurry up and rush through a few temples and structures before it fell completely dark. We only wished we would have made it here much earlier, so we could enjoy the sheer beauty of this place. All the structures and temples built here are attributed to the reign of the Paramara dynasty.
Inside Shankaracharya Cave
Dwarapalas of Mamleshwar Temple
Mamleshwar Temple Complex  Omkareshwar
Mamleshwar Temple Complex 
Calmly Flowing Narmada
Gauri/Gori Somnath temple  ( Locally known as Mama-Bhanja temple) 
This is a beautiful two storeyed temple belonging to the 11th century AD housing a huge Shivalinga. It is built of red sandstone and is associated with various interesting legends. There is also a beautiful Nandi idol opposite to the temple. A little further is the Patali Hanuman temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman who is seen in a reclining posture.
Gori Somnath Temple
 Sita Mata Temple 
This 11th century temple, now mostly in ruins is dedicated to Goddess Sita (Lord Rama's consort). 
Goddess Sita 
Sita Matha Temple
Sita Matha Temple 
Chand - Suraj Dwar (Moon - Sun Fort Gateway) 
This is a very beautiful fort gateway and on either sides of the gateway are carved images of river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna. A carving of Lord Ganesha is also seen here.
Mahishasura Mardhini
Lord Ganesha
Chand Suraj Dwar
 Siddhnath Barahdwari Siddeshwar Temple
The main reason for our ascent to this hillock was the picture of Siddhnath temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The sun had set by the time we reached this temple. Even in the dark the temple looked equally beautiful, consisting of 72 pillars (18 pillars in each direction). All the pillars seemed to be very well executed.
Siddhnath Barahdwari Temple

Bhima Darwaja (Bhima Gate)
Another gateway to this fort is the Bhima Darwaja where a huge idol of Bhima (one of the five Pandava brothers from Mahabharata) is seen. 
Bhima 

Finally we reached the main temple of Omkareshwar where the parikrama ends and got another chance of darshan of the Lord, this time among a relatively lesser crowd. Since it is the Parikrama path, the pathway was well laid and well-lit all along.
Carvings on the Ceiling of Omkareshwar Temple
Omkareshwar At Night 
Raj Mahal Omkareshwar
Raj Mahal Omkareshwar

Distance from nearby major town - 75 km from Indore.
Accommodation - Being a pilgrimage center, there are many options for finding accommodation. Narmada resort being one among the better ones is maintained by MPSTDC. 

Where to eat - Many road side eateries offer Poha, Jalebi, Samosa and other snacks.

References 

1. RBS Visitors Guide India - ''Madhya Pradesh"
2. Omkareshwar Mahathva - A Local Guide
2. Ghumakkar 



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MP Diaries - Asirgarh, Gateway to Deccan

