Bhopal is the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the second biggest city in the state, after Indore. The entire municipality is spread over a total area of about 286 square kilometres. It includes the administrative headquarters of Bhopal district as well as Bhopal division. It is often referred to as the city of lakes because of the numerous natural, as well as, artificial lakes within its territory.
History of BhopalAccording to historians, Raja Bhoja built a city Bhojpal in the 11th century (the original Bhopal city). Later, the control of the city came into the hands of the Mughals and remained with them till the beginning of the 18th century.
The princely province of Bhopal was established by an Afghan soldier named Dost Mohammed in 1723. Rani Kamalpathi, a tribal queen, made great contributions and protected him from the Rajput kings in the neighbouring areas. The begums also had an important role to play in the history of Bhopal as the state was under their control for about hundred years.
The women of the royal families lived a rigid life, were strict followers of their religion and were capable administrators. Begum Nawab Sultan Jahan is considered as one of the greatest begums who ruled Bhopal. Her son Hamidullah inherited the throne in 1926. He signed the 'Instrument of Accession', after which the state of Bhopal became a part of the Indian Republic in 1947.
People & Culture of BhopalThe city gained worldwide attention after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984. It was the most disastrous industrial accident where deadly gases like methyl isocyanate leaked from a pesticide manufacturing plant of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) and cost thousands of lives. The impact was so severe that some people suffer serious birth defects even today.
Hindi is the widely spoken in Bhopal. Tourists visiting the city can speak in English too as it is understood by many locals and shopkeepers. The city also has a strong literature and theatre culture. Many Hindi and Urdu poets and writers as well as theatre groups like Naya Theatre hail from Bhopal.
Things to do in BhopalLike any other big city, tourists can get around Bhopal by auto rickshaw, bus or taxi. Some of the most popular attractions in this place include religious places like Taj-ul-Masjid, Jama Masjid and Moti Masjid, which are also covered under Bhopal holiday packages offered by various parties. Some other places of tourist interest include Sadar Manzil, Lower Lake, Upper Lake, Bharat Bhawan, Birla Museum, Archaeological Museum, Gohar Mahal, Shaukat Mahal and Van Vihar National Park.
Food & Shopping in BhopalBhopal is popular for its silver jewellery, embroidered and sequined velvet purses and cushions and beadwork. The monuments in the city represent the perfect blend of Hindu and Islamic cultures and at the same time the works on these monuments give an insight to the traditions of north as well as south India. The best thing to explore in Bhopal as a tourist is its cuisine. It is diverse, rich and vibrant. Right from biryani, kababs and chaats to sweet treats like jalebi. The old city is known to dish out some tasty dishes. The Jameel Hotel here is known to serve the best biryani in the country. Other popular places to eat include Manohar Dairy and a few high-end restaurants.
Travelling to Bhopal Tourists can reach Bhopal by rail, road and air. The airport is connected to Delhi, Indore and Mumbai. Major trains operated by the Indian railways are connected to the city. Regular buses ply between Bhopal and Indore, close 185 km away.
Accommodation options in Bhopal There are a number of budget and luxury hotels in Bhopal. Tourists can opt from a variety of staying options located near the Upper and Lower Lake. Also, the old town of the city has many heritage hotels that can be considered by tourists. Bhopal is home to a many palaces that have been converted into hotels.
Bhopal experiences extreme climate. Therefore, the best time to visit Bhopal is during winters, which is from the month of November to February.