Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh combines scenic beauty, historicity and modern urban planning. It is situated on the site of an 11th century city, Bhojapal, founded by Raja Bhoja.
Bhopal today presents a multi-faceted profile; the old city with its teeming market places and fine old mosques and palaces still bear the aristocratic imprint of its former rulers; among them the succession of powerful Begums who ruled Bhopal from 1819 to 1926. Equally impressive is the new city with its verdant, exquisitely laid out parks and gardens, broad avenues and streamlined modern edifices.
Bhopal the City of Lakes
The two lakes of Bhopal still dominate the city, and are indeed its nucleus. Bordered along their shores stand silent sentinels that testify to the growth of the city. Bhopal today presents a multi-faceted profile; the old city with its market places and fine old mosques and palaces still bears the aristocratic imprint of its former rulers, among them the succession of powerful Begums who ruled Bhopal from 1819 to 1926.
Equally impressive is the new city with its verdant, exquisitely laid out parks and gardens, broad avenues and streamlined modern edifices. It is greener and cleaner than most cities in the country.
Bhopal, the Dynasties that ruled
Several dynasties have left their mark on the city. The antediluvian remains of the forts built by the Rajputs, Afghans and the Moguls silently speak of the battles, victories and failures of the past era.
These icons are testimony to the grandeur of past and provide a marvelous treat to the eyes. Even by seeing the remains of the city one can have the glimpse of different cultures which existed in the past . Bhopal today is the seat of administration of the state . It carries the abstruseness, the discord, the charm and the dynamism of a city where the past coexists in harmony with the present.
Many kings have ruled here and enriched the character of the city. Visiting the city is an immensely fascinating and rewarding experience .
Today Bhopal has blossomed into a city which in spite of being modern upholds the patrician mark of its bygone rulers. The city provides a fascinating blend of scenic beauty with its lakes, parks, temples, mosques, gardens , museums, statues and buildings.
Jama Masjid have Gold spikes crown the minarets of this beautiful mosque built in 1837 by Kudsia Begum. Moti Masjid is Architecturally akin to Delhi's Jama Masjid, this imposing mosque was built by Sikander Jehan, daughter of Kudsia Begum, in 1860.The Taj-ul-Masajid is one of the largest mosques in Asia, built by Nawab Shahjehan Begum around a courtyard with a large tank in the centre and with an imposing double storeyed gate-way with 4 recessed archways and 9 imposing cusped multifoiled openings in the main prayer hall. The Quibla wall in the prayer hall is carved with 11 recessed arches, while the mimber is made of black basalt. The structure is enlivened by the limpid expanse of water in the tank outside the northern wall. The monumentality of this structure was much greater originally when it faced the towering bastions of the Fatehgarh Fort. A three-day Ijtima congregation held here annually draws people from all over the country.
Situated behind Shaukat Mahal on the banks of the Upper Lake is Gohar Mahal, which is an architectural gem dating back to the times of Kudsia Begum, also known as Gohar Begum, who built this sprawling palace in 1820. The Mahal is a magnificent expression of the fusion of Hindu and Mughal architecture.
One of the most unique national institutes in India, Bharat Bhawan is a centre for the performing and visual arts. Designed by renowned architect, Charles Correa, the contours of Bharat Bhawan merge in exquisite harmony with the landscape creating a visual impact of spacious and natural elegance. The centre houses a museum of the arts, an art gallery, a workshop for fine arts, a repertory theater, indoor and outdoor auditorium, a rehearsal room and libraries of Indian poetry, classical and folk music. Open from 2 pm to 8 PM everyday except Mondays.
This safari-park is located on a hill adjacent to the Upper Lake, with an area of 445 hectares. In these natural surroundings, wildlife watchers can view a variety of herbivorous and carnivorous species. Open everyday, except Tuesday, from 7-11 am and 3-5.30 PM
Upper and Lower Lakes
The Upper Lake is divided from the Lower Lake by an overbridge. M. P. Tourism's Boat Club on the Upper Lake provides facilities for exciting trips by sail, paddle and motor boats.
In the heart of the city, the Chowk is lined with old mosques, havelis, reminders of a bygone era. The shops in its narrow alleys are treasure troves of traditional Bhopali crafts : silver jewellery, exquisitely fashioned beadwork, embroidered and sequined velvet fashioned purses and cushions.
Government Archaeological Museum
A fine collection of sculptures are on display here from various parts of Madhya Pradesh. Highlights of the collection are paintings of various schools, copies of paintings from the Bagh caves near Mandu and the statues of Alakshmi and the Buddha. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Laxmi Narayan Temple and Museum
This beautiful temple on the Arera Hills has a Museum attached to it which houses a collection of sculptures from Raisen, Sehore, Mandsaur and Shahdol districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Air : Regular flights connect Bhopal with Delhi, Gwalior, Indore and Mumbai.
Rail : Bhopal is on the Delhi-Chennai main line. Major trains going from Mumbai to Delhi via Itarsi and Jhansi also go through Bhopal.
Bus : Regular bus services connect Bhopal with Indore(186 km), Mandu(285 km), Ujjain(188 km), Khajuraho(383 km), Pachmarhi(195 km), Gwalior(423 km), Sanchi(46 km), Jabalpur(295 km) and Shivpuri(311 km).