Madhya Pradesh, as a state came into being way back in 1956. The state has been nicknamed as the heart of India, mainly due to its central location and its rich heritage. One of the longest inhabited cities of India, Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh), has been under township since 800 BCE. The city has served as a capital of Avanti Kingdom, Malava, Karusha, Dasarna and Nishada.
During 6th century BC, Ujjain played a significant role in the second wave of Indian urbanization. Madhya Pradesh’s western areas have Chalcolithic sites belonging to Kayatha (2100-1800 BCE) and Malwa Culture (1700-1500 BCE).
An interesting insight into the history of Madhya Pradesh is provided by the Bhimbetka Caves that houses some paintings tracing back to the Paleolithic age. Excavations carried in and around the sites have brought to light the fact that these caves served as the houses of the early human beings.
Madhya Pradesh prospered under the Gupta rule and was subsequently incorporated within the empire carved out by Harshavardhana. With the subsequent ebbing of the imperial power, Madhya Pradesh became chaotic and was rife with petty squabbles and battles between small principalities contending for ascendancy. The history of Madhya Pradesh is marked by a short spell of constructive activity under the Chandels during the 10th and the 11th centuries.
Another landmark in the Madhya Pradesh history is the succession of the Chandels by the Pratihara and the Gaharwar Rajput dynasties. They set high standards for themselves as far as the code of chivalry was concerned and squandered away their paltry resources on an expensive feudal lifestyle. It was only a matter of time before the potent Muslim power broke through the last bastion of resistance to take control.
A majority of the smaller kingdoms in Madhya Pradesh were actually the lands bestowed as gifts by the Emperor at Delhi to those who had rendered valuable services. There were a number of other principalities that find mention in Madhya Pradesh history. These came into being a as a result of mutually ruinous battles, branching of families and the gradual yet steady rise of the unsubduable Marathas.