In the Northwestern region of Madhya Pradesh, lies its Capital city- Bhopal. Bhopal is the second-largest city in Madhya Pradesh. When the State of Madhya Pradesh was created in 1956, Bhopal was chosen as its capital. Since then it has not grown as a commercial centre but is also one of the greenest cities in India. Not just greenery but The city is also home to several natural and artificial lakes, which is why Bhopal is known as the City of lakes.
Table of Contents
- History of Bhopal
- Places to Visit at Bhopal
- Van Vihar National park
- Tribal museum
- Manav Sangrahalaya
- State Museum
- Boat Club
- Birla Mandir
- Manua-Bhan ki Tekri
- Shaurya Smarak
- Kaliyasot Dam
- Famous Outlets to Eat at in Bhopal
- Bapu ki Kutia
- Sagar Gaire
- Shahpura Street Food Corner
- M.P. Nagar
- Shopping in Bhopal
- Frequently Asked Questions
History of Bhopal
It is said that the city of Bhopal was first established by the Parmar king, Raja Bhoj in the 11th century. The area around Bhopal was part of the Kingdom of Malwa in the middle ages until it was conquered by Akbar in the 16th century, the then Mughal King.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the region of Bhopal was together governed by the Rajputs and Gond Chieftains who worked under the command of the Mughal Governor. After the Death of Aurangzeb in 1707, with no central authority left to keep an eye on, the local chieftains started fighting among themselves for control.
In the meantime, Dost Mohammed Khan, An ally of Aurangzeb from Afghanistan, cleverly annexed the kingdom of Bhopal. However, due to the inefficiency of his successors, Bhopal was under the radar of Marathas. However, before anything could happen, Mohammed Khan, along descendant of Dost Mohammed khan came to Bhopal in 1797 and offered his services to the chaotic administration. Since then the region of Bhopal was ruled by the descendants of Khan.
In June 1949, The then Nawab of Bhopal, Hamiddullah Khan signed the accession of Bhopal into the Indian State in the presence of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.
Places to Visit at Bhopal
In the last two decades, Bhopal has seen tremendous growth not only in the commercial sector but in tourism as well. Owing to its strategic location along with forests and lakes, Bhopal is truly a city of tranquillity. Unlike other places where there is a rush about everything, Bhopal has a unique vibe of peace which makes it an ideal place for those who want to stay connected with the growing world while having their own leisure time within Peace.
On the tourism side, Bhopal has a wide range of places that are embedded with religious, national, and historical values. Further, there are many places where you can enjoy the lap of Nature and can indulge in fun activities like Boating and cruising.
Let’s have a brief look at these places.
1. Van Vihar National park
Van Vihar is a National Park in the vicinity of the boat club in Bhopal. This is the most popular place in Bhopal for tourists. Owing to its greenery on one side and lake view on the other, this National Park offers a scenic view to the visitors. Along with that, the Animals in the park are equally fascinating. From Lions to tigers to white tigers and bears, Van Vihar has several carnivores living on the premises of the Park. You can also get glimpses of peacocks and crocodiles as well. The cost of a ticket for entering Van Vihar varies as per the mode of travel used and also on the purpose (for example if you travelling for shooting purposes or still photography then the cost of a Ticket is much higher). TImings for Van Vihar are:
6:30 am – 6:30 pm (1st Aug to 30th Oct & 16th Feb to 15th Apr)
6:30 am – 6:00 pm (1st Nov to 15th Feb)
6:00 am – 7:00 pm (16th Apr to 31st July)
2. Tribal museum
Out of all the tourist places in Bhopal, the tribal museum is my personal favourite. The Museum is a tribute to the Tribal Population of Madhya Pradesh. It was designed by Architect Revathi Kamath. The museum is divided into Six halls dedicated to Six different tribal cultures. The Gallery and articles area perfect blend of Tribal folklores and modern art aesthetics. The artefacts are made by the tribal artists using raw and organic materials such as mud and twigs. The entire museum is aesthetic, Colorful and enthralling and will give you a refreshing experience.
Various programs like Exhibitions, theatre performances and displays take place here. Except for Mondays, the Tribal Museum is open every day from 12 PM to 7 PM. The cost of entering the museum is ₹10 for Indians and ₹250 for foreigners.
3. Manav Sangrahalaya
Another gem in the crown of Museums of Bhopal is the Manav sangrahalaya, the largest and leading anthropological museum in India. This museum records Human history and its evolution within time and space. The exhibitions held at the museum depict the rich history and culture of India. The museum is divided into 8 open exhibitions and 12 indoor galleries exhibiting its subtle and artistic sensibilities. Moreover, The museum is designed in such a way that it makes the information more educative and easier to grasp. Many seminars, exhibitions, workshops and regional festivals are held in Manav Sangrahalaya. The Timings of the museum are seasonal with 11 AM to 6:30 PM from March to August and 10 AM to 5:30 PM from September to February. Except for Mondays, the Museum is open every day. Entry tickets are ₹50 per head and ₹25 concessional charges for students and groups. For children below 12, entry is free.
