The vibrant state capital of Madhya Pradesh has a long history of which it is justly proud. Bhopal stands on the site of the 11th century city of Bhojpal founded by Raja Bhoj. Bhopal is also known as the Lake City for its various natural as well as artificial lakes and is one of the greenest cities in India. Modern Bhopal is a place where one can see the richness of tradition is intertwined with the modern life. The remnants of the glorious past live on in the havelis, grand mosques and the museums. A cradle of arts and culture, Bhopal provides numerous centers of contemporary and performing arts. Bhopal is a hub of the folk and tribal arts that give a feel of village life in the state.
Besides all these, Bhopal is acclaimed for the famous cave paintings, which are not only valuable for their artistic values but also for their ethnicity. Bhopal is an important economic, industrial, educational and political center of the State as well as Central India and houses various institutions and installations of state as well as some of national importance.
A beautiful water body of the 11th century, Upper Lake is the oldest man-made lake in India. Locally called as Bada Talab, it is a massive earthen bund constructed across the Kolans River. Legend says that King Bhoj constructed this gigantic lake, which is believed to have cured his skin disease.
A massive lake with a catchment area of 36.1 sq km, the Upper Lake happens to be the major source of potable water for the people of Bhopal. An attractive royal garden called Kamla Park in the vicinity makes the surroundings more scenic. A favourite spot of the water enthusiasts, this lake is the hub of all water sport activities in Bhopal.
A beautiful remnant of the great Mugal Empire, Lower Lake in Bhopal is situated in the serene surroundings of majestic hills and the massive upper lake. The Lower Lake, which is also called as the Chota Talaab, is separated from the Upper Lake by an over-bridge. Hemmed by the magnificient Kamala garden, the Lower Lake presents aesthetic appearance. Exciting trips by sail, paddle and motorboats over the Lower Lake is fascinating attractions for adventure lovers. This lovely lake along with the magnificient Upper Lake have given Bhopal its title as the "City of Lakes". The beauty and charm of this wonderful pond is greatly affected by the human settlements from all sides.
The name 'Taj-ul-Masjid' means 'The Crown of Mosques'. And it surely lives up to the name, as this is one of the biggest mosques in Asia and the largest in India. Built by Nawab Shahjehan Begum, Taj-ul-Masjid has an attractive and imposing structure. This pink mosque is built around a large courtyard with a huge tank in the center. The main attractions of the mosque are the 18 floor high octagonal minars that tower over the nearby structures and the marble domes that as radiant as gold in sun. Get ready to get spellbound the moment you enter the prayer hall. The hall has many massive pillars, marble flooring and the Quibla wall that has 11 recessed arches. This landmark of Bhopal city truly deserves recognition through out the world.
A graceful building of the princely era, Sadar Manzil is located at the Chowk area of Madhya Pradesh. The former rulers of Bhopal were using this graceful building as a hall of public audience. This brick-red edifice has a flamboyant appearance, and the precincts that surround the palace make it picturesquely beautiful. The magnificence of the building and the surrounding greenery generate a magical charm on the spectator. Sadar Manzil, which situates near to Gohar Mahal, with its exceptional architecture and artistic beauty attracts large number of people.
Situated at the Chowk area of Bhopal, Shaukat Mahal is one of the architectural wonders of Bhopal. The Mahal is an odd combination of Indo-Islamic and European styles of architecture. Supposed to be designed by a profligate Frenchman, the building is very different from the rest of the Islamic architecture in the locality. The unique feature of this Mahal is that it is made of beautiful white alabaster and the roof the building is adorned with a series of complicated triangular-shaped arches. The delicate floral patterns of on the exterior of the palace give it a very eco-friendly appearance.
Situated in the banks of the magnificient Upper Lake, Gohar Mahal is one of the beautiful palaces in Bhopal. It is built by Gohar begum, who was the first woman ruler of Bhopal. Constructed in the year 1820, Gohar Mahal is an architectural marvel, which presents a perfect blend of Hindu and Mughal Architecture. Though the Palace has not been maintained properly, its arcades maintain the majestic look and the past glory. A splendid mansion of great historical importance, Gohar Mahal is in the path of renovation which will restore the original grandeur.
Near seven kilometer away from Bhopal on Gwalior road on the top of a hill is situated Manua Bhan Ki Tekri, the Jain temple, a pilgrimage and faith of jain devotees. On the tekri the Jain saint Maharaj Shri Vijay Suriji, Shri Jindutta Sureshwarji and Acharya Manutung's footwears are kept and also a idol of Shri Man Bhadarji has been installed. On the Simha Gate of the temple is an old manuscript carved on the stone, the language in which it has been written is still to be deciphered. It is also said to be the Sadhana Sthali of Oswal Dynasty. A big fare is also held every year here on Kartik Purnima.
The Lakshmi Narayan Temple, also called Birla Temple (due to the hand of one of the most influential industrial families in India) commands a panoramic view of Bhopal, located on Arera Hills. The temple is built in the honour of Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth and her divine consort, Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, known as Narayana. Apart from the idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu, the temple also has a dazzling idol of a reposing Lord Shiva with his wife, Goddess Parvati. Attached to the temple at Bhopal is the Birla Museum that houses a collection of sculptures from the Mandsaur, Shahdol, Sehore and Raisen districts of Madhya Pradesh. The collection dates back to the 12th century era of the Paramaras when the art and culture prospered in the state. The sandy-yellowish temple has an old-worldly charm about it, with a huge turret on one side of the building. As one enters the temple through a glorious archway, the sprawling lawns lend it a pretty appeal.
