24 Places To Visit In Central India


Travelling in Central India is a unique and unforgettable experience, full of adventure and cultural richness. From the bustling cities of Nagpur and Bhopal to the stunning natural beauty of Kanha National Park and the ancient rock shelters of Bhimbetka, there are a number of exciting places to visit in Central India and something for everyone to indulge in.


Central India is known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes. Wildlife lovers will enjoy visiting one of the many national parks, including Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna, and Satpura, which are home to tigers, leopards, and other wildlife. Khajuraho is famous for its temples with intricate carvings, while Sanchi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient Buddhist stupas. Ajanta and Ellora Caves are famous for their rock-cut caves and sculptures. Orchha and Mandu are historic cities with stunning palaces and temples. Gwalior, Bhopal, and Indore are modern cities with a mix of historical and contemporary attractions. Chitrakoot, Ujjain, and Bilaspur are holy cities with numerous pilgrimage sites. Places like Nagpur offer a blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and modern amenities.

Here is a list of 20 places to visit in Central India on this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

1. Orchha

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Orchha is a historical town in Madhya Pradesh, India, renowned for its grand palaces and temples with intricate carvings. Situated on the banks of the Betwa River, it is famously referred to as the “City of Palaces.” The town’s old-world charm is a result of its classic mural paintings, frescos, and Chhatris, which were built in honor of the Bundela rulers. These structures attract tourists from all over the world, who come to marvel at Orchha’s rich cultural and architectural heritage. The town’s well-preserved palaces and temples serve as a testament to the grandeur of the Bundela dynasty, offering a glimpse into India’s rich history.

2. Bhedaghat

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Bhedaghat, located in Madhya Pradesh, is a scenic destination known for its stunning natural wonders. The main attraction of the town is the Dhuandar Falls, a massive waterfall that drops 98 feet into a breathtaking pool of water. The waterfall’s name, which means “smoke flow,” accurately describes the mist that rises from the cascade. Bhedaghat offers a unique experience of boating on the river, especially on a moonlit night, which is an unforgettable experience. The boatmen in the area are skilled storytellers, who entertain visitors with tales and legends about the region, making the boating experience even more enriching. Exploring Bhedaghat is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

3. Bandhavgarh National Park

Image Source: Santu4799 (Flickr) 

Bandhavgarh National Park, located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. The park, which was formerly a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Rewa, is well-known for its high density of Bengal tigers. In fact, the park boasts one of the highest populations of Bengal tigers in the world, with an estimated 44-49 individuals living in the park in 2012. In addition to tigers, the park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including more than 22 species of mammals and over 250 species of birds.

Visitors to Bandhavgarh National Park have the opportunity to experience the thrill of spotting a royal Bengal tiger in its natural habitat, making it a must-visit destination for all wildlife enthusiasts. The park offers various modes of exploration, including jeep safaris, elephant rides, and nature walks, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and wonder of this pristine wilderness.

With its rich biodiversity, fascinating history, and unparalleled opportunities for wildlife viewing, Bandhavgarh National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the beauty of Central India’s wilderness.

4. Kanha National Park

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Kanha National Park, located in Madhya Pradesh, boasts a diverse range of wild animals including tigers and over 300 species of birdlife. Divided into two sanctuaries, Hallon and Banjar, it is the largest park in central India and considered one of the best in Asia. With scenic grass plains and bamboo forests, it is a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts, particularly for its popular royal Bengal tigers.

5. Gwalior

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Gwalior, a city in Madhya Pradesh, is steeped in history and boasts a rich cultural heritage. The hilltop fort of Gwalior is a must-visit and serves as a symbol of the city’s proud history. The city is also home to several magnificent palaces and temples, including the Jai Vilas Palace and the Teli Ka Mandir, which showcase the architectural brilliance of the bygone era. With its well-preserved historical monuments and stunning architecture, Gwalior is a popular destination for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in India’s rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or just looking for a unique travel experience, Gwalior is a destination worth exploring.

6. Khajuraho

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Khajuraho is a charming town in Madhya Pradesh, famous for its ancient temples and their intricate carvings. The Khajuraho Group of Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts of over 20 Hindu and Jain temples showcasing the creative and artistic finesse of Indian architecture during the medieval period. The temple walls are adorned with sensual and erotic carvings, which are unique to this place and offer a captivating glimpse into the cultural heritage of India. Apart from the architectural marvels, Khajuraho is also known for its rich history and cultural heritage, making it a popular destination for both domestic and international travelers.

