Madhya Pradesh Tourism’s exciting Jal Mahotsav has lots to offer

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I’ve been to quite a lot of festivals organised by states in India and abroad, especially in Ireland, and undoubtedly, I really had a great time experiencing some of the best moments there. Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board too is organising the 7th edition of “Jal Mahotsav”, one of the biggest events of the state at Hanuwantiya Island in Khandwa district, so undoubtedly, this too sounds extremely exciting.

So what can we expect from Jal Mahotsav? Highlighting about the Jal Mahotsav, Principal Secretary Tourism and Culture and Managing Director, MP Tourism Board, Sheo Shekhar Shukla said, “Jal Mahotsav has established itself as an ideal destination for adventure lovers across the country. The Tourism Board constantly strives to enhance the enthusiasm and enjoyment of tourists through new innovations. In this series, a flying inflatable boat activity is being organized at Hanuwantiya island located on the backwaters of Indira Sagar Dam. Tourists will enjoy such an activity for the first time in the country. Adventure activities such as scuba diving, night safari at Boriyamal Island, luxury Regal series boat, 40 feet-high rope swing, zip cycle, para-motoring, parasailing, speed boat, jet-ski, hot air ballooning, motor boat riding etc. will be the major attractions.”

In addition, the Tourism Board, in association with Sunset Desert Camp, is operating the Tent City on the backwaters of Indira Sagar Dam for tourists. The tent city will have 104 luxury Swiss tents as well as an AC conference hall for corporate conferences. Many activities like the Wellness spa by the famous Kareli group of Kerala, three-day national international anglers angling sport event, a music festival and a kite festival will also be organized.

We further caught up with Yuvraj Padole, Deputy Director, Event & Marketing, and queried about some of the more exciting happenings at the Jal Mahotsav.

What is Jal Mahotsav about?

One of India’s longest water carnation presented by Madhya Pradesh Tourism, ‘Jal Mahotsav’ is a combination of food, art, nature, culture and adventure where you can experience clear skies, sparkling blue water and the thrill of scuba diving, bumper boats and much more.  If you are planning an adventure-packed vacation with full of fun then Hanuwantiya Island in Khandwa District of Madhya Pradesh is the place that you should add to your bucket list this time.

What are the attractions that tourists can look forward to at this festival?

At Jal Mahotsav, visitors can enjoy adventure activities based on land, air, or water.

Air and water activities– The major attraction of this festival are air and water activities which include windsurfing, water parasailing, water zorbing, jet-skiing, speed boats ride, cruise boats ride, paramotoring, banana boat ride, hot air balloon ride, zip line and more. 

Land-based activities: Yoga camp, wellness and spa, cycling, volleyball, archery, tug of war, climbing, kite flying, bull carting and other activities in the adventure zone. One can also go for nature walks, cycle around the island, and visit the local villages. Food zone, craft bazaar, stargazing, island camping and experiencing melody of folk, classical and pop music and dance will keep you going throughout the festival.

Other Attractions

Apart from these amazing activities, Khandwa District has several other tourist attractions as well that include Nagchun dam, Ghantaghar, Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga, TulijaBhavani temple, Indira Sagar Dam and Sailani Island. Also, it is a must-visit place for nature enthusiasts as they can indulge in bird watching, trekking, and night camping.     

What are the endeavors that Madhya Pradesh Tourism is carrying out to promote the beautiful state of Madhya Pradesh?

Some destinations are immutable. Welcome to Madhya Pradesh… the land of Khajuraho, Sanchi and Bhimbetka, all UNESCO World Heritage sites. And then there are the equally famous medieval townships of Mandu and Orchha which house matchless forts, palaces and temples. The vast plateau of Madhya Pradesh is dotted with the spectacular Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges, verdant valleys and life-giving rivers like Narmada, Shipra, Betwa, Chambal, Ken and Sone. Situated at the mounting height, the state’s most verdant charm, Pachmarhi is the most pristine among the hill resorts in the country. The state also has many holy cities including Ujjain, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Maihar, Chitrakoot and Amarkantak that attract millions of pilgrims from all over the world. The state which is known as, the “Tiger State of India” also gained the tags of “the Leopard State, the Vulture State, the Ghadiyal State and the Wolf State of the country” as the heart of incredible India is decked with numerous wildlife hotspots that include 11 National Parks & 24 Wildlife Sanctuaries. This is just a small introduction, as Madhya Pradesh is not only a state to explore its heritage sites but also activity-filled tourist destinations, tribal culture, adventure activities, camping, water sports, natural scenic beauty, wildlife, spiritual, food, rural and wellness destinations. The state is also a hub to experience amazing arts and crafts that give tourists a lifetime memory by taking home some unique keepsakes to cherish.

