Madhya Pradesh Hidden Gems

The best of Madhya Pradesh in one tour - Wildlife & Culture


It’s touted as the Heart of Incredible India, and its central location is only partly why. Madhya Pradesh carries the essence of all that India is famous for marvellous monuments, rich forests, breathtaking colours, mouth-watering food. This tour demands that you take your time and savour each memorable destination.

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Start at New Delhi, which is actually a fine mix of the new and the old. While cafes, museums and shopping options abound in the national capital, so do historical monuments such as the Jama Masjid, Red Fort and Qutub Minar.

Your tour of Madhya Pradesh begins with its cultural capital Gwalior. Its hilltop fort is a spectacular, even imperious, sight, and it presides over the town with its unmissable presence. Built-in the 8th century, it has two main palaces, Gurjari Mahal and Man Mandir. It also has several rock sculptures, temples and an archaeological museum.

On the banks of Betwa river is your next stop, Orchha. This laid-back town has another beautiful palace-fort built in the 16th century. The town also has palaces, temples and cenotaphs, but you can also beat the ennui by cycling, walking or rafting.

Khajuraho is known for its bold erotic sculptures, but they constitute a mere 10% of the carvings in the two temple complexes located in this dusty village. The temples, built by the Chandela kings between 950 and 1050CE, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

History makes way for the mystery of the jungle in the next leg of the tour, which comprises Madhya Pradesh’s five wildlife parks – Panna, Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench and Satpura. The forests of Central India, particularly Pench and Kanha inspired Rudyard Kipling to write The Jungle Book, and, while Mowgli will remain a figment of the imagination, there’s a good chance you might sight Shere Khan, the fearsome and majestic tiger, during one of your ten wildlife safaris in these parks.

Maheshwar, the next stop, finds mention in the great Hindu epics and is known for its fort, temples and ghats along the holy Narmada river. The town is also famous for its hand-woven Maheshwari saris, that will make a great memento.

Bhimbetka holds evidence of the earliest human life on the Indian subcontinent. Some of the paintings in the rock shelters here are about 30,000 years old. What’s more, some of the caves were inhabited by Homo erectus over 100,000 years ago.

Having been built by Emperor Ashoka near the birthplace of his wife, Sanchi is one of the most important sites in the Buddhist faith. The UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of a stupa, temples and an Ashoka pillar built after the stupa or dome was built.

Bhopal is Madhya Pradesh’s capital and is a great confluence of Hindu and Muslim cultures. Apart from the two lakes, Bhopal’s other attractions are the Laxmi Narayan Temple, Saukat Mahal and Moti Masjid.

Your Central Indian sojourn complete, you conclude the tour back in Delhi.

Note: National Parks in Madhya Pradesh State remain closed on the day of Holi & Diwali festivals


Starting from £5560.00

International flights & VIP meet at aircraft door included - more Special Value inclusions listed below



Tel: 0207 931 8273


MOBILE: 07823 777 948


Fly to Delhi today for the start of the Madhya Pradesh Hidden Gems Tour. Speak to Mystic India about your prefered departure airport and choice of airlines.

DAY 02 – ARRIVE DELHI – Haveli Dharampura
Arrive in Delhi today. VIP meet at the aircraft door, assistant through baggage control, then outside the airport to meet our local representatives, where you will be met at the arrivals door then transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure to relax after your flight.

DAY 03 – DELHI TO GWALIOR (B) – Usha Kiran Palace
Transfer to the station for the train to Gwalior. The city offers a treasure of heritage in its palace, temples and monuments, where a rich cultural tradition has been interwoven into the fabric of modern life, where the past princely lives on in great palaces and their museums. Afternoon half-day sightseeing of Gwalior Fort, Gujari Mahal, the tomb of Mohammed Gaus and the Mausoleum of Tansen, the famous court singer of Akbar Afternoon sightseeing of the Fort and Palace

DAY 04 – GWALIOR TO ORCHHA (B) – Amar Mahal
Continue any sightseeing missed yesterday, then later drive to Orchha (3.5 Hrs) en-route visiting Sonagiri Jain Temples and Datia which have been mentioned in the Mahabharata as “Daityavakra”. The main historical monument here is the seven-storied palace of Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo, built atop a hill with a splendid view over a lake. A temple with Mughal style frescoes and the Gopeshwar Temple are other attractions here. It is also a pilgrimage spot for devotees of Siddhapeeth Shri Peetambara Devi. On arrival in Orchha, check-in at your hotel.