4. State Museum
Located Near the Shyamala hills, the State Museum houses the culture of Madhya Pradesh. For Those who are keen learners of History, this place is a must-visit. It is a unique blend of Art and History.
From fossils to manuscripts to paintings and sculptures along with stamps and coins are kept in the Museum. There are a total of seventeen galleries in the museum. There is an Iconic “The black penny” stamp, which is the world’s first-ever postage stamp issued in 1840 with Queen Victoria’s picture in it. There are colossal statues of Lord Vishnu, Lakshmi, Parvati, Buddha and Shiva.
Apart from this, they have handwritten Bhagavata Geeta and Ramayana. The cost of entry to the museum is ₹10 for Indians and ₹100 for foreigners. If the visitors wish to carry a camera and video equipment, then additional charges are included. The museum can be visited during timings 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM. The museum remains closed on Mondays.
5. Boat Club
Just Before the Van Vihar, there is another popular destination on the same route, known as the Boat Club. People hang around on the roads and grasslands. There are multiple stalls and cafes including a chai sutta bar where you can have refreshments. You can also indulge in activities like boating and horse riding. Cruise and motor rides are also available. Overall, the boat club is your place to relax and have some quality time amid the shores of the upper lake. In addition to the boat club, a drive to VIP Road can add a bonus to your enjoyment. The majestic statue of Raja Bhoj near the VIP Road gives a befitting tribute to Bhopal’s founder and Parmar King Bhoj.
6. Birla Mandir
Situated at the top of Arera Hills, Birla Mandir is a majestic temple dedicated to Lakshmi-Narayana and Shiva-Paravati. The temple was built by the famous Industrial Family, the Birla group and was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. The temple is 6km away from Bhopal junction. The temple is a famous visiting spot in Bhopal owing to its spiritual importance along with its picturesque location. The Temple is endowed with parks, lawns, fountains and sculptors. Being on the top of a hill, the front view of the temple offers a scenic view of the city of Bhopal and the backside of the Temple with that of the Lower lake or Chota talab.
Birla Mandir also houses the Birla Museum which was established in the year 1971. Sculptors, paintings and manuscripts from the 2nd century BC to the 6th century AD and sculptors Belonging to the 7th to the 13th century AD are also kept here. The Timings of the temple are 7 AM to 12 PM and 3 PM to 9 PM. The Museum opens from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 7 PM. The cost of entering the museum is ₹5 for Indians and ₹50 for foreigners.
7. Manua-Bhan ki Tekri
Manuabhan Ki tekri or otherwise known as Mahavir ki tekri is a famous Jain temple situated at the Hilltop. The temple is dedicated to Shriman Bhadarji, whose idol can be seen inside the temple, and Maharaj Vijay Suriji, Jindutt Surishwarji and Acharya Manutung, whose footwear is kept as relics. This is also a sadhana steal for the Oswals. There is also a manuscript carved of the stone near the Simha gate in the temple. Till now, nobody has been able to decipher what is written on it. It is a mystery for both Historians and tourists visiting it. Being at 1300ft above sea level, the temple offers a serene view of the whole city and it can be reached by car, bike or Ropeways as well. Timings for entering the temple are 6:30 AM – 8:00 PM. Timings for the ropeway start at 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, with a break from 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM. Both the temple and the ropeway service are open on all days of the week. The cost of the Ropeway is ₹66 per head for a round.
8. Shaurya Smarak
Shaurya Smarak is a war memorial dedicated to the Indian Bravehearts. Situated in the Arera Hills, near M.P. Nagar and secretariat, The Smarak is spread across 12.67 acres. The Shaurya Smarak was inaugurated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 14th October 2018. There is a 65 feet-high shaurya stamp which represents the three Military forces of India. The granite signifies the Army, Grey signifies the Navy and the white colour signifies the Air force.
The Smarak consists of a glass board on which the name of the soldiers who were killed in the line of duty, an underground museum which consists of art pieces and portraits of wars and Indian soldiers and a continuously burning flame known as smarak Jyoti.
Along with that, The smarak has a red sculpture that appears as Namaskar from one angle and an “ooze of blood” from another angle.
Visitors can come here any time and learn about Indian armed forces, wars and glories. The War Memorial can be visited during timings 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM. The Shaurya Smarak remains closed on Wednesdays.
9. Kaliyasot Dam
One of the most enthralling places and favourite spots among the youth of Bhopal is the Kaliyasot dam. The scenic location of this Dam in a close forest area makes it an ideal place for relaxation. The route to Kaliyasot Dam is filled with trees on both sides, with a few shops of refreshments where you can enjoy Maggi and Chai. During the Monsoon, the entire region becomes greenery adding to its beauty. However, you need to be careful regarding the Crocodile in the lake. Near the Dam, there are many cafes and restaurants where you can go and enjoy meals. Mokachi, Nature’s cottage, Basil and house no. 32 are a few of them.
