How to travel in Madhya Pradesh

MP in Photos

Gorge at River Narmada
Gorge at River Narmada | Source

Heart of India

The State of Madhya Pradesh is situated in the center of India. Hence in earlier times it was known as Central India. During the British Era the region was known as Central Provinces which comprised of areas now included in other states of independent India.

The MP State is connected by a number of highways managed by Center and itself. The National Highways are managed by the Government at Center, the rest are managed by the State Government.

A number of roads connect the city locations and villages nearby by. The connectivity to villages have also been provided by roads built under the scheme known as Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna. Taxis, buses and private cars ply on these road networks. Private taxis and buses are subject to permissions from the road transport authority, a system known as permit. These vehicles can only operate if they carry a permit for traveling within the State or rest of India. New roads and bridges are subject to toll tax.

All the major cities are connected by air services while smaller ones may have chartered plane services. The major cities and popular tourist destinations are connected by private small plane services. Chartered planes are allowed to land on airstrips but with prior permission. There is a plan to airstrips near major tourism destinations for small planes and helicopters.

All major towns and many small ones are connected by railways using platforms. They are management under the Central Railway Zone with HQ based in Jabalpur City or Mahakaushal.

Private cars, buses and vans operate all over the state unhindered but require registration and insurance. The former is done at local Road Transport Authority while the latter can be done using recognized company services.

Another state called Chhattisgarh was carved out of MP making it lose the status of being the largest in India. MP is well known for its forest reserves and mineral wealth. The picturesque settings and wilderness makes it a prime holiday destination in India.

Apart from tiger reserves Madhya Pradesh is well known for the Khajuraho Temples. Khajuraho is a UNESCO declared heritage property and is visited by thousands every year from far and wide. With opening of new places and the development of tourism infrastructure, travel to the state is on increase. More and more tourists arrive here to see the wildlife, historical destinations and the hill resorts.

Bus Transport

City Bus Transport
City Bus Transport | Source

Bicycle Photo

Bicycle Transport
Bicycle Transport | Source

Basic Travel Features

Hindi is the primary language in the state but English is popular everywhere and understood by many. Hence tourists not familiar with Hindi can make use of English while traveling in MP.

The state comprises of many remote locations where certain modern amenities may not be available. Banking facilities and ATM etc are not available in many remote tourist destinations. Hence one must inquire about the destination and make advance arrangements as required. All the needful like medicine, beverages, personal needs etc should be purchased when at a big town. Make a habit of carrying mineral water with you.

Internet facilities are limited to mid sized towns in cyber cafes. Mobile recharges are available everywhere but it is better to recharge on the first center you arrive at.

In many remote places petrol/diesel may not be available hence keep your tank full. Car workshops may not be available at many places hence keep your engine fine tuned.

All big towns and cities have luxury accommodations and restaurants for dining. Smaller towns may not have these facilities, the alternative being cheap guest house and roadside eateries. Almost all tourism places have luxury hotels and restaurants.

Within the cities local mode of transportation is the riksha and autoriksha often referred to as auto. The former is cheaper mode of transportation while the latter is cheaper than a private taxi. Local buses that ply from one part of the town to another are the cheapest mode of transportation anywhere in MP Towns. At smaller towns bicycles may be available for rent these provide a cheap option if you are planning a longer stay.

* Note: Hotels at some destinations may be fully booked during the peak and festive season. Hence book in advance. Carry necessary cash besides your electronic cards.

Purple City Bus Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh

Railway Photo

Railway Train
Railway Train | Source


The best means of transportation is the taxi. Air conditioned taxis deliver comfort but at a high price. AC Luxury buses where ever available are the economical alternative. The state transport buses are not very comfortable hence one should avoid them. These buses are very cheap but certainly uncomfortable, suitable only for short distances.

Car Rentals from trusted services are slowly becoming popular. But driving in this foreign land is difficult without proper knowledge of the road network. In many areas road condition could be bad so please keep this in mind. Taxi hire is the better option.

You can travel by rail from one urban station to another, but these do not carry you in the interiors. Hence you have to travel by bus or taxi to the next destination. Prior booking is a must for train travel. You can book rail ticket using your Internet connected lap top or at a cyber cafe. The IRCTC service makes it possible to reserve your seat or berth online. Almost all towns in Central India are connected by trains operated by Indian Railway Central Zone. Always add extra time for making a rail journey since delays occur frequently.

Flights are available to major towns like Jabalpur, Indore, Bhopal and Gwalior from New Delhi and elsewhere. Small plane connectivity is also present. Khajuraho is well connected by flights for many places.

Ventura Air Connect

Local City Air Service
Local City Air Service | Source

Auto Rickshaw

Auto Rickshaw  Tuk Tuk
Auto Rickshaw Tuk Tuk | Source

Pick Me Up

Getting into a type of transportation is easy. For State Buses you need to inquire about bus stand for specific direction. Many small private buses for local and interstate travel operate from these bus stands as well.

For rail travel ask for the railway station and the booking centers. You can also book ticket online at IRCTC website.

Many luxury bus operators have their own departure and arrival spots at terminals. Find out the right location in order to travel with the luxury buses. Advance booking is much desirable for trouble free travel.

Only major towns are connected with air services these are Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior and Bhopal. Nagpur Airport in Maharashtra State also provides with connectivity for travelers in MP.

Khajuraho Temples are also connected to various places by air services.

Local taxi operators/travel agents and tour operators in MP abound in cities contact them for travel services. This will make things easier and comfortable for you.

Among the cheapest transport systems in the state are public tempos and auto rikshas (Tuk Tuk). The vehicles are constantly moving or parked for some time. They ply on a fixed route and charge minimally as shared transport. Auto Rikshas are available on hire basis as well and offer you lot of space for a comfortable travel.

Another cheap transport is the cycle rikhsha or peddle riksha. The riskhsa is the best mode of cheap and lazy transport ideal for sightseeing in cities.

Air Service

Airplane Service in Madhya Pradesh
Airplane Service in Madhya Pradesh | Source

Central India Destinations

In terms of sightseeing and visiting historical monuments, the destinations that rank best are Khajuraho, Gwalior, Mandu and Orchha. The latter two are hill stations as well.

MP offers the best tiger sightings in India. The popular tiger reserves are Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Pench. These are wonderful biodiversity hubs and a must visit.

Pachamarhi and Amarkantak are hill resorts in MP. Amarkantak is the origin of River Narmada hence it is a pilgrimage center for Hindus.

Central India destinations for spiritual tourism are Sanchi, Maheshwar, Amarkantak, Ujjain, and Omkareshwar. There are many lesser known destinations in the state yet to be discovered. In order to make a tour here one can avail tourism packages offered by tour operators in MP.

Railway Station

Railway Station Photo
Railway Station Photo | Source

Private Luxury Bus

Luxury Bus 12 Seater
Luxury Bus 12 Seater | Source


Some basic precautions should be taken into account whence traveling in the state.

Women should wear tradition clothes revealing clothes could invite eve teasing.

Night travel in taxi, car etc should be avoided. It is safe to travel in luxury buses and trains at night.

Keep cash with you but do not show case jewelery.

Do not engage unsolicited guides, agents and passerby. Always ask your hotel to hire known guide or any other service provider.

MP is a safe destination but some remote place invites precautions.

Madhya Pradesh MP

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© 2012 Uday Patel

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Comments 1 comment

Eduardo 19 months ago

I know you must laugh when I do a post about the old buildings here in Charleston where we are now -- all the way back to the 1600s (that is anenict for this country). Thanks for showing your beautiful architecture and for visiting my not-so-old in the greater scheme of things!

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