Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Maihar is the biggest tourist attraction in Madhya Pradesh. The abode of Goddess Sharda in the Satna district drew 1.08 crore tourists in the year 2022. In the same year, the total number of tourists visiting the state was 3.67 crore, which means that every third tourist visiting the state headed to Maihar. From January to June this year, of the 2.98 crore visitors to the state, 92.94 lakh reached Maihar.
According to Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC) data on tourist arrivals in the state, it is places of pilgrimage that are the biggest draw for tourists in the state.
In 2022, the arrivals in Maihar alone were more than the total number of arrivals in five national parks - Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench, Panna and Madhai. Around 1.08 crore people visited Maihar in this period, whereas the total number of visitors to the five national parks was just 14 lakh.
Chitrakoot, also in the Satna district, is the second most popular destination in the state. It drew 33.99 lakh visitors in 2022. And the number of pilgrims visiting the place has jumped in 2023, with 70.56 lakh tourists visiting it in the first six months of the year alone. Salkanpur in Sehore district was at the third place, attracting 16.20 lakh pilgrims in 2022 and 11.75 lakh in January-June 2023.
The total number of tourists visiting eight places of pilgrimage in the state (Maihar, Chitrakoot, Ujjain, Salkanpur, Hoshangabad, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar and Bhojpur) in 2022 was 2.03 crore, which formed almost 55% of the total tourist arrivals (3.67 crore) in the state.
In 2021, of the 2.48 lakh tourists who visited the state, 1.59 crore (64%) went to these places of pilgrimage. In 2019, pilgrims numbering 3.34 crore, formed 37.6% of the total tourists (8.90 crore). Even in 2020, the year when the first wave of Covid-19 hit the country, of the 2.13 crore tourists, 62 lakh (29%) visited sacred towns.
Comparative data on tourist arrivals in Madhya Pradesh
Places of pilgrimage
National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries
World Heritage sites