Madhya Pradesh is also known as the heart of India because of its location. Decorating the central region of the Indian landmass is a state that is home to a rich biodiversity, exciting historical account, and impeccable scenic beauty. In general, the history of Madhya Pradesh can be divided into 3 parts according to the dynasties that had ruled there i.e. Nandas, Guptas, and Mauryas. Each period from ancient to modern history of MP has its own relevance, significance, and charm which makes this one of the largest states of India truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
Let’s start off by learning about the ancient historical account of the glorious Madhya Pradesh.
If you want to learn about the life, times and remnants of an ancient era gone by, then take a trip to the iconic Bhimbetka Rock Cave shelter. You will instantly be propelled back to the paleolithic era or the time which is also known as the stone age. Rock shelters with ancient paintings have also been discovered in the vicinity of the region which can be dated to as far back as 30,000BCE. This region has also been mentioned in the holy Hindu texts of vedas as the southern boundary of the Indo-Aryan territory. Remains and paintings of the chalcolithic age are also present here. Madhya Pradesh is also mentioned in several Buddhist texts in the form of Mahajanapadas. As the Mauryans came to power, the medieval era was kickstarted in Madhya Pradesh.
Mauryans And Successors:
As the 2nd wave of civilization washed over Madhya Pradesh during the 6th century BC, Ujjain rose to popularity as one of the major centers of urbanization in India. It had served as a chief city in the kingdom of Malwa. The Mauryan rule was established in Madhya Pradesh after Chandragupta Maurya had combined his empire with northern India during 1500 BCE. The Mauryan empire rose in strength, region, and power through constant expansion and invasions by Ashok the great. He pushed his boundaries of invasions and became one of the largest empires in India. Soon after the death of one of the greatest rulers of India, this central Indian region was a point of dispute for several empires like the Sakas, Kushanas, and several other local rulers from 3rd to 1st BCE. As the 4th and 5th centuries approached and the rulers of the Saka Clan were dethroned and post a long-drawn battle, the Gupta empire came to power. This kickstarted the classical age in India. However, this period did not last and after local fights and rivalries, all these empires completely collapsed by the 5th century.
Late Medieval Period and Rajput Clans:
This period had seen the rise of Rajputs, Paramaras and the Chandelas of Bundelkhand. The Chandelas are the same people who are responsible for building the grand complex of sculptures of Khajuraho. This also represents the inclusion and culmination of the Hindu and Jain cultures. Did you know that there were constant attacks and invasions by the Turkic Delhi sultanate? After the collapse of the Delhi sultanate during the 14th century, various small independent, regional kingdoms began thriving. The Malwa Sultanate however came to a crashing end in 1531 as it was invaded by the Gujarati sultanate. From 1540 to 1556 there were many wars to claim this state. After the defeat of king, Hemu by Akbar in1556 Mughal rule commenced in the heart of India. Many small princely states and local rulers did not attempt to oppose the Mughal and enjoyed a virtual sense of autonomy. However, after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the power of Mughal rule in Madhya Pradesh weakened, and from 1720 to 1760, the Marathas took control of this central region. It was under the rule of many rulers ranging from the Peshwas, Holkars, and Dhars to Bhonsles and Scindias.
British Rule and Post-Independence in Madhya Pradesh
After the Anglo Maratha war of MP, the entire region came collectively under the rule of the British. All the sovereign states became part of the British princely states which were governed by the central India agency. In 1861 the British decided to merge Nagpur and Nerbudda territories to create the central provinces. However, since 1857 several uprisings and revolts against the British were also taking place simultaneously which were being led by leaders and freedom fighters.
After the Indian independence from the British in 1947, Madhya Pradesh was divided into 3 parts namely, Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh, and Bhopal. Later on in 1956, all these states were merged into one large and blissful state of Madhya Pradesh which we now know and love. Finally, in 2000, Chhattisgarh was also chipped off from the state, making it into a separate state.
Madhya Pradesh as a tourist destination has come a long way. From being the epicenter from numerous spiritual journeys, pilgrimages, and explorations to exploring the rich and thriving wildlife. It has attracted not only rulers for their fertile and rich biodiversity and land but it has also attracted the attention of numerous travellers from all over the world.