Madhya Pradesh is known as the "heart of nation" and is centrally located in the country. It is the second largest state in the country with an area of 308 lakh hectares. The state is rich in natural resources and Panna is famous for its diamond mines.
After India attained independence, Madhya Pradesh was formed in 1950 with Nagpur as its capital. The state was created by including the princely states of Makrai and Chhattisgarh. In 1956, Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh and Bhopal were joined together to form Madhya Pradesh. Bhopal was made the new capital of the state. In 2000, the south-eastern part of the state was separated to form Chhattisgarh state.
Madhya Pradesh is centrally located and is called as the "heart of the nation". It borders Ganga-Yamuna plains in the north, Aravalli in the west, Chhattisgarh in the east and Maharashtra in the south. The Narmada-Son valley stretches from the eastern to the western part of the state.
Madhya Pradesh is rich in cultural history and boasts of several monuments, temples, stupas, forts and palaces. UNESCO has declared three sites in the state as the World Heritage Sites. These are Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi and the Rock Shelters at Bhimbetka.
The temples at Khajuraho are fine examples of architecture and sculpture. Built by the Chandela dynasty, Khajuraho Group of Monuments includes several medieval Hindu and Jain temples.
The Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi date back to 2nd and 1st century BC. It has monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries. It is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary and is one of most the important places for Buddhist pilgrimage. The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka reveals the earliest signs of human existence in the country. It displays paintings dating from Mesolithic period to historical period.
Around 9.38 percent of the land area in the state is populated.
It is also the second richest state in terms of mineral resources. Bhilai and Chhindwara districts produce large amounts of manganese. Around 45 per cent of the nation`s bauxite production takes place in areas like Jabalpur, Mandala, Shahdol, Satna and Reeva. It also has one of the largest reserves of diamonds. The forest cover comprises 30 per cent of the state and includes teak, sal and bamboo species.
The state has a population of around seven million. It majorly comprises Hindus while other religions are in the minority. The main occupation of the 75 per cent population is farming and lives in villages. It also has a large tribal population. Hindi is the official language of the state. Other regional languages include Malwi, Bundeli, Bagheli and Nimri.
The state comprises a total of 230 seats in the State Legislative Assembly. Bharatiya Janata party and Indian National Congress are the two major political parties in the state. The current government in the state is that of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.