Madhya Pradesh Tourism (MPT) brought together gram stays, farm stays and homestays as a safe and culturally rich stay option under rural tourism which was also praised on the international stage. Rural tourism is slowly gaining popularity among travelers. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, tourists explore the village mud houses, taste simple yet delicious meal and enjoy the splendid natural and unpolluted surroundings to soak in the rural culture. MPTB was also felicitated on international stage for its rural tourism and safe tourism for women projects. The local community is involved in tourism activities including high-class lodging and boarding facilities, local food, folk music and cultural activities, rural sports, local art and crafts and skill development in the youth. This initiative is not only giving new experiences to tourists but also benefit the local community by generating employment. The state also has a treat in store for a solo woman traveller who is free-spirited soul and her passion to travel doesn’t get hampered even in the absence of any companion. This vibrant state offers destinations where travelling alone is not just comfortable but one can also get to taste freedom and fun without fear. Now, let’s talk about those who as a tourist, really got bored of those regular travel trips and are eager to try out some adventure activities. The heart of the country has a lot for them too. Many thrilling and soft adventure activities are being conducted in the state for adventure lovers. From river rafting, mountaineering, jungle safari, heritage walk to food walk, there is something for everyone. MPTB’s adventure department has introduced various adventure activities to attract tourists including jungle safari, off-road luxury car rally, cycling activity in tiger reserve,  camping, tree camping and gypsy camping at Satpura National Park. Tourists experience stargazing, bonfire, and dusk drive, swimming, riverside jungle trail with bird watching and tribal cuisine with a barbeque in the jungles of Satpura. Apart from this, the travel bugs also enjoy water sports activities in the heart of the country.

Madhya Pradesh is a paradise for wildlife lovers and the best way to discover national parks and wildlife sanctuaries is by opting for a safari ride. When you visit the heart of incredible India, try different safari experiences offered at our various sites. Balloon safari in Bandhavgarh, elephant safari in Kanha, boat safari in Satpura &chambal and jeep safari at all national parks of MP.

As we said this is just a small introduction, if you want to know more about this state then visit the heart of incredible India Madhya Pradesh.

Madhya Pradesh has also become the hub of ‘film shooting’ and a good number of filmmakers are coming to shoot their films. The government is promoting film tourism in a big way by providing subsidies and all permissions and clearances through a single window online system. Till now, more than 150 projects including feature films, TV Serial/Series, TVCs and Reality shows have been shot in Madhya Pradesh.

The state offers many activities including windsurfing, water parasailing, water zorbing, jet-skiing, speed boats ride, cruise boats ride, sky diving, paramotoring, banana boat ride, hot air balloon ride, zip line, yoga camp, wellness and spa etc.

What are the plans to promote Hanuwantiya island? 

A watercation to Jal Mahotsav has all the elements to reinvigorate your body, mind, and spirit. If you are already making plans and wondering how to get here-the nearest airport is Indore, just 3 hours away from the Madhya Dweep islands where Hanuwantiya is located. If you are travelling by rail, you need to get off at Khandwa, 50 km away. And if you prefer the road, then Hanuwantiya is well connected to Indore, Bhopal, and Khandwa.

Jal Mahotsav is organized every year from November to January and the Tent City is operational with all the activities.

Jal Mahotsav will consist of a large Tent City with 100 Luxury Tents, spread over 10 Acres. Each Tent is spaced 8 feet apart and are decorated with comfortable interiors for your stay. A dining hall offering delectable meals, sit out Gazebos, Indoor sports room Conference facilities, Kids Entertainment area, options of many Water Sports, Air Sports, Food Bazaar, Crafts Bazaar, Wellness center/Spa, and engrossing cultural entertainment each day.

Overseas, the tourism boards promote their festivals in a big way, what are the steps the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board is taking to promote Jal Mahotsav? 

We promote through Print, online, digital, third-party endorsement, hoardings, jingles etc.

Lastly, can we expect more such festivals in the future?

Yes, No matter, where and when you are travelling to the heart of the country, you will always witness a festival or event to have a kaleidoscopic glimpse of the cultural heritage of Madhya Pradesh. The musical and art ancestry of Madhya Pradesh is nurtured all over the state in the forms of classical, folk and tribal music, which depicts the way of living and culture of Madhya Pradesh. The vivacious colours, matchless attires, and harmonious music make it all eye-catching.

Throughout the year, different events, festivals and fairs are celebrated in the state. Here are a few important events and festivals that attract tourists from across the world to witness the Indian culture in the heart of the country.

Khajuraho Dance Festival

Every year in February, tourists witness Khajuraho Dance Festival at UNESCO world heritage site Khajuraho. This grand cultural show is a stunning combination of art and architecture. One gets to experience a wonderful opus of enthralling classical dance performances by renowned artists coming from different cities and town in India. One can witness the magnificent display of many art forms like Kathak, Bharathanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Kathakali.  Khajuraho dance festival is not only a festival of dances; it has been transformed into a wholesome festival of dance, literature, fine arts and everything. Tourists enjoy activities like heritage walks, nature visits, e-cycle tours, soft adventure sports etc.

