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 constructing 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.
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.
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
One of the most unique national institutes in India,
Bharat Bhawan is a centre for the performing and visual
arts. Designed by renowned architect, Charles Correa,
the contours of Bharat Bhawan merge in exquisite harmony
with the landscape creating a visual impact of spacious
and natural elegance. The centre houses a museum of the
arts, an art gallery, a workshop for fine arts, a
repertory theater, indoor and outdoor auditoria, a
rehearsal room and libraries of Indian poetry, classical
and folk music. Open from 2 pm to 8 pm everyday except
a magnificent expression of the fusion of Hindu and
Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (A Post Colonial
The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (National
Museum of Mankind) is a unique Museum, spread over 200
acres of undulating land on the Shamla Hills on the
Upper Lake front. It is situated in a prehistoric site
and may be the only museum in the world strewn with
numerous prehistoric painted rock shelters. It is a post
colonial museum of communities rather than objects,
dedicated to in situ revitalization of local knowledge
systems and life enhancing traditions rather than ex
situ display of objects. It is engaged in recollection
rather than collection. The museum display has been
curated directly by the folk and tribal communities,
camping at site, to create a miniature presentation of
Indian folk ways through display of ecospecific
habitations & subsistence practices in the tribal,
coastal, desert, and Himalayan habitats. The library,
audio-visual archive, computerized documentation and the
collection of ethnographic specimens in the Museum,
though modest in size are among the best in the world.
Government Archaeological Museum
A fine collection of sculptures are on display here from
various parts of Madhya Pradesh. Highlights of the
collection are: paintings of various schools, copies of
paintings from the Bagh caves near Mandu and the statues
of Alakshmi and the Buddha. The museum is closed on
Laxmi Narayan Temple and Museum
This beautiful temple on the Arera Hills has a Museum
attached to it which houses a collection of sculptures
from Raisen, Sehore, Mandsaur and Shahdol districts of
Madhya Pradesh. The museum is open from 9am to 5pm
everyday except Mondays.
This safari-park is located on a hill adjacent to the
Upper Lake, with an area of 445 hectares. In these
natural surroundings, wildlife watchers can view a
variety of herbivorous and carnivorous species.
Regional Science Centre
Basically a science museum, located on the picturesque
Shamala Hills, Regional Science Centre houses about 300
participatory exhibits distributed equally in
'Invention' & 'Fun Science' galleries, and a 'taramandal'
(Planetarium). The museum remains open from 10.30 am to
6.30 pm on all days except Mondays.
In the heart of the city, the Chowk is lined with old
mosques, havelis, reminders of a bygone era. The shops
in its narrow alleys are treasure troves of traditional
Bhopali crafts : silver jewellery, exquisitely fashioned
beadwork, embroidered and sequined velvet fashioned
purses and cushions.
Facing the Lower Lake, the fish-shaped aquarium houses a
number of fascinating species of fish in all shapes and
Excursion from Bhopal
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
Paleolithic period to the late Mesolithic. Some of the
cave paintings are quite small, while some are about 10
meters 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
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. The
latter a synthesis of Hindu and Islamic decorative art,
has columns lavishly embellished with floral motifs.
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
Kerwan, is about 17 km from Bhopal. It is a dam and a
beautiful picnic spot.
About 45 km from Bhopal is the ancient fort of Raisen on
the Bhopal-Sagar road. The fort was built in the early
6th century. It is situated on a high hill and once had
84 lakes and ponds, of which only 15 remain. The fort
was under the famous Hindu king Rai Puran Mal before it
was seized by Sher Shah and brought under Afghan
Delawadi is situated about 62 km from Bhopal. Situated
in a lovely forest glade, Delawadi is a picturesque
picnic spot, rich in scenic splendor and natural beauty.
The historical fort standing on an isolated hill about
1,127 metres long and 266 metres broad is situated 3 km
away from Delawadi. Buses ply the route, but from
Delawadi to the fort one has to travel on foot. The fort
was once a stronghold of Gonds, but fell to Mohammad of
the Bhopal State.
How to reach Bhopal
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
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
Bhopal is connected by road to Indore, Ujjain, Mandu,
Gwalior, Pachmarhi, Jabalpur, Sanchi and Khajuraho.