State: Madhya Pradesh
Famous for/as: City
Best Season: Nov – Mar
Weather: Summer 25-47°C, Winter 9-24°C
Altitude: 427 m
STD code: 01755
Situated in the midst of two artificial lakes, Bhopal, the city of lakes is one among the famous tourist destinations of Madhya Pradesh. Located on a slope in the Malwa Plateau, the city is a naturally blessed with woody forests, majestic hills and vibrant landscapes. Besides these natural bliss, the man made lakes, reflect the twinkling lights of city at night, which is a sight to be worth watching.
Though the city is not too well endowed with monuments, it has a unique character of its own. It presents a harmonious blend of Hindu and Islamic cultures with a perfect symphony of North Indian and South Indian traditions. The uniqueness of this historic city lies in the fact that, perhaps it will be the only Indian city which was ruled over by the powerful Begums over centuries. These progressive rulers outnumbered their male counterparts in every field and the beautiful mansions and mosques are the speaking edifices of their golden rule.
Modern Bhopal is a place where one can see the richness of tradition is intertwined with the modern life. The remnants of the glorious past live on in the havelis, grand mosques and the museums. These elegant structures exhibits a superb blend of Islam, Hindu and European style architecture. Steeped in to these magnificient past, Bhopal’s new face, presents, verdant parks and gardens, broad avenues and modern offices. In short, Bhopal has successfully transformed into a sprawling city coloured by its vibrant past.
A cradle of arts and culture, Bhopal provides numerous centers of contemporary and performing arts. Being the capital of a state with a large tribal population, Bhopal is a hub of the folk and tribal arts that give a feel of village life in the state. Besides all these, Bhopal is acclaimed for the famous cave paintings, which are not only valuable for their artistic values but also for their ethnicity.
A write up of Bhopal could not be completed, without a reference to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy that was one of the worst industrial disasters India ever had seen.
A rambling city with a celebrated past and a glittering present, Bhopal is all set to mesmerize the visitor with its enduring greatness.
Bhopal is one of the oldest cities in India and boasts of various interesting legends that are associated with its history. The acclaim for foundation of Bhopal goes to Raja Bhoj, who ruled here in the 11th century. The city was then known as ‘Bhojpal’.
The city however, came under the banner of the Mughal dynasty who ruled here till the beginning of the 18th century. The famous Afghan soldier, Dost Mohammad, is said to have established the present city of Bhopal with assistance from Rani kamlapathi, who was a tribal queen.
When the history of Bhopal is being mentioned, then the contribution of the Begum of Bengal cannot be overlooked. These royal ladies especially Begum Nawab Sultan Jahan, are known to have ruled the city for nearly a century.
After the successful reign of Begum Sultan Jahan, the throne of Bhopal was passed on to her son, Hamidullah in 1926. In was under his rule, that the state signed the ‘Instrument of Accession’ and thus, became part of Indian republic, in the year 1947.
One of the most tragic industrial incidents to have occurred in the history of India and the world was the ‘Bhopal Gas Tragedy’ in December 1984, wherein more than 3000 people lost their lives.
Travel within city
Bhopal is a moderately vast city and traveling around Bhopal is quite easy due to the different options available for commute. Tourists can opt for the regular public buses or auto rickshaws while traveling in Bhopal. Cabs and call taxis are also available, and these can be a godsend for tourists looking for a luxurious mode of travel.
Buses and mini buses are the cheapest mode of commute available in Bhopal, but these have the largest network. Buses cover almost all major and minor parts of the city, and you can reach the destination of your choice through a bus with some basic knowledge on the city layout and on where you’re headed. Bus fares are very cheap, and they range around Rs 5 to 20, depending on the distance involved. Star buses, which are privately owned vehicles, are also available for almost the same fares. These buses have a wide reach and are a popular mode of transport.
Auto rickshaws are also a popular mode of transport and a particularly safe mode of travel you can opt for during night time. Autos in Bhopal do not run on meter, and there are no special night fares. You should negotiate a specific rate before boarding an auto rickshaw.
Taxis and cabs are available in Bhopal in its various hotels, railway station and airport. Taxi fares in Bhopal range from Rs 12 to 14 per kilometer.