Bhopal Travel Guide
Bhopal Travel Guide: Renowned as the city of lakes, Bhopal has also earned the dubious distinction of the city of “greatest man –made disaster.” It is a pity, because Bhopal presents a unique syncretic experience for any traveller. Nestling in the Malwa plateau, its an oasis of greenery .The lakes shimmer at night reflecting on the city’s heritage, scenic beauty, monumental greatness and contemporary planning. The old market teems with people even as they blend with modern malls. The ancient palaces stand in aloof splendor as modernity strides in stately with its exquisite parks, gardens and gleaming offices. All in all it’s a complete experience.
Regular flights connect Bhopal with Delhi, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Indore and Mumbai. Bhopal is a junction for most major trains traveling through UP, MP Rajasthan. Regular bus services connect Bhopal with all the nearby cities.
Places to visit in Bhopal
This magnificent mosque built in 1837 by Kudsia Begum, shimmers with gold spikes that crown the minarets.
Called a pearl, it is architecturally inspired by Delhi’s Jama Masjid.
Shaukat Mahal and Sadar Manzil
One of the few examples of a blending of Occidental idioms with Islamic architecture, it was designed by a Frenchman, -perhaps a scion of the Bourbon Kings. Post Renaissance and Gothic styles merge seamlessly with Muslim hallmarks of cupolas and domes. Adjacent lies the opulent Sadar Manzil, Hall of Public Audience, of the former rulers of Bhopal.
One of the largest mosques in Asia, it is built around a courtyard with a large tank by Nawab Shahjehan Begum. A splendid double storeyed gate-way with 4 recessed archways is the highlight of the main prayer hall. A limpid expanse of water in the tank imparts serenity.
One of the contemporary masterpieces, it is a Charles Correa designed Centre for the Performing and Visual Arts. Blending exquisitely with the landscape, it creates a stunningly seamless visual appeal. Discover the museum of the arts, an art gallery, a workshop for fine arts, a repertory theater, indoor and outdoor auditoria, a rehearsal room and libraries of Indian poetry, classical and folk music inside.
Laxmi Narayan Temple and Museum
This dazzling temple on the Arera Hills is also renowned for its Museum. Don’t miss collection of sculptures all over Madhya Pradesh.
Unique shopping in Bhopal
Bhopal is known for its fine craft products like silver jewelry, beadwork, embroidered velvet items and leather goods. For the contemporary shoppers Bhopal has numerous malls. Venture into the Chowk area for lapping up quality stuff at cheap rates, especially jewelry, ornaments, and sarees. The New Market area offers the same at higher prices.
Eating Out in Bhopal
Bhopal has a very rich tradition of cuisines. After all, delicious “seekh kabab” was supposedly invented here. Today however, numerous restaurants serve all the major cuisines. Don’t miss the kebab, and other local delicacies like rogan ghosh and biryani. Last but not the least, savor the local wheat cake known as ‘bafla’.
Do’s and Don’t’s
- Beware of pickpockets, touts.
- Always travel in taxis and autos by the meter. Never accept lifts.
- Don’t get friendly with locals.
- The majority of Indians remove their footwear when entering their houses. Because of strict religious and social customs, visitors must show particular respect when visiting someone’s home.
- Many Hindus are vegetarian.
- Many especially women, do not drink alcohol.
- Sikhs and Parsis do not smoke.
- Small gifts are acceptable as tokens of gratitude for hospitality.
- Women are expected to dress modestly.