You will be taken on a private guided tour of Orchha to include The Fort, Chhatris Cenotaphs, Jehangir Mahal, Ram Raja Temple and more. Today we can also arrange a cooking class with a local lady called Vandana Dubey in her home, this would be pure vegetarian. Bookings are required so; please advise us at the time of booking. Orchha was founded in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chieftain, Rudra Pratap, who chose this stretch of land along the Betwa River as an ideal site for his capital. Afternoon visit the grandeur palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th Centuries Orchha

DAY 06 – ORCHHA VIA KHAJURAHO TO PANNA (FB) – Pashan Garh Jungle safari lodge
You will drive to Panna (4 hrs) en-route visiting Khajuraho. In Khajuraho, you will visit the famous Eastern & Western Group of Temples. After the sightseeing, you will continue your drive to Panna (1 hr) from Khajuraho. All meals, tea, coffee & soft drinks included

Morning game drives by shared jeep, then back to your hotels for breakfast, then at leisure. Afternoon another game drive by shared jeep. All meals including 02 jungle safaris by shared jeep & unlimited soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beers.

Morning at leisure then later drive to Bandhavgarh NP (6 hrs). 
Arrive late afternoon, then at leisure. All meals, tea, coffee & soft drinks included

AM safari, then return to your hotel for breakfast and afternoon at leisure. 
Late afternoon take your 2nd safari today. All meals including 02 jungle safaris by shared jeep & unlimited soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beers.

DAY 12 – BANDHAVGARH TO KANHA NP (FB) – Singinawa Lodge
Morning at leisure then later drive to Kanha NP (5.5 hrs). 
Arrive this afternoon then at leisure. All meals included

AM safari, then return to your hotel for breakfast and afternoon at leisure. 
Late afternoon take your 2nd safari today. All meals included

DAY 14 – KANHA NP TO PENCH NP (FB) – Jamtara Wilderness Camp
After breakfast, you will depart by road to Pench NP (6 hrs). All meals included

AM safari, then return to your hotel for breakfast and afternoon at leisure. 
Late afternoon take your 2nd safari today. All meals included

DAY 16 – PENCH NP TO SATPURA NP (FB) – Reni Pani Jungle Lodge
After breakfast, you will depart by road to Satpura NP (5 hrs). 
For any clients that practice Sahaja Yoga, you pass the ancestral home of Sri Mataji during today’s drive. Arrive Satpura this afternoon then at leisure. All meals included

AM safari, then return to your hotel for breakfast and afternoon at leisure. 
Late afternoon take your 2nd safari today. All meals included

After breakfast, depart by road to Maheshwar (7.5 hrs). 
On arrival at leisure. Just before sunset, you are taken on a boat ride.

This morning after breakfast you are taken for a half days sightseeing of Mandu 

DAY 20 – MASHESWAR TO VAN VIHAR NP (BHOPAL) (B) – Jehan Numa Retreat
After breakfast continue your journey today to Van Vihar National Park located near the city of Bhopal (5.5 hrs). 
Arrive later this afternoon then at leisure to relax after your drive.

After breakfast, you are taken on a full days tour to Sanchi one of the oldest and greatest Buddhist structures of India, return to the hotel for lunch then this afternoon visit Bhimbetka is an archaeological site of the Palaeolithic period.

DAY 22 – BHOPAL TO DELHI (B) – Oberoi Gurgaon
Take a leisurely morning then later fly back to Delhi. On arrival transfer to your hotel then at leisure.

Transfer to the airport for your homebound flight.

Special Value

  • A gift when you book your tour with us, a DVD film called ‘Mystic India.’
  • International flights included
  • VIP meet at aircraft door on arrival
  • Useful gift is given to you on arrival
  • Private arrival and departure transfers
  • Private car & driver for all road transfers
  • Snack Hamper, with juice and water in your private car
  • Mobile phone to use while in India to keep in contact with our local office and your driver
  • Meals as per itinerary (B = breakfast) (HB = breakfast, lunch or dinner) (FB = breakfast, lunch & dinner)
  • Private guide for sightseeing in all major cities
  • Entrances to all monument and places of interest included (small charge locally for cameras & video camera)
  • Some special surprises during you tour
  • 10 Jeep Safaris with Naturalist
  • Full Board staying at Kanha, Pench and Satpura
  • Full Board with drinks staying at Panna & Bandhavgarh

