Bhopal is one of the cleanest and greenest cities in India. Bhopal continues to walk the path between old and new. It is a perfect example of an Indian city that cherishes its heritage but is not tied down to its past. Bhopal tourism on the other hand has more to do with the many amenities the city has to offer; the shopping sprees that you can go on, the beautiful religious monuments that you can explore at your leisure.
Bhopal is known for its lakes which often form a part of the Bhopal tour for its visitors. The Upper and Lower Lakes, also known as Bada and Chota Talaab respectively, add to the beauty and allure of the city. They are thriving tourist spots where people come to spend time with their friends and family. Apart from the lakes, there are several interesting monuments to see here and enjoy the distinctive Bhopal vibe.
Bhopal is located in central India and sits towards the north of the Vindhya mountain range. It is situated on the Malwa plateau and has uneven elevations along with small hills nearby. Idgah Hills, Shyamala Hills and Katara Hills are some of the more famous ones. The city’s two manmade lakes, especially the Upper Lake, serve as the city’s primary source of irrigation and potable water.
Bhopal’s climate is humid subtropical climate where summers are hot, and winters are dry and cool. The monsoon season is also quite humid. Summer temperatures can be quite brutal, going up to 40 degrees. Monsoon brings thunderstorms that can result in flooding. For those not used to cold, Bhopal’s winter can be uncomfortable. Temperatures occasionally drop to freezing point, but ideally it is the best time to visit the city.
Most visitors embarking on a Bhopal tour, expect to catch up on some quality shopping at New Market. It is famous for its accessories, clothing and beadwork shops which sell their goods at reasonable prices. If you’re tired after all the shopping, take a break and sample the delicious street food. You’ll be unable to resist the mouth-watering aromas wafting around you.
Some of the other places to go shopping are Chowk Bazaar where you can buy silver jewellery, beaded purses, footwear made by local craftsmen, Bittan Bazaar where you can buy stylish accessories and bags. If you have timed your trip right, you could be in time for the handloom exhibition.
The Habibganj Market is another place to buy inexpensive gifts like stoles, accessories and shoes. While there you can try the delicious tangy chaats and other namkeens. Lastly, Sarafa Bazaar is an attractive and alluring night market where you can get beautiful jewellery and also gorge on delicacies like kachoris, gajak and jalebi-rabdi.
Bhopal tourism is further helped along by the many water-based activities such as kayaking, parasailing and canoeing that are allowed at the Upper Lake. You can also spend some time at the lush and beautiful Kamala Park near the upper lake. Both lakes are connected to each other with an overbridge. The Upper Lake or Bada Talaab is known to be the biggest manmade lake in India.
Not too far from the city, you will find the Bhimbetka Caves which are an important part of Bhopal tourism. Especially for anyone who is interested in the history of mankind and the origins of people. The caves have evidence of prehistoric settlements going back up to the Palaeolithic era. While there are as many as 600 caves here, only 12 are open for visitors. For their prehistoric connection, these caves have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you enjoy visiting religious monuments, do take a look at the beautiful Moti Masjid which was constructed in 1860 by Sikander Begum. She was the woman ruler who abolished slavery and changed the status quo of women in Bhopal. The Moti Masjid is a popular tourist attraction for its architecture as well as the sense of peace that prevails here, especially during the morning prayers when it is not crowded. Other famous mosques in Bhopal include Jama Masjid and Taj ul Masjid. The latter is famous for being one of the biggest mosques in India. But it is one of the monuments that you might have to enjoy from afar, as it does not allow entry to non-Muslims. Nevertheless, the mosque is an architectural marvel which is stunning from inside and outside.
For nature lovers, the Van Vihar National Park is an excellent destination. With a good number of animals and birds here, wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy a sojourn inside this park. You can take your own vehicles inside or hire bicycles to move around. The most interesting activity here is the safari which takes visitors deep inside the park.
One of the most interesting facets about Bhopal is that it is like having two cities within one. Divided by its lakes, Bhopal towards the North is the old city. It feels like it has frozen in time, with its many mosques, narrow lanes, bazaars and beautiful old havelis. Bhopal in the South is yet another contradiction. Here, you will see wide roads, modern malls, hotels and restaurants and a city that is looking squarely towards the future.