Bhopal: The city of lakes

Places to visit in Bhopal

Bhopal Bhopal Bhopal

Upper & Lower Lakes Bhopal is known as the City of Lakes as its landscape is dotted with a number of man-made as well as natural lakes. Two lakes that attracts a lot of tourists and locals due to its scenic beauty are Upper Lake (Bada Talaab) and Lower Lake (Chotta Talaab). Upper Lake was built by Raja Bhoj during his tenure as a king of Malwa (1005-1055) and the Lower Lake was built by Chote Khan, A minister in the kingdom of Nabab Hayat Mohd. Khan in the year 1794.

Facilities are available around the upper lake for boating, sailing, kayaking and canoeing and other water sports. Bhopal has become the largest Water Sports Centre in the country from infrastructure point-of-view. India's first National Sailing Club has been established at the Boat Club. This club offers various water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, rafting, water skiing, parasailing etc. A number of operators provide facilities for exciting trips by sail, paddle and motor boats.

Bhoj Wetland (consisting of Upper & Lower lakes) is a unique habitat for the migratory birds. So many different species of migratory birds arrive here every winter. The Bhoj Wetland is becomig a bird watchers paradise. Other reservoirs around Bhopal are Kolar, Kerwa, Kaliasot, Bhadbhada, and Hataikheda.

Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya Manav Sangrahalaya means The Museum of Mankind. The Main Museum of Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya is located at Bhopal. It is spread over 200 acres (0.8 km˛) of undulating land on the Shamla Hills on the Upper Lake front. The museum is spread on a hilltop and showcases the various hutments that tribals of across India use for shelter. Each hutment is a showcase of the culture of the region to which it belongs. Utensils, domestic articles, weapons and sometimes clothing specific to that region in displayed in the hutment to give a snapshot of the lifestyle. It's an endeavour to preserve the rural housing architecture with its own specific style and nuance so that it may not get lost as the use of cement and concrete penetrate rural India.

Indira Gandhi Reshtriya Manav Sangrahalya, Bhopal, an autonomous organisation under the Department of Culture, Government of India. Regular educational activities and live programmes related to tribal and folk life are conducted in the setting of these exhibitions. There is an indoor facility for periodical and special exhibitions. The other programmes being carried out by this organisation are the salvage of anthropological objects of national heritage, research projects and multi-media documentation of cultures. Live demonstration of techniques, folk culture, folk and classical music are also organised periodically in open air settings. For the dissemination of recent museum methods, the Sangrahalaya organises lectures, seminars, colloquia, etc. The Museum has a large, well-equipped library with over 19,000 books and subscribes to 125 national and international journals.

Bharat Bhawan Bharat Bhawan is one of the most unique national institutes in India. It is a complex that carters to an array of art forms, comprises a museum for the arts, an art gallery, a workshop for fine arts, a repertory theatre, indoor and outdoor auditoria, rehearsal rooms and libraries of Indian poetry and classical and folk music. It is designed by the renowned architect Charles Correa.

Taj-Ul-Masjid Shahjehan Begum became the ruler of Bhopal in 1868 and initiated the building of a great mosque "Taj-Ul-Masjid" along the patterns of the Juma masjid in Delhi erected by the great mughal emperor Shahjehan. The Taj-Ul-Masjid is the biggest covered area mosque of Asia. The other big mosques of Asia are Sahi Masjid of Lahore, Jama Masjid Delhi, Mecca Masjid Hyderabad and Masjid Tipu sultan Deccan, which are all bigger then Taj-Ul-Masjid of Bhopal only if open area is included. The Taj-Ul-Masjid of Bhopal covers an area of 23,312 sq. ft. the height of the minarets touching 206 ft. It was a project of breathtaking proportions with the expenditure touching sixteen lakh rupees during life time of the begum. Crystal slabs, designed for the floor were prepared in England at a cost of seven lakh rupees. Ironically, as their polished surfaces would have reflected the forms of the worshippers, their use in the mosque was forbidden. The mosque could not be completed during her lifetime due to the costs involved. Work on completion of this great mosque started in 1971, through the efforts of donors like Maulana Mohammad Imran Khan. The 4 feet thick roof of the mosque, and other incomplete constructions were completed by donations amounting to about 75 lakh rupees.

Elevated well above ground level the mosque is visible from a considerable distance as also from the palaces that surround the three lakes around which the development of Shahjehanabad was planned. Monumental flight of stairs ascends to the high pistaq octagonal eastern entrance from Kaiser embankment, inspired by the Buland Darwaza. The external eastern facade ends in pavilions at the two ends that are set high on octagonal towers. Like the Delhi Juma masjid, smaller square entrances from the south and north open into the central courtyard for the general public. The large prayer chamber composed mainly of 12 carved sandstone pillars is surmounted by three domes covered with broken tiles and constructed much later. Seven entrance arches pierce the eastern chamber's eastern facade, the central one within a high pistaq of red sandstone with marble inlay around the arch. The three arches are framed on either side by smaller arched opening with an entrenched jharokha above. A band of white marble arches with sandstone jail railing crowns the three arches and is finished by sandstone crenellations. Two octagonal minars on either side of the eastern facade go several floors high to provide a vantage point from where the upper lake (several meters away) can be viewed. The domes of the prayer hall are crowned with crystal finials that glitter in the morning sun.

