Madhya Pradesh, is a contrasting beautiful state, flaunting everything from amazing wildlife, enchanting ancient architecture to sensational culture and cuisine. Wherein Bhopal, the capital city, is where you can ‘out and out’ experience every bit of MP’s cultural heritage. Separated by a few beautiful lakes, Bhopal is a Muslim-dominated old city founded by Islamic rulers. Although, 4 queens (Begums) are said to have developed Bhopal in the nineteenth century. Which, is evident when you tour the Northern side of the city, dominated by a trail of mosques, pocket stores selling meat dishes, lanes filled with rustic aroma, and bazaars evincing a prolonged display of Islamic craft. The Southern side of Bhopal is where you will find the wide roads, upmarket hotels and modern shopping malls.
Read on for our guide to 6 best things to do in Bhopal. What more, travelling to Bhopal is not expensive either! With discounted airfares floating throughout the year, securing cheap flights to Bhopal is merely a click away. In return, you get a real taste of the Nawabi Shaan or the Royal pride. That’s priceless!
1. Stay at a Royal Residence
To experience the authentic heritage of Bhopal, you must spend at least one night at either Noor-Us-Sabah or the Jehan Numa Palace, both built by the former Nawabs. Not only, do these palaces tuned hotels feature legacy in succession, but are also, equipped with world-class facilities. Steeped in Kingly luxuries, these hotels offer an essential luxurious experience at an affordable price. Moreover, the 18th-century colonial architecture makes a perfect backdrop for Instagram worthy pictures.
2. Tour Asia’s 2nd-largest Mosque, the Taj-ul-Masjid
The third Queen of Bhopal, Shah Jahan Begum, ideated Taj-ul-Masjid in the 18th-century. She wanted more and more Muslims to be able to pray under one single roof. For that reason, she ordered the construction of Asia’s 2nd largest Mosque and named it Taj-ul-Masjid. When you are here, notice the pink walls encircling the Mosque courtyard, which highlight the feminine dominion of the 19th-century. Those who have visited the prayer hall, tell stories of how magnificent it is. Also large as it sprawls over a 1000-sq-ft. We recommend you to visit this Mosque early in the morning, to get the photographs of the 27 edged ceiling domes and the towering minarets.
3. Check out the Bronze Statue of Raja Bhoj in Upper Lake
Once upon a time, in the 10th CE, Bhopal received its name from King Bhoj. For the same reason, Bhopal’s city council decided to build a 32 feet statue of Raja Bhoj, in Upper Lake, as a means to pay tribute to this legendary king of scholars. But before you take a trip to the statue, here’s what you must know! Raja (King) Bhoj reigned Malwa province in the 10th-century when Dhar was the capital of the region. If you happen to visit Dhar, take a look at the Bhoj Shala there. Coming back to Bhopal, Raja Bhoj was a man known for the love of polymath, literature, arts, and sciences. Exactly, what this statue symbolizes! A structure to draw inspiration from each one of Raja Bhoj’s interests.
4. Visit Ancient Buddhist Jain Temple, Mahaveer Giri
Perched on the hilltop of Lal Ghati, is an ancient Jain temple that goes by the name Manua Bhan Ki Tekri. Or, as Bhopali’s call it – the Mahaveer Giri. This is indisputably one-of-the-most enthralling sightseeing spots of Bhopal. As, a matter of fact, this excursion gets super exciting if you take the ropeway to reach the temple. You may enter the temple, for free, however, you will have to pay INR 66 for a two-way ropeway trip. Driving is the next best alternative! The history of this temple goes back to the 10th-century when a bunch of Jain devotees decided to build a Buddhist place of worship. Thereafter Manua Bhan Ki Tekri was built 1300 feet above the ground level, with seven caves.
Only recently, the Governor of Madhya Pradesh has renamed it to Mahaveer Giri. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple though. The hill btw got its name after Mantua, who was a jeerer and received this piece of land from Raja Bhoj who was impressed by his entertaining skills.
5. Explore the 18th-century Moti Masjid and its Staggering Red Towers
Moti Masjid is an impressive 18th-century “Pearl White” mosque flaunting an ornate white facade paired with staggering red towers. Sikander Jahan Begum built this mosque in the 18th-century, and at every corner, you will find yourself admiring the blueprint of Mughal architecture from a bygone era. The entire Mosque is built with marble and exhibits a grand courtyard on a plinth. It’s two towering red minarets with gold-spiked cupolas is what makes this mosque stand out. Most definitely, worth a visit!
6. Plan a Day Trip to Van Vihar National Park
Last but not least, when in Bhopal, you ought to plan a day trip to Van Vihar National Park, which offers a sprawling lush space with great views, whether dusk or dawn. Actually, Van Vihar is a zoological park that operates on an ‘amazing’ philosophy. Each animal residing in the park is either an adopted orphan or the result of an exchange program. None of the animals was unwillingly captured. In addition, to safeguard the park, many trenches, walls, and chain-link fences have been raised so to keep away the poachers. We bet you will enjoy driving around this beautiful park and later thank us for suggesting it in the first place.
So what are you waiting for? Browse cheap flights right away and pack your bags to hit the Nawabi city this Eid. To give you heads up, you may have never tasted, the kind of food you will, in Bhopal’s local food markets. You will find the “Eid special” food near mosques and in the Chhota Talab area, popular to dish out Bhopal’s most flavoursome and aromatic cuisine. Whatever you choose to do, Bhopal will take you by surprise at every corner.