Popularly known as ‘The City of Lakes’, Bhopal is the capital of Madhya Pradesh, the second largest state of India. The city has numerous natural as well artificial lakes for which it is renowned all over the country. Besides, Bhopal is also one of the greenest cities of India.
The huge gateways made up of stone and bricks and the magnificent ancient mosques speak everything about the grandeur of Muslim culture of Bhopal. Besides the architectural heritage, Bhopal is also famous for its culinary creations. The mild tasting less spicy preparations are totally distinctive in their taste.
The city came to international limelight after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy that happened in 1984 and was one of the worst industrial catastrophes of the world.
Major Attractions in Bhopal
- Van Vihar National Park – Spread across an area of 4.43sq km, the Van Vihar National Park was developed in 1983 by the zoological department and is being maintained by them since then. The thick flora of the park is a house to a wide variety of species of animals, birds and reptiles. The White Tiger is the most famous attraction of this national park. People come here from all over the country and the world to have a glimpse of it.
- Taj- ul- Masjid – This mosque made up of pink bricks is another important tourist spot of the city of Bhopal. Taj-ul-Masjid was commissioned by Begum Shah Jehan in the 19th century. The pillars and foyer of the mosque are magnificently decorated which is actually its main attraction. The massive courtyard is capable of making room for thousands of devotees. Also there is a huge water tank at the center of the mosque.
- Upper lake and lower lake – Separated from the Bada Talaab (Upper Lake) by an over-bridge, this lake is also known as the Chhota Talab. If you are out on a sightseeing tour in Bhopal then these two lakes are definitely not to be missed. Apart from the scintillating scenic beauty, the lakes also offer a chance for water sports adventures such as sailing, rowing, motorboating etc.
- Sadar Manzil – There are many architectural masterpieces owned by the city of Bhopal. One of them is Sadar Manzil. The entrance is splendidly carved with wood and leads to a small gate. Lovers of art and creativity must not miss to experience the magnificence of this place.
Other interesting places in Bhopal are
- Birla Museum
- Gohar Mahal
- Museum of Mankind
- Archaeological Museum of Bhopal
- Bharat Bhavan
- Lakshmi Narayan Temple
- Shaukat Mahal
- Sanchi Stupa
- Moti Masjid
- Jama Masjid
- Bhimbetka Caves.
Festivals and Fairs
Apart from the religious festivals that are celebrated all across the country, there are some fairs and festivals that are specifically celebrated in Bhopal with much enthusiasm. These are National Drama Festival, Bharat Bhavan Summer Festival, Dhrupad Samaroh and Lokrang. Cultural activities such as folk songs and dance is the major attraction of these fairs.
Besides, Bhopal Ijtema, an annual Muslim world preachers assembly, one of the largest Islamic congregation after Hajj at Mecca is also organized at Ghasipura which is at a distance of 11km from Bhopal.
Best time to visit
The months of November to February are the most favorable for travelling to Bhopal. During these months, weather here is very pleasant and just perfect for outings and sightseeing.
How to reach
By air – The city has Raja Bhoj International Airport which enjoys a good connectivity with other major cities of India. Lying 15 kms to the north of the city, this airport enjoys the status of an international airport but no international flight schedules are running currently to and from this airport.
By train – Bhopal boasts of being one of the best train connected cities of India. Major railway stations of the city are Bhopal Junction Railway station, Habibganj railway station, Misrod railway station, Madideep railway station, Sukhsewanagar and Bairagarh railway station. All these have passenger as well as express trains plying to and from almost all the parts of the country. So reaching Bhopal by train is the best and the most convenient option.
By Road– Bhopal is also linked with rest of the country by way of National Highways 12 and 86 and State Highway 17. There are a number of state transport buses to Bhopal from all major towns and cities of nearby states.