The capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal is one of India’s greenest and cleanest cities. Bhopal surprises you with a beautiful blend of old-world charm, urbanization, natural beauty, and adventure. The city boasts a significant number of public attractions like the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) or the National Museum of Humankind and Taj-ul-Masjid, which is among the largest mosques in Asia.
This might sound a little cliche, but Bhopal really has more than just something for everyone - nature lovers, adventurers, history and archaeology enthusiasts, animal lovers, explorers, etc. You will be won over by the warm and welcoming locals of Bhopal as you witness unity in diversity in its real sense in the city. And this might finally be that article where you actually enjoy reading the history of a place for once. Brace yourself as this Bhopal travel guide is your companion for the next few minutes. Enjoy!
The city of Bhopal was founded by Raja Bhoj of the Parmara Dynasty in the 11th century. At that time, it was named Bhojpal after the name of the ruler and a dam (pal) that he is believed to have constructed. The present-day Bhopal was established in 1723 by one of Emperor Aurangzeb’s Afghan soldiers, Dost Mohammed Khan. He was a commander in the Mughal army in Mangalgarh, which is situated to the north of Bhopal.
Bhopal became a princely state under British rule in 1818 after signing a treaty with the East India Company. Here comes something that you will find amazing and interesting. For 107 years between 1819 and 1926, the princely state of Bhopal prospered the most as it was ruled by four phenomenal and brave women. Qudsia Begum (1819-37), Sikander Begum (1844-68), Shah Jahan Begum (1868-1901), and Sultan Jahan Begum (1901-1926) ensured that there was significant progress in the fields of arts, culture, education, and public works under their supervision. After India gained independence in 1947, Bhopal continued as a separate province till 1949. The rule of nawab was revoked in 1952 and Bhopal replaced Nagpur (now in Maharashtra) as the capital of Madhya Pradesh in 1956.
Bhopal is known for its diverse culture and traditions. The city is home to people from as many religions as there are and as a result, you will get to hear each and every language from Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, English to quite a few local dialects. When it comes to the food of the city, there are a number of options for everyone, be it vegetarians or non-vegetarians. All the festivals are celebrated in high spirits in Bhopal. In addition, there are many fairs that are organized every year. One example is the National Drama Festival which is organized every September for seven days and sees participation from various artists like musicians, dancers, actors, poets, etc.
Also read: Top 7 Things To Do In Madhya Pradesh
The Bhopal airport is called Raja Bhoj Airport and it is located at a distance of 15 km from the city center. It acts as a domestic as well as an international airport. Some of the Indian cities that are connected to Bhopal are New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad. From the airport, you can easily get rickshaws or cabs to reach your location within the city.
Since Bhopal is the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, which is located right in the center of the country, it is well connected to all the major cities. The two main stations in the city are the Bhopal Junction Railway Station and Habibganj Station in the new city. Both of these stations have frequent trains that connect Bhopal to the other parts of the country.
Bhopal offers an impressive number of both private and public bus services. A number of nearby cities are easily accessible like Indore (190 km), Ujjain (188 km), Nagpur (354 km), and Jabalpur (295 km). Apart from this, state highway 18 connects Bhopal to Ahmedabad and national highway 46 connects Bhopal to Gwalior. You can even book your long-distance travel to major cities like New Delhi and Mumbai.
The absolute best time to visit and enjoy Bhopal is from October to March when the weather is cool and you can go sightseeing at any time of the day. During this period, the weather remains pleasant and the temperature ranges from 8°C to 23°C. It is highly recommended to keep a couple of extra warm clothes for the chilly nights.
The city gets its rainfall in the months of July, August, and September. This is when the city gets relief from the extreme heat and the monsoon showers add furthermore greenery to the already greenest city of the country. These three months are considered to be the second-best window to visit Bhopal and appreciate the natural beauty of the city.
Summers are too hot to plan a trip to Bhopal as the temperature can cross 40°C at times. Usually, the heat is intense and it gets really dry. However, if you are traveling during this period, make sure to keep yourself hydrated. Take a sunscreen along as well.
Also read: 5 Hill Stations To Visit In Madhya Pradesh
The two local bus networks in Bhopal that are owned by the state are Bhopal City Link Limited (BCLL) and the Bhopal Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS). Both the networks have a large fleet of buses and connect each and every point within the city. The fares are low with both the networks making the commute seamless. BRTS has low-floor buses which makes it easy for anyone to board.
