Central India is a loosely defined region of India consisting of the states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh is the largest city in the region. Other major cities include Bhopal and Raipur. The states share many linguistic and cultural characteristics with the Northern Region including the predominance of Hindi. The states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have been grouped along with the states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand as the Northern Zonal Council for cooperation.
Chalcolithic sites have been discovered at a number of places including Eran, Kayatha, Maheshwar, Nagda, and Navdatoli. Rock shelters with cave paintings, the earliest of which can be dated to 30,000 BCE, have also been discovered at a number of places. The settlements of humans in present-day Madhya Pradesh developed primarily in the valleys of rivers such as Narmada, Chambal, and Betwa. During the early Vedic period, the Vindhya mountains formed the southern boundary of the Indo-Aryan territory.