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Bhopal, the City of Lakes

Where eyes behold the sight of historical beauty!

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh’s capital, is in central India. The town lies on the slopes of a sandstone ridge on the fertile plain of the Malwa Highland, just north of Vindhya Mountains. The railway is at its major crossroads and has an airport. Remembering the ultimate rendezvous, enjoy the beauty of Bhopal which is the greenest town with many natural and man-made lakes.

Despite industrialization, the old part of town is full of narrow lanes and packed market, while the new part of town is more well planned and full of parks & gardens. Nevertheless, Bhopal retained its old grandeur. Multiple religions have co-existed over the years harmoniously and it is also reflected in the cuisine. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes can be served here, but the Mughal effects have resulted from Bhopal's spicy meat delicacies, in particular curries and kebabs. The vegetarian kitchen is mainly moderately spicy and tastes distinct. But before you dive into its delicacies, let’s know more about this city and its journey with time.

History Of Bhopal

King Bhoj established the city Bhojpal in the 11th century (1000-1055). Bhojpal is named after King Bhoj and the dam, also known as Pal. It befits its name due to the lakes surrounding the City of Bhopal. Modern Bhopal was founded by Dost Mohammad Khan, an Afghan soldier of Emperor Aurangzeb, who seized it in the chaos following Aurangzeb's death. The kingdom was small but sustained several wars, and in 1818 it was converted into a princely state of British India.

The Bhopal Agency was established in 1818 and comprised of Bhopal, Rajgarh, Narsinghgarh and a variety of other Prince States. In 1903, the municipality was formed by Bhopal. Bhopal remained a separate province during India's independence in 1947 until it joined India in 1949. In 1952, the complete rule of Nawab was abolished and the state of the chief commissioner was founded. In 1956 it fused with Madhya Pradesh, while Bhopal replaced Nagpur as the capital of the state. As history suggests, it has been the hub of a different faith, which now is visible in its heritage.

Regions Of Bhopal

Bhopal is called the "city of lakes," because of the lake of Bhoj Tal (Bhoj Lake). This lake is the ‘Bada Talab’, which is linked by an aqueduct to the ‘Chhota Talab’ Lake. The lakes provide potable water that can be used for leisure purposes. Several palaces and a fort dating back to 1728 lie around the lakes. Bhopal has several mosques and pretty close muslim community. India's largest mosque, the Taj-ul-Masjid Mosque built in 19th century is located here. The mosque annually organizes a three-day religious pilgrimage that attracts Muslim pilgrims from all over India.

While the city has upgraded with time but traces of old Bhopal is very prominent. Moreover, with the development of the city, the old neighbourhoods have gained several sights with their sophisticated, modern commercial complexes.

The Chowk still retains much of its former taste with ancient Mosques and Havelis, narrow alleys and crowded markets, which can lead to the treasure hunt. This is where traditional Bhopal handicrafts can be found. Only in Bhopal City, you will find the zari craft. In addition to their work on silver jewellery and bags, the city is also very popular for street shoppers.

The TT Nagar New Market is the first planned development of modern Bhopal. It has been given a special status by broad roads, multi-story offices and shopping centres and proximity to state power centres. Many government offices and others stores at a stone's throw distance from the market. The first major shopping arcade of Bhopal, produced by the housing committee is the Platinum Plaza near the market of TT Nagar. The Center Point in TT Nagar is another prominent business arcade.

In MP (Maharana Pratap) Nagar, business, leisure and entertainment are all on the move. Your car parking is still not a lot of trouble! Commercial spaces in MP Nagar are flourishing in the markets.

Shamla Hills is the city's elite district but not conventionally downtown. The green hill was one of the favourite places to see the royalty and the rich overlooking the Upper Lake. Jehan Numa Palace Hotel is classified as a Nawabi Era and you will stay there. Every evening scores of people come out to the Lakeside view for fun and happening time.

