Bhopal is the capital of Madhya Pradesh, which is the largest state in India. The abundant natural beauty and the rich and glorious past of the land attract tourists in great numbers. Its rich history can be gauged by the fact that the rock paintings found here are nearly 30000 years old. It is not all historical buildings though. The city is a blend of old and modern architecture. The land popularly referred to as ‘City of Lakes’ is also considered the ‘Greenest city in India’. Here are the leading tourist destinations in Bhopal.
Located at about 46 km from Bhopal, Bhimbetka, the World Heritage site, highlights the rich history of Bhopal. Bhimbetka caves were discovered accidentally during 1957-58 by Dr. Vishnu Wakankar, an archaeologist. It is a real treasure as the rock paintings in the caves are over 15000 years of age. They depict the lifestyle of the man belonging to the historic age. The paintings on the walls and the ceilings of the caves are exceptional pieces of artwork. The paintings represent various periods from upper Paleolithic to medieval period. Bhimbetka is the perfect destination if you love to feel part of the world of the bygone era.
2. National Museum of Mankind
Also called as Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, the National Museum of Mankind was established in the year 1985. The 200 acre museum is situated on Shyamala Hills. The well designed anthropological museum gives an insight into the revolution of mankind. It is also known as the Tribal Habitat Museum. It is very interesting to learn about various tribal cultures that are prevalent across the country. The life-size presentation of their dwellings displays the unique architectural features belonging to the tribals. The museum has excellent collections that represent tribal culture from all parts of the country.
3. State Museum of Madhya Pradesh
State Museum of Madhya Pradesh shares the same complex with National Museum of Mankind. The modern building in which the museum functions is considered amongst the best designed museums in the country. The 16 theme galleries make an interesting presentation of coins, sculptures, fossils and manuscripts that represent both the past and present of India
4. Upper Lake
Upper Lake, existing from the 11th century, is considered the biggest lake in the state. The water of the lake is believed to have curative powers and helps to cure skin conditions. The lake located at the heart of the city. The man made lake has a small island at the center. The boat club offers you the facility to cruise on rowing boats, paddle boats and speed boats. Be here at sun set and you will be spellbound by the spectacular view
5. Van Vihar National Park
Located at the heart of the city, covering an area of 445.21 hectare of land, Van Vihar National Park is home to a wide range of birds and animals. Some of the wild animals found here include tiger, lion, leopard, sambar and chital. The park is home to over 200 species of birds. With Upper Lake on one side and Shyamala Hills on the other, the forest is almost a perfect home to these wild animals. You can either walk or hire cycles to explore the park.
6. Bhojpur Temple
An incomplete temple for no known reasons belongs to the 11th century. Though incomplete, the temple does not fail to inspire you with its exquisite carvings. The Shiva Linga constructed here is the tallest in the world. Carved out of a single rock the massive Shiva Linga is awe-inspiring with its height at 18 feet and circumference being 7.5 feet. The temple is located on the banks of Betwa River.
7. Taj ul Masajid
Taj-ul-Masajid ranks amongst the largest mosques in the continent of Asia as it covers a sprawling 23312 square feet of land. The minarets are 206 feet tall. The construction was begun by Sultan Shah Jahan, Bopal’s Begum but owing to want of funds, it was not completed during her reign. The year 1971 saw its completion when Allama Mohammad Imran Khan Nadwi Azhari initiated efforts to complete the mosque, which attracts viewers with its imposing size, pink façade and intricately carved pillars and ceilings.
8. Birla Museum
Established in 1971, Birla Museum has a wonderful collection of manuscripts, paintings and sculptures belonging to the period from 2nd century BC to 6th century AD. Primitive tools used in Paleolithic and Neolithic age are on exhibit here. The stone sculptures belonging to the period between 7th and 13th centuries are also on display.
9. Gohar Mahal
Gohar Mahal owns the pride of being built by the first ever woman ruler in Bhopal. Gohar Begum, the first woman ruler built it in the year 1820. Located on Upper Lake banks, the palace displays a combination of Mughal and Hindu architecture.
10. Raisen Fort
Situated 45 km away from Bhopal, Raisen, the ancient fort was constructed during the 6th century. The fort is situated on top of a hill and it houses palaces, temples and lakes and ponds. It once had an impressive 84 numbers of lakes and ponds but over the years the number has reduced to 15. Shrine of Hazrat Peer Fatehullah Shah Baba in this fort is most frequented. The fort has a rich history and has witnessed many battles. One of the famous rulers who ruled the fort is Sher Shah Suri.
Bhopal keeps you engaged with its rich history and natural beauty. The fascination keeps growing as you travel the length and breadth of the city. I would like to hear more about other tourist destinations in the land. I welcome details of other interesting destinations here to add to my knowledge and to the blog.
Here Are Some More Tourist Spots Of Madhya Pradesh: