Madhya Pradesh Culture - Walk Down The Cultural Lane of The Heart of India

Madhya Pradesh is the heart of India. Originally known as Malwa, the place has nurtured some epic rulers and warriors as well, like Emperor Ashoka, Chandragupta, Vikramaditya, Harsha Vardhan, Raja Bohoj and many others. A long, revealing history forged by these great men is preserved in book and ink. The place has a subtropical climate, much like North India. The state has intact connectivity with railway and airways; tourist would not find travel distress of any sorts. 

Here is a brief education about the heart of India and its contribution to the overall Indian culture


Madhya Pradesh Culture
The fine artworks, hurled right from the heart of the nation endure a worldwide audience. This innate talent helps in producing handicrafts like - Woven cotton or silk sarees, fabrics with block prints, stuffed toys, floor coverings, bamboo work, cane work, jute work, woodcraft, iron craft, stone craft, metal craft, terra cotta, zari work, folk paintings, ornaments, dolls and papier-mache. Apart from the above, it is much known for the uncanny work of Gond painting and the traditional carpets of Gwalior.  The other crafts like bamboo and jute work are widely traded in the local bazaars.

Here are some bazaars; you need to shop from:
  • Bhopal: Mrignayani Emporium at Hamidia Road and Handicrafts Emporium for carpets and Dhurries, Chowk Bazaar for silver antiques and jewellery, TT Nagar Traditional Handicrafts
  • Indore: MT Market for Zari work, Jail Road, and the Top Khana for Papier-Mache Articles, Terracotta Pieces, and Wood-Carved Objects 
  • Ujjain: Outside Mahakal Temple for lacquerware, and beadwork
  • Gwalior: Patankar Bazaar near Rajwara and Laskar for Handicrafts, Chowk at Bara for Saris


Madhya Pradesh Culture
Madhya Pradesh has a culturally defined cuisine which varies from region to region. The meals include both Veg and Non-Veg dishes depending on the locality.
  • The traditional dishes like kusli, lavang lata, jalebi, pilaf with peas, Indori puri palak ki, baflas, kebabs, and biryani are ruling the heart and the stomach of our country.
  • Bhopal will feed you with its spicy kebabs, biryani, korma, fish, meat, and keema.
  • Indore and Gwalior will serve some creamy dishes prepared from milk, Bafla is one from many cooked from wheat, ghee, and milk. The pure vegetarians could have a taste of Bhutte ki kee, a dessert prepared with milk and corn.


Dance Culture of Madhya Pradesh
The vibrant colours, unique attires, and melodious music make all the folk dances in Madhya Pradesh exquisite. Gaur, Muria, Sugga, Saila, Karma, Kaksar, Chithirai Festival dance are notable and have their connotation. Each dance is followed by a complete set of male and female jewellery, steaming curiosity.
  • Gaur Dance imitates the moves of a vicious Bison, representing the hunting spirit of the tribal people. Sing Marias or the Tallaguda Marias. Males carry flutes and drums, with peacock feathers and were horns like a bison. Soon female dancers join with their colourful beaded necklaces and rhythmic moves.
  • Saila is a dance with a stick. The dancers hop on one leg holding on to their adjacent dancer. This dance got deep roots among the people of Sarguja, Baitul and Chhindwara districts.
  • Sugga dance is the dance of the parrots. Women widely accept the trait; they tap their feet and imitate the moves of a parrot. They also bend and jerk their heads like a bird. A wooden clapper called Thiski is used to create rhythm and dummy parrots are placed on wooden bases for the performance.
  • Karma dance is performed on the festival of Karma, in August. This is one of the oldest dance forms of the Adivasis of Madhya Pradesh. Karma dance features numerous variants; some of them are Jhumar, Ghatwar, Ektaria, and Pendehar.


