Bhopal is the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and the administrative headquarter of Bhopal District and Bhopal Division. The city was the capital of the former Bhopal State. Bhopal is known as the City of Lakes for its various natural as well as artiﬁcial lakes and is also one of the greenest hopal Citycities in India.
Bhopal is said to have been founded by king Bhoja of the Paramara dynasty who ruled from his capital at Dhar. According to this theory, Bhopal was originally known as Bhojpal after the king and the dam ("pal") constructed by him. An alternative theory says that the name of the city was coined from the name of another king called Bhupala (or Bhupal). During the British Raj, the railway tickets printed in the city and the signboards on the railway station mentioned the name of the city as "Bhupal" in Hindi-Urdu and "Bhoopal" in English.
Bhopal has an average elevation of 427 metres (1401 ft.). Bhopal is located in the central part of India, and is just north of the upper limit of the Vindhya mountain ranges. Located on the Malwa plateau, it is higher than the north India plains and the land rises towards the Vindhya Range to the south. The city has uneven elevation and small hills within its boundaries. The major hills in Bhopal comprise Idgah hills and Shyamala hills in the northern region and Arera hills in the central region.
The municipality covers 298 square kilometres. It has two very beautiful big lakes, collectively known as the Bhoj Wetland. These lakes are the Upper Lake (built by King Bhoj) and the Lower Lake. Locally these are known as the Bada Talab and Chota Talab, respectively. The catchment area of the Upper Lake is 360 sq km while that of the Lower Lake is 9.6 km². The Upper Lake drains into the Kolar River. The Van Vihar National Park is a national park situated beside the Upper Lake.
Vidhan Soudha Bhojta – Upper Lake
Bhopal, the capital city of Madya Pradesh is known as the city of lakes as it has two beautiful artiﬁcial lakes called the Upper Lake and the Lower Lake. The Upper Lake and the Lower are divided from each other by an over bridge. They are spread over an area of 6 sq km of land. Upper Lake is a large lake, which lies on the Western side of the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal. It is a major source of drinking water for the residents of the city. Bada talaab, along with the nearby Chhota Talaab (meaning small lake in Hindi) constitute Bhoj Wetland, which is now a Ramsar site. The lake was created by constructing an earthen dam across the Kolans River. An eleven gate dam called the Bhadbhada dam was constructed at Bhadbhada in 1965 at the southeast corner of the lake, and now controls the outﬂow to the river Kaliasote. The lake was known as the Upper Lake or BadaTalab ("Big Pond") until March 2011, when the BJP-led state government renamed it to Bhojtaal. A huge statue of Raja Bhoj was also installed on a pillar on one corner of the lake.
Lower Lake / Chowk
The Lower lake of Bhopal is enclosed by human settlements from all sides. The Upper and Lower lakes of Bhopal are urban water bodies, which are jointly called Bhoj Wetland. Raja Bhoj formed the Upper Lake in the 11th Century by building an earthen dam over the river Kolans. On the downstream of the dam of Upper Lake the Lower Lake was erected long after the construction of the Upper Lake. Pollution is one of the major problems of the Lower Lake. The lakes demand better keep up.
This is one of the largest mosques in Asia. "Taj-ul-Masajid" literally means "The Crown of Mosques". The construction of the mosque was started by Sultan Shah Jahan, Begum of Bhopal (1868-1901). However, the mosque was not completed due to lack of funds, and after a long layoff, construction was resumed in 1971 by the great efforts of Allama Mohammad Imran Khan Nadwi Azhari of Bhopal. The mosque has a pink facade topped by two 18-storey high octagonal minarets with marble domes. The mosque also has three huge bulbous domes, an impressive main hallway with attractive pillars and marble ﬂooring resembling Mughal architecture the likes of Jama Masjid in Delhi and the huge Badshahi Mosque of Lahore.
Van Vihar National Park
Van Vihar National Park is a national park in India located at the heart of Bhopal. Declared a national park in 1983, it covers an area of about 4.45 sq 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. The park is situated on the fringe of Upper Lake, which is a Ramsar site and the lifeline of the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. The lake adds immense beauty to the landscape of Van Vihar. It is situated at the foot of the Shyamla Hill, which is one of the several hills constituting the geography of Bhopal. There are animals such as tiger, panther, lion, bear, hyena, crocodiles, alligators, python, etc.
Bharat Bhavan is a multi-arts complex without parallel in Bhopal, housing a museum of the arts, an art gallery, a workshop for ﬁne arts, a repertory theatre, indoor and outdoor auditoria, rehearsal room, and libraries of Indian poetry, classical and folk music, providing interactive proxi mity to the verbal, visual and performing arts. It is a place for contemporary articulation, exploration, reﬂection and innovation. Located near the picturesque Bada Talaab of Bhopal. Bharat Bhavan is a centre for innovative creativity, pursuit of classics and tradition and wide participation in a new cultural upsurge. It is an independent trust created by the Legislature of the State of Madhya Pradesh.
The Moti Masjid is situated in the heart of the Bhopal city and is also known as the Pearl Mosque. A well-known landmark of Bhopal, Moti Masjid was built in 1860 under the order and instruction of SikandarJehan Begum, the renowned daughter of Qudisiya Begum. The impressive Structure is beautifully designed and resembles the Jama Masjid of Delhi in its architecture and patterns.
The 19th century Moti Masjid in Bhopal stands majestically in brick red colour and has a white-marble facade that enhances the pristine beauty of the ediﬁce. Two small cupolas adorn the top of the Moti Masjid. Two dark-red spires or minarets stand free on either side and are adorned with bright golden spikes. The call to prayer for the faithful followers of Islam is given from the top of the minarets. The minarets of Bhopal Moti Masjid are considered the 'gate from heaven and earth'.
The Shaukat Mahal
The Shaukat Mahal is situated at the entrance of the bustling chowk area of Bhopal city where once existed the old city of Shahjehanabad. The Mahal is a melting pot of oriental and occidental styles of art and architecture. It is believed that the idea of Shaukat Mahal has been conceived and designed by a decadent Frenchman who is supposed to be a descendant of the renowned Bourbon Dynasty of France. The ShaukatMahal of Bhopal once served as the palace of Bhopal Nawab and is truly an architectural beauty.
Lakshmi Narayana Temple
Lakshmi Narayana Temple is built by one of the renowned Indian industrial families, so the temple is commonly known as the Birla Temple. Apart from Goddess Lakshmi and Narayana, Lord Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvati are also worshiped in the temple. Devotees come here to receive the blessings of Godess Lakshmi. The sandy-yellowish colour of the Lakshmi Narayana Temple has an exceptional charm about it. The entrance of the temple has a splendid archway adding to its architectural splendour.
The Birla Museum lies near the Lakshmi Narayana Temple that exhibits a huge collection of sculptures from the districts of Madhya Pradesh namely, Shahdol, Raisen, Mandsaur and Sehore.'
This is a shopping and commercial zone in the city housing a number of eateries, restaurants, cloth shops and showrooms, bakeries, mobile stores, etc. It is in the heart of the capital and in just a circle of less than 1 sq km, you have hundreds of shops that sell to you everything you want.
If you are looking for upmarket shopping, then visit the D B Mall at the Dwaraka Sadan Press Complex. It is an ideal joint for those in search of brands. Another option for mall hoppers is Aashima, the Lake City Mall on the Hoshangabad Road, where one can ﬁnd a wide range of brands and up market products at not too high a cost.