Culture Of Bhopal

In Bhopal, people talk in many different languages, but Hindi is the predominant language spoken in Bhopal. Urdu, Gujarati, Sindhi, English and Marathi are the others spoken in Bhopal. There are too many religions followed in Bhopal, but Hinduism is the most common. You can see people of other faith such as Muslims, Sikhism and Christianity. Diwali, Navratri and Ramnavmi are the common festivals celebrated with full zeal and joy in Bhopal. There are also numerous fairs for the people of Bhopal and Ijtima is one of the best-known. Arts and music flow in its local culture, too.

At the night, Bhopal is a rather calm city. Most restaurants, clubs, pubs are closed around 11:00 PM, but most of Bhopal's good hotels are open until midnight at least. TDS pub at the DB mall or Liquid Bar can be visited at any time. In hotels such as Amer Palace and The Residency, in the MP Nagar area, there are several clubs where you can watch the nightlife of Bhopal.

Without purchasing beading work or embroidered purses, bags, coats and tunics etc, a visit to this city is incomplete. You can find different state run emporiums being operated here. Some of them have very good works of silk, satin, cashmere and pashmina. A visit to Bhopal gives you an overview of the various materials, textiles, arts and handicrafts from various parts of the country.

Heading towards the old city of Lakherapura, you get to buy authentic North Indian fabric and shawls. The Chowk is known also for the traditional glittering women's purses.

Tourist Sites In Bhopal

Bhoj-Tal

The Upper Lake, which is known locally as "Bhojtaal" or "Bada Talab," is one of the most famous sites in Bhopal and is the oldest lake made by man in India. A large Royal Garden called the Kamla Park overlooks the lake and is another tourist magnet, attracting tourists every year to its calm folds. The climate and landscape in both places are too remarkable to ignore and guarantees a defining moment on your Bhopal tour.

Van-Vihar

This National Park is Bhopal's most important tourist site near the Upper Lake. Acting as the city’s lungs, the park is strictly adhered to and safeguarded. A large range of wildlife is also found, along with exotic floral species like Blackbuck, Cheetal, Sambar, Blue Bull, Porcupine, Wild Boar and Hyena. It is popular for short day hikes especially for athletes like nature lovers. Dense greenery and the peaceful beauty of the site makes it mandatory for tourists’ must-visit list.

Moti-Majid

The most dynamic and self-conceived woman of her time, Sikander Jahan Begum, built Moti Masjid as one of the most interesting mosques in the country in 1862. The mosque's architecture has a striking similarity to the historic Jama Masjid in Delhi, made with beautiful, pure white marble. The white façade of the building was called the "Pearl Mosque." It has a large courtyard, opening a window to some of the city's most stunning views. On your Bhopal tour, it is a perfect treat for historical fans.

Udayagiri Caves

These twenty sets of Caves hold the oldest designs and carvings on their walls, which dates back to the early 5th century CE. The inscriptions in caves relate to the reign of the Gupta Empire. Indian Archeological Survey manages these caves as they are very significant historic monument. The graphics show stories from Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati.

Sanchi Stupa

The majesty of Sanchi Stupa remain unparalleled until now, as one of the most unrivalled places to visit in Bhopal. Believed to have been built in the 3rd century BCE and to be one of the more striking Buddhist monuments in the country, the building was built in the reign of Maurya's great emperor Ashoka. To spread the reach of Buddhism, the king of Mauryan undertook to redistribute the mortal ashes of Lord Buddha across the entire country. There is a central cave in the gigantic dome of Stupa, which houses Lord Buddha's relics.

Shaukat Mahal

This is one of the most visited places in Bhopal and stands a witness to the Islamic architecture and prominence in Bhopal. It shows a good fusion of Asian and western architectural work. Erected in Sikander Begum's reign, is also located at the entrance to the famous Chowk area and displays a unique blend of Post-Renaissance and Gothic styles, along with complex scents that decorate its glorious face. Shaukat Mahal is dominated by the great Sadar Manzil, which was served as a public hall for the commoners in King’s reign.

Taj-Ul-Masjid

It is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in Madhya Pradesh, literally being translated into the 'crown of mosques'. The outside facade of the mosque is rosy and soothing and has two white dome mounts that round off the astounding structure. The mosque is decorated with a colossal courtyard and fine carvings on the pillars. Not surprisingly, it is one of Bhopal's famous sites.