The auto-rickshaw service in Bhopal is better than in most cities. First of all, you get both the options of commute - private auto and shared auto. You can reach any part of the city during the daytime as well as the night. The best part is that the rickshaw drivers do not overcharge. So you don’t have to worry about getting into an argument even if you are visiting for the first time.
There is a lot of private cab service providers at your service in Bhopal. You can use this option for commuting within the city or if you are traveling to a location that is at some distance from Bhopal.
The Upper Lake or Bada Talab is also known as Bhojtal, named after the ruler Raja Bhoj who founded the city in the 11th century. The Upper Lake is the most significant lake in this city because of its enormous size and its charm. It is also considered to be one of the oldest man-made lakes in the entire country. Kamla Park is a beautiful garden close to the lake and both these attractions are the most-visited ones by the tourists. For those seeking a bit of adventure, there’s good news for you guys as well. There are options for parasailing, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, paddle boating, and motorboat rides at the Bhojtal Lake.
That’s not all. The lake also acts as a huge source of potable water for the residents of the city along with being the primary source of water irrigation for those whose livelihood depends on agriculture.
Just when you thought Bhopal can’t get any better, here’s something that will hook the attention of all the animal lovers. Located next to the Shymala Hills and the Upper Lake, the Van Vihar National Park is a place not to be missed by anyone who is visiting Bhopal to explore, whether it is nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, or photographers. One of the biggest national parks in central India, Van Vihar is spread over an area of approximately 445 hectares and is home to a wide variety of species like blackbuck, sambar, blue bull, porcupine, wild boar, hyena, leopard, nilgai, turtle, crocodile, langur, etc. Special efforts are made to keep all of the animals as close to their natural habitat as possible.
The bird watchers need not get disappointed. The national park also gives you a chance to spot different kinds of birds like kingfishers, bulbuls, wagtails, and migratory species. If you want to see a white tiger, your best chance is to visit Van Vihar between July and September. Whenever you are there, consider the safari ride as it enhances your experience even more. The authorities are pretty serious about protecting the flora and fauna of the park. While the herbivores can roam around the park freely, the carnivores are kept in enclosed areas.
Any fans of history and archeology? Even if your answer is no, we would strongly recommend you to check out Bhimbetka Caves. This is something extraordinary. So much so that UNESCO has even declared the caves as a World Heritage Site. Just around 45 km away from the main city, the cave wall artwork and the prehistoric paintings in the Bhimbetka Caves are believed to be more than 30,000 years old.
Till today, a plethora of archeologists and historians visit the caves every year for research purposes as to how the people at that time behaved and what were their practices. You can get a little bit of idea from these paintings and rock formations about hunting, dancing, man and animal fighting, and the people partying together. Don’t tell us this didn’t get you excited!
Is Transportation Available In Bhopal?
Yes, being a busy city, Bhopal has numerous options for public transport whether you’re commuting within the city, visiting the city, or leaving the city. If you’re traveling to another location in the country, you have the options of air, railways, and by road. For getting around within Bhopal, you can use public transport like buses, auto-rickshaws, and cabs.
What Language Is Mainly Spoken In Bhopal?
Bhopal has people from different religions and cultures and all walks of life. It is due to this reason that there are different languages spoken in the city. When you visit Bhopal, you will get to hear Hindi, Urdu, English, Marathi, Gujarati, and a number of local dialects as well.
What Food Item Is Famous In Bhopal?
A paradise for all the different categories of foodies, Bhopal doesn’t have just one but the best of nearly all the vegetarian and non-vegetarian food items. The reason behind this could very well be the fact that the city has a rich and diverse culture. A few of the best dishes in Bhopal that you must try are bafla, achar gosht, seekh kebab, rogan josh, keema pulav, biryani pilaf, jalebi, faluda, and rabri. And make a note right now that you have to try the famous Bhopali Paan the first thing when you reach Bhopal!
Who Should Visit Bhopal?
Everyone! Bhopal is a suitable place for families, couples, and also for those who are living in nearby areas as a weekend getaway.
What To Buy In Bhopal?
The best things to shop for in Bhopal are handlooms, handicrafts, apparel, chanderi fabric, and thappa and thussa jewelry.
Who Is The Collector Of Bhopal?
The collector of Bhopal is Shri Avinash Lavania.
Is Bhopal A City Or District?
Bhopal is not a city but a district of Madhya Pradesh.
What Is Bhopal Known For?
Bhopal is known for having many beautiful lakes natural and man-made both, hence after Udaipur Bhopal also is known as the City of Lakes for its greenery.