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.
The founder of the existing city was Afghan soldier Dost Mohammad (1708-1740). Fleeing from Delhi in the chaotic period that followed Aurangzeb's death, Dost Mohammad met the Gond queen Kamlapati, who sought his aid after the murder of her consort.
A charming legend relates how the queen would recline in a lotus barge that, on moonlit nights, would drift across the lake. 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 a city.
Sanchi Stupa is located at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, it is located 46 km north east of Bhopal.
The 'Great Stupa' at Sanchi is the oldest stone structure in India and was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BCE. Its nucleus was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. It was crowned by the chatra, a parasol-like structure symbolising high rank, which was intended to honour and shelter the relics. The construction work of this stupa was overseen by Ashoka's wife, Devi herself, who was the daughter of a merchant of Vidisha. Sanchi was also her birthplace as well as the venue of her and Ashoka's wedding. In the 1st century BCE, four profusely carved toranas or ornamental gateways and a balustrade encircling the whole structure was added.
Bhoja (also Bhojadeva) was a philosopher king and polymath of medieval India, who ruled the kingdom of Malwain central India from the early 11th century to 1055 CE. Also known as Raja Bhoja Of Dhar, he belonged to theParamara dynasty. The name Bhoja means "bountiful, liberal" and appears as the name of a tribe, the descendants of Mahabhoja, in the Mahabharata.
Bhoja established numerous temples, including the Bhojeshvara Temple at Bhojpur, a city he founded, about 30 km from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh on the banks of river Betwa. He also established the Bhoj Shala which was a centre for Sanskrit studies and a temple of Sarasvatī in present day Dhar.
Bhojtal, formerly known as Upper Lake is a large lake which lies on the Western side of the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal. It is a major source of drinking water for the residents of the city, serving around 40% of the residents with nearly 30 million imperial gallons (140,000 m3) of water per day. Bada talaab, along with the nearby Chhota Talaab, meaning small lake in Hindi, constitute Bhoj Wetland, which is now a Ramsar site.
Sair Sapata is a tourism and entertainment complex situated on the banks of the Upper Lake in Bhopal. Developed by the Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation, it is spread over an area of 24.56 acres, and was inaugurated on 29 September 2011 by State Chief Minister. Aimed at promoting tourism, the complex has attractions like musical fountain, two acres of children’s play area, toy train and a suspension bridge, among other things.
The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site of the Paleolithic, exhibiting the earliest traces of human life on the Indian subcontinent, and thus the beginning of the South Asian Stone Age. It is located in the Raisen District in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The Bhimbetka shelters exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India. At least some of the shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus more than 300,000 years ago. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old. The caves also deliver early evidence of dance. They were declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.
The name Bhimbetka is associated with Bhima, a hero-deity of the epicMahabharata. The word Bhimbetka is said to derive from Bhimbaithka, meaning "sitting place of Bhima".
Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum, Bhopal
It is primarily incumbent upon the institutions for example museums, whose objective is to connect itself with a large section of society (visitors), not to let the following questions go out of their sight:-
For whom this museum is/will be? Meaning as to who is/will be its real audience?
What is present mindset of this spectator? What are his concerns? What are his interests, aspirations or dreams etc?
What is the main objective of museum/institution’s inception, which differentiates it from other cultural institutions? In plane words, what will be its meaningfulness and distinct features?
In what terms can it build a new bridge of meaningful dialogue between various communities?
This tribal museum is under-construction. After completion of its building, the process of giving shape to its complex and galleries is going on for about one year and in the meantime the museum is carving out its shape by keeping these questions in view constantly.
Audience is a very large and complex unit encompassing children, youths, senior citizens, rural people and males and females of all sections of society. There are further sub-sections among these sections. For example, culture is prime passion for some while some others find no relevance of word ‘culture’ in present-day context. They want to take look back at past and take development anti-clockwise. The third and possibly the largest category is of those who are totally unconcerned to all the cultural questions. Neither have they thought about it nor need to think about the same.
Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya
Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) or National Museum of Humankind or Museum of Man is an anthropology museum located in Bhopal, India, to present an integrated story of the evolution of man and culture with special reference to India. It spreads over an area of about 200 acres on the Shamla Hills in the city. This museum depicts the story of mankind in time and space. Based around the upper lake, 'Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya' can be accessed either from Lake View Road or from another road near Demonstration School. IGRMS has a few permanent exhibitions, broadly categorized as a) Open-exhibitions, b) Indoor galleries (Veethi-Sankul and Bhopal Gallery) and c) Periodical/ Temporary exhibitions. It also has other exhibitions categorized as 1. Online exhibitions, 2. Travelling exhibitions, 3. Special exhibitions and 4. Ongoing exhibitions.
Clusters of the following open-air exhibitions partially developed and opened for the public: Tribal Habitat. Coastal Village, Desert Village, Himalayan Village, Mythological Trail, Traditional Technology park.
Simadri Ota is the current director-in-charge of this beautiful place.
The museum also has a regional centre for the South India region at Mysore in Karnataka
Bhojpur, Madhya Pradesh
Bhojpur takes its name from king Bhoja (reg. c. 1000–1055 CE), the most celebrated ruler of the Paramāra dynasty. There is no archaeological evidence from Bhojpur before the eleventh century, a fact confirmed by local legends which recount how Bhoja made a vow to build a series of dams "to arrest the streams of nine rivers and ninety-nine rivulets". A location was found in the kingdom that allowed the king to fulfill this vow and the dams were duly built at Bhojpur.
Although the dams were constructed of cyclopean masonry, one of them was opened on the orders of Hoshang Shah ofMalwa in the fifteenth century. According to Persian chronicles, he ordered the dam to be broken at the request of local merchants in Bhopal and Vidishawhose caravans were being raided by bandits taking refuge at an inaccessible spot protected by the lake.
Tajul masjid, Bhopal
"Taj-ul-Masajid" literally means "The Crown of Mosques". The construction of the mosque was initiated during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar by Nawab Shah Jahan Begum (1844- 1860 and 1868-1901) of Bhopal (wife of Baqi Mohammad Khan) and continued to be built by her daughter Sultan Jahan Begum, till her lifetime. The mosque was not completed due to lack of funds, and after a long lay-off after the War of 1857, construction was resumed in 1971 by great efforts of Allama Mohammad Imran Khan Nadwi Azhari and Maulana Sayed Hashmat Ali Sahab of Bhopal. The construction was completed by 1985 and the entrance (eastern) gate was renovated grandly using ancient motifs from circa 1250 Syrian mosques by the contribution of the Emir of Kuwait to commemorate the memory of his departed wife.
The mosque has a pink facade topped by two 18-storey high octagonal minarets with marble domes. The mosque also has three huge bulbous domes, an impressive main hallway with attractive pillars and marble flooring resembling Mughal architecture the likes of Jama Masjid in Delhi and the huge Badshahi Mosque of Lahore. It has a courtyard with a large tank in the centre. It has a double-storeyed gateway with four recessed archways and nine cusped multifold openings in the main prayer hall. The Quibla wall in the prayer hall is carved with eleven recessed arches and has fine screens of trellis work. The massive pillars in the hall hold 27 ceilings through squinted arches of which 16 ceilings are decorated with ornate petaled designs.
Gohar Mahal is one of the beautiful palaces in Bhopal. Constructed in the year 1820, on the banks of the Upper Lake, the Gohar Mahal is a beautiful palace built by the first female ruler of Bhopal – Gohar Begum. Gohar Mahal is an architectural marvel, which presents a perfect blend of Hindu and Mughal Architecture. The palace is an architectural wonder presenting the blend of Hindu Mughal style of architecture. The arcades of the palace hold majestic look and glory. Gohar Mahal is on the verge of renovation to showcase the grandeur to the world again.
Van Vihar National Park
Van Vihar National Park is a national park in India located at the heart of Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. Declared a national park in 1983, it covers an area of about 4.45 km². 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.
Birla Mandir in Bhopal is a twin pleasure. Not only is the temple, its location as well breathtaking. Situated on top of Arera Hills, the temple dedicated to goddess Lakshmi, is a must-visit place in Bhopal. The temple holds you captive with its sandy-yellowish shade and the rich greenery around. The main shrine houses idols of goddess Lakshmi and god Vishnu and the other shrine here has the idols of goddess Parvati and god Shiva. Birla Mandir in Bhopal has a museum, which has a fine collection of ancient sculptures that date back to 12th century.
Other Links for Bhopal Tourism