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Friday, November 06, 2009

Madhya Pradesh

23rd October - 3rd November 2009

This was the state that was not at all in my radar of “to visit” places. It was when Aishwarya did a tour of MP last year, I seriously thought of planning a trip with my family to the central part of India.

It was when we started to make plans, we realized that enormous tourist locations of MP. MP is a big state and the places are spread across the state. We zeroed in on the places and started the planning few months in advance.

I was sitting pretty that everything was fine. The villain of the tour enters now, Kingfisher airlines. Few days before our trip, we get an SMS from them stating that the flight from Bengaluru to Indore is cancelled!! It was a big shock as there was only one direct flight from Bengaluru to Indore. They were able to provide an alternative route, but we had to change flights at Pune. And we were reaching Indore late in the evening. Our planned destination was couple of hours away from Indore. Since it was a tribal area, we were told not to travel during nights. So, we had to stay in Indore which was not planned. There were no other options.

When I casually ask whether our return flight from Nagpur is confirmed, the Kingfisher guy tells that even that flight is cancelled!! The alternates don’t match with our arrival time at Nagpur. I then decide to return back to Bengaluru from Delhi!! This resulted in some changes at the nth moment.

After this initial hiccup, the entire trip for 12 days went very smoothly.

Before starting my travelogue on MP trip, few things that I would like to write:

Stay:
We stayed at MPTDC hotels. I would say that it is the best option in Madhya Pradesh. The hotels are very good and reasonably priced with courteous staff and good food. The best part was that they had online reservation which worked very well. They have hotels at every tourist location in the state. We were very much surprised that a Government department could function so well in a BIMARU state.
Hotels can booked at http://www.mptourism.com/

Roads:
Madhya Pradesh was known to have bad roads. But I feel that it was few years ago. We found that the roads were in a good shape at most of the places we travelled. State Highways are better than the National Highways.

Transport:
MP does not have a good public transport between towns. Train network is quite good but bus network is very bad. We had to rely on taxis at most of the places. Buses are usually crowded and not a preferable option for families. People generally avoid night travels especially in hilly and tribal areas.

Safety:
We never faced any issue. Even the auto and taxi guys were very nice and did not try to fool us.

Language:
Strictly Hindi. English simply does not work.

It looks like more foreigners visit MP than Indians. In our entire journey, we did not find a single South Indian tourist!!

6 comments:

Arun said...

You seem to be doing lot of travelling :) What places did you visit?

wandering soul said...

wow..nice..waiting to get to know MP too..
Same experience with Chhattisgarh.. more foreigners seem to visit central india than us! :D

Vamsee Modugula said...

Look forward to reading about your travels in MP.

Aravind GJ said...

Arun,
We visited the places near Indore, Bhopal and Khajuraho... details will follow!!

Neelima, Vamsee
Thanks for your comments.

Aishwarya Belliappa said...

I second the Tips for MP. Beautiful place with lots of World Heritage place but very few Indians visiting most of it

Aravind GJ said...

Aishwarya,
Yes!!