Asirgarh, a hill fort in Burhanpur of East Nimar district, Madhya Pradesh is located in the Satpura range, 259 meters high from the base and 696 meters above sea level. Asirgarh was an invincible fort of the medieval times covering an area of 60 acres at the summit of the hill. The fort was regarded as the gateway to the Deccan and the emperor who had the authority over the region not only had access to the Deccan region but also had a control over land and water routes and could regulate the inland and foreign trade that resulted in a prosperous economy. The west side of the hill is well defended by three lines of defenses namely, the lower most Malaigarh, middle most Kamargarh and the top most Asirgarh. Over time, the fort was ruled by many dynasties and the fortification was strengthened. The fort comprising of strong walls and bastions had mainly seven gateways.
Asirgarh Fort , Burhanpur
Asirgarh Fort 
Asirgarh fort finds a mention in the epic Mahabharata as Ashwatthamagiri. Firishta (Persian historian) derived the name of Asirgarh from Asa Ahir, to whom he attributes the foundation of the fort; but this is speculative as the name Asir is repeatedly mentioned by the Rajput poet Chand. It may have come from the Asi or Haihaya kings who ruled the Narmada valley from Maheshwar. The literary sources proclaim that from 9th to 12th century, the fort was under the dominion of Tak and Chauhan Rajputs. In 1295, the fort was a stronghold of the Chauhan Rajputs and was captured by the Sultan of Delhi, Alauddin Khilji after retreating back from his Deccan campaign. Later in 15th century, the fort was held by the Faruqi kings of Khandesh and taken by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1600 who opened the gateway to the southern India. After the decline of the mughals, the fort was controlled by Nizam, Peshwa, Scindia and Holkar. In 1904, the fort was transformed into a British cantonment under the command of General Doveton. The legendary freedom fighter of Sambalpur (Odisha/Orissa), Veer Surendra Sai along with his family members and followers were brought here against the charges of revolutionary movement against British. They were kept here as state prisoners until the death of Veer Surendra, after which the rest were released. The Persian inscriptions of Akbar, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb found here speak volumes about their association with this fort. 
Persian Inscriptions
Jama Masjid
The Jama Masjid was constructed by the Faruqi ruler Adil Shah IV in the year 1590. The masjid is entered by three elevated arches that open into a quadrangular courtyard that is surrounded by elevated arcaded colonnades (a series of arches supported regularly spaced columns) on three sides with a prayer hall on the west. The arched cloister of the prayer hall has a qibla at its center. The two ends of the prayer hall are supported by two lofty minars.
Jama Masjid Asirgarh
Jama Masjid 
British Cantonment
On the southwest side of the fort, structures, cells and cemetery of the British period is present. These underground cells were for the prisoners made captive by the British. Topographically, the hill was a natural barrier for the intrusion and extrusion that resulted in a difficult prison break. Apart form many patriots, revolutionaries of kuka movement headed by Guru Ram Singh were also detained here in the year 1872. Of the kuka revolutionaries, Rur Singh and Pahar Singh died during their confinement whereas Muluk Singh, during his last days was sent back to Punjab in the year 1886.
Queen's Lake (Rani Ka Talab)
Portion of the British Cantonment
Mahadev Temple
The legend says that, the son of Guru Drona, Ashwatthama of Mahabharata worships this ancient Shiva temple every day. The temple was constructed in 18th century in the Maratha style of architecture. The temple comprises of a garbhagriha and a mandapa. Close to the temple are a baoli (well) and few rock-cut cells and passages.
Lord Mahadev Temple
Phansi Ghar (Place of execution of criminals)
British Cemetery Inside the Fort 
Moti Mahal
The beautiful palace of Moti Mahal was built by Shah Jahan, which is now in ruins and neglected. This two storeyed palace was built for his beloved wife Moti Mahal, where he spent private time with his queen.
Moti Mahal
Moti Mahal 
Inside Moti Mahal
References:
1. Krik Kitell
2. Travel Magic 
3. Saini Online 
4. Imperial Gazetteer of India.

MP Diaries: Burhanpur, Origin of Taj Mahal