7. Bhimbetka

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Bhimbetka is a unique travel destination located in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is a treasure trove of ancient rock art and paintings, with over 500 rock shelters and caves showcasing the evolution of prehistoric Indian art. The oldest paintings are estimated to be 30,000 years old and some of the geometric figures date back to the Middle Ages. The drawings were made using vegetable colors that have withstood the test of time and are still visible today. The site offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives and cultures of our ancestors and is a must-visit for history and art lovers. The serene and scenic surroundings of Bhimbetka make it an ideal place for a peaceful and educational day trip.

8. Pench National Park

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Pench National Park is a nature lover’s paradise located in Madhya Pradesh, India. The park is known for being the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s iconic novel, “The Jungle Book.” The Pench River runs through the park, providing a serene environment for visitors to relax in. Wildlife enthusiasts can indulge in jeep safaris and watch animals such as tigers, leopards, deer, and a variety of birds in their natural habitat. In addition to wildlife sightings, visitors can also take a boat ride and explore the local tribal life, visit famous dams and temples, and witness the breathtaking scenery of the park. Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for an adventure, Pench National Park is a must-visit destination.

9. Mandu

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Mandu is a historic city located in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, India. The city, also known as the “City of Joy,” was once a flourishing capital of the Parmar dynasty. The city’s iconic structures, such as Jahaz Mahal, Hindola Mahal, and Jahaz Palace, are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Malwa region. The monuments showcase a perfect blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, making them unique in their own way. The Jahaz Mahal, for instance, is a massive palace built in the middle of a lake, while Hindola Mahal is a sloping palace that gives the illusion of being tilted. Visitors can also witness the beauty of the ancient monuments and palaces while exploring the sprawling lawns of the city. Mandu is also known for the love story of Prince Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati that finds a special mention in Hindi and regional literature.

10. Pachmarhi

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Pachmarhi is a serene and beautiful hill station located in Madhya Pradesh. It is the highest point in the state and is known as the “Queen of the Satpura Range.” With its lush greenery, tranquil atmosphere and scenic beauty, it offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The town is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including leopards and bison. Pachmarhi is also known for its colonial-era bungalows, waterfalls, and caves. Visitors can explore the beautiful caves and take a dip in the waterfalls to rejuvenate and relax. Additionally, the town offers a glimpse into India’s colonial history, making it a great destination for history enthusiasts as well.

11. Sanchi

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Sanchi, a small town in Madhya Pradesh, is a must-visit destination for all history and culture buffs. The ancient Stupas, monasteries, Ashoka Pillar, and Toranas at Sanchi are masterpieces of Buddhist architecture and artwork. The Great Stupa, built to commemorate Lord Buddha, is a hemispherical dome over 50 feet tall and 30 meters in diameter. It houses several sacred Buddhist relics and serves as a sacred burial mound for Lord Buddha’s remains. The site, dating back to the 3rd century BC, attracts pilgrims from around the world and is considered one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India. Come and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Sanchi.

12. Shivpuri

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Shivpuri, a city in Madhya Pradesh, is rich in history and heritage. Named after Lord Shiva, it was once a safe haven for Kachhawaha Rajputs until it was taken over by the Scindias in 1804. The city is also significant as the place where the great freedom fighter Tatya Tope was hanged before independence. With its serene environment and scenic surroundings, Shivpuri is a popular destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway. It is located at an altitude of 478 metres above sea level and is surrounded by a variety of exotic attractions, making it a perfect destination for a quick break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

13. Maheshwar

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Maheshwar, located in Madhya Pradesh, is a charming town situated on the banks of the Narmada River and is referred to as the temple town of Madhya Pradesh. The town has both mythological and historical significance, being mentioned in the ancient Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Maheshwar was once the capital of Rani Ahilyabai, the Queen of the Maratha Malwa kingdom. Visitors can explore the town’s numerous temples, including the Ahilyabai Temple, which is dedicated to the Queen. Maheshwar is also famous for its intricate handwoven sarees, known as Maheshwari sarees, making it a popular shopping destination for tourists.

