“Jaded with the concrete jungles which hound your every waking moment? Want an escape into a world which promises a picturesque setting around two magnificent lakes and gently rolling hills? Take the first train or the flight out and head straight for Madhya Pradesh's capital city Bhopal, which truly epitomizes all this and more. Situated on gently rolling hills, the state capital of Madhya Pradesh is truly modern, yet has managed to retain its quaint old worldly charm. It, truly carries itself with grace and is constantly surprising its visitors a place where bustling markets and lush green gardens beckons you to forget your worries and enjoy the warm smiles and the simple life of Bhopal. Truly, a tourist's delight with its old mosques, palaces, lakes and gardens, Bhopal has managed to retain a clean, green look which is sadly not evident in most metropolitan cities in India.
Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Quick Getaways Where to Eat ShoppingTips for you:-
Bhopal's must-buys are the exquisite, gossamer-thin Chanderi(cotton/silk mix, so sheer that Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb insisted that his daughter wear 7 layers of it) and Maheshwari saris, colourful beadwork bags, and sequinned cushions and purses. A must buy are Tussar and other forms of raw silk that are famous in the Bhopal market. The city has three main shopping areas: Chowk (old city), New Market and Bittan Market. The old city market extending over Peergate, Ibrahimpura, Nadim Road and Sarafa is ideal if you have time to explore and can choose from piles of wholesale stock. New Market and Bittan Market are better organised, with neat rows of shops. Most big brands have their showrooms here too. Apart from these, you can pick up handicrafts and handlooms from the ongoing fairs and exhibitions. A safe bet for handicrafts and handlooms is Mrignayani, the state emporium (on Hamidia Road, Near Railway Station and opposite Brijwasi Sweet Shop, New Market). For Chanderis and Maheshwaris, visit Radhika sarees (10 Arera Colony) and Malvika (opposite Saify Shoes, New Market).
To See & Do
Drive up to Mahavirgiri, the highest point in Bhopal, to get a panoramic view of the city.
Become a true-blue Bhopali and spend an evening by the lake side. You'll know why the residents love their city so much.
Forget etiquette and tuck into the chola bhatura at Manohar Dairy. Hmmm Nirvana!
Chowk Bazaar is famous for itra or traditional Indian perfume. Every purse must have one.
Catch a workhop or lecture or anything at the Bharat Bhavan, and you'll come out wiser.
Get to know your past better by visiting the Bhimbetka Caves.
Gauhar Mahal A wonderful blend of Hindu and Mughal architectures, this palace stands on the bank of the Upper Lake on VIP Road. Shaukat Mahal In a sea of Islamic buildings stands this very French and very Gothic palace. It is said to have been designed by a Frenchman belonging to the royal Bourbon dynasty. Sadar Manzil Near the Shaukat Mahal lies the elegant Sadar Manzil that used to be the hall of public audience of the former rulers of Bhopal.
Bharat Bhavan This mecca for the art lovers is a centre for performing and visual arts. Designed by the famous architect Charles Correa, it has a museum, an art gallery, a workshop for fine arts, a repertory theatre, indoor and outdoor auditoria, rehearsal rooms, and libraries. It is open 2 pm to 8 pm every day except Mondays. Government Archeological Museum Located in the picturesque Shamla Hills, the museum has a collection of coins, sculptures and paintings. It is open 10 am to 6 pm except on Mondays (Tel: 2553307, 2553432). Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (National Museum of Mankind) This is a unique and innovative attempt to showcase the life of tribals from all over India. Almost 200 acres of land has been transformed into tribal villages, highlighting their architecture, crafts and pottery. The tribals themselves are said to have designed the museum display. The museum is open every day expect on Mondays and national holidays, from 10 am to 6 pm.
Lakes and Parks:-
Upper Lake, Lower Lake and Shahpura Lake These beautiful lakes have rightfully given Bhopal its epithet the City of Lakes. Upper Lake is certainly where the action is. MP Tourism offers sailing and boating facilities here, at very nominal rates. The lake has a walkway, an aquarium, and a dargah, or memorial, to Shah Ali Shah. Van Vihar This safari park is on a hill adjacent to the Upper Lake. Animal watchers can view a variety of herbivorous and carnivorous species, and it makes a great picnic spot. The best time to visit is around 4 pm when animals come out for food. The park is closed on Tuesdays.
This imposing mosque built by Sikander Jehan in 1860 is architecturally similar to Delhi's Jama Masjid. Though much smaller than the one in Delhi, the mosque has two dark-red minarets crowned by golden spikes. Taj-ul-Masjid This towering edifice begun by Shah Jehan Begum is the largest mosque in the country. After her death in 1926, lack of funds prevented the completion of the masjid; construction was resumed only in 1971. Its most striking features are the impressive prayer hall with inter-arched roof, broad face and a spacious courtyard. The three-day Ijtima or religious congregation held here annually draws people from all over the world. Mahavirgiri The highest point of the city has a recently-built temple. You can use the ropeway to reach it, or drive up.