Famous Outlets to Eat at in Bhopal
Bhopal, although a culturally rich region, does not have a particular cuisine like that of Vada-Pav in Mumbai and Biryani in Hyderabadi. However, that does not mean, Bhopal has nothing to offer when it comes to delicious delicacies that can bring pools of flavours when you eat or even think about them! Bhopal is a hub of fast food and family restaurants that give provide you with multiple cuisines from Chinese thought Indian, that are not just flavorful but also under budget. Let’s check a few of them!
1. Bapu ki Kutia
Bapu ki Kutiya is a family restaurant near Shahpura Road, where you can enjoy a variety of dishes starting from authentic Indian Thali to Chinese cuisine. The entire menu is vegetarian.
2. Sagar Gaire
If You ask any Bhopali about any famous fast-food outlet, then Sagar Gaire is what you will heat the most.
Sagar game is a fast food restaurant with branches in almost every corner of Bhopal, which makes it easier for anyone to reach there. They have a wide variety of delicacies, starting from Paneer Kulcha to Cold coffee to Sandwiches.
3. Shahpura Street Food Corner
Near the Shahpura lake and beside the Campion school is another spot where you can savour street food of any type and that too at a reasonable cost. This is Shahpura Street food corner which has trails of street food stalls that offer you various delicacies like momos, noodles, Manchuria, and Pani Puri. During the evening, the place gets crowded easily.
4. M.P. Nagar
Maharana Pratap Nagar is a borough in Bhopal where there are multiple cafes and bistros in which you can and enjoy meals. Socialite seven, Black and White Cafe, Atmosphere, D-Runch are some of the cafes located in this region. And then you have the DB city mall where you can go an shopping and spending time with your loved ones.
Shopping in Bhopal
Any trip is incomplete without shopping. And how can it be? When you shop from a particular place, you are not buying stuff but are packing up the memories of that place into your suitcase. Fortunately, Bhopal has a plethora of places from where you can shop around buying products as per your liking.
If you want to buy ethnic clothes and accessories then the City market in the old Bhopal region is the ideal place for you. There are multiple shops from where you can buy apparel at a reasonable cost. If you are looking to buy fancy stuff then New Market is the right option. This is the most famous location for locals to buy products and clothes.
Unlike other cities, where you will rush in and around, Bhopal is filled with tranquillity. The vibe felt here is serene and peaceful. Not just is it a cosy city filled with commercial centres, but it is also home to lakes and forests that reminds you the lap of nature.
The various museums will make you relive the history of mankind, while Birla mandir and Manua-Bhan tekri give you spiritual satisfaction while also offering you a picturesque view of the entire city. Activities like boat riding, horse riding, ropeway and shopping add an extra fun to the trip. And don’t forget to savour the delicious delicacies offered in various restaurants and cafes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time to visit Bhopal?
You can visit Bhopal anytime but for the best experience,I would suggest you to come between October to November, as it is neither rainy nor extremely sunny. Also, Due to the Monsoon, the lakes and dams are rejuvenated while the forests and gardens turn greener, which makes the entire city look fresh and scenic. You can even enjoy views of animals in Van vihar during this time easily.
Is there lodge and restroom facilities?
Yes, There are many hotels, resthouses and lounges in Bhopal that are clean, comfortable and affordable. Some accommodations you can look for when visiting Bhopal are BHEL Guest House, Sahita’s Homestay, Lago villa and Sayaji Bhopal.
How much cash one should have while travelling to Bhopal?
Whenever we are travelling, we are required to carry some important goods especially cash to make our trip comfortable. Bhopal is no such exception. Since Bhopal is a commercial city, you have every thing available here, and if you are an Indian the cost of entering any tourist place is extremely affordable. But keeping in mind the accommodation, shopping and travel, one must carry around 10 to 15k cash. However, if you don’t wish to carry such a big amount in cash, then no worries as most of the places accept digital payment.
Is there any water and amusement park in Bhopal?
Yes, Bhopal homes two water parks- Kanha fun city and Crescent Water Park. Both the Amusement parks are in the outskirts of the city, so it may take time to reach there. The cost of water rides in Crescent is ₹500 per head and opens from 10AM to 6PM every day. While the cost of kanha funcity is ₹450 per head and is open from 10AM to 7PM.
How are the accomodations support in Bhopal?
The best accomodation one can access is with the Red Bus which has connectivity to all the mojor parts of the city. Except that Rapido and Ola Cars, Auto are also available. The E-rickshaws are also a cheap option in general.
Important Numbers to remember which visiting Bhopal
- Police: 100
- Ambulance: 101
- Emergency: 108
- Women Control Centers: 1090