Place: Khajuraho

Month: February

Jal Mahotsav – Hanuwantiya 

Situated on the banks of Indira Sagar Dam in Madhya Pradesh, HanumantiyaTapu (Hanuwantiya Island) is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Khandwa district. A number of tourists enjoy an array of adventure activities during the Jal Mahotsav. A beautiful tent city is also developed during the festival where tourists spend their time and participate in different activities along with enjoying delicious cuisines and beautiful artworks. So many activities are conducted for tourists like yoga camp, bullock cart, volleyball, tug of war, cycling, kite flying, adventure zone, kids entertainment zone, campfire, windsurfing, parasailing, water skiing, jet skiing, banana ride, water zorbing, motor boat, cruise boat, hot air ballooning, parasailing, para motoring, star gazing, bird watching, treasure hunt, trekking and night camping.

Place – HanuwantiyaTapu 

Month:  November to January

Mandu Festival

Mandu, also known as the city of joy is a place with countless attractive monuments. Abound with historical tales, the city witnesses huge footfall during Mandu Festival in December every year. The festival showcases live concerts and folk dance by local artists. Tourists also experience yoga sessions, cycling tours, heritage walks, rural excursion, sound and light shows and horse riding in the pristine village of Malipura.

Place: Mandu

Month: December

Tansen Sangeet Samaroh

Tansen Musical Festival is a platform to enjoy the soulful rhythms of classical and folk music. The event is a tribute to legendary musical maestro Tansen, who was one of the nine gems of Mughal Emperor Akbar’s court and brought folk music to a new level by composing expressive ragas. Many musical dignitaries gather to perform under the Tomb of Tansen in the four-day-long event in Gwalior.

Place:Tansen Nagar, Gwalior

Month: December

AkhilBhartiyaKalidasSamaroh

Being organized in the name of the greatest poet of the country, Kalidas, who contributed profoundly to Sanskrit literature, the AkhilBharatiyaKalidasSamaroh is organized every year in Ujjain. Kalidasa has portrayed heart-warming and vivid poetries. This festival plays a massive role in remembering this legendary poet. Writers, poets and artists from across the globe come together in the seven-day-long event for poetry recitation, story reading, and cultural performances.

Place: Ujjain

Month: January

Lokrang Festival

Depicting various folk dances, music and ethnic dances, Lokrang is a cultural festival where artists match their steps to folk music. It is also a platform to witness several beautiful handicrafts made by the tribal community of Madhya Pradesh. The event is organized by Adivasi Lok Kala Academy.

Place: Bhopal

Month: January

Gandhi Sagar Floating festival (1-5 Feb), Tent city, full of adventure activities (like Jal Mahotsav)

Cheetah tourism may begin from Feb 2023

Cheetah tourism is likely to begin in Madhya Pradesh from February next year, as the cheetahs brought in from Namibia are healthy and have adapted to Indian conditions. The eight cheetahs were introduced to Kuno National Park in September by the Prime Minister and none of them are currently under quarantine. All the cheetahs are fully fit and are hunting freely. The date for releasing the cheetahs from the big enclosure into the open forest has not yet been decided. The Cheetah Task Force, a group of experts tasked with overseeing the cheetah introduction project, and the government will make the final decision. However, preparations are in full swing, as the authorities expect cheetah tourism to be possible by February 2023. Once released, it will be the first time in over 75 years that cheetahs will be seen in the wild. Tourist footfall is also expected to rise once the cheetahs are released.

Skydiving festival from 05-15 Jan 2023. –

Participants will get the thrill of seeing the city of Mahakal, Ujjain from a height of 10,000 feet. The second edition of the Sky Diving Festival in Madhya Pradesh is going to start on 05 January 2023 at Datana Airstrip in Ujjain. To promote adventure tourism in the state, The Sky Diving Festival is organised by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board. The delegations of Pravasi Bhartiya Sammelan, Global Investors Meet and G-20 conference will also be able to enjoy this adventure activity. The said activity is being conducted by the DGCA and USPA-certified organization “Sky-High India”.

Speaking about the festival Principal Secretary, Tourism and Culture Department, Madhya Pradesh and Managing Director, MP Tourism Board Mr. Sheo Shekhar Shukla said, ‘The first edition of skydiving festival received a positive response. All the booking slots were booked. In view of this, now the second edition is being organized. During this time, adventure lovers will be able to enjoy skydiving in Ujjain with the help of trained personnel with high standards. Participants will get the thrill of seeing the city of Mahakal from a height of 10,000 feet.

Sky diving timings are from 8 am to 5 pm, which can be booked on www.skyhighindia.com

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