Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh and literally the centre of India was founded by Raja Bhoj in the 11th century and was called Bhojapal. There are two lakes in the city of Bhopal which tell the romantic tale of the founder of the modern city of Bhopal, Dost Mohammed and the beautiful Gond queen Kamalapati.
Today, Bhopal is a prosperous city with many industries and has also managed to retain the old world charm with its old city, the local markets and many mosques. The city was one of the promienent princely states in India and imposing monuments speak of its history. It is a fairly laid back city and therein lies its charm. The lakes follow you everywhere, the air is clear and the traffic uncluttered. The city has been expanding industrially in recent years, Mandideep and Govindpura on the outskirts are the two industrial townships which house units of several important corporates.
The city is also the gateway to the 3rd century Buddist Sanchi and neolithic caves of Bhimbetka. Bhopal today presents a multi faceted profile the old city with its teeming market places and fine old mosques and palaces still bears the aristocratic imprint of its former rulers among them the succession of powerful Begums who ruled over Bhopal from 1819 - 1926.
The main shopping places in Bhopal around the new market and the roads leading to the Jama masjid. bags, sarees, skirts, curios etc can be picked here. Mrignayani in new market shopping centre is the handicraft shopping centre of the state, Khadi Gramudyog bhavan in Bhadbhada road has khadi silk and cotton garments.
Image - www.tripadvisor.in
Ijtima means a religious congregation and is held for 3 days and followed by a fair. The Tablighi Ijtima at Bhopal is considered amongst the biggest of Islamic congregations in the world.
Manav Sangrahalaya Fair
The national tribal museum of Bhopal holds a colourful tribal festival in the Museum of Man. Held in January and February Tribal artists and artisans from all over the country showcase their skills at the event.
National Drama Festival
A 7 day event it is held in Sept 17th onwards. Features plays in Hindi performed by troupes who come from all over the country.
Bharat Bhawan Summer Festival
Held every year at Bharat Bhavan the epicentre of cultural events it features performances by drama troupes, famous classical musicians, exhibition of paintings by eminent artisans and poetry recitals by Indian poets.
Organised by M.P tourism in collabration by M.P State Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd. in February at Gohar Mahal it features an food festival, crafts mela and cultural perfermances by tribal artists.
Delwadi is situated on the road from Obedullahganj to Nasrullagang which is a part of the Bhopal –Hoshangabad road. Ginnorgarh fort is situated 3 km inside in the Vindhayan ranges. The distance of Ginnorgarh & Bhopal is 58 km. During the Parmar period, around 1200 AD Ginnoragrh was an important political center. It was under the Gonds that time. There is abundance of natural beauty around Delawadi which becomes even more beautiful during the months of monsoon.
This is situated 7 kms away from Bhopal on the Bhopal- Narsinrgrah Road. There are 20 rock shelters which seriallised from MNW-1 to MNW-20. 12 of the rock shelters have red- ochure color paintings, depicting day to day human life activity. The rock shelters contain some writings in the Shankh script. The paintings can be dated from prehistoric to historic period.
It is said to be the largest mosque in the country. An annual three-day Ijtima congregation is held here. Shah jahan Begum the ruler of Bhopal wanted the world's largest mosque to be built in her credit and hence the Taj-ul Masjid was started. But it was not completed due to her death. But it stands the largest in India still. The Dhai Seedhi ki masjid is nearby which is the oldest and tiniest mosque (no concrete evidence to being the world's smallest one). To get here, enter Hamidia Hospital from Royal Market Rd, then turn right into the campus of Gandhi Medical College. Follow the road around the main building and you’ll eventually see the mosque on your right.
Located in the centre of the Chowk Bazar, this is a beautiful mosque with gold spikes on the top of the minarets. It took 24 years to complete this imposing structure. Built in 1837 by Kudsia Begum.
The architecture of this mosque is similar to that of the Jama Masjid of Delhi. It was built in 1860 by the Sikandar Jehan Begum.
The most exquisite food of Bhopal is the meat delicacies like Spicy achar gost, Keemas. kababs, Rogan josh and Kormas. If you are a vegetarian try the traditional bafla or wheat cake which is dunked in ghee with daal, accompanied by soft laddoos. The intoxicating local liquor mahua (made from flowers of Mahua tree) is also much sought after. Buttermilk and the Sugarcane juice are two of favorite drinks in Bhopal. And last but not the least The Bhopali Paan at the end of your meal is a good digestive agent.