Tour the Best of Madhya Pradesh featuring the following locations

DELHI: The largest mosque, the biggest temple, honky auto-rickshaws; it’s easy to distinguish Delhi. The city has been at the centre of the Indian civilisation for centuries and a major seat of power ever since the Mughals built their capital here. Modern Delhi presents a mix of colonial-era architecture, Mughal forts, and mausoleums, ancient bazaars, glitzy malls and world class restaurants. It often feels overwhelming, but given a chance, it always grows onto you. Be sure to visit Humayun’s Tomb, a 16th-century Mughal wonder inspired by the iconic Taj Mahal and Lodi Gardens, the best spot for sunsets in Delhi. There’s also the Hauz Khas Village, a throbbing hub that gained popularity with its Open Nights when those narrow alleys are transformed into cultural wonders, adorned with lights and decorated with streamers. There really is no better place to discover Delhi’s rich culture and mingle with its locals.

GWALIOR: The cultural capital of Madhya Pradesh might be most famous for that spectacular hilltop fort, once defined as ‘the pearl amongst fortresses in India’ by Mughal emperor Barbur, but it also promises an interesting experience, a weekend getaway that is full of beautiful temples, exquisite architecture, and historic palaces. The city may have lost out on some of its historic beauty and regalias, but it still hasn’t lost out on any of its appeals, something that is best seen in Jai Vilas Palace, the historic seat of one of the most revered families in the country.

ORCHHA: Located on the banks of the Betwa River, Orchha is essentially a medieval town that is known for its fantastic architecture, 16th-century palaces, and cenotaphs. Once a bustling capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of Central India, modern-day Orchha is as laid-back and stress-free as they come, one of the best destinations to de-stress. There are some great homestays in the countryside and activities like trekking, rafting and cycling are sure to fill up your itineraries. The key attraction of this historic town is the Orchha Fort, home to three magnificent palaces. The Jahangir Mahal is famous for its strong masonry, the Raj Mahal for its beautiful murals and the Rai Parveen Mahal for its serene gardens. Other places of interest include the Raja Ram Temple, Laxminarayan Temple, and Phool Bagh.

KHAJURAHO: Most visitors are surprised to hear that talking about sex is such a taboo in India. The country is after all the land that gave birth to the Kama Sutra. Perhaps a trip to the temples of Khajuraho might change how you think about this seemingly conservative nation, whose complex culture presents a new wonder at each step. You’re often left wondering how temples full of erotic structures were built in the country. And it’s not just any temple! The carvings and structures found here are incredibly stunning, considered to be the finest example of temple art in the world. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is dedicated to Jain, Shiva, and Vishnu deities and is spread over an area of 20 sq. kms. With as many as 22 temples to choose from, there’s just so much to see here!

PANNA NP: Most of the best wildlife experiences in India can be found in the heart of the country, and Panna National Park is no different. This stunning park is located at a distance of just 57 kms from the exotic temples of Khajuraho, and you really have no reason to skip out on Panna while touring Madhya Pradesh. The park is most famous for its population of big cats such as leopards and tigers, but you can also expect to see the antelope, sloth bear, crocodiles, chinkara, wolf, and chital. Its uneven rocky terrain along the Vindhya Hills feels incredibly beautiful, and the stunning Ken River, cascading waterfalls, teak forests, scary ravines and Neolithic era stone paintings help keep things interesting.

BANDHAVGARH NP: Covering an area of 1150 sq. kms, Bandhavgarh National Park, is where you go to see the rare Royal Bengal tiger. Boasting of having the highest density of these coveted mammals, Bandhavgarh easily ranks among India’s most exciting safari destinations. Other sightings include leopards, wild boar, deer, langur, 70 species of butterflies and more than 250 species of birds. The best way to explore Bandhavgarh is via a jeep or an elephant safari so that you can get closer to these creatures and enjoy the most authentic safari experience. The place also has great mythological significance as Lord Ram gifted the ancient Bandhavgarh Fort to his brother Lakshman almost 2000 years ago.

