With an unmatched gore and glory, Bhopal, the capital town of Madhya Pradesh, is acclaimed as one of the most worth-visiting cities of the state. It served as the stronghold of Afghans and Mughals and later was the imperial seat of many ‘Begums’, who governed it from 1819 to 1926. The place has a landscape invested with the various trademark preferences of these rulers. Bhopal still conjures up images of a glorious past, in the form of its ancient temples, mosques & palaces. These prima donnas of Bhopal are vacationers’ delight and constitute some of the prominent tourist attractions of Madhya Pradesh. Read this article and know about places of tourist interest to be seen in Bhopal.
Laxmi Narayan Temple
Also known as Birla Temple, Laxmi Narayan temple was built by the Birlas and is commemorated to the Hindu deities, Laxmi & Vishnu. This sandy-yellow edifice, embellished with idols of many Hindu Gods and Goddesses, poses a magnificent sight. Birla Museum, adjoined to its precinct, is a storehouse of art and artifacts that date back to the 12th century. The beautifully carved archway and the trailing green lawns of the place make it a famous tourist draw of Bhopal.
One of the largest and most beautiful mosques in India, Taj-ul-Masjid literally means ‘The Crown of Mosques’ and is an imposing landmark of Bhopal. Its pink façade, coroneted with white-domed minarets, soars to the skyline and stands as a stunning ovation to the rule of Begums in Bhopal. Its construction began under the regime of Shah Jehan Begum, but saw completion after her death. This striking monument is also used as a religious school (madarsa) during the day.
Shaukat Mahal exhibits Gothic and post-Renaissance architectural patterns and is a beautiful amalgamation of both oriental and occidental architectural styles. Thought to be designed by a Frenchman, it is strikingly different from the other Muslim monuments in its vicinity, especially with the triangular arches that adorn its roof. The white exterior of the building, carved with exquisite floral patterns, makes it stand out amongst all the antique monuments of Bhopal.
Sadar Manzil is located near Shaukat Mahal and is an equally attractive site. Even today, the place highlights the bygone grandeur of the Nawabi era of Bhopal. It served as the hall of public audience of the erstwhile rulers of the place. Sultan Kaikhusrau Jahan Begum, daughter of Shah Jahan Begum, also used it as her private palace. Today, the building houses the headquarters of Bhopal Municipal Corporation.
Moti Masjid of Bhopal bears a prominent resemblance to the Jama Masjid of New Delhi. Built by Sikandar Jahan, the daughter of Kudsia Begum, in 1860, this staggering mosque brilliantly displays the heights attained by Islamic art and architecture during the Nawabi era. Fabricated with red sandstone, the highly stylized structure of the mosque is typical of Muslim architecture. It has an arresting marble façade, with two red minarets crowned by golden spikes.
Upper and Lower Lakes
These lakes highly contribute towards beautifying the landscape of Bhopal and are credited as the artwork of Raja Bhoj. The Upper Lake is 6 sq. km. in area and is divided from the Lower Lake by an over bridge. MP Tourism’s Yacht Club provides facilities and warrants exciting trips by sail, paddle and motor boats at the Upper Lake. ‘Van Vihar’ (safari park) and the fish-shaped aquarium near the place also contribute towards its popularity amongst the locals and tourists.