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Bhopal

INTRODUCTION
Bhopal the city of Madhya Pradesh is factually the heart of India. It is a capital city of Madhya Pradesh State where all important administrative headquarters of state are located. It is historic city with number of monuments and historical data. The city casts an unusual spell on the visitor’s right from the moment one arrives. Historical monuments & landmarks, old mosques & palaces, lakes, well laid out gardens & parks, bustling market places of the old city are a feast in store for tourists. The city named after the founder, Paramar king Bhoja (reign 1010-1055), Bhopal in the earlier time was the centre of the Dravadian culture. The city has more or less maintained its cultural heritage, unlike other modern cousins like Lucknow. Presence of number of natural and artificial lakes in & around city makes it also known as "City of Lakes" which enhances the natural beauty of city.

amarkantak-tourism

HISTORY
In the beginning of the 9th Century, after the disgrace of the Pratihars, the dynasty of Paramars ruled over the Malwa region till almost 13th century. It was in 1236 that Malwa was invaded by the army of the Sultan iltutmish & Bhopal fell to the hands of the sultans of Delhi. The state of Ujjain was also conquered by Jalaludin Khilji in 1291. The last ruler of the Paramar dynasty, Mehlakdev was defeated & the territory thus annexed was added to the Raisen state, of which Bhopal became a part. Bhopal was the seat of power of the sultans of Mandu around 1400 & with the weakening of their power, Bhopal came under the rule of the Gond Kings. At the time of death of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Bhopal division was the kingdom of the Gond king Raja Nijamshah. His queen Kamlapati was an exceptionally beautiful woman. The city of Bhopal is also very important centre of art & culture in India.

HOW TO REACH
By Air: Bhopal city have its own airport with name "Raja Bhoj Airport" (IATA Code: BHO) which has connectivity with cities like Indore, Mumbai,Delhi, Raipur, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad etc. It is about 15 Kms. from city center. Similarly it is connected with other important cities like Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior etc. of state through air-taxi service.

DISTANCE CHART
LOCATION MAP
From
Distance
(in Kms)
Indore 200 Kms.
Pachmarhi 220 Kms.
Satpura National Park 190 Kms.
Jabalpur 350 Kms.
Ujjain 180 Kms.
Mandu 290 Kms.


By Train: Bhopal city have two main railway stations: Habibganj & Bhopal Junction. Railways of Bhopal comes under West-Central Railway Zone in India. Railway station code for Habibganj is HBJ & Bhopal Junction is BPL. Here Habibganj Railway Station is the first ISO9001:2001 certified railway station of India. City is on the main Delhi-Chennai & Delhi-Mumbai rail track. There are regular express trains to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Gwalior, Jhansi, Ujjain, Sanchi, Indore, Jabalpur, Katni, Chittorgarh, Aurangabad etc. Bhopal is directly connected to Amritsar & Jammu in the North. There is a daily Shatabdi Express via Agra, Gwalior, Jhansi to Bhopal. In case you are not able to find train from Bhopal to any other destination, you may consider Itarsi Junction (Railway code:ET) also for searching the train. It is about 85kms from Bhopal city but has large number of train options for other parts of India.
By Road: Regular state roadways buses connect Bhopal with Indore, Ujjain, Pachmari, Khajuraho, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Sanchi, Nagpur, Jaipur. The main bus terminal is at Hamidia road. Taxis can be hired from travel agencies & travel desks at hotels. National Highway-12 connects Bhopal from Jabalpur & Jaipur.Another important National Highway-86 connects Bhopal from Sagar city of Madhya Pradesh. State Highway-17 also connects Bhopal city from other parts of state. Bhopal is well connected by road from nearby tourist destinations like Sanchi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Udaipur, Pachmarhi, Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Mandu, Indore, Jabalpur, Chittorgarh, Satpura National Park, Khajuraho, Orchha etc.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Bhopal sightseeing can be divided into two parts. In one part you can do the excursion tours covering two World Heritage sites: Sanchi Stupas & Bhimbetka Rock Shelters and ancient Bhojpur Temple. All these 3 important excursion destinations can be covered in a full-day visit.