14. Omkareshwar 

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Omkareshwar is a Hindu temple town located in Madhya Pradesh, India, along the banks of the Narmada River. The town is named after the revered Omkareshwar Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines in India. In addition to visiting the Jyotirlinga, tourists can take a scenic boat ride on the Narmada River, go for a trek in the surrounding hills, and admire the majestic waterfalls. The town also has a rich cultural heritage, with historical buildings and monuments such as the Omkareshwar Fort, which is a prime example of medieval Hindu architecture. With its sacred significance and natural beauty, Omkareshwar is an unmissable destination for religious travelers and nature enthusiasts alike.

15. Ujjain

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Ujjain, a city in Madhya Pradesh, India, is renowned for its religious significance. Located on the eastern bank of the Shipra River in the Malwa region, it is one of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism, and one of the four locations for the Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest human gathering. The city has a rich history dating back to the 6th century BCE and is home to numerous temples and religious sites, including the Mahakaleshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and the Harsiddhi Temple, dedicated to the goddess Annapurna. Ujjain is also a popular destination for students of astrology and Hindu scriptures, as it is one of the few cities in India where traditional knowledge is still studied and preserved.

16. Bhopal 

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Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, is a city with a unique blend of old and new. The city is divided into two parts by the Upper Lake and Lower Lake, with the old town to the north of the lakes and the new town to the south. The old town is rich in cultural heritage, with rustic mosques, bustling bazaars, and serpentine alleys. Meanwhile, the new town offers modern amenities such as shopping complexes and wide roads. This contrast between the old and the new makes Bhopal a fascinating destination to explore, offering a glimpse into the city’s past and present. Whether you are interested in history or modern-day comforts, Bhopal has something to offer for everyone.

17. Panna 

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Panna, a small town located in Madhya Pradesh, is a fascinating destination with a rich history and cultural heritage. The town was once a Gond settlement and is now known for its diamond reserves, making it a unique place in India. Visitors to Panna can explore its historic landmarks and temples, which offer a glimpse into the town’s past and cultural heritage. Additionally, Panna is home to the Panna National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important wildlife conservation initiative. The park is known for its diverse range of flora and fauna, including tigers and other big cats, as well as its birdlife. A visit to Panna is an opportunity to experience India’s rich cultural history and its natural beauty, all in one destination.

18. Jabalpur

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Jabalpur, located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, is a historic city steeped in culture and natural beauty. Situated on the banks of the Narmada River, Jabalpur boasts of several scenic ghats and breathtaking waterfalls, including the 98-foot-high Dhuandhar waterfall. The city is known for its unique marble rocks, which can be explored at Bhedaghat, and its historical structures such as the 17th-century Madan Mahal Fort. The Chausath Yogini Temple and the Balancing Rock are other must-see attractions for visitors to Jabalpur. With its rich cultural heritage, stunning natural beauty, and rich history, Jabalpur is a destination not to be missed.

19. Burhanpur

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Burhanpur is a historical town in Madhya Pradesh, situated on the banks of the Tapti River. It is famous for being the place where Mumtaz Begum, the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, died while giving birth to her 14th child. This is one of the reasons why the Taj Mahal was built in her memory. Burhanpur was also an important gateway to South India due to its strategic location. The city is home to several historical monuments, including the Asirgarh Fort, Jahaz Mahal, and the Hathi Mahal, that attract tourists and history enthusiasts. Visitors can also explore the religious structures like Jama Masjid, Badi Masjid, and Shri Radha Krishna Temple. Overall, Burhanpur is a perfect blend of historical significance, cultural heritage, and scenic beauty that can offer a memorable experience to travelers.

20. Amarkantak

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Amarkantak, located in Madhya Pradesh, is a revered hill station and a pilgrimage site, nestled between the Vindhya and Satpura mountain ranges. The Narmada River, one of India’s Holy Rivers, flows through Amarkantak, making it a unique and picturesque destination. Visitors can explore the stunning temples and witness the captivating views of the surrounding mountains. Amarkantak is also a popular trekking destination, with trails that lead to breathtaking views and waterfalls. The hill station is also known for its healing hot springs, which are believed to have therapeutic properties.

