Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bhopal the capital of Madhya Pradesh

Everytime the word Bhopal is mentioned, it takes one back to the 3rd  December 1984, when  a Union Carbide Corporation pesticide plant in Bhopal leaked around 32 tons of toxic gases, including methyl isocyanate gas leading to the worst industrial disaster ever. But when we drove into Bhopal a few months back, nearly 28years after the tragic event, we found that people had moved on and there were no obvious

signs of the tragedy. It was as lively as any urban Indian city with manic traffic on narrow roads and crowds jostling at the markets making their way to trade goods.
Bhopal, now the capital of Madhya Pradesh, according to folkolore was founded by Raja Bhoja of the 

Paramara dynasty.

After checking into Hotel Ranjit, had a quick lunch and then set out for the State Museum. This museum 

devoted to archaeology, exhibits antiquities like coins, sculptures and terracotta excavated from all the significant sites of the region. Also on view are paintings and handicrafts made by the tribal communities of 

Madhya Pradesh. It sure is a place where one can spend hours marveling at the amazing art of the artisans. The timings of the Museum are 10.00am to 5.00pm and closed on Mondays and Government Holidays. There is no entry fee too, presumably to encourage people to visit and learn.
It was evening by the time we finished with the museum and so headed out to the lake for a cruise by sunset.

The cruise was magical.

We ended the day at Chatori galli – Bhopal’s khau galli where we feasted on Kababs and tandooris 

followed by sweet paans.

Bhopal has a very quaint city tour transport onto which we hopped on the next day. Our first stop was the 

Lakshmi Narayan Temple devoted to Vishnu and his mythological consort Laxmi, called Birla Mandir. You 

can get some beautiful overviews of Bhopal from the lawns of the temple.

The next stop was the Tajul masjid – the 3rd largest mosque in the world. After a photo session in the masjid we left for the Tribal museum – an amazing place which has tribal art from all over Madhya Pradesh and it 

would take you a minimum of three hours to scan through the museum.

In the evening we went to check out 

the Moti masjid and 

the Jama Masjid which are close to the Chatori gully which beckoned us again for some delicious biryani at Jameel’s and some delicious ‘Khajoor’ which is crisp on the outside and soft within!
Next day we set out for the famous Bhimbetka caves that are around 45kms from the city. Got a licenced 

guide at the entrance to the Bhimbetka complex who took us through all the important sites giving us a lowdown on the historic importance of each. It is a World Heritage Site and a number of analyses suggest that at least some of these shelters were inhabited by hominids like homo erectus more than 100,000 years ago. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old (Paleolithic Age).
The name Bhimbetka is said to be a derivative of  Bhimbaithka, meaning "sitting place of Bhima". Bhima is the hero-deity renowned for his immense strength, from the epic Mahabharata. It was discovered by V.S.Wakankar in 1957.
It is a marvel that these paintings have not faded even after thousands of years.The oldest paintings are considered to be 30,000 years old, but some of the geometric figures date to as recently as the medieval period.
A cursory visit here too takes around two to three hours.
On the way back to Bhopal we visited the Bhojeshwar temple in Bhojpur. It is a temple dedicated to Lord 

Shiva and houses a huge Linga that is 5.5 m (18 ft) tall and 2.3 m (7.5 ft) in circumference. 

Unfortunately this temple was not completed due to King Bhoja being defeated and killed in a battle by the combined strength of Chalukyas of Kalyani and Gujarat combined with Lakshmi-Karna of the Kalachuri dynasty.
Thus ended our visit to historic Bhopal.

How to get there:
By Rail: Bhopal Railway Station is a major railhead connecting all major cities in India.
By Air: Bhopal Airport, also known as Raja Bhoj Airport, is 15 km away from the heart of the city. It is well connected by domestic airlines from all major cities of India.
By Road: Overnight deluxe buses from Delhi, Gwalior and Jabalpur are available to Bhopal. 


  1. Very good information. For those of us, who did not see the place so far an incentive too. Thanks.

  2. You brought back so many wonderful memories. We've lived and worked in Bhopal for a few years. It's a wonderful place with a very active cultural life. Did you go to Bharat Bhawan?

    1. If the tribal museum is in the Bharat Bhawan complex, yes.

  3. lovely city....my city...

    nice post.

  4. I spent the first 4 years of my life in Bhopal, and not surprisingly do not remember anything of the city. Your post only makes me want to go back and connect with the city.

  5. Haven't been there but saw through your post,,it is beautiful..I feel there is a certain vibration which invites us to visit...
    Keep posting :)

  6. A wonderful, all encompassing Bhopal!
    Glad to see Hotel Ranjeet where I used to stay during my visits to BHEL about 15 years back!

  7. Lovely post on Bhopal. The sunset photo looks magical.


  8. Nice informative post... Now I know which all places to visit in my next trip to Bhopal (rather to ask my in-laws to take me around to :) )

  9. wow!!! I wish I had read this post before I visited Bhopal!!! DANG, DANG!

    1. Posted this last evening, if it is any consolation :)

  10. And my contribution to this piece--the Bhopal zoo is to die for --lovely lovely place!

    1. Thank you for that. If I ever revisit Bhopal shall visit the zoo!

  11. Sunset shot is just too awesome. My craving for biriyanis and pans, saris and temples and generally India itself is increasing exponentially......

  12. For me sunset is the money shot, great post.

  13. Deepak i have been to Bhopal many a times,but your info & pics are informative & interesting.What i liked best about Bhopal were Bhimbetka & Raja Bhoj temple.Panchmarhi is only a short drive away,i wish you had been there.It is the icing on the cake.

  14. Beautiful shots with good information...

  15. Who knew there was so much to see in Bhopal? Neatly done.

  16. Deepak, it is really nice to read some one write about your own city. One point which I would like to make is that the Tribal Museum or Indira Gandhi Rashtreeya Manav Sangrahalay inludes every tribal habitat in the Country (not merely MP) and it is too large to be seen and appreciated in a day.

    1. Thank you Subramanian. I stand corrected and agree that it cannot be seena and appreciated in a day.

  17. This is really fantastic and amazing !! I really love watching your journey pictures !!

    Unseen India

  18. If I can help ot,. I don't want to live there,

  19. Sounds and looks lovely! I think the people who don't hear about a tragedy linger on with it for a lot longer than those who do. Hope to visit Bhopal soon!

  20. I loved the sunset pic, Terrific shot...

  21. I am glad I kept this for a leisurely day to read and savour. So I am more than two months late, but the wait was worth it for me. Beautiful round up and the pic of the sunset is awesome. Ahem...could I...?

    I have gone to Bhopal only once with the L&M for a day when he went there on some work and so had half a day literally and had to spend it shopping for friends from Delhi :(

    I would have loved to see the tribal museum and the masjids among other things, of course. Did you visit Bharat Bhavan? I don't know if they have any museum attached to it, but the name is famous because of Habib Tanvir.

  22. What happened to my comment? I had posted one a few days ago and now it is not there! I had even asked for the sunset pic for my desktop! A long comment swallowed by a black cyberhole :(