In additions to this, their are number of historic monuments and leisure tourist spots in Bhopal city whose details are as given below:
The Chowk: The verve of the 200 years old city spins around this central heart Building with Islamic arches, turrets & balconies surround it, if the vehicles peter out from the place it is easy to imagine plodding camels galumphing, caparisoned lancers clip-clopping with rigid arrogance, & a curtained palanquin or two protected by liveried guards drawn swords announcing the channel of aristocracy, warning mere mortals to give way.
Moti Mahal : The Mahal was built by Sikandar Jehan Begum in 1847. It is a two storied building with a three storied gate with projected windows in two upper storeys. In the middle of the upper wall crown-like structures have been built stretching from one end to the other. One segment of the palace was used for residential purposes while the other segments were the Durbar Hall, auditorium, administrative block, store & archives.
Shaukat Mahal : In the old city area there is a Shaukat Mahal premeditated by a bourbon Frenchman, merging Post Renaissance & Gothic style to an amiable effect. This is built by Qudsia Begum in 1830 & plunk apart from the other structures with a dominant Islamic archietecture in the old city area.
Gauhar Mahal : Spread over an area of 4.65 acres & located on the banks of upper Lake, Gauhar Mahal, dates back to the times of Qudsia Begum, also known as Gauhar Begum. Build in 1820; this place is a splendid expression of the fusion of Hindu & Mughal architecture.
Taj-ul-Masajid : ‘The crown of Mosques’, said to be one of the three largest mosques of world & the largest in Asia, a assert also made by the Jama Masjid in old Delhi. Nawab Shah Jehan Begum started edifice this mosque in 1887 & it was still under erection when she dies 1901. After a trail off of seventy years, funds were again amassed to continue with the constructions of this magnificent building. A three days Ijtima congregation held here annually draws from all over the nation & abroad. The covered area of the mosque is over 80m by 30m & its minarets soar to over 67m. the open court in the mosque is about 107x107m in the area.
Taj Mahal : It is not anything like its famous namesake in Agra but it is beautiful in a rather bulky way. Built by Shah Jehan Begum it was started in 1871 & completed in 1884. The attractive entrance gate of six storeys allowed both cars & carts easy entrance. There are 120 rooms & 8 huge halls. All the rooms were decorated with different colours & matching furniture. The Sheesh Mahal was decorated with coloured glass. There was Sawan Bhado porch, arches & decorated pillars are an amalgam of Rajput & Islamic styles.
Moti Masjid : Moti means ‘A Pearl’. Masjid has the obligatory pool in the centre, an arched & pillared corridor on three sides & a beautiful white mosque in front. The Moti masjid was built by Nawab Sikandar Jehan Begum, daughter of Nawab Qudsia Begum, in 1860. Delhi’s Jama Masjid was completed in 1656, so this could have been patterned on the older mosque.
Laxminarayan Temple : This modern temple, built in the traditional style with bright touches in cream & red, is also known as the Birla Temple after the well-known family of industrialists who built it. In its well-maintained gardens, just before the entrance to the temple, is a Siva shrine to the left & one to Hanuman on the right.
Birla Museum : There are some interesting old sculptures displayed in the garden. The entrance to the museum opens into a large, circular hall. To the left is the Siva gallery. Of particular interest are two 10th century sculptures from Ashapuri, a dancing Ganesh & an Uma-Maheshwari: the latter has been attributed to the Parmars. Uma is one of the names of Parvati, consort of Maheshwar or Siva.
