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Information about Bhopal

Bhopal is the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. Bhopal takes its name from its famous founder Raja Bhoj who built it in the 11th century. He is believed to have created the three lakes by consructing a dam (pal) around which the city developed. Bhopal is an attractive city, situated around the two artificial lakes and on the gently rolling seven hills in the Malwa region. It is also the city where the devastating Union Carbide explosion took place in 1984, killing thousands of people. Bhopal is a great centre of art and culture. It is India’s leading centre for performing arts and for the preservation of traditions of tribal and folk arts. The city inspired the famous architect, Charles Correa, to design its unique multi-art centre, Bharat Bhawan. It is a very pleasant city to rest and relax. The city has a moderate climate.

History of Bhopal

Bhopal takes its name from its famous founder Raja Bhoj who built it in the 11th century. He is believed to have created the three lakes by consructing a dam (pal) around which the city developed. The present city within the walls was laid out by an Afghan chief, Dost Mohammad Khan. During Aurangzeb’s rule, Dost Mohammad was the Governor of Aurangzeb and Bhopal. After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, he took advantage of the situation and carved out a kingdom for himself. He died in 1723 leaving an island state in Malwa. From 1857 until 1926, Bhopal was ruled by women, first Sikander Begum (1857-1901) and then by Shah Jahan Begum (1901 – 1926). The Taj-ul-Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India was begun but not completed by Shah Jahan Begum. Bhopal achieved international notoriety in 1984 with the Union Carbide disaster. Poisonous gas escaped from the Multi-national corporation’s plan and killed over 1000 people and injured about thousands.

Shopping in Bhopal

Bhopal is known for its zari (silver thread) work on velvet, evening bags, filigree work, jewellery, inlaid leather, bead and sequin-embroidered bags, glass-encrusted bags and richly decorated shoes. Handicrafts and handlooms from all over Madhya Pradesh are available in Bhopal.

Tourist Attractions in Bhopal

There are various mosques and lakes in Bhopal. The Taj-ul-Masjid, Jama Masjid and Moti Masjid are the famous mosques in Bhopal. The Upper and Lower Lakes are the famous lakes in Bhopal.

The Taj-ul Masjid, belongs to the 19th century and is the largest mosque of India. It is a huge, pink mosque with two massive white domed minarets and three white domes over the main building. This mosque was built by the Shah Jahan Begum, and completed after her death. Its main hall, large courtyard and marble floors are impressive.

Jama Masjid
The Jama Masjid was built in 1837 by another women ruler, Qudsia Begum on the site of the ancient temple. This mosque is surrounded by a bazaar. The gold spikes crown the minarets of the smaller Jama Masjid Mosque.

Taj-Ul-Masjid, Bhopal

Moti Masjid, Bhopal

Moti Masjid
The Moti Masjid was built by Qudsia Begum’s daughter, Sikander Begum in a similar style to the Jama Masjid in Delhi in 1860. This mosque has two red, gold topped minarets.

Upper and Lower Lakes
The large upper lake has an area of 6 km. A bridge separates it from the lower lake. They look prettier at night with lights of the houses around the lake reflected in water. Boating can also be done in the picturesque lakes. The modern Laxmi Narayan Temple is situated to the south of the Lower Lake.

Shamla Hill or Idgah Hill
A fine view of the city can be had from the Shamla Hill or Idgah Hill. From this hill, you may be able to see the minarets of the city’s mosques towering over the lesser buildings.


Bhimbetka Hill
Bhimbetka Hill is only 30 km. away from Bhopal. Bhimbetka Hill has the richest collection of prehistoric paintings associated with many other archaeological discoveries. The site was discovered by V.S. Wakanker of the Vikram University, Ujjain, in 1957 and systematic digging at the site has continued since 1971. The hill is located in the middle of a dense deciduous forest and there are over 30 species of trees with edible fruit, flower seeds and tubers. There is also still a rich wildlife including several species of deer, wild boar, sloth bear, antelope, leopard, jackal, scaly anteater and a wide range of species of birds. Perennial springs provide the essential year round water supply. In this place, over 700 caves with Neolithic rock-paintings have been discovered. The oldest paintings are at least as old as those of the Pyrenees. Over 500 caves contain prehistoric and later paintings and a smaller number have evidence of Stone Age habitation from the Lower Palaeolithic period to the late Mesolithic. Some of the cave paintings are quite small, while some are about 10 metres long. Red and white are the dominant colours used, but green and yellow are also found. The paintings belongs to three periods. The prehistoric phase is dominated by wild life paintings of cattle, boar, tiger, deer engaged in various activities, and varies from tiny miniatures to life size and often life-like representation. Hunting is a common theme, the humans during this period being shown simply as “stick men”. Some women are shown, occasionally pregnant. In the transitional period, men are shown grazing or riding animals, but animals lose their proportions and naturalism. The later period is quite different, and animals and animal hunts are replaced by battle scenes with men riding on elephants and horses with spears, bows and arrows and probably date from the early centuries AD.

Islamnagar is situated about 11 km. away from Bhopal. Islamnagar is the palace of the Afghan rulers built by Dost Mohammed Khan. Formal gardens, palaces in Hindu-Muslim style and Rani Mahal are worth seeing. 

Bhojpur is situated about 28 km. away from Bhopal. Bhojpur was founded by Raja Bhoja and has the ruins of a Shiva temple. The symbol of Shiva, the Lingam, is a huge monolith.

How to get here

By Air:
Bhopal is connected by Indian Airlines flights with Delhi, Mumbai, Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur, Raipur and Nagpur. The airport is situated about 7 km from the city centre.

By Rail:
Bhopal is situated on the main lines between Delhi, Mumbai and the southern state capitals of Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Trivandrum. It is directly connected with Amritsar, Jammu Tawi, Bangalore, Cochin, Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai, Pune, and other cities in Madhya Pradesh.

By Road:
Bhopal is connected by road to Indore, Ujjain, Mandu, Gwalior, Pachmarhi, Jabalpur, Sanchi and Khajuraho.


States in North India
Delhi || Jammu & Kashmir || Haryana & Punjab || Himachal Pradesh || Madhya Pradesh || Rajasthan || Uttar Pradesh || Uttaranchal

Information about Madhya Pradesh
Introduction || History || Geography || Climate || Economy || People || Languages || Festivals || Tourist Attractions || Wildlife Sanctuaries

Cities in Madhya Pradesh
Bhopal || Gwalior || Indore || Jabalpur || Khajuraho || Mandu || Orchha || Sanchi || Ujjain

Distances from Cities in Madhya Pradesh
Bandhavgarh || Bhopal || Gwalior || Hissar || Indore || Jabalpur || Kanha || Khajuraho || Shivpuri || Ujjain

Fair and Festivals of Madhya Pradesh
Madai Festival || Bhagoriya Festival || Karma Festival || Nagaji Fair || Mahashivratri || Khajuraho Dance Festival || Tansen Music Festival

Tourist Attractions in Madhya Pradesh
Eastern Group of Temples || Western Group of Temples

Wildlife Sanctuaries of Madhya Pradesh
Bandhavgarh National Park || Kanha National Park


Frequent group departures...

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