Bhojpur Temple

It is a religious tribute to Hindu God Shiva, nestled in the rustic village of Bhojpur, near Bhopal. As the name suggests, it is another astonishment constructed by Raja Bhoj during the 11th century. The building of the temple is incomplete, and the reasons for the construction abandonment are not yet clear. The temple holds 7.5 feet of the lingam and each year, tempts its glorious shrine a herd of tourists and pilgrims. The majestic remains of the ancient temple Shiva and the cyclopean dam make it an important archaeological site for religious patrons.

Tribal Museum

It is amongst the most famous places in Bhopal and shows the root of local tribals in an extremely well-planned way. With a booklet is available at the entrance, you get to learn some fundamental elements of tribal life that facilitate the decryption of paintings. The campus is divided into 6 galleries, each devoted to tribal culture, life, art and mythology. If you are a buff of history or an enthusiast of mythology, this place cannot be missed at all.

Food In Bhopal

Bhopal offers a rich Indian cuisine to explore. The spicy and sweet "chaat" in Bhopal is very famous and must try. In addition to delicacies such as Kebabs, Goat Biryani, Chicken Tikka, Jalebi, Ras Malai, and so on, Bhopal cuisines show the influence of Mughal rule. In Jameel Hotel in old Bhopal, you can try this mouth-watering chicken Biryani.

If you would like to have a pleasant evening with your family and/or friends and have great food and drinks, you can spend time at the only rooftop restaurant called the WindZ Cafe & Restaurant, located at the rooftop of the top lake. The Indrapuri Sashas Restaurant offers good non-vegetarian South Indian cuisine. Hotel Jehan Numa Palace in Bhopal has a great North Indian delights restaurant. There are also good restaurants in the Hotel Noor us Sabah. The safest bets for food and a variety of cuisines in restaurants in the 3-4 star hotels are like any mid-size Indian town.

Besides North Indian and Mughlai cuisines, the various Bhopal restaurants also can taste Indo-Chinese, Continental, and American cuisine.

Gernerationext is a good option for you when you have a mixed taste. An eclectic mix of cooking is served to your taste and a pocket too! For the Mughlai delicacies Filfora, Koh-e-fizas in Bhopal has an excellent place. Kadai ghost is best to eat here and both chicken and muzzle biryanis are awesome. In terms of sweets, one of the most famous 'Juli' in the old town is one of the very famous Bengali sweets.

Tourist Activities In Bhopal

Sair Sapata

Time to have fun and entertainment

In Bhopal, you can visit the Sair Sapata Leisure Park. It is popular for the adventure of car dashing, forest walking, zorbing and so forth. There is also a playground for children that is exclusively for the children. A toy train, entertainment area, music spring and a lovely suspension bridge are some of the main attractions. The night's beautiful lights adorn the bridge and so look like your visit to Sair Sapata becomes one of the most enchanting things in the evening.

Upper Lake

Get on a Boat

If you are looking for some fun water adventure, this is for you. The Upper or Bhojtal Lake is a popular tourist destination for the beauty and tranquilly of its surroundings. If you have to try one thing in Bhopal, it is taking a boat trip in the City of Lakes. The Boat Club provides different kinds of adventure activities, including kayaking, parasailing and rafting.

Ropeway Ride

You wish to have a view over that magnificent city from the bird's eye, and you can visit the Jain temple on Lalghati Hill. The ropes give two benefits to the visitor. They can take a look at several stunning monuments while going down the road. Do enjoy them during your Bhopal journey!

Take A Wildlife Safari Ride

The popular Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal lies in an area of approximately 5 sq km, with plenty of plants and fauna. It is worthwhile to explore rich vegetation and to come across wild animals.

People’s Mall

The People's Mall is a fun-filled adventure, fun and excitement park. Besides slides and rides are so much fun! There are replicas of the seven wonders of the world, a Horror house and a 7D multiplex. In addition to the air gun archery or ride on the toy train, you can also try go-karts.

Kerwa Lake

Ziplining is one of Bhopal's top stuff. The twin zip lines of 520 metres at Kerwa Lake are no less than an exciting spin. In Bhopal, it is still a rather unknown activity, so here there is no crowd. The lake is also a great place to walk and relax.

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