Van Vihar National Park is a national park in India located a the heart of Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. Declared a national park in 1983, it covers an area of about 4.45 km?. Although it has the status of a national park, Van Vihar is developed and managed as a modern zoological park, following the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority. The animals are kept in their near natural habitat. Most of the animals are either orphaned brought from various parts of the state or those, which are exchanged from other zoos. No animal is deliberately captured from the forest. Van Vihar is unique because it allows easy access to the visitors through a road passing through the park, security of animals from poachers by building trenches and walls and providing natural habitat to the animals.
Bharat Bhavan is a multi-arts complex without parallel in Bhopal, India housing a museum of the arts, an art gallery, a workshop for fine arts, a repertory theater, indoor and outdoor auditoria, rehearsal room, and libraries of Indian poetry, classical and folk musicproviding interactive proximity to the verbal, the visual and the performing arts. It is a place for contemporary articulation, exploration, reflection and innovation. Bharat Bhavan consists of Roopankar (Museum of fine arts), Rangmandal (A repertory), Vagarth (A centre of Indian poetry), Anhad (A library of classical and folk music), Ashram etc.
Situated on Shamla Hills, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya is one of its kind museum in India which was established in the year 1974. It is an anthropological museum that houses a large collection of Tribal and folk arts from all over India. Covering an area of 200 acres, this is the only museum in the world that showcases a collection of painted prehistoric rock shelters.
Regional Science Center is located on Banganga Road on Shyamla Hills, Bhopal. It was established in the year 1995. The museum houses Science equipments, working models, animated models, artifacts, panel displays. Most of the models are interactive in nature. The museum has also a science park. The museum regularly arranges science fair, science shows, science seminar, science quiz and various other programmes to create interest among the students.
State Archaeological Museum, Bhopal is located at Banganga Marg .State Museum, Bhopal was established in 1964.The museum has a huge collection of archaeological objects including Stone sculptures, paintings of various schools, objects of arts and crafts, statues, figurines, tribal handicrafts and musical instruments, coins, and bronze object of 12th century. The sculptures were mostly collected from different part of the state.
Spread over a vast area of land, the Tribal Museum is located on the Shamla Hills. The museum has a very fine collection of tribal and folk art and artefacts from all over Madhya Pradesh. The museum has more the 500 representative items of terracotta, metal craft,wood craft, tribal and folk paintaings, mask , tatoos and jewellery.
Tele communication has brought revolutionary changes in the field of communication. Earlier it was not like as it is seen in present days. The different stages of Indian telecommunication were preserved in the National Telecom Museum of Bhopal. The Telecom Museum was opened for the public on 18th August 1996.It was set up by the Madhya Pradesh Telecom Circle and the main initiative was taken by the then chief General Manager R. N. Goyal.It is located at Arera Telephone Exchange, Bhopal. National Telecom Museum is only one of its kinds in Asia.
The museum has an excellent blend of modern and ancient telecom equipments of India and has captured the golden history of Indian Telecommunication. The museum houses, 1837`s Highton`s Telegraph Galvanometer, 1874`s Baudot`s Printing Machine, 1+1 Carrier system, Teleprinter Machine of Creed Model, Pre 1950`s Carrier system, various National Telecom Museum, Bhopaltype of call`s protective device, D.C. Motor generator set, various components used in Magneto exchange up to Electronic exchange, Old historic document and bills, Payment sheets and performance record books dating books to British era of 1913 and 1917, Different type of old and New UIG cable models antique Round Bracket Post, Cordless system of 1878 and several other things. Many items can be seen even in working condition. It also possesses PCO booth of 19 century (made by the British), SOS telegram sent by commanders of East India Company during the revolution of 1857, Photograph of famous persons connected with the Telecom industry etc.
If you wish to travel further into history, the pre historic era take time off to make an excursion to Bhimbetka an archaeological treasure house. Hemmed in by the northern fringe of the vindhya ranges, Bhimbetka lies 46 Kms. South of Bhopal. The rocky terrain of dense forest and craggy cliffs has over 600 shelters belonging to the Neolithic age. They had a vivid, panoramic detail, painting in over 500 caves depicting the lives of pre-historic cave dwellers. This invaluable chronicle on the history of man, should not be missed. You can enjoy the paintings depicting everyday events of our ancestors like scenes of hunting, dancing, horse and elephant riding, household scenes, honey collection, animal fighting scenes etc.
The magnificent temple of Bhojpur , which has earned the nomenclature of the Somnath of the East is known as the Bhojeshwar temple. Dating back to the period of Raja Bhoj, The legendary Parmar king of Dhar , the temple is about 1000 years old. This temple to this date attracts devotees of Lord Shiva in huge numbers during the Shivaratri festivities. This sanctum has the biggest Shiva Linga carved out of a single stone, rising to an awe-inspiring height of 7.5 feet with a circumference of 17.8 feet. Set upon a massive platform of 21.5 feet, the architectural harmony of lingam and platform creates a superb synthesis of solidity and lightness.
Located 11 km away on the Bhopal-Berasia Road, past the infamous Union Carbide Factory (the poisonous gas leakage causing the worst industrial disaster in1984), Islamnagar is a small village known for the palace of Bhopal's Afghan rulers built by Dost Mohammed Khan. Gardens surround the palace and the pavilion. The pavilion, a synthesis of Hindu and Islamic decorative art, has pillars richly decorated with floral motifs. Other important monuments are the hamam (baths) of the Chaman Mahal and the double-storeyed Rani Maha.