Formerly known as ‘Bhoj-pal’ after Raja Bhoj (known for founding the city), Bhopal is known as a charming city with an amazing blend of two different cityscapes. In the North, there is the old city filled with ancient mosques, chowks, narrow alleys, old bazaars and impressive havelis. Whereas the south of the city – the new modern Bhopal features wide roads, swanky shopping complexes, lavish hotels and restaurants. Ruled by the wives of the Nawabs, the city’s beautiful landmarks are enough to make you fall in love with the place.
Best time to visit: The ideal months to visit Bhopal is from July to March.
How to reach
By Air: Raja Bhoj Airport or Bhopal Airport is about 15km northwest from the city center. IndiGo now provides direct connectivity between Bhopal and Hyderabad along with seamless connectivity to other destinations.
By train: Bhopal has two main railway stations - Habibganj Railway Station in New Bhopal and Bhopal Railway Station in Old Bhopal. The city is well-connected to all major parts of the town through a vast network of trains.
By bus: Bhopal has a vast network of state-run and privately-run buses, connecting the city to all nearby towns.
Getting around: The public transportation in Bhopal includes buses, mini-buses, auto-rickshaws and tempos. There are full-sized buses called ‘Red Buses’ operated by a private firm and taxis are also available at reasonable rates.
It is Jehan Numa palace’s best restaurant that specialises in tandoor dishes (both veg and non-veg) and barbecued kebabs. Almost all the cuisines listed on their menu are superb but the sampler platter of mixed kebabs is a must try.
Since 1964, Bapu ki Kutia is known to serve delicious Indian veg dishes. Be prepared to share your table with locals and hear out the local facts about the city.
Fulfill your love for biryani at Jameel Hotel. Don’t worry about the price, even if you have less, you can be sure to get your stomach filled with delicious biryani. For the past 50 years, it has maintained its quality. Do also try their other specialities like Mutton Stew, Keema Kaleji and Tandoori Roti.
If you are in search for South Indian food in Bhopal then head to Sankalp. The place offers a creatively designed menu with a slight twist in the flavours. It is known for its quality and quantity. Dig in to their Chettinad Dosa, crispy Kara Mura Dosa and Kanchipuram Idli along with Telangana Aloo in the starters.
Chowk Bazaar: To have the best and local shopping experience in Bhopal, you must take a stroll in the narrow alleys of the Old city market or Chowk Bazaar. The narrow lanes here are the hub for Bhopal’s ancient traditions, practices and lifestyle. Such as the city’s signature embroidery art – Zardosi craft that is in practice for the past 300 years, exquisite beadwork, Chanderi and Maheshwari sarees. You can get clothes, purses or shoes designed in different craft forms here.
Habibganj Market: This is another local shopping market that gives you the flavour of the local shopping experience. You will see lines of shops selling cheap trendy accessories, to bags, shoes, apparels amongst others at a reasonable price. But make sure you do bargain while you shop from this market.
New Market: If you want to see modern shopping arena of Bhopal then head out to New Market, filled with shopping centres and malls. Some of the known malls you can visit are Aashima mall, DB Mall, C21 Mall and Aura Mall.
Swistar Guest House Located close to the Raja Bhoj Airport, Inter-State Bus terminal and also essential tourist spots, Swistar Guest House is ideal for regular travellers. It offers a comfortable stay backed by all necessary amenities.
Noor Us Sabah Hotel It’s a 3-star heritage property, offering the best views in Bhopal. The hotel offers all sorts of modern amenities starting from a swimming pool, business centre, gift shop among others. The cherry on the top is its location, that makes it close to famous tourist attractions.
Hotel Shikhar Palace Offering a warm stay to its guests, Hotel Shikhar Palace is a perfect budget hotel to stay, featuring nicely decorated and spacious rooms.
Hotel Nirmal residency If you are looking for a comfortable stay near to all relevant locations, then consider Hotel Nirmal residency. Spread over four floors, the hotel boasts of 39 well-designed rooms equipped with amenities like mini bar, wardrobe, flat-screen TV amongst other. It is ideal for business travellers due to its proximity to the airport.
Sanchi: A well-known Buddhist pilgrim site that needs no introduction. Sanchi offers spectacular views and insights into the Buddhist religion. It is about 45km from Bhopal, easily reachable by road.
Khajuraho: A fantastic getaway to experience ancient art in the form of figurines and statues, Khajuraho is about 383km from Bhopal.
Jabalpur: It is another excellent nearby location to travel from Bhopal, featuring an abundance of natural beauty. You can visit Kanha National Park, Dhuandhar falls, Balancing rocks and many more, Jabalpur is a delightful city to visit.
Gwalior: A small city with a rich historical significance. The magnificent Gwalior fort and the magnificent Scindia palace are few of the landmarks to visit in the city.
The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka Ghat is a must visit while in Bhopal. With over 700 rock shelters in the cave having rock painting, the entire place takes you on a journey into the ancient times giving an insight into the ancient arts. You will also notice small stupas and inscription from the Maurya/ Sunga period. Zoo Rock, Boar rock along with an Auditorium Rock Shelter are also a part of the Bhimbetka premises. The cup-depressions at the end of the Auditorium Rock Shelter, dating back to about 100000 years is the most exciting feature. The Zoo Rock Shelter comprise of the most number of paintings starting from Mesolithic age to the medieval period. The last rock shelter is the Boar Rock depicting a mythical boar with horns. So, take out some time from your trip and do experience this unique site.