Khajuraho Temples (Source)
Madhya Pradesh has encountered each religion and every reign that India ever homed. Whether it's the oldest Hindus, beard Muslims, meditating Buddhists, or elite Englishmen, the land has cultivated them all. The same is visible while exploring the monuments. Forts, temples, caves, tombs, stupas, reservoirs you will meet them all.
  • Khajuraho Temples are the reflection of real Nagara Architecture. The site is reputed amongst UNESCO world heritage sites.
  • The structure of Sanchi Stupa was constructed by King Ashoka to preserve the teachings of Lord Buddha. The hemispherical dome is a perfect round and tells the tales of the great Mauryan dynasty.
  • Jahaz Mahal, is an establishment preserving its literal meaning, "Jahaz" means Ship and "Mahal" means fort. The place is surrounded by a pond, giving a real look of a palace floating in the water! The site was built as a Harem to 15000 women for Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji in the 15th century.
  • Jai Vilas Palace is a blend of British-Italian architecture.
  • Hoshang Shah's Tomb is believed to be the first-ever marble architecture made.


Madhya Pradesh Cultural Dresses
Artists in Madhya Pradesh design beautiful gold and silver jewellery studded with precious stones and pearls. These ornaments jewellery with the enamel work which makes them look jewellery. 
  • Lac bangles and jewellery is the sunshine of Indore and Rewa Jewelry markets.
  • The Goldsmiths forge chokers, bead, chains, earrings, and hair ornaments in the traditional designs, their forte being the Mangalsutra and Hansuli.
  • In Bastar, the use of grass, beads, and cane is excessive. The ornaments are spectacular in terms of their colour, size, and variations. The widely held accessories of the women in Bastar are Khilli wala Kada (wrist), Daal and kavali (bangles), Taagali (necklace), Paan Wala haar (necklace), Jhumki (earrings), finger rings in spiral forms and toe rings like Bichua, Angootha, and kandora. The tribal women even wear necklaces sewed with one rupee coin.


Music of Madhya Pradesh
The musical lineage of Madhya Pradesh is nurtured all over the state in the forms of classical, folk and tribal music. The tribal people of Bastar truly could sing their way through every problem. They fashioned music from leaves, fruit seeds, pots, pans and so on. The instruments used by them are extraordinary itself. Singha might just be the first instrument ever forged by man, Pungi or been is popular with Jogis and snake charmers in India, Marias are richly ornamented brass trumpets and other Percussion, Auto phonic instruments are broadly used.

Madhya Pradesh's arsenal is filled with folk songs. Every song has a story to tell, just sit back and close your eyes, every note tells a tale of sacrifice, love, and duty. The folklore of Dhola Maru is commonly sung around the regions of Malwa, Nimar, and Bundelkhand; it's about the Dhola Maru's story of love, separation, and reunion. The melodious music of Chang and Dhaf is readily played in the parts of Mandla, Malwa, Bundelkhand and Nimar, the music is magnetic. 


Madhya Pradesh Culture
A number of nomadic tribes belong to Madhya Pradesh. Gonds, Kols, Bhills, Murias, Baigas, Korkus, Kamaras, Marias and Oraons are some of them. The tribe of Gond is practically untouched, their isolation is checked and their rituals, folklores, and legends are still sung. You will notice each tribe's unique music, dance, jewellery and even habitats. To take a bite, visit the tribal fares in Jabua and Bastar, you will find the native charisma life-changing. To take a totem of remembrance you can buy crafts forged by the tribal hand itself. Buy these from any weekly market or haats.


The heart of India, Madhya Pradesh emanates vibrance from its every nook and corner. While the whole of India celebrates festivals like Diwali, Holi and Dussehra, there are some festivals exclusive to Madhya Pradesh. Apart from the usual Holika Dahan and main Holi, another festival, Rang Pancham is celebrated five days after that by the tribal community of the state. During Dussehra too, the celebrations ensue for a week long. 