After a long travel of 1255 km, on the evening of 27th December at 8:50 pm we entered Madhya Pradesh, crossing the border check post at Ichhapur. We were about 200 km away from Indore, our first destination  as per plan and were way behind schedule, thanks to the very bad roads across the state of Maharashtra. It  had been a long and tedious drive of about 400 km from Latur to MP border via Lonar crater lake (one among the very few places we have visited twice in the same year). It was late in the evening, we were extremely hungry and so we decided to halt at the next town for the night. Burhanpur was the next big town and luckily we managed to find an accommodation  that night. River Tapti welcomed us to the town of Burhanpur.
Garden Maintained By ASI
Diwan-e-Khas
 Burhanpur is the south eastern gateway to Madhya Pradesh and the first place we visited in MP. None of the books we carried had any information about this place and only on googling did we realize the rich historical past of Burhanpur. We decided explore Burhanpur the next morning and hence shortlisted Shahi Qila among the many places which were worth a visit. We woke up to a foggy morning and waited for it to clear. As the fog cleared, we were greeted with the sight of two pairs of Indian grey horn bill. Sadly, the camera was in the car and we decided to keep an eye on the tree where the birds were foraging. By the time we reached the car, they had moved on. We checked about the timing of Shahi Qila from the hotel staff and the ignorant owner informed us that the gates open only after 9 am. After we reached Shahi Qila, we realized the gates were open much before 9 am  and that all the ASI monuments remain open from sunrise to sunset.
Shahi Qila, Burhanpur
Shahi Qila 
  The history of Burhanpur dates back to the Rashtrakuta period but none of the structures built during that era survive any longer. The excavations around this place have revealed about its association with the Rashtrakutas. The credit of founding the town of Burhanpur goes to the Faruqi King Nasir Khan during 1400 AD and remained in the clutches of Mughals till the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 AD. Later the Marathas, under Peshwa Bajirao conquered this town and brought it under their rule. The British then took control of this place from the weakening Maratha empire. About 3 km from Burhanpur is the village of Lodhi which houses the Dargah-e-Hakim which is considered to be a holy place for Muslims belonging to the Dawoodi Bohra sect.
Raj Ghat
Mosque
 'Shahi Qila' or the 'Royal Palace' was built during the period of Faruqi King Adil Khan II. The palace, originally being a seven storeyed structure is situated on the right bank of river Tapti, with much of it now in ruins. It is believed that Shah Jahan spent a considerable time in this town during his regime as a Mughal emperor and contributed by adding  buildings to the Shahi Qila, like the Diwan-e-aam (hall for public audience) and Diwan-e-khas (hall for private audience). The 'Hammam' or the 'Royal Bath' was specially built for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal where she enjoyed a luxurious bath in scented water. The Hammam houses a bath place in the middle and carries beautiful frescoes on its honey-combed ceiling, a few of which have managed to survive.The paintings in Hammam are exquisite work of art. It is believed that the design of  the Taj Mahal was inspired by one of the painting depicting a monument on the ceiling of Hammam. The Hammam exhibits a perfect blend of Persian and Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan also originally planned to build the Taj Mahal on the banks of river Tapti but due to non availability of white marble, he later shifted the site to Agra. Mumtaz Mahal died in Burhanpur while giving birth to her fourteenth child and was buried here for several months till the construction of Taj Mahal and her mortal remains were then transferred to Agra.
Hammam or Royal Bath
Paintings on the ceiling of Hammam
Other places to visit around - Kali Masjid, Bibi Ki Masjid, Jama Masjid, Kundi Bhandara (medieval age water lift management), boat ride in River Tapti.
Distance from nearby major town - 175 km from Indore.
Accommodation - We stayed at Hotel Panchavati, a budget hotel which was good for over night stay. The hotel serves only vegetarian food. Only e-wallets are accepted here. Another option for lodging would be Hotel Tapti Retreat maintained by MPSTDC.
Where to eat - Many road side eateries offer Poha, Jalebi, Samosa and other snacks. Our breakfast of Poha and Sev along with bread and omelette at Tapti Retreat costed us Rs.250/-. Cards are accepted here.
References -
1. RBS Visitors Guide India - ''Madhya Pradesh"
2. Wikipedia 
3. Beyond Lust