Located in the heartland, the city is home to people from all religions. Hence all festivals are celebrated with great fervour. Be it, Diwali, Holi or Rangpanchmi, Id-Ul-Fitr, Christmas, Guru Nanak Jayanti or for that matter Pongal. The city is famous worldwide for its three-day long congregation Ijitma held annually.
Activities & things to do: Entertainment
A culturally vibrant city, Bhopal is a delight for theatre lovers as Bharat Bhavan, Museum of Man and Ravindra Bhavan, between them organise theatre fests all through the year. Bharat Bhavan also organises music and dance recitals. The city is also famous for its melas, or fairs. Bhopal Haat, Gauhar Mahal, Bittan Market Ground and Dusshera Maidan are the main venues.
Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: When to Visit:
Thanks to its nawabi culture, the city welcomes guests round the year. However, it is advisable to plan your trip between October and March and avoid the summer months when the mercury soars over 40C.
Opt for a hotel and a room overlooking the lakes.
Bargain hard when shopping for unbranded products and with autorickshaw drivers.
Plan your shopping spree for Mondays as sight seeing is not possible on this day.
4th Floor, Gangotri, TT Nagar, Bhopal
- State: Madhya Pradesh
- Famous for/as: City
- Altitude: 427 m
- Pincode: 462001
- District: Bhopal
- Language: Hindi
- STD code: 01755
- Weather: Summer 23 to 47°C, Winter 6 to 26°C
Bhopal is the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the second biggest city in the state, after Indore. The entire municipality is spread over a total area of about 286 square kilometres. It includes the administrative headquarters of Bhopal district as well as Bhopal division. It is often referred to as the city of lakes because of the numerous natural, as well as, artificial lakes within its territory.
History of Bhopal
According to historians, Raja Bhoja built a city Bhojpal in the 11th century (the original Bhopal city). Later, the control of the city came into the hands of the Mughals and remained with them till the beginning of the 18th century.
The princely province of Bhopal was established by an Afghan soldier named Dost Mohammed in 1723. Rani Kamalpathi, a tribal queen, made great contributions and protected him from the Rajput kings in the neighbouring areas. The begums also had an important role to play in the history of Bhopal as the state was under their control for about hundred years.
The women of the royal families lived a rigid life, were strict followers of their religion and were capable administrators. Begum Nawab Sultan Jahan is considered as one of the greatest begums who ruled Bhopal. Her son Hamidullah inherited the throne in 1926. He signed the 'Instrument of Accession', after which the state of Bhopal became a part of the Indian Republic in 1947.
People & Culture of Bhopal
The city gained worldwide attention after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984. It was the most disastrous industrial accident where deadly gases like methyl isocyanate leaked from a pesticide manufacturing plant of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) and cost thousands of lives. The impact was so severe that some people suffer serious birth defects even today.
Hindi is the widely spoken in Bhopal. Tourists visiting the city can speak in English too as it is understood by many locals and shopkeepers. The city also has a strong literature and theatre culture. Many Hindi and Urdu poets and writers as well as theatre groups like Naya Theatre hail from Bhopal.
Things to do in Bhopal
Like any other big city, tourists can get around Bhopal by auto rickshaw, bus or taxi. Some of the most popular attractions in this place include religious places like Taj-ul-Masjid
, Jama Masjid
and Moti Masjid
, which are also covered under Bhopal holiday packages
offered by various parties. Some other places of tourist interest include Sadar Manzil
, Lower Lake
, Upper Lake
, Bharat Bhawan
, Birla Museum
, Archaeological Museum
, Gohar Mahal
, Shaukat Mahal
and Van Vihar National Park
Food & Shopping in Bhopal
Bhopal is popular for its silver jewellery, embroidered and sequined velvet purses and cushions and beadwork. The monuments in the city represent the perfect blend of Hindu and Islamic cultures and at the same time the works on these monuments give an insight to the traditions of north as well as south India. The best thing to explore in Bhopal as a tourist is its cuisine. It is diverse, rich and vibrant. Right from biryani, kababs and chaats to sweet treats like jalebi. The old city is known to dish out some tasty dishes. The Jameel Hotel here is known to serve the best biryani in the country. Other popular places to eat include Manohar Dairy and a few high-end restaurants.
Travelling to Bhopal
Tourists can reach Bhopal
by rail, road and air. The airport is connected to Delhi, Indore and Mumbai. Major trains operated by the Indian railways are connected to the city. Regular buses ply between Bhopal and Indore, close 185 km away.
Accommodation options in Bhopal
There are a number of budget and luxury hotels in Bhopal
. Tourists can opt from a variety of staying options located near the Upper and Lower Lake. Also, the old town of the city has many heritage hotels that can be considered by tourists. Bhopal is home to a many palaces that have been converted into hotels.
Bhopal experiences extreme climate. Therefore, the best time to visit Bhopal is during winters, which is from the month of November to February.