Birla Museum, another offering of Bhopal tourism, has been constructed keeping in mind the need to let the world know about the cultural heritage of Madhya Pradesh. The museum houses a variety of arts and artefacts that give the tourists an insight into the history of the state as well. This museum in Bhopal is one its kind and is an important tourist destination of the state as well.
The museum has on display many objects that show the history of MP from the primitive period and beyond. History lovers will be excited to see the many tools that are known to belong to the Palaeolithic and Neolithic Ages.
There are many stone sculptures also on display that have been dated as belonging to the periods between 7th and 13th centuries. Coins and manuscripts have also been uncovered, which probably are from 2nd century BC. Also, the museum has a superbly amazing scale model of Bhimbetka rock shelter that is bound to leave the visitors in awe.
Jama Masjid is a magnificent mosque in Bhopal and dates back to the time of Qudisiya Begum who looked after the construction of the mosque. The place is small but boasts of an impressive construction that has been looked after well all these years.
The mosque is visited by many people irrespective of their religion who simply want to take in this marvellous structure. The two most impressive features of the masjid are the two huge towers that are visible even from a great distance.
The mosque is a fine example of Islamic architecture and has the typical features of one; the arches and the white columns are a reminder of the amazing architecture that has been used for the construction of the masjid. The masjid is an important place of worship among the local population who throng here in large numbers every Friday for special prayers.
Moti Masjid is an important architectural landmark not only in the history of Bhopal, but is also significant in the history of Muslim women of India. It was the woman Muslim ruler Sikander Begum who ordered the construction of the mosque in 1860. She was a well-educated woman considering the times and was quite modern in her outlook.
In terms of construction and architecture the Moti Masjid borrows heavily from the Jama Masjid situated in Delhi though the latter is three times the size of the former. Despite its small size, Moti Masjid is visited by many tourists each year because of the intriguing and spectacular architectural designs.
The combination of dark red towers and the golden spear-like structures is indeed a breathtaking sight. The mosque is mainly white in colour since it has been constructed using shiny white marble. This renders the whole place a heavenly look. Because of this reason the masjid is also referred to as the Pearl Mosque.
The Birla Mandir in Bhopal is dedicated to the goddess Lakshmi and her consort Lord Vishnu. The temple is built on top of the Arera Hills and the temple boasts of being the highest point in the whole of Bhopal District.
The temple is situated in a hilly terrain, but the path leading to the temple is well built and has a comfortable climb. From the temple one can take in the view of the entire city. Inside the temple are beautiful shrines dedicated to Lakshmi and Vishnu but apart from these there is also the shrine of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati.
And many devotees throng to the temple each day to offer prayers to their gods and goddesses. Inside the Birla Mandir is an interesting museum that houses an envious collection of sculptures that belong to the 12th century. You will find plenty of history buffs visiting the museum and the place is also a favourite among school children.
Van Vihar is a National Park in Bhopal and is located right in the centre of the city. The park has been built on an area of 445 hectors and stands atop a hill that overlooks the entire city. The place is quite a popular spot among tourists and is visited each month by thousands.
This national park boasts of softly rolling grasslands that remain green throughout the year. The park is home to a wide variety of herbivores and carnivores who roam in the park as they would in their natural habitats.
However, the place is more akin to a zoo than a park considering the variety of animals that are housed here. Also, Van Vihar is home to many orphaned animals that come from different states of India. Some animals have also been brought in exchange for other animals. The place is a must visit especially if you have children with you.
The Government Archaeological Museum of Bhopal boasts of an envious collection of artefacts including sculptures that come from different parts of the country. Also on display are important art figurines from the treasures of Madhya Pradesh giving the visitors a peek into the cultural history of Madhya Pradesh.
A tour of the museum reveals gems such as the statues of Buddha and Lakshmi, pictures of the Hindu trinity Gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, an impressive image of Shiva with Parvathi, 12th-century Jain sculptures, carving of Khajuraho couple and much more.
Visitors will be left spellbound after going through the rich historical collection of the state. Members of the public can visit the museum between 10 am and 5 pm on all days except for Mondays and Government holidays. The place is a must visit, especially if you are with children as the museum can teach them plenty about the rich history of the country.
Gohar Mahal is located on the banks of the Upper Lake and is considered as a magnificent palace in the city of Bhopal. The palace was constructed by Gohar Begum who is also famous for being the first lady ruler of the city. The palace was built under her tutelage in the year 1820 and ever since, its construction is regarded as the supreme example of architectural feats.
The building is a perfect blend of both Hindu and Mughal architectures. It is a pity that the palace is no longer maintained as well as it ought to be, but regardless of the poor maintenance the palace has lost none of its earlier magnificence and richness.
Till date it remains one of the most important historical buildings of Bhopal and considering its historical importance, the government of MP is taking steps to restore to the palace to its former glory and grandeur.
The Regional Science Centre, Bhopal or RSCB is situated on the Shyamla Hills and is an important unit of the National Council of Science Museums or NCSM. The centre has been established in order to boost the popularity of various sciences and technology among school-going children.