MP Diaries - Prologue

 "MP Diaries" is a chronicle of our recent road trip to the magnificent state of Madhya Pradesh. Our journey in and across MP felt like home. We owe our sincere thanks to the  people of Madhya Pradesh. Until the evening of 23rd  December 2016, the plan was uncertain. Almost every day in December, we planned/ unplanned for this trip due to various reasons. Looking back, we know we made the right decision. As we had lost our camera along with all its accessories during our Chikmagalur trip long back, we went ahead to buy another DSLR on 24th of December for our upcoming MP trip. This apart, the car was not even serviced owing to the dilemma of our trip, although the much needed engine oil change and coolant top up was done on the morning of 25th December just before we hit the highway.
Our Best Friend in MP
During our return journey to Bangalore, our vehicle (Xylo) which had behaved well through out the trip developed fuel leakage about 150 km away from home. We realised about the leakage only after the smell of the fuel intensified.  Being a Sunday noon, the chances of finding of a service center were meager. My wife kept an eye for any operational garage as we drove and we found one in Devanahalli. Thanks to the heroics of this mechanic, the leakage which was manageable priorly, only increased as we drove although he had convinced us that we could drive till home safely.  At about 12 km  to home, we observed fumes coming out of our vehicle's engine, which rang an alarm bell to stop immediately. We had to park our vehicle and book a cab to reach home, thus ending our wonderful journey.
Madhya Pradesh Route Map (click here)
Two other important aspects for planning our trip were our 20 month old kid and demonetisation. Though our little one enjoys traveling, the next fifteen days would be a testing time for him as well as us with regards to food, drinking water and sleep. We three, together, managed it quite well.  Though he caught cold due to the extreme cold in Gwalior, the hotel staff were cooperative in setting up a heater at the middle of night, without which the situation would have only worsened. Thanks again to the staff at hotel Ambassador, Gwalior who were helpful and responsive with the heater, it was a savior!. This apart, he enjoyed well through out our journey. Demonetisation made most of us go cashless, hence we had to be prepared for overcoming this. As we decided late about our journey, we had little time to go the bank and draw money. We had to be dependent on undependable ATM's for the rest of our journey in addition to not being sure  about how far plastic currency/wallet would be accepted. Most of the fuel stations accepted cards/e-wallets, except for one in Andhra state. Almost all toll booths accepted cards/ e-wallets payments. Most of the budget hotels we stayed in were quite hesitant to accept any form of digital pay mode and preferred cash invariably. Many ATM's across the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were operational and issued money, Maharashtra being an exception where long queues in front of banks were a common sight. On the whole, the effect of demonetisation on our journey was nil.
 Madhya Pradesh like all other states in India is blessed with rich natural, cultural and historical heritage. Driving across Madhya Pradesh was a pleasant experience as described in our previous post. While researching on  places to visit in MP, we realised that finalizing our itinerary was a tough job. Since it was a road trip, we had the freedom to go around as we wished (which we always enjoy) and explore the lesser known places. We made a list of places we  wanted to visit. We also made sure to be prepared for the harsh winters of North India during December. A major disadvantage to us while traveling during winter was that the days are shorter and we had to manage our timings accordingly. Gwalior in the Northern part was the coldest place during this trip and we had to use a heater, both in our room as well as our vehicle during travel (rarity for us). Driving from Orchha to Khajuraho was a challenge in itself owing to the zero visibility due to smog. To add to our misery, my wife realised at the right time (being quite sarcastic!) that I  hadn't collected my ID from the hotel we checked out last. Thinking wise, we drove back to get the ID rather than getting it couriered to our residential address. We will surely remember this drive for long and will always cherish it. 
List of the Places we planned to visit 
1) Pilgrimage - Omkareshwar and Ujjain
3) Architectural, Buddhism/Jainism - Sanchi, Udayagiri, Badoh Pathari, Budhi Chanderi 
4) Architectural, Islamic - Mandu, Asirgarh, Dhar, Burhanpur, Chanderi  
5) Prehistoric - Bhimbetka 
6) Natural Wonders - Marble Rocks and Dhuandhar Falls
7) Wildlife - Bandhavgarh, Panna and Chambal 
Unfortunately, Bandhavgarh and Panna didn't happen since the online safari booking was full. We thought it wasn't feasible to travel to Bandhavgarh/ Panna and try on the spot safari  booking. Also, the prices of guaranteed safari via resorts was way too high. We didn't make it also to Ujjain due to paucity of time.
Places to visit in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh - The Heart of Incredible India (Click on the image for Enlarged View) 
Our companions of the trip
1) Information partner - “Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent " by Takeo Kamiya, India - Eyewitness Travel of DK, books we bought locally during our journeys across MP and a  few details collected from various websites/ blogs
2) Clicking partners – Nikon D3300, Lenovo K5 Note
3) GPS partner - Eicher Road Atlas (wonderful road atlas) and Google Maps
4) Music partner -  iPad Mini with 16GB songs
5) Telecom partners - Airtel and Idea - Connectivity was very good which ensured we kept in touch with all our loved ones
6) A travel diary for writing down details of places visited, etc., including expenditure (unfortunately we didn’t use it as usual!).
Our Travel Oath
1) Not to exceed a speed limit of 100 kmph (Result: Roads were too good to keep a tab on speed limit)
2) No night driving beyond 10 pm. (Result: Had to break this oath on two nights only to keep pace with time)
3) Calling home every day (Result: Did not dare to break this one, if not this, the reverse surely happened!)
Total Cost: Under Rs.65,000/- per couple +child. Fuel expense (Rs.24 K) and Accommodation (Rs.17 K) being the major contributors, toll fee too significantly contributed to the expense
Road Conditions:  Do we need to speak about this again? Although most of the roads were good to  drive, there were many stretches of NH which were under repair or in a bad shape. Sadly, the caution/diversion boards too were not clearly visible. Two such stretches were from Mandu to Indore via Dhar (we hated this stretch!) and Shivpuri to Gwalior
Total km: 5243
Number of Days: 14,  (25 December 2016, 9:15 am to 08 January 2017 6:30 pm)
Total No. of photos taken: 10162 clicks 
Team G Cube in MP 

Madhya Pradesh, The heart of Incredible India

             "God Made Madhya Pradesh Beautiful. 
     We made it comfortable" 
   - Madhya Pradesh Tourism 

Madhya Pradesh (MP), often referred to as the 'heart of Incredible India' owing to its location in the centre of India is the second largest state of India in terms of area and the fifth largest, in terms of population. As a state, MP  boasts of being a mixed bag of well known destinations  and certainly has a lot to offer to an avid traveler. It has without doubt left a great lasting impression on us. Catch a glimpse of this wonderful state through our lens. Summarized below are ten of the most notable facts and the best ones we experienced during our journey.

