Bhopal – Through a Traveler’s Perspective
Bhopal – Through a Traveler’s Perspective
Nature and history combine to give Bhopal its distinct flavor. One of the most beautiful places to visit in Madhya Pradesh, a city which houses umpteen lakes and forests and is a seat of heritage and culture would never fail to surprise you. On my recent trip to Bhopal, I witnessed the magic first-hand.
After a long journey, I headed straight to the hotel to keep my luggage and freshen up. The breeze was as refreshing as the cityscape before my eyes. As soon as I finished my breakfast, I was off to visit my first destination – Minto Hall. A reminder of the Nawabian era, Minto Hall was a humble building in red and white which once stood as the Vidhan Sabha of Bhopal. Around four kilometres from it posed a magnificent façade of the biggest mosque in the country – Taj-ul-Masajid – which also faced Dhai seedi ki masjid the smallest mosque in Bhopal.
As there were a number of historical places to visit in the vicinity, I moved on to see the astounding Taj Mahal of Bhopal and museum of Gol Ghar, showcasing the art and craft of Madhya Pradesh. As hunger struck me, I decided to go to Old Bhopal to savour the delectable cuisine of Madhya Pradesh. The streets took me to the famous Jameel restaurant for the most sumptuous kebabs and biryani and then to Mamaji’s for their special jalebis. Satisfied with the food, I went on to see the Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque gleaming in white marble and finally to the great Jama Masjid of the old city. My last stop for the day was Gauhar Mahal art and craft festival, a representative of Madhya Pradesh art and culture, following which I had dinner at Wind and Waves and spent the night at Hotel Palash.
I spent my first day visiting heritage places to see in Bhopal but the second one was more adventurous – it was time for the morning safari. It was a straight road through the wilderness of Van Vihar National Park that opens at six thirty in the morning and remains closed on Fridays. The safari was followed by boating in the Boat Lake and breakfast at Wind and Waves. Not far away, was the museum of anthropology IGRMA, which told the story of mankind across centuries – one of the most sought after Bhopal tourist places. It was time for lunch then and nothing could have been better than some delicious food by the lake at Ranjit’s Lakeview.
In the evening, I went to Indian Tea House for tea and headed towards Sair Sapata, an entertainment zone and tourism complex in Bhopal. It offered activities like hiking and zorbing among other leisure activities for adults as well as kids. After my exhausting yet thrilling second day in Bhopal, an inviting menu offering Madhya Pradesh cuisine awaited me at Jehan Numa Retreat. Then I went back to my hotel and slept a dreamless sleep.
The next morning I woke up early to visit the Birla Temple and the nearby museum. Also called the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, it is mainly dedicated to goddess Lakshmi among other Gods and Goddesses. It stands tall high up in the hills and gives a panoramic view of the city of Bhopal. After visiting the temple, I had breakfast at Manohar Dairy following which I went to the State museum around 3.5 kilometres from there. The State Museum of Madhya Pradesh which displays the history of ancient civilizations in the form of artefacts, sculptures and documents is one of the most famous heritage sites in Madhya Pradesh. It remains open to visitors from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. There is also a Tribal Museum in the vicinity showcasing a collection of tribal clothing and tools among other artefacts from 12 pm to 8 pm.
To explore the local marketplace, I went on to reach New Market where an emporium called Mrignayani caught my eye. It was maintained by the state government and is famous for its Tussar silk sarees. I further looked around in the market for local street food, finally having lunch at Platinum Plaza. Around four in the evening, I went to see the war memorial Shaurya Smarak and Yodhasthal which displays artillery of the past. It is considered to be one of the most interesting tourist places in Bhopal Madhya Pradesh. The third day came to an end with my having dinner at Filfora post which I returned to my hotel.
The fourth and the final day had begun. Islam Nagar was yet to be explored. I started towards Manuabhan ki tekri, a Jain temple with mesmerising architecture, situated in the hills, offering a beautiful aerial view of Bhopal. It opens from 6:30 am to 8:00 pm and the ropeway timing to reach there is from 10:00am – 7:00 pm with weekday breaks from 1:00 pm- 3:30 pm. After having breakfast at Narbeda sweets in the Royal Market, I departed for Islam Nagar. The first place I visited there was the Islam Nagar Fort. It was built as a defense against attacks from enemies. There were other heritage buildings like Chaman Mahal, Royal Hamam, Rani Bagh & Charbagh Gardens in a radius of sixteen kilometres. After having visited the heritage sites, I had lunch at Noor-us-Subah palace which was the ultimate luxury experience.
After lunch, I went to a place called Kanha Tea Emporium, a wholesaler of different kinds of tea and coffee. It is located on the Jail road. Bansi Emporium, located on the Link Road offered exclusive bamboo items. The trip wouldn’t have been complete without visiting Bharat Bhawan, a multi-arts complex in Bhopal, maintained by the government. It hosts an art gallery, fine-arts workshops and an open air amphitheatre for theatre shows. I was still curious to try some more of food of Madhya Pradesh, so, as twilight approached, I ate from the Shahpura food truck and finally went back to my hotel for the night.