Manua Bhan Ki Tekri Near seven kilometer away from Bhopal on Gwalior road on the top of a hill is situated Manua Bhan Ki Tekri, the Jain temple, a pilgrimage and faith of jain devotees. On the tekri the Jain saint Maharaj Shri Vijay Suriji, Shri Jindutta Sureshwarji and Acharya Manutung's footwears are kept and also an idol of Shri Man Bhadarji has been installed. On the Simha Gate of the temple is an old manuscript carved on the stone, the language in which it has been written is still to be deciphered. It is also said to be the Sadhana Sthali of Oswal Dynasty. A big fare is also held every year here on Kartik Purnima.

Van Vihar Van Vihar National Park is a national park located along the coast of Upper lake of Bhopal. Declared a national park in 1983, it covers an area of about 4.45 km˛. Although it has the status of a national park, Van Vihar is developed and managed as a modern zoological park, following the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority. The animals are kept in their near natural habitat. Most of the animals are either orphaned brought from various parts of the state or those, which are exchanged from other zoos. No animal is deliberately captured from the forest. Van Vihar is unique because it allows easy access to the visitors through a road passing through the park, security of animals from poachers by building trenches and walls and providing natural habitat to the animals.

Chowk Bazar In the heart of the city, the Chowk is lined with old mosques and havelis are reminders of a bygone era. The shops in its narrow alleys are treasure troves of traditional Bhopal crafts: silver jewelry, exquisitely fashioned beadwork, embroidered and sequined velvet fashioned purses and cushions.

The state museum of Madhya Pradesh The state museum of Madhya Pradesh has an impressive collection of artifacts illustrating rich cultural history of the state. Sixteen galleries exhibit collection of sculptures, archival and excavated materials collected from different parts of state.

If you are planning to visit Bhopal, you should not miss a chance to visit the state museum of Madhya Pradesh. The museum is a splendid collection of artifacts illustrating rich cultural history of the state. Bhopal, the capital of MP, hosts the state museum that is located in the Shymala hill. The museum exhibits some old and the best pieces reflecting art and culture richness of the state.

The museum has sixteen galleries displaying unique showcase from pre-historic tools of lower Paleolithic period to stamps and autographs used in previous years in the state. The state museum was established in year 1964 and it was shifted to a new building at the end of year 2005 for better display of the exhibits. The museum, actually based on archaeological relics, also exhibits antiques such as sculptures, paintings, objects of arts, crafts, coins, bronze images, archival and excavated material from different parts of diverse state of Madhya Pradesh. The beautiful and rare exhibits of statues like Narwar in Shivpuri, sixteen feet long treaty of Burhanpur of year 1804, statues of Lord Shiva and many others will keep bringing you back to museum again and again. In the first hall of the museum, titled as master pieces of Madhya Pradesh, you can find some of its best sculpture pieces like sculptor of Yakshi of 2nd century BC, acquired from Satna, and statue of Buddha of 2nd century AD, acquired from Gwarighat, Jabalpur.

The Narvarha of 9–10th century AD, acquired from Mansaur, was not in India. Recently, it was brought back to the museum. Similarly, ‘Birth of Krishna’ that dates back to 11th century AD was also bought recently to the museum. Some interesting exhibits acquired from lower Paleolithic period are on display in its fossil section. In sculpture gallery, one can find sculptures of Ganesha, Shiva, Uma–Maheswar, Vishnu etc. These sculpture were collected from different places of state.

You can find a valuable collection of different editions of stamps of Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Badwani, Orcha and Datia state. In the musical instrument section, you can see the well-preserved instruments such as Israj and Rudra Veena. You will notice cannons of 18th century AD acquired from Indore, guns of Holkar period in the weapon section and coins dated back to British and Moghul period in its coin section.

In the excavation section, the water conservation and water reuse systems are just gleaming to watch. One can imagine how beautifully the communities in early years used to conserve and recycle water.

In the inscription gallery, the museum exhibits inscriptions on stone, copper plates found in state, prominent citations, grants issued by Pratihar and Parmar rulers and interesting six line inscription referring to building construction in Chanderi, Guna (now Chanderi is in newly formed Ashok Nagar district). In the section of royal collection ornate art objects, you can find several interesting things such as inkpot of 18-19th century AD and pen stand of 20th century AD also. One can say after visiting the state museum that this is really a splendid collection of artifacts illustrating the rich cultural history of the state.