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Fast Facts
Location : Madhya Pradesh
Popular As : Capital City of Madhya Pradesh
Attractions : Regional Museum of Natural History, Museum of Man, Bharat Bhavan, State Archaeological Museum, Birla Mandir Museum, Taj-ul-Masjid, Jama Masjid, Moti Masjid, Van Vihar Zooligical Park etc.
Best Time To Visit : October to March

Introducing Bhopal Moti Masjid
Bhopal, a city in central India is the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh. Situated around two artificial lakes amidst picturesque settings, Bhopal is also known as 'City of Lakes'. Historically the city of Bhopal derives its name from its legendary 11th century founder Raja Bhoj. He is believed to have created the lakes around which the city of Bhopal is built. However, the present city was founded by the Afghan chief Dost Mohammed Khan, who had been in charge of Bhopal during Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's reign.

The second largest city in Madhya Pradesh after Indore, Bhopal presents an excellent combination of old and new. The old city with its fine old mosques, crowded market places and palaces intermingle with the new city with broad avenues, huge office buildings and beautifully laid out parks and gardens. The 19th century mosques that bear witness to Bhopal's enduring Muslim legacy are the main attractions of the city. Besides, the packed bazaars of the walled old city are worth a visit where you will find a variety of traditional handicrafts and other interesting items. Bhopal is also home to a number of archaeological museums which houses ancient sculptures, paintings and several other exhibits.

Hence, visit the enchanting city of Bhopal, where a number of interesting old and new attractions are waiting for you. If you are interested in Buddhism, Bhopal also makes a gateway to the 3rd century Buddhist centre of Sanchi.

How to Reach Bhopal
By Air : The Raja Bhoj Airport Bhopal is about 13 km from downtown, near the satellite town of Bairagarh. Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and several other airlines operate a number of flights from Bhopal to Delhi, Mumbai, Indore, Gwalior, Jabalpur and many major cities of India. Tourist taxis and auto-rickshaws are available at the airport for transfer to the city.

By Train : Bhopal is a major railway station and well connected by rail to all parts of the country. A number of express and superfast trains ply to Bhopal from various important destinations of the country. From the railway station taxis and auto-rickshaws are available for the different locations of the city.
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By Bus : National Highway 12 and 86 pass through Bhopal and connects the city with Jabalpur, Jaipur, Sagar, Indore and many other places of Madhya Pradesh and neighbouring states. Regular government and private bus services connect Bhopal with major centres in the region. Distances of some important destinations from Bhopal - Sanchi (46), Vidisha (65 km), Indore (186 km), Ujjain (188 km), Pachmarhi (195 km), Jabalpur (295 km), Khajuraho (383 km) and Gwalior (423 km).

Local Transport : Mini buses and auto-rickshaws are the local modes of transport in Bhopal.

Places Where You Can Stay
Bhopal is dotted with a number of good hotels which offer world class services to guests. There are a lot of hotels along Hamidia road on which the tourist office is situated. Some of the famous hotels of the city which offer pleasant stay to guests include :

Heritage Hotels : Welcomheritage Noor-Us-Sabah Palace, Jehan Numa Palace and Imperial Sabre.

Standard Hotels : Lake View Ashok, The Residency, Amer Palace, Surendra Vilas, Hotel Palash, Rama International, Ramson's International, Hotel Ranjit, Red Sea Plaza, Hotel Richa, Hotel Sangam, Hotel Shalimar Deluxe, Shimla Palace and Hotel Surya.

Tourist Attractions in Bhopal
Regional Museum of Natural History : The newly constructed Regional Museum of Natural History is situated southeast of New Market. You will see models of dinosaurs and colourful murals in the museum. The museum also has attractive and well-written displays on biodiversity and ecosystems and on the geological history of the earth. There are also temporary exhibitions, a discovery centre inside the museum. Every day at 4 pm a film show is also organized at the museum. Regional Museum of Natural History is open daily from 10am to 5pm, closed on Mondays.

The Museum of Man : Popularly known as the Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, the museum is an enlightened attempt to provide genuine insight into ways of life of tribals. You will see original tools, cooking utensils, baskets and musical instruments used by the tribal people. The Museum of Man is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 11am to 6.30pm (March-August) and 10am to 5.30pm (September-February).

