Posted 07 November 2022

Here’s why Bhopal should be your next travel destination

Bhopal is proud of its moniker, the City of Lakes. And, the city is indeed dominated by its two largest water bodies, Upper Lake and Lower Lake, which sort of set the vibe of this serene and laid-back metropolis. Notably, Upper Lake, resting at the edge of Van Vihar National Park, is man-made and was built centuries ago to solve the water problems of this hot and dry area. This speaks of the ingenuity of Bhopal’s early rulers. Boating opportunities and food stalls have come up around the lake, making it an ideal place to spend some leisure time. Every evening, despite the heat, locals, tourists, families, and friends engage in various activities here, taking in the beautiful sunset views and the cool lakeside air.

Furthermore, there are many other places of tourist interest in the city, of which the most famous one is Taj-ul-Masjid. While the construction of the mosque was initiated by Nawab Shah Jahan Begum in the 1840s, it was continued by her daughter Sultan Jahan Begum. The construction work was, however, stalled due to the deficiency of funds and was finally completed in 1985. It is considered to be one of the largest mosques in the country and also hosts a madrasa in its courtyards. Read on to know what makes Bhopal a must on your travel list.

Must-visit tourist places in Bhopal

1. Sanchi Stupa

The renowned Mauryan emperor, Ashoka, had built this stupa with the intention of promoting Buddhism. Upon reaching this dome-shaped structure that features the remains of Lord Buddha, you will experience tranquil vibes that will put your mind at peace. You can organise a picnic here with family and friends as well.

Indisputably, the stupa is large and impressive. The most fascinating features of the structure are the four toranas, along with the intricately detailed carvings that narrate the tales of Gautam Buddha and Ashoka.

The entry fee for Sanchi Stupa is ₹30 per person for Indian citizens and ₹500 per person for foreigners. The monument is open for visitors all days of the week between 06:30 and 18:30.

2. Lakshmi Narayan Temple

This temple is worth visiting when in Bhopal. It is known for its beautiful aura and calming vibes. Adorned in yellow, white, and red, the structure will captivate you at first glance only. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Parvati. You can also spend some time in the temple compound.

There is no entry fee for entering the temple, and the site is open all days of the week from 06:00 to 12:00 in the morning and 16:00 to 20:00 in the evening.

3. Birla Museum

After offering prayers at Lakshmi Narayan Temple, one must head over to the Birla Museum that is located on the temple premises. Have a look at its collection of artefacts, manuscripts, stone sculptures, and terracotta items. You can also spot artefacts used by men during the Neolithic and Palaeolithic ages. Fascinating indeed!

Plan your visit accordingly. Birla Mandir is open on all days to facilitate visits for pilgrims coming from all across the country. At Birla Mandir, Bhopal, timings are demarcated into two phases. It opens at 06:00 in the morning and closes at noon for the first phase. However, it re-opens at 20:00 in the evening and closes at 20:00 for the day.

4. Upper Lake

It is the oldest man-made lake in India and is perfect for a lovely boating experience. A cold breeze, rippling waters, and an expansive view will create an ideal romantic setup for you. While enjoying the boat ride, click plenty of pictures.

No entry fee is charged to explore this place. However, if you are interested in boating, then the prices differ from boat to boat. For a cruise boat ride, a fee of ₹100 per person is applicable, for a motorboat ride, a fee of ₹240 per person is applicable; and for a paddleboat, a fee of ₹80 per person is applicable. The lake is open for visitors throughout the week on all days from 06:00 to 19:00

5. Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum

On the list of the places to visit near Bhopal, this museum is a unique addition. Witness sculptures along with the displays reflecting tribal life, including art and culture. Pro tip: At the entrance, do not forget to pick up a brochure to get some basic ideas about the displays that will help you better understand the tribals of Madhya Pradesh. There are a total of six segregated galleries. So, make sure you have enough time at hand to see it all.

The entry fee for Indian visitors is marked at ₹10 per person. For foreigners, the fee is marked at ₹100 per person, and there is an additional photography fee of ₹50.

6. Rani Kamlapati Palace

One of the most beautiful places in Bhopal, Rani Kamlapati Palace will charm you with its simple yet grand architecture. You can easily witness the fusion of Mughal and contemporary architectural designs in this palace. It is situated on the premises of Gond Fort, which is a popular site of tourist interest in Bhopal. You should visit this place in the morning in order to soak in the best views of the structure and its surroundings.

Notably, the existing structure is a part of the palace which was constructed in AD 1722 by Rani Kamlapati, who was the widow of Nizam Shah, General Chief of Ginnorgarh. Furthermore, the remains of Fatehgarh Fort on the hill rest on the west side of this palace. This fort was established by Sardar Dost Mohammad, who was responsible for laying the foundation of modern Bhopal.

The Kamlapati Palace lets you witness the contemporary secular architecture of the early 18th century. This double storey building is constructed of lakhauri bricks, having a facade with cusped arches supported on the fluted pillars, merlons having the shape of lotus petals, and brackets supporting the chhajjas. Protected by the Government of India in 1989, this monument is under the custody of the Archaeological Survey of India.

The palace grounds remain open to visitors all days of the week, from Monday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:00. There is no entry fee.

7. Bhimbetka

It is one of the most unique archaeological sites in India that also enjoys the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bhimbetka, a series of caves and rock shelters located in Ratnapuri Wildlife Sanctuary, has 30,000 yr old rock paintings ranging from the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic ages to the protohistoric, early historic, and mediaeval periods. Made in natural colours, the simple paintings feature stick figures, animals and scenes of hunting and war.

It is also interesting to learn about how art evolved. Some of the recent paintings that are 500 years old or less feature shades of yellow and green, whereas the earlier images were all deep ochres. Further, the newer paintings have images of horses that were brought to the Indian subcontinent by Muslim invaders. Notably, older paintings featured bison and elephants, but horses were nowhere to be seen.

Open all days of the week from 07:00 to 18:00 Bhimbetka Caves have an entry fee of INR 10 per person for Indians, ₹100 per person for foreign tourists, ₹50 per light motor vehicle for Indian citizens, ₹20 per light motor vehicle for foreign tourists, and ₹400 per minibus for foreign tourists.

How to reach Bhopal conveniently and comfortably ?

Bhopal is well-connected to other major Indian cities by air, road, and rail.

  • By road: Government-operated and private bus services connect Bhopal to Ahmedabad, Kota, Nagpur, Pune, Jodhpur, Shirdi, Jaipur, Vadodara, Amravati, Nashik,and Surat.
  • By rail: Bhopal Junction is the largest railway station in the city and is a major junction on the Delhi-Chennai main line and the Central Railways route from Delhi to Mumbai. It connects Bhopal to all parts of the countryexcept the Northeast states.
  • By air: The airport is located at a distance of 15 km from the heart of the city. You can easily book non-stop IndiGo flights to Bhopal from major cities like Agra, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Prayagraj, and Raipur. And, you can also book easy, hassle-free connecting IndiGo flights from other major cities such as Kolkata, Lucknow, and Varanasi.
  • Best time to visit: The city of Bhopal can be very hot in the summer. So, many visitors choose to visit between November and February. Temperatures are cooler and it is the ideal time to enjoy the lakes.

Conclusion

Bhopal continues to be an interesting tourist place in India which can captivate you with its exquisite mosques, old havelis, crowded markets, etc. Witness the contrast between the old Bhopal and the large boulevards and modern buildings in the new city. This city is a tourist delight that has happily managed to retain its green and clean appearance, and we assure you will enjoy it as much as we do.

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