Bharat Bhavan : It is regarded as one of the most unique Institutes in India for the preservation of the traditional folk art & was designed by the internationally-famed architect Charles Correa. Much of this centre is below ground level, merging with the landscape. State Museum: This is among the best designed museum in India. Here there are reproductions of the now-destroyed Buddhist Bagh Cave paintings, 84 rare jaina bronzes of the 8th to 11th centuries. Avaloketeshwaras of Lamaism, Saivite sculptures & miniature paintings showing the graceful life styles of those distant days.
Van Vihar : It is actually, a large zoo with open & landscaped enclosures. A motor-road winds through it, along the banks of the Upper Lake. There is also a stretch of wet land in the Van Vihar populated by quacking, squawking, preening water birds like painted storks living in a sort of armed truce with crocodiles; a truce that is occasionally breached! Among the larger animals that can be seen from the road are bears, tawny tigers, their white cousins, leopards & their stately prey, sambar deer.
Boat Club : From the club, visitors can go out on the water in a Cruise Boat with two decks, or on one of their six speed boats or, if they feel up to it, or one of the 30 foot-powered pedal boats.
Islam Nagar: 11 Kms away & on the Bhopal Bersia Road, Islam Nagar built by Dost Mohammad Khan was the palace of Bhopals afghan rulers. Formal gardens surround the palace & pavilion-a synthesis of Hindu & Islamic decorative art.
Rani Mahal: This was constructed by Dost Mohammad Khan in AD 1720 as a residence for his queens. It is built in a combination of Rajput, Mughal & Malwa styles. The courtyard is encircled by building on raised plinths, some with carved arches. On the floor above is a pavilion in the Rajasthani style.
Lakes : Bhopal is known for its upper Lake(Bada Talab) & Lower Lake(Chotta Talab). The upper lake was built by Raja Bhoja & a bridges separates it from the lower lake. Upper lake is 6 sq kms in area. The lower lake was constructed by Nawab Hayat Mohammad Khan in 1794.
Charbagh Gardens : It is a sunken garden laid out in the formal, Mughal style with water-courses, fountains & water chutes called chadars or shawls: they are designed to make flowing water foam as they pour down.
Hamam : The Mughals like the Romans & the Turks were fond of public baths: elaborate constructions with massage tables, steam rooms, hot tubs & chill pools. All the rooms of the hamam, here had openings in the domed ceiling to let in natural light. Apart from all the usual hamam facilities, this one had a room encircled with mirrors so that the Begum could see what her maids were doing to beautify her after her bath.
Gond Mahal : The name of this restored monument gives the impession that the princes, who called themselves Rajpu Chauhans, could have been Gond chieftans. The fortified palace sits atop a small knoll with an encampment of buffalo-herders in front. Entering through narrow arches, the visitors come to an open court with pillared & arched galleries all around. It looks a bit like a small caravan-serial, but that is deceptive. The Rajasthani influence is obvious with flat roofs, projecting caves & arches designed to throw deep shadows into the verandhas fronting the rooms, & courts to ensure privacy whils still allowing columns of hot air to rise. The nights are often cool & pleasant & people occasionally slept on terraces under the stars.

