The beautiful city of Bhopal is considered to be one of the greenest urban areas in the country. The city is also referred to as the 'City of Lakes' for its many natural as well as artificial water bodies. The city has many local attractions that travellers can explore and also opens the window to other nearby areas of interest. Take a look at some of the places to visit in and around Bhopal in our travel guide.
One of the most striking structures in the city is the Taj-ul-Masjid mosque. The largest mosque in Madhya Pradesh, this beautiful structure is a must-visit place in Bhopal. The mosque has an attractive pink facade and tall minarets. The marble domes in white are another striking feature of the mosque. The 'Crown of Mosques', Taj-ul-Masjid sees a large congregation of devotees during festivals and other key occasions.
Among the places to visit in Bhopal, the city of lakes is the Chotta Talab or Lower Lake. It is an artificial water body created to add beauty to the city layout back in the year 1794 by Chote Khan, a minister at court. The Lower Lake along with the Bada Talab or Upper Lake form the Bhoj Wetland and is vital to both the eco-system and tourism. However, increased pollution and drainage activities are worrying
Also referred to as the Bada Talab or the Upper Lake, this is another attractive place to visit in Bhopal. Unlike the Lower Lake, Bhojtal contributes to the drinking water requirements of the city and plays a key role in the eco-system of the region. The lake has an interesting story behind how it was created, supposedly bringing together 365 tributaries to cure the King Bhoj off his skin ailment. The freshwater lake forms the center around which the city has developed. Today, it is a key attraction in the city with activities ranging from sighting the biodiversity of the lake to enjoying a beautiful boat ride.
An interesting place to visit in Bhopal is the Van Vihar National Park, though it is more like a zoo, the place has been given the status of a national park for its various unique features. None of the animals are captured from the forests and are rather orphaned animals or those given by other zoos. The animals are kept in close proximity to their natural habitats and special fencing is done only for carnivores. Herbivores are allowed to roam free providing an interesting experience for visitors. The lush greenery of the forest zoo also has a variety of avian and reptile life.
A place of interest near Bhopal is the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, located at a distance of 45 km. The caves are proof of the earliest life in the Indian subcontinent. The unique caves that depict rock paintings that are considered to be over 30,000 years old are protected as a World Heritage Site. The vast archaeological site has rock cave structures that point to various time periods and is an educating and exciting visit for all. The paintings mostly depict animals and the hunting rituals. Early traces of dance is also found in these paintings.
One of the temples built by the Birla family, the central deity of worship is Lord Lakshmi Narayan. The amazing temple structure like many other Birla temples is built in white marble. Interestingly, the temple has small construction work that is ongoing. The belief is that if the temple work stops it will beget ill-luck. Make sure to visit the temple not just to seek blessings but to admire the lovely temple as well
A place of interest to visit in Bhopal is the Bharat Bhavan. Built by the Madhya Pradesh government, it is a unique combination of museum, arts centre and cultural complex. Thrown open to public in the year 1982, Bharat Bhavan sits facing the Bhojtal. The complex has many key attractions for lovers of art and culture to explore, including; the art gallery, tribal museum, libraries of books and music, art workshops, etc. Various artists, writers and prominent personalities are hosted at Bharat Bhavan providing a fantastic ground for interaction with the public. It is situated close to the railway station and at a distance of 12 km from the airport.
Among the popular tourist places to visit near Bhopal is Sanchi, popular for the attractive Sanchi Stupa. Located at a short distance of under 50 km from the city, Sanchi houses the most ancient stone structure in the country. The large Stupa built over Buddhist relics was commissioned during the rule of Ashoka. The later rulers such as Sungas and Satavahana also added to the original structure. The lovely carvings and intricate gateways or Toranas are worth a close observation. The Sanchi Stupa makes for an interesting one-day trip from Bhopal city.