Bharat Bhavan : Bharat Bhavan was inaugurated in 1982 as part of a national bid to promote visual and performing arts. The building has a large and elegantly displayed collection of modern Indian painting. Bharat Bhavan also has one gallery full of sculpture and another devoted exclusively to adivasi art. Plays, music and dance programmes are also organized at Bharat Bhavan frequently. Bharat Bhavan is open daily from 2pm - 8pm (February-October) and 1pm - 7pm (November-January), closes on Mondays.
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The State Archaeological Museum : The State Archaeological Museum or Rajkiya Sangrahalaya is situated near Raj Bhavan, just south of Lower Lake. The museum has a good collection of ancient sculpture, bronzes and Mughal miniatures. Other noteworthy exhibits of the museum include the second-century BC yakshis (female fertility figures), the black granite statue of standing Buddha and the fifth-century statue of Karttikeya, the Hindu god of war. The museum is open from 10am to 5pm daily, except Mondays.
Birla Mandir Museum : Birla Mandir Museum is another important museum in Bhopal. The museum has a collection of some of the finest stone sculpture in Madhya Pradesh. The museum lies in a detached house adjacent to Birla Mandir which stands high on the hill overlooking Lower Lake. The exhibition is divided into Vishnu and Shiva sections which contain some interesting representations of the god's diverse reincarnations. Also see the replicas of 3500 years old Harappan artefacts encased under the stairs. Birla Mandir Museum is open daily from 2pm to 6pm, closed on Mondays.

Taj-ul-Masjid : Taj-ul-Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India. Commenced by Shah Jahan Begum, the mosque was never completed. Taj-ul-Masjid is a huge pink mosque having two white-domed minarets and three white domes overs the main building.

Other Mosques : Besides Taj-ul-Masjid, Jama Masjid and Moti Masjid are other noted mosques of Bhopal. Jama Masjid was constructed by Qudsia Begum in 1837. The mosque has very squat, short minarets and surrounded by markets. Moti Masjid was built by Qudsia Begum's daughter, Sikander Jahan Begum in 1860. The mosque has two dark red minarets crowned by golden spikes.

Van Vihar Zoological Park : Van Vihar Zooligical Park is one of the major attractions of the Bhopal city. Sprawling over an area of five square kilometer the park houses the regal white tiger, Indian tigers, Himalayan bears, leopards, sambar deer, long nosed gharial, tortoises and a variety of other animal species. In addition to animal species, the park is home to bird species like white egrets, herons, cormorants and ducks. You can have a longer and more peaceful look at the avian species by taking a boat from the jetty. Van Vihar Zoological Park is open daily from 7am to 11am and 2pm to 5.30pm.

Tourist Attractions Around Bhopal
Neori : Situated only 6km away from Bhopal, Neori has an 11th century Shiva Temple. Neori is also a popular picnic spot close to Bhopal.

Islampur : Islampur is located at a distance of 11 km from Bhopal. Here you will see a hilltop palace and garden built by Dost Mohammed Khan on the Berasia road.

Bhojpur : Bhojpur lies at a distance of 28 km from Bhopal. Raja Bhoj built a big dam here which created the largest lake in Asia. Hoshang Shah, the ruler of Mandu, destroyed the lake. There is a massive, but never completed 11th century Shiva temple overlooking the lake.

Bhimbeka : Located 40 km away from Bhopal, Bhimbetka is the place where one of the earliest traces of man in India was found. Neolithic caves, cave paintings have been discovered in this village.

Sanchi : Situated at a distance of 46 km from Bhopal, Sanchi abounds in Buddhist architecture dating from 3rd century BC and 12th century AD. Buddhist Stupas at Sanchi can be seen in a round trip from Bhopal, or you make it an ideal base to visits to more stupas at Satdhara and other nearby places.

Shopping in Bhopal
Shopping in Bhopal is a delightful experience and tourists should now miss the shopping on their trip to the city. Main shopping area in Bhopal is the Chowk, located in the heart of the old city. Here the shops deal in traditional handicrafts, gold and silver jewellery, fashioned bead work, embroidered velvet purses. New Market is another famous shopping centre of Bhopal where you can buy clothes, shoes and several other items. Bhopal has a number of Government owned shops selling regional handicrafts. Visit the Mrignayani Emporium and MP Handicrafts Emporium to buy the traditional handicrafts of Madhya Pradesh.

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