KANHA NP: Incredible India’s most beautiful experience is often found at the Kanha National Park, where vast sal forests, beautiful meadows and majestic tigers greet you at every step, presenting that perfect safari experience. Okay, tiger sightings may not be as common (there are 100-odd Tigers here), but you still have huge populations of antelope, deer, monkeys, wild boars, gaur and jackals to gawk at. After all, the land that inspired Jungle Book has to be special! Visit the park, enjoy a true safari, get deep into the interiors and click some of the most memorable photos of your life. Go back home and share your experiences with the world, or better yet, keep it a secret. Kanha is still not as popular as some of the other wildlife adventures in the country, and most would like this hidden oasis to stay that way.

PENCH NP: Okay, let’s be honest. The Jungle Book led us to believe we’ll see Mowgli battling Sher Khan at the Pench National Park, but that was never really going to be. Located on the southern borders of Madhya Pradesh, Pench National Park sees fewer tourist numbers over the likes of Bandhavgarh, despite being one of the ‘Big Three’ national parks in the state. The forest is a combination of vast open grasslands, quaint watering holes, large-leaf teak and mahua, ensuring stunning sights and untouched scenes. It hosts more than 285 species of birds and exotic animals such as the jackal, tiger, wild dog, sambar, gaur, chital, and leopard. You probably won’t get to see a boy fighting jungle crime, but you’ll probably see everything else depicted in the Rudyard Kipling classic.

SATPURA NP:  The Satpura hill range is one of the major geographical plateaus of India. The Dhoopgarh peak (1352 m above msl) located at Pachmarhi hill station is the highest point in the Satpura hill range. The TR consists of hill ranges, valleys, plains, deep gorges and water bodies providing a verity of habitats for different kinds of wildlife. The TR forms a junction of different forest types occurring in the State. The area is also rich in bio-cultural diversity.

MAHESHWAR: The riverside town of Maheshwar has been regarded for its spiritual significance, finding a place in scriptures such as Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The city saw great glory as Mahishmati at the dawn of the Indian civilisation and is long regarded for its ancient temples and ghats and a mighty fort complex marvels narrating legends of India’s architectural brilliance. Sadhus and pilgrims still find their way to the holy banks of the Narmada River, but those brightly painted wooden houses truly steal the show. Don’t forget to check out those distinct hand-woven Maheshwari sarees while in Maheshwar.

MANDU: Mandu, you will see the 10th century grandiose and impressive fort of Mandu. It has one of the best collections of Afghan architecture in India, also Jama Masjid, Baz Bahadur Palace and Hoshang Tomb

BHOPAL:  Popular for two serene lakes flowing through its city centre, Bhopal is considered to be one of the greenest cities in the country. Full of mesmerising landscapes, lush hills and traditional charms, the city’s picturesque bazaars and colourful monuments have a way of taking your heart away. Popular attractions include the Laxmi Narayan Temple, Saukat Mahal, Moti Masjid and the Upper and Lower Lakes. The city is also a centre of tribal arts. A must-see near Bhopal is the Bhimbetka caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has the largest collection of prehistoric art and architecture in India. Over the years, Bhopal managed to perfect its cuisine, mixing the best of Hindu and Muslim flavours in its kebabs and curries.

SANCHI: Rising in the midst of beautiful plains and the serene countryside is one of the oldest and greatest Buddhist structures of India – the Sanchi Stupa. Emperor Ashoka embraced Buddhism in the year 262 BC repenting for the horrors of war and built this stupa near the birthplace of his wife. Today, this UNESCO World Heritage Site isn’t just any hemispherical structures that contain relics of Buddha. It is one that narrates the entire journey to enlightenment. Over the years, more monasteries, temples and an Ashokan pillar were also constructed in and around Sanchi, and these relics from India’s ancient past are a source of amazement and awe for the global audience today.

BHIMBETKA: Bhimbetka is an archaeological site of the Palaeolithic period, exhibiting the earliest traces of human life on the Indian Subcontinent, and thus the beginning of the Indian Stone Age. Located inside the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary just 1.5 hours drive from Bhopal. At least some of the shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus over 100,000 years ago. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are some 30,000 years old. The caves also deliver early evidence of dance. They were declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.

What our clients say

Thank you very much, Sharon, for arranging our holiday to India. You were always there as a guiding hand and to make suggestions we had not even thought of. Your choice of hotels turned out to be exactly what we wanted. As you said, India is now under our skin and we shall return.

Karen & Vince – Somerset.


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