1. Roads - The state of MP probably has the best of roads in India and surprisingly is one of the few states wherein the state highways, major district roads and village roads are far better than the National highways. Two of our most favorite stretches were the four laned 140 km stretch of state highway connecting Dewas to Bhopal and the two laned 105 km stretch of major district road connecting Saleha to Tigawa.  Driving across MP was thoroughly enjoyable primarily due to its good roads.
Mandu
Village Road
2. Food - POHA (flattened rice) and Jalebi (saffron colored sweet coil) branded as the national food (intentionally called so)  of Madhya Pradesh as they have it on all occasions of break fast, lunch, snack and dinner . Invariably, all road side eateries serve only Poha, Jalebi along with its savory and snack counterparts of Samosa/ Kachori and Sev, at all times.
Poha
Break Time Poha
3. History - The history of MP dates back to the Mesolithic period (as per artifacts found in Bhimbetka), early Buddhist era (Stupas of Sanchi), early Hindu temple architecture (Tigawa, Nachna, Ashapuri), Medieval temple architecture (Bateshwar, Gwalior, Khajuraho), Jain architecture (Gwalior, Pathari, Khajuraho), Islamic architecture (Mandu, Chanderi), British architecture (Asirgarh, Raisen), Cenotaphs (Orchha, Gwalior, Shivpuri) and freedom struggle for Indian independence. As per legend,  Lord Rama and Sita  spent most of theirs years of exile in their 14 year exile period in Chitrakoot (now in state of Madhya Pradesh). In most of the places we traveled, we always found and explored other lesser known places that played a significant role during the reign of various kings and dynasties.
Badal Mahal, Chanderi
Badal Mahal, Chanderi 
4. Wildlife/ Nature - Undoubtedly MP is a state blessed with natural wealth and wildlife, and popular   among the tourist population for wildlife sighting, especially the Royal Bengal Tiger. A wide variety of wildlife can be sighted in the national parks of Bandhavgarh, Panna, Pench, and Kanha and in the sanctuaries of Satpura and Chambal apart from other smaller reserves. Sighting wildlife came easy to us as we spotted a fox, jackal and  wolves on different nights during our  travel  across this state (national parks or sanctuaries  not being a part of the roads we traveled). Our sighting of Vultures  at Orchha, Indian Skimmers at Chambal and the lovely Peacocks with their families at  Bateshwar will always remain close to our hearts.
Indian Skimmers
Indian Skimmers at Chambal
5. Rivers - Many rivers flow across the state, with Narmada following the longest path, Chambal being the cleanest and Shipra being the holiest. All rivers were flowing with glory and pomp owing to the good monsoons of last year. Being one of the water rich states of India, MP enjoys vast stretches of fertile land.
Sunset at the Lake of Pathari 
6. Agriculture - The vast stretches of agricultural lands that MP encompasses were dedicated to rabi crops owing to the current season, mostly Wheat, Mustard, Bengal gram (Channa) and Tur. The state's predominant  dependence on agrarian economy was clearly evident even on the out skirts of major towns like Bhopal and Indore, where the agricultural lands were filled with standing crops. Thanks to them because of which we were always surrounded by greenery.
Mustard Fields 
 7. Tourist Infrastructure - True to their tag line "God Made Madhya Pradesh Beautiful. We made it comfortable", the tourism department of Madhya Pradesh has done a very credible and appreciable job in providing the best infrastructure possible and surely deserve all the applause for their commendable work. From accommodation to providing tourist information along with all other necessary facilities for tourists across all locations were perfectly managed by the tourism department. This is definitely something that every other state in India can learn to follow. On the flip-side, most the information boards with regards to directions and distance were seen in the language of Hindi, which would hinder or rather make it more difficult for foreign tourists and travelers from the southern most region of India to navigate around.
Midway Treat, Bhimbetka 
8. Diesel Pricing - Strangely, the only hurdle during our road trip was the high priced diesel in MP. They were presumably the highest compared to the other states we have traveled across. Apart from their high prices, its variation was drastic across the state. While diesel at Indore was priced at  Rs 62/- per liter, the same was Rs.67/- at Nowgaon, Chattarpur. This difference is quite high when compared to all the other states we've traveled, where the maximum difference was less than a rupee.
9. Bus Rapid Transit - Indore and Bhopal are two cities in MP where the BRT system has been successfully implemented. Very few Indian cities have this system of separate lanes for buses. It was good to witness that this system was being followed very strictly, not interfering with other travelers on road.
10. People - The locals were very kind and helpful in many ways. To quote an instance, while we decided  to stop by at a particular place for breakfast in Chanderi, we had to reverse our vehicle and while doing so, a biker collided at the rear end of our vehicle. Though it was not a serious collision, the biker tried to exaggerate the entire incident, seeing which the locals gathered in order to help us as they were aware that the fault was not ours. They assessed the situation and convinced the biker to just move on as nothing serious had occurred and  politely told us to carry on. We were thankful to them and just wondered how people elsewhere would have behaved in the same situation. That apart, in most of the places we observed that people minded their own business and seemed least interested in others. Also, there was selfie madness everywhere with people being engrossed admiring their beauty.
Photo on Demand 

This blog post will be followed by a series of posts under 'MP Diaries'.