Bhopal has its own version of Mughalai food which is found plenty in the chowk area at extremely moderate rates. Amongst the dining pleasures of Bhopal are the special treats served at the Jahan Numa Palace hotel. For the special taste of Bhopal try Chicken Bhopali rizala that comes with a rich cashew nut gravy. The delectable deserts include Phirni - a milk and rice pudding with pistachio garnishing or Jehan Numa Sundae.
The chowk, with its old mosque and havelis, is the place to go looking for traditional Bhopali crafts, silver jewellery, beadwork, embroidered and sequined velvet purse and cushions.
It is 11 kms away from the city of Bhopal. Islamnagar was built by Dost Mohammad and was the palace of Bhopal's Afghan rulers.
Shaukat Mahal and Sadar Manzil, Bharat Bhawan, Tribal Habitat, an exhibition of the various tribal cultures in India, Van Vihar, a safari park located on a hill near the upper lake, the lower lake and the fish-shaped aquarium are other places worth seeing. State museum has an entry fee of Rs 10/- open from 10.30 to 5.30 and closed on Mondays has some xclusive pieces of art, the 85 something jain bronze idols and more.
Dost Mohd Khan attacked Jagdishpur in 1715 AD. Jagdishpur was surrounded with high walls of the fort from all the sides. Its ruler was a Rajput sardar named, Dewda Chouhan. Dost Mohd Khan by fraud invited Dewda Chouhan for a party by the side of Bes river. No sooner did the party begin, the soldiers of Dost Mohd cut the ropes of the tent in which the festivities were going on and killed the Rajputs who were not carrying any weapons at that time. River Bes turned red with the blood of the slain. In this way Dost Mohd Khan conquered Jagdishpur and named it Islam Nagar.
MP Tourism has recently developed a picnic spot on the dam made on Halali river, which is one of the tributary of river Betwa. The spots which falls both in Vidisha and Raisen district, is 40 kms away from Bhopal and is on the Bhopal- Sanchi Road. Halali Boat club has been developed on the Samrat Ashok Sagar Dam which offers facility of peddle boat. Halali Retreat is the property of MP Tourism which offers room at very reasonable cost. The hotel is located admist of natural surroundings and offers a park, restaurant and play ground for children.
Halali dam (Raisen)
Rock Shelters of Lalghati, Bhopal
This hill is also known for the Gufa Mandir. The nomenclature of these rock shelters are from LAG-1 to LAG 14. Many of the rock shelters have been destroyed by human use. Rock shelter no-2,4,9,10,11,12 &14 have paintings depicting scenes like animals, hunting, dancing etc. The rock shelter no 9 has a beautiful painting made in white, red and ochure colour.
Group of Rock Shelter, Firangi
3.5 km to the west of the Ganesh hills, lies the Firangi Group of Rock Shelters, which is spread over 9 Sq.km in the Vindhaya ranges. It is said that the Britishers had set up transmission stations at these high altitude places to send and receive telegraphic messages. Hence the place came to be known as Firangi, ie, Britishers. A large number of stone age tools have been found here, giving a hint that in those times this place was a spot of much activity. The group has been divided in to number of sub-groups.
Group of Rock Shelters, Gondramau
On the Bhopal Narsnghgarh Highway, 11 kms away from Bhopal lies Gonramau village. The Gondipura hills lay to the south-east of the village which has 5 rock shelters which have been enumerated as GM-1 to GM -5. Although due to mining work the rock shaletrs have been damaged much, the paintings in the Rock Shelter No-2 are clearly visible. The red and ochure colour paintings here depict wildlife which includes a snake as well.
Group of Rock Shelters, Dharampuri
This group is located in the hills opposite to Shayamla Hills (Jawahr Chowk- Bhadbhada Road).Five of the rock shelters is painted which have been enumerated as DP-1 to DP-5. Painted in red, ochure and white colours, they depict the wild animals and the activities of human life. One of the rock shelters three men attacking a wild buffalo, while another one show a scene of group dancing. Rock Shelter DP-2, 4 and 5 have written in Shankh. script Rock Shelter no- 5 appears to be Buddhist Vihar belonging to Gupta period.