A few of the prominent festivals are:

Lokrang Festival

Organized by the Madhya Pradesh Adivasi Lok Kala Academy, it is the festival of dance, where the dancers showcase various folk dances on folk music on the stage. Besides dance and music, there is a collection of fine handicrafts and fans made by the tribal community of Madhya Pradesh. The objective of this festival is to remove the geographical demarcation and make India a unified whole and keep the traditions alive.
Where: Bhopal
When: January
Duration: 4-5 days
Speciality: Folk dances, music, handicrafts

Akhil Bhartiya Kalidas Samaroh

This is a literary festival when writers and poets from all over the world gather for seven days of poetry recitation, story reading and cultural performances. As the name suggests, the festival is celebrated in honor of the poet, Kalidas. Several plays of Kalidas are staged.
Where: Ujjain
When: January
Duration: 7 days
Speciality: Poetry, story, drama

Khajuraho Festival

Kathak performance at Khajuraho Festival (Source)
This is a week-long dance festival. Many performances take place in the open air, right opposite to the Chitragupta and Vishwanath temples. Kathak, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Kathakali are some of the dance forms performed at that time. Another major attraction of the festival is the open-air market.
Where: Khajuraho
When: January
Duration: 7 days
Speciality: Dance, Market

Bhagoria Haat Festival

Rightly called the festival of love, this festival is for the couples who want to elope. The festival involves boys and girls applying red powder on those they want as their life partners and they can run away after, which cannot be denied by their parents. If the girl refuses, the boy has to go after and convince her.
Where: West Nimar and Jhabua
When: March
Speciality: Festival of love

Kumbh Mela

Ujjain Kumbh, Simhasth (Source)
Ujjain is one of those places where the infamous Kumbh Mela is held, four times every 12 years. Commemorating the victory of good over evil, this mela involves people taking a dip in the holy river Shipra to wash off their sins and getting involved in praying, part-devotional singing, debating about mythology and mass feeding the people around.
Where: Ujjain
When: April to May, every 12 years.
Duration: 1 month

Malwa Utsav

A performance at Malwa Utsav (Source)
A festival which is a storehouse of culture and dance, Malwa Utsav is another dance festival in which performers from all over the world come to Ujjain and Indore to celebrate art, music and dance. Festive art and craft items are on display. Various delectable savouries are available for you to enjoy.
Where: Ujjain, Indore
When: May
Duration: Ujjain-2 days, Indore-5 days
Speciality: Dance, Music, Art

Nagaji Fair

Nagaji Fair is celebrated mainly in the tribal area of Madhya Pradesh. In this fair, earlier there used to be a lot of monkey trading. Today, this culture has slightly changed and turned into animal trading. Other than trading, there are cultural performances.
Where: Murena
When: Nov-Dec
Duration: 1 month
Speciality: Animal trading

Panchmarhi Utsav

The Panchmarhi Utsav, celebrated in the last week of December features the best works of art, music and dance. For 5 days, every evening, a cultural event takes place that brings on stage international artists too. There are many stalls serving scrumptious food. There are sculptures, crafts, carpets, bamboo, dresses on display.
Where: Panchmarhi
When: December
Duration: 5-6 days
Speciality: Cultural events, exhibitions


Agriculture and industries form the backbone for the economy of Madhya Pradesh. The other supporting occupations include tourism, banking, finance and mining. The major occupation of people in Madhya Pradesh is agriculture.

Agriculture: With 49% of the land of the state being cultivable, it is known for its production of rice, wheat, java, gram, soybean, sugarcane and cotton. The population involved in agriculture is around 70%. The industrialization has not affected agriculture much.

Mining: Mining and mineral growth plays a major role in the overall development of the state. The major minerals mined in Madhya Pradesh are diamonds, coal, bauxite, copper, manganese, limestone, iron ore, dolomite, rock phosphate etc.

Tourism: Home to popular tourist attractions and monuments of historical significance, Madhya Pradesh has a booming tourism industry. The industry provides occupation to many. The Khajuraho temples in the North to Bandhavgarh and Kanha in the east and monuments like Sanchi Stupa are some places of tourist interest in the state. There are various mountain ranges, meandering rivers and dense forests in the state, which builds tourism too.

There is no other state with such stunning and well-preserved culture. The music, dance, and art, when done from hearts steal the show, and the one displayed from the centre of a country, Madhya Pradesh, takes the spotlight!   

This post was published by Rishabh Thakur

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