CULTURE
If we study the religious composition of Bhopal city, we will find that here people from all religions are living with harmony. Still among them, Hindus & Muslims are in majority in compare to other religions. Equal presence of Hindus & Muslims make city in a celebration mood during festival of both the religions. Their are number of historical temples and mosques in Bhopal that remain center of attractions during festival season. Here Hindu festivals like Diwali, Holi, Durga Pooja are celebrated with full fame and glory. Similarly Muslim festivals like Eid is celetrated with full ecstasy. Celebrations makes you know that some festival is going on. Local market remain lighten till mid-night with devotees & people doing their shopping. Evening visit to such market places are another part of city sightseeing. City has its own typical way of talking that make identifies their localities in other parts of India. Similarly Paan (chewable Beetle Leaf with ingredients) culture identifies Bhopalites in a mob. Bharat Bhavan is the main cultural center in city that offers platform for cultural events. If we travel thoroughly to the city we will realize the cultural theme of city especially in old Bhopal. After becoming state-capital, city expanded rapidly with increase in buildings, roads, government offices, market complexes, malls etc. which has given modern look to this heritage cultural city.

BEST TIME TO VISIT
Bhopal is almost in central part Central India region. Being close to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, through out the year tourist visits Bhopal and its nearby tourist attractions. But in summer, tourist arrival reduces due to hot climate when temperature rises upto 45 °Celsius. So good time to visit Bhopal is during after monsoon to springs i.e. from October to April.

CLIMATE & WEATHER
By location it is in Central Part of India which is in North upper limit of Vindhya mountain range and part of Malwa plateau. Bhopal climate is humid subtropical climate. It has an elevation of 428 meters. If we visit the city stretch, we will notice the uneven elevation of land with some small hills and rocky platform. Their are hilly regions in Bhopal city like Shymala hills, Idgah hills etc. Here we have provided the Temperature chart of Bhopal city specifying the average high & low temperatures observed in city in each month of year.
Months
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Minimum (°C)
05
12
18
24
30
27
24
23
22
21
20
11
Maximum(°C)
18
32
36
40
45
41
36
38
32
34
32
20
Here we also providing you current prevailing climate & weather report of Bhopal city. Total annual rainfall of city is approx. 1150 mm.
Apart from uneven surface, this city is also have number of natural & man-made lakes which do make impact on climate of Bhopal. These lakes are popular tourist attractions where one can enjoy boating.

ACCOMMODATION
Being state capital and historic city, Bhopal is visited throughout the year by tourists and officials for different reasons. To cater their accommodation need, city is fully equipped with hotels for all budget category visitors. Here you can find luxury heritage hotels like: Jehan-numa palace and Noor-us-sabah palace etc. for luxury lovers. Their are many standard hotels in Bhopal for medium category guests like Ranjit's lake view, Palash Residency, Lakeview Ashok, Nisarga etc. Similarly their are number of budget category Bhopal hotels for bag-packers & budgeted visitors. Here Bhopal hotels are for every category of tourists from city center to outskirts of city and also away from city like Sanchi Hotels, Bhimbetka hotel etc.

NEXT TO BHOPAL
Adjoining tourist destinations from Bhopal are: Ujjain (180kms), Pachmarhi (220kms), Satpura National Park (185kms), Indore (200kms), Omkareshwar (280kms), Mandu (290kms), Maheshwar (280kms) and more. These tourist destinations could be next to Bhopal in a tour itinerary. Their are some more tourist attractions which can be covered in an excursion tour to Bhopal like:
Sanchi: 46 Kms north of Bhopal, A hill about 90m in height is coroneted by a group of stupas, monasteries, temples & pillars dating from the 3rd century BC to the 12 century AD. The Sanchi Stupa, the most renowned of these monuments, was built by the great Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd Century BC.
Bhimbetka : 46 Kms south of Bhopal, in this rocky landscape of intense forest & craggy cliffs, in the village of Bhimbetka surrounded by the northern periphery of the Vindhya range, over 600 rock shelters belonging to the Neolithic age were recently discovered. Bhimbetka a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a group of rock shelter paintings, an Archelogical treasure.
Bhojpur: 28 Kms south east of Bhopal, Bhojpur is renowned for the Bhojeshwar Temple dedicated to LordShiva. The temple which has made the nomenclature of the Somnath of the east, owes its derivation to the 11th century Paramar King Raja Bhoj. The partially completed Bhojeshwar Temple is a single square with sides of just over 66 feet.
Udaigiri Caves: Udayagiri Caves are the collection of rocks - cut cave sanctuaries, engraved into a stonework hill that stands, guard like, on the horizon. Located in Sunpura and Udaygiri townships of Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh, these are the optimum example of classical gupta arts. Udayagiri means a hill of Sunrise was revealed as Kumari Parvat in Hathigumpha inscription.

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