The Centre provides more than 266 science exhibits that are differently ranged depending on their scientific types. Many of these models are interactive to make the students interested in the workings of the model.
Housed inside the five-acre campus is a Science Park of around 3 acres. The Park has over 60 science models including a windmill and also showcases the workings of a pulley using various mechanisms. Also, the campus has a small Dinosaur Park that covers the history of the dinosaurs right from their origin to their extinction.
Keeping in mind the interests of very young children the RSCB has built a small zoo as well within its campus premises.
Bharat Bhavan is a multi-arts centre that caters to verbal, performing and visual arts and is considered to be the hub of all art-related activities in Bhopal. Even if you are not keen on performing arts, a visit to this centre of excellence is a must simply because of the unique design that the place boasts of.
The building is designed to sync with the landscape that surrounds it, which also gives the place the illusion of spaciousness. Each year, the Bharat Bhavan attracts plenty of tourists and it remains a sought-after destination.
At Bharat Bhavan vocal, performing and visual arts are encouraged and the place remains the best stage for expressing and creating both new and old art forms. Bharat Bhavan also houses a tribal museum where one can get a deeper insight into the tribes of Madhya Pradesh and many other states by studying their art and craft through paintings and sculptures.
Taj-ul Masjid in Bhopal is an important place for Muslims of the city and is also an important landmark. The mosque is one among the biggest and most beautiful mosques in the country and boasts of an alluring and majestic structure. The literal translation of the name means “The Crown of Mosques” and it is rightly so.
The mosque is painted in a delicate pink colour and has colossal minarets with white domes. The entire spectacle is breathtaking especially at night when the mosque is lit up giving the entire area an enchanting look.
The massive structure of the masjid is an impressive architectural feat and has other features as well that only add to the charm of the place. The mosque boasts of a huge main hall that is lined with delicately carved pillars and has marble flooring. A huge courtyard is the resting place of many tired people looking for a spot of shade to get respite from the scorching sun.
Shaukat Mahal is an important historical landmark in the city of Bhopal, mainly due to its splendid construction, making it an architectural marvel indeed. The palace boasts of an amalgamation of the finest architectural styles and was built by a Frenchman who used a combo of European and Indian architecture to create this magnificent structure.
It is this combination that sets it apart from the other buildings in the vicinity. The outstanding Shaukat Mahal is home to Sadar Manzil—a huge hall located within the premises of the mahal.
During the times of Nawabs, the hall was utilised as the Hall of Public Audience, where the common man would gain an audience with the Nawabs to let them know of their grievances. The hall is red in colour and has been built in a grandiose and flamboyant manner. The Sadar Manzil hall is surrounded by lush green gardens on all sides giving the entire place an almost ethereal view.
Chowk Bazar in Bhopal is a recommended destination for all tourists, especially those accompanied with their wives or girlfriends. The market is situated in the Old City of Bhopal and is an amazing place to get some good bargains. The place has an old world charm about it with its ancient mosques and old havelis that probably housed nautch girls of yesteryears.
From the chowk one can easily get embroidered velvet cushions at dirt rate prices after some heavy duty haggling with the hawker. You can also lay your hands on some exquisitely embroidered tussar silk and delicately carved silver jewelry.
Women will probably go berserk taking in the Bhopal handicrafts that consist of handmade beautiful velvet purses, embroidered dress material including sarees, and traditional and colourful jewelry, such as armlets and cummerbandhs.
Carry plenty of cash with you or you would regret your decision of leaving the market empty handed. However, don’t forget to bargain as much as possible or you may feel cheated at the end of it all.
Upper Lake in Bhopal has the distinction of being the oldest man-made lake in the country. The lake dates back to 11th century and is locally referred to as Bada Talab. The lake stands as a colossal bund over the Kolans river and is known as the most beautiful lake in India.
According to a local legend, it was King Bhoj who ordered for the lake to be built and the waters from the lake are believed to have treated the king’s skin disease. The lake has been built on a wide area and boasts of a large catchment area as well.
It is the waters of the Upper Lake that are supplied to the houses of Bhopal for drinking purposes. To make the lake attractive for the tourists, a beautiful garden, the Kamla Park, has been built close by and the park only adds to the overall beauty of the place.
The Lower Lake lies very close to the Upper Lake and shares the beautiful Kamala Park with the latter. The beautiful visual of the Lake is awe-inspiring in itself. Tourists are also given the opportunity to use paddles and motor boats for boating in the lake along with sailing.
Adventure lovers will have a great time performing some of the water-based activities in this lake. The Lower Lake is popular, among the tourists and the local population, as a picnic spot as is the Upper Lake.
It is the presence of these two magnificent lakes—Upper and Lower—which has earned for Bhopal the title of City of Lakes. However, the lakes are losing their beauty thanks to the human settlements that are coming up in a big way around the lakes. The government of MP is taking steps to ensure that the beauty of the lakes remains intact but this endeavour also requires support from the local people.