Central India

Landlocked central India is a less-visited region, challenging yet rewarding to explore. Much of remote and uninhabited Madhya Pradesh is covered in dense forest where tigers reside in the verdant National Parks, whose grasslands, savannahs and forests inspired Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’.  This is the very heart of India.

This region holds the largest wild population of the mighty Bengal Tiger and there are many wildlife parks to discover such as Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park, Satpura National Park, Panna and Pench National Park.  For a luxury holiday to Madhya Pradesh, you can choose from a wealth of wilderness dwellings from the Taj luxury tented camps, to the boutique lodges such as Samode Safari, Jamtara and Sarai by Toria.

Central India is also home to the state of Chhattisgarh, a remote forested state known for its waterfalls and temples. The capital Raipur is home to the pretty Kawardha Palace, offering an authentic chance to go off the beaten track and discover rural and tribal central India.

Buddhist stupas, intriguing palaces and erotic temples nod to the history of the Indian Raj prevalent in this area, especially in lost cities such Khajuraho where hundreds of temples built between the tenth and twelfth centuries AD, were only recently rediscovered by the British having been lost to the jungle for centuries.

Gwalior is the largest city in northern Madhya Pradesh and home to one of the most imposing citadels.  The extraordinary collection of artefacts at the Jai Vilas palace is well worth a visit and you can even stay at the lavish Taj Usha Kiran Palace nearby.

Further North, in Uttar Pradesh, visitors can follow pilgrims along the sacred Ganges River to the worlds holiest city of death and life, the mighty Varanasi.  As well as been considered the Hindu’s most sacred of cities, Varanasi was also once the center of the Buddhist world.

On its North-western tip, re-join the popular tourist circuit and discover the red forts of Agra and one of India’s most enduring monuments: the shimmering domes of the ethereal Taj Mahal.

Itineraries in Central India

A Jungle Journey

Ranthambore, Agra, Khajuraho, Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench

Bengal tiger lying down

Jungle Book Journeys with Taj Safaris

Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Mumbai

Image showing a river setting in India

The Heart Of India

Delhi, Agra, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Orchha, Bhopal, Indore, Maheshwar, Mumbai

Wild & Ancient India. Off the beaten track in Maharashtra & Madhya Pradesh

Tadoba, Pench, Satpura, Bhopal, Maheshwar

Hotels in Central India

Madhya Pradesh has one of the densest populations of wildlife and forest in India, accounting for over a third of the country's forest cover. As such, there is a wealth of safari options for the intrepid traveller in search of the authentic world of Kipling's Jungle Book.

Taj Hotels has recently joined forces with African wildlife experts & Beyond, delivering some of the best safari experiences in India at their camps: Mahua Kothi, Bandhavgarh; Banjaar Tola, Kanha and Pashan Garh, Panna which also offers excursions to the nearby temple town of Khajuraho. All of these luxury tented camps offer the best of Indian hospitality in the wild.

Other independent wilderness properties include the charming eco cottages at The Kings Lodge and elegant individual lodges at Samode Safari in Bandhavgarh. In Kanha you will find the stylish colonial property of Singinawa with its heated swimming pool and open fireplaces as well as the lovingly appointed Shergarh with its 6 stylish tents, set deep in heart of Kanha.

Beyond the national parks, one can travel South East to the little know regions of the Omkareshwar and the forgotten city of Mandu whilst residing at the nearby magical, Ahilya Fort. Sitting proudly on the banks of the mighty Narmada River, one can relax off the beaten track in this charming fort hotel. Enjoy enchanting views, delicious home cooked cuisine and breathtaking surroundings.

In the far north of the region lie the historical towns of Gwalior and Orchha. Lesser known than the nearby tourist attractions of Agra and Lucknow, there are numerous forts, temples and palaces to discover. In Gwalior one can experience the enchanting 120-year-old stone carved Usha Kiran Palace, a charming heritage hotel set in beautiful landscaped lawns.

Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh

image of ahilya fort maheshwar

Forsyth Lodge, Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh


ITC Mughal – Agra

Jamtara Wilderness Camp, Pench, Madhya Pradesh

Outdoor swimming pool at Jamtara Wilderness Camp

Kings Lodge, Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh

Lit up treehouse at Kings Lodge

Samode Safari Lodge, Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh


Sarai at Toria, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

Shergarh, Kanha, Madhya Pradesh

Sher Garh Lake
Woman in car

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