Bhopal Travel Guide

By: Vinay Choubey

Bhopal, the city of Lake, is a fascinating amalgam of scenic beauty, old historic city and modern urban planning. 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 the city. Bhopal today presents a multi-faceted profile; the old city with its marketplaces and fine old mosques and palaces still bears 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. It is greener and cleaner than most cities in the country.

Places to see in Bhopal:Bhopal is a charming city with reminders of the erstwhile rule and glamorous life led by the Nawabs and Begums. The mosques and the temples are architectural marvels.

Laxmi Narayan TempleLaxmi Narayan Temple, also known as the Birla Mandir, is situated to the south of the Lower Lake on the Arera Hills. Near the Temple is located a museum that houses a collection of sculptures from the districts at Raisen, Sehore, Mandsaur, and Shahdol in of Madhya Pradesh.

Gohar Mahal The Gohar Mahal is a very significant historical building in dilapidated state. On an invitation from the Ministry of Textiles and Madhya Pradesh Handloom and Handicrafts Vikas Nigam (MPHHVN), INTACH has worked out a restoration and reuse proposal for the complex. To convert it into an Urban Haat, the palace will be restored maintaining the original fabric and construction details of the buildings and finally inserts new functions.

Government Archaeological MuseumA 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 Mondays.

Moti MasjidMoti Masjid built by Qudsia Begum's daughter Sikander Jahan Begum in 1860 A.D is similar in style to Delhi's Jama Masjid, though smaller in size than the Jama Masjid.

Bharat Bhawan Established in 1982, Bharat Bhavan is no doubt a centre for innovative creativity, pursuit of classics and tradition and wide participation in a new cultural upsurge. One of the most unique national institutes in India, Bharat Bhawan is a center for the performing and visual arts. Designed by the renowned architect Charles Correa, its contours merge in exquisite harmony with the landscape creating a visual impact of spacious and national elegance.

Taj-ul MasjidTaj-ul Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India. Shah Jahan Begum started the construction of this mosque during her reign, but it was never completed in her lifetime. It was only with the intervention of the Government of India in 1971 that the construction of the mosque was completed. Today, this huge pink mosque with two massive white-domed minarets is used as a madarsa (religious school). A three-day annual Ijtima congregation held here draws scores of people from all over the country.

The upper lake and The Lower Lake The Upper Lake is divided from the Lower by an over bridge and is 6 sq. kms. in area. Madhya Pradesh Tourism's Yacht Club on the Upper and Lower Lakes provide facilities for exciting trips by sail, paddle and motorboats. These two beautiful lakes have given Bhopal its title as the "City of Lakes ".

Regional Science CentreBasically 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.?

How to Get Bhopal:

Air Indian Airlines runs regular air service linking Bhopal with New Delhi and Mumbai. Jet Airways and Air Deccan also has daily flights to Bhopal.

Rail Bhopal is very well connected by rail and is a major hub and exchange railway station for the Central and Western Railway networks. Bhopal has two main railway stations - Bhopal Railway Station in old Bhopal or Habibgunj Railway Station in New Bhopal. Shatabdi express running between Delhi and Bhopal provides an excellent and convenient means to get here. Apart from this, regular multiple trains connect Bhopal to all the major metros in India. Book your tickets on Indian Railways website

Road Bhopal is also well connected to the major metros in India through many national highways.

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