21. Bilaspur

Bilaspur, located in the state of Chhattisgarh, is a charming city known for its rich cultural heritage and scenic beauty. One of the main attractions of Bilaspur is the Bilasa Temple, an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Bilasa. The temple is famous for its intricate carvings and beautiful architecture. Bilaspur is also home to the Chhattisgarh State Museum, which showcases the state’s rich cultural heritage through its various exhibits, including traditional textiles, sculptures, and paintings. The nearby Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts, with a diverse array of flora and fauna, including tigers, leopards, and various species of birds. Overall, Bilaspur offers a unique blend of history, culture, and nature.

22. Prayagraj

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Prayagraj is a holy city located in Uttar Pradesh, India, known for its spiritual significance and rich cultural heritage. The confluence of the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati (invisible) at Triveni Sangam is considered to be one of the holiest places in India. The city is a major attraction for pilgrims who come to take a dip in the sacred waters during the Kumbh Mela and the Mahakumbh Mela, held every six and twelve years, respectively. Prayagraj is also home to numerous ancient temples and monuments, making it a must-visit for those interested in India’s rich history and spirituality.

23. Varanasi

Image Source: LoriQoPB (Flickr)

Varanasi is a city of rich cultural and spiritual heritage located on the banks of the sacred River Ganga in Uttar Pradesh. It is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world and is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus. Visitors can explore its intricate network of alleyways, ancient domes, ashrams, and temples, as well as its vibrant markets selling Benaresi sarees. A highlight of a visit to Varanasi is a walk along the Ghats, where one can witness intimate life and death rituals being performed. A boat ride at sunrise provides an unforgettable experience and the chance to witness the city in a new light.

24. Nagpur

Source: Wikipedia

Nagpur, located in the state of Maharashtra, is a must-visit destination for nature and history enthusiasts. Nicknamed the “Tiger Capital of India,” Nagpur is surrounded by several tiger reserves, including the Pench Tiger Reserve, which is located just 100 kilometers from the city and can be easily reached via the Nagpur-Jabalpur highway. In addition to its natural beauty, Nagpur is also home to several religious structures that hold significance for people of different faiths. Deekshabhoomi and Dragon Palace are important Buddhist pilgrimage sites, while the city also houses several museums, including the Nagpur Central Museum and the Narrow Gauge Rail Museum, offering visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re interested in tigers, history, or culture, Nagpur is the perfect destination for you.

25. Ajanta and Ellora Caves

Ajanta and Ellora Caves, located in the state of Maharashtra, are a series of rock-cut cave monuments that date back to the 2nd century BCE. The Ajanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are known for their stunning frescoes and sculptures that depict Buddhist themes. The Ellora Caves, another UNESCO site, are a combination of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain cave temples, each one showcasing intricate carvings and sculptures. The caves are a testament to the remarkable skills of ancient Indian artists and architects. Visitors can explore a variety of cave temples, each one with its own unique style and themes, including the famous Kailasa Temple at Ellora, which is considered one of the largest rock-cut temples in the world.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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26. Chitrakote Waterfalls

Chitrakote, located in the state of Chhattisgarh, is a breathtaking waterfall that is known as the “Niagara Falls of India”. The waterfall is surrounded by lush green forests and is formed by the Bastar River. The unique horseshoe shape of Chitrakote sets it apart from other waterfalls and creates a mesmerizing display of falling water. Visitors can explore the surrounding area, including the nearby tribal villages, and gain a deeper appreciation for the region’s culture and traditions. In addition, the nearby Kanger Valley National Park is a popular destination for trekking, bird watching, and wildlife spotting.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

27. Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh

Chitrakoot is a historical and mythological town located in Madhya Pradesh, India. It holds great significance in Hindu mythology as it is believed to be the place where Lord Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana spent 11 out of their 14 years of exile. Chitrakoot is also known for its numerous temples, stunning waterfalls, and scenic beauty. Some of the must-visit places in Chitrakoot include Kamadgiri Hill, which is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, and the picturesque waterfall at Janki Kund. Additionally, visitors can also explore the ancient caves of Ramghat, which is said to have been used by Lord Rama and his brother, Lakshmana, during their stay in Chitrakoot.

Source: Saurabh Chatterjee (Flickr) 

In conclusion, Central India is a land of beauty and adventure. With its stunning waterfalls, breathtaking wildlife, and rich cultural heritage, it is no wonder that it is considered one of the best places to visit in India. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime as you explore the best places to visit in Central India. Get ready to be transported to a world of ancient civilizations, beautiful landscapes, and memories that will last a lifetime!

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