Taj _ Ul - Masjid
Believed to be the largest mosque in the country, this pink towering mosque
was commenced by Shah Jahan Begum, (1868-1901) Bhopal's eighth ruler. The work
of the mosque was incomplete on her death and the construction could only resume
in 1971 cause of lack of funds. The credit for Bhopal's postal system, railways and
waterworks goes to this queen. The most striking features of the mosque
are the impressive main hall with its inter-arched roof, the three white domes
and the two white domed massive minarets. Its broad façade, spacious courtyard and smooth marble
floors are impressive. A three-day ' Ijtima', a congregation of Muslims in
India, held here annually, draws people from all over the country.
Located in the heart of the old city, the Chowk is lined with old mosques and
havelis, reminders of bygone era. The shops in its narrow alleys are treasure troves of traditional Bhopali
crafts, silver jewellery, exquisitely fashioned beadwork, embroidered and sequined velvet fashioned purses and cushions.
An excellent place for purchasing traditional crafts.
Gold spikes crown the tall dark minarets of this beautiful mosque, built in 1837 by Kudsia
Begum, the devout wife of the ruler of Bhopal.
Also known as Pearl Mosque, this mosque is architecturally similar to Delhi’s Jama
It was built by Sikandar Jahan Begum, daughter of Kudsia Begum, in
Shaukat Mahal and Sadar Manzil
Shaukat Mahal is situated at the entrance to the Chowk area in the heart of
the city. Its mixture of architectural styles in Occidental idioms sets it apart from the predominantly Islamic architecture of the area. It was designed by a Frenchman, said to be a descendant of
a subsidiary of the Bourbon kings of France. Post-Renaissance and Gothic styles are combined to
a charming effect here. Nearby is the elegant Sadar Manzil, Hall of Public Audience of the former rulers of Bhopal.
Gohar Mahal also known as Gohar Begum is situated behind Shaukat Mahal on the banks of the Upper Lake.
This palace, built in 1820 by Kudsia Begum is an architectural gem. The Mahal is a magnificent
fusion of Hindu and Mughal architecture.
Upper and Lower Lakes
The legendary Raja Bhoj is credited with the construction of these two
lakes. The Upper Lake which is six sq. km. in area, is divided from the Lower by an
over bridge. Madhya Pradesh Tourism’s, Yacht Club on the Upper and Lower Lakes provide facilities for exciting trips by sail, paddle and motor boats.
The fish-shaped aquarium, facing the Lower lake houses a number of species of fish in all shapes and sizes.
This safari park, 445 hectares in area is located on a hill adjacent to the Upper
Lake. It has a rich variety of animals and birds.
Open every day except Tuesday, from 7-11 am and 3-5 pm.
Government Archaeological museum
Situated to the south of the lower lake, on the Banganga Rd this Museum has
a fine collection of sculptures from various parts of Madhya Pradesh. The collections
include paintings of various schools, copies of paintings from the Bagh Caves near Mandu and the statues of Alakshmi and the Buddha.
Museum shop sells stone figure copies. Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm except
Mondays. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Established in 1982, Bharat Bhawan a center for the creative and performing
arts, is one of the most unique national institutes in India. Designed by the
renowned architect Charles Correa and located in the Shamla hills on the banks
of a lake, it is regarded as one of the most important centres for the
preservation of traditional folk art. The center houses 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. They are
'Rupankar'- The museum has contemporary urban, folk and art of aboriginals, a
ceramic workshop, litho workshop and facilities for stone craft and metal
'Rangmandal'- Numerous plays and stage shows are held here. It also has a rich
library and play museum.
'Vagartha'- A centre of Indian poetry and provides an excellent platform to the
writers for interaction through lecture, recitation, translation and
publication. It has a rich collection of of the ancient and contemporary poetry.
'Anhad'- A center for Indian classical and folk music organising programmes of
Open from 2 pm to 8 pm every day except Mondays.
Tribal Habitat (Museum of Man)
An open-air exhibition of tribal house types located at Rashtriya Manav
Sangrahalaya on Shamla Hills, the Tribal Habitat is a presentation of actual-size dwellings typical of contemporary tribal cultures in various states of India. The exhibition
gives a complete insight into the architectural features of the tribal houses
with elaborately displayed interiors. There are craft and pottery demonstrations
in the exhibition.
Open every day expect on Mondays and national holidays, from 10 am to 6 pm.
Laxminarayan Temple & Museum
Also known as Birla Mandir, this beautiful Vaishnavite temple on the Arera Hills has an
excellent museum attached to it which houses a collection of sculptures from
Raisen, Sehore, Mandsour and Shahdol districts of Madhya Pradesh. The stone sculptures are mainly of Vishnu, Siva and their consorts and
incarnations. There is also a small selection of terracotta exhibits from
Kausambi. The Museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm on all days except Mondays.
Regional Science Centre
Regional Science Centre, located on the Shamla Hills, houses a planetarium
and a science museum with about 300 participatory exhibits distributed equally in
'Invention' and 'Fun Science' galleries.
Open from 10.30 am to 6.30 pm on all days except
Places around Bhopal
Located 11 km away on the Bhopal-Berasia Road, past the infamous Union
Carbide Factory (the poisonous gas leakage causing the worst industrial disaster in1984), Islamnagar is a small village known for the palace of Bhopal's Afghan rulers
built by Dost Mohammed Khan. Gardens surround the palace and the pavilion. The
pavilion, a synthesis of Hindu and Islamic decorative art, has pillars richly
decorated with floral motifs. Other important monuments are the hamam (baths) of the Chaman Mahal and the
double-storeyed Rani Mahal.
Located 28 Kms from Bhopal, Bhojpur is famous for the magnificent 11th
century Shiva temple, 'Bhojeshwar Mandir' and the lake constructed by the
legendary Parmar King of Dhar, Raja Bhoj (1010-1053). The enormous Shiva Lingam
in the temple carved out of a single rock over a three tiered square sandstone
platform, is the largest in India. The Lingam is 7.5 ft tall with nearly 21.5 ft
circumference. The temple is a simple square with a richly carved dome supported
by four pillars guarded by two ornamental figures at the entrance. There is a
simple Jain shrine nearby which has a 6m high black statue of a Thirthankara and
two smaller ones.A very colourful and big mela is organised here on the occasion of the
festival 'Maha Shivratri'.
Bhim Bhetka based on the northern fringe of Vindhya Mountain ranges is a major tourist attraction 46 Kms from Bhopal.
The site has South Asia's richest collection of prehistoric paintings and other
archeological discoveries. In the rocky terrain of dense forest and craggy cliffs, over
1000 rock shelters belonging to the Neolithic age were discovered in 1957, by VS
Wakanker of the Vikram University, Ujjain. The paintings in over 500 caves
depict the life of the prehistoric cave dwellers and a smaller number have
evidence of Stone Age habitation from the lower Palaetholic period to the late
Mesolithic, making the Bhimbetika group an archaeological treasure. It was
declared a UNESCO World heritage site in July 2003, thus becoming the 22nd site
in India to receive the status.
The oldest paintings are believed to be up to 1200 years old. Executed mainly in red and white with the occasional use of green and yellow,
the scenes usually depict hunting, dancing, music, horse and elephant riders, animals fighting, honey collection, decoration of bodies, disguises, masking and household scenes. Animals such as bison’s, tigers, lions, wild boar, elephants, antelopes, dogs, lizards, crocodiles etc, have been abundantly depicted in some caves. Popular religious and ritual symbols also occur frequently.