Madhya Pradesh consists largely of a plateau streaked with the hill ranges of the Vindhyas and the Satpuras with the Chhattisgarh plains to the east. The hills give rise to the main river systems - the Narmada and the Tapti, running from east to west, and the Chambal, Sone, Betwa, Mahanadi, and the Indravati west to east. Intersected by these meandering rivers and dotted with hills and lakes, the state has a varied natural setting of great beauty.
Madhya Pradesh, as the Modern state, came into being in 1956, its cultural heritage is ancient and chequered. Innumerable monuments, exquisitely carved temples, stupas, forts and palaces on hilltops, raise in the visitor's mind visions of empires and kingdoms, of great warriors and builders, poets and musicians, saints and philosophers; of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam.. India's immortal poet-dramatist Kalidasa and the great musician of the Mughal court, Tansen, were from these parts. One third of the state is forested and offers a unique and exciting panorama of wildlife. In the national parks of Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Shivpuri and many others one has the rare opportunity to see the tiger, as such, Madhya Pradesh is often referred to as the Tiger state of India. A wide variety of deer, antelope and bison are also the attractions of these parks.
Customs and beliefs in each area have added colour to the fairs and festivals. Dussehra in Bastar; Shivratri in Khajuraho, Bhojpur, Pachmarhi and Ujjain; Ramnaumi in Chitrakoot and Orchha, Bhagoriya in Jhabua and the annual festival of dances at Khajuraho are events for the tourists to remember. The Malwa Festival in Indore, Mandu and Ujjain, and the Pachmarhi Festival bring alive the rich folk and tribal culture of the state in colourful celebrations.
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