It is said about Bhopal that those who come to the city once will always return. This capital city of Madhya Pradesh is situated in the north-western part of the state. Bhopal is 744 km south of Delhi, and 779 kilometers north-west of Mumbai.
Once a small, sleepy town on the banks of the beautiful lake, Bhopal today, is a lovely city of modern India. One of the greenest cities in India, Bhopal has wide, clean, well-lit roads lined with fiery, statuesque Gulmohar trees. Despite becoming the capital city and the consequent influx of people, Bhopal has retained its ethereal quaintness and calm.
The city is believed to have been built in the 11th century by the legendary King Bhoj. It is believed that the name ‘Bhopal’ is a distortion of Bh + more about Bhopal
I was headed to Bhopal, where my parents have stayed for the last 10 years. In the past few years, I had not had the opportunity to explore Bhopal, even thou I was born there. The town is literally split into 2 halves: Civil lines, splits the town into 2 halves - one is what is known to the locals as Purana Bhopal, and the other is what is referred to as new Bhopal. Remember, that these assigned names are not official. Each part of Bhopal, has a lot to offer you. Old Bhopal has those small little places to eat food at: Peer Gate, with its line of tea stalls, Poha stalls, also selling jaleebi, with hot milk, samosa, kachauri, pyazi (onion pakoras), etc., starting at about 6 in the morning. This is what is normal breakfast for most Bhopalis. Not that the newer part of the town does not serve the same quality of food, but cooks around Peer Gate, just cook it a notch better. Along with food, there is the mosque area, the Bada Talab, Chota Talan, Jain temple, and old colonies of Bhopal, that you can explore. The newer part of Bhopal, has Rabindra Sadan, Bharat Bhawan, both of the centers, show case the thriving theater culture in the town. And by lord, the theater scene in Bhopal is more than active. The quality too is amazing, and the ticket prices are nominal. In addition, Bharat Bhavan has been designed by Charles Correa, and a place worth seeing, first hand. Then there is T.T.Nagar, with the world famous Coffee House. The old Coffee House has been shut, and right opposite the old location, across the road, a new one had been built. It now also allows travelers to stay in the accommodation they offer, the food remains the same, and the waiters, in their white uniforms, serve food properly, and are courteous. What misses is the old look and feel of the Old Coffee House. It had the most fascinating looking chairs, and tables, from days of old, but modern life has taken over and replaced our way of life, and the look and feel of the furniture too. There is Manav Sangrahalaya, which is also something which needs to be seen, to be believed. This over looks the Bada Talab, and is an amazing site. Right outside this location, to your left is the Bhopal Zoo, and in front is the Van Vihar, bird sanctuary. A tourist guide once told me, that in a given year, during the peak migration season, which influences the influx of birds from world over to Bhopal, there are at least 108 different kinds of birds that can be spotted. There is Bhembaithika, 35 kilometers from Bhopal, and is rumored to be about 11,000 years old. There are cave paintings there, which are said to be older than the ones found in Spain. Nerolac has had their top personnel come there and take a look and be stunned: again, takes a Tourist Guide to give you these insights. There is the Bhoj Mandir, which is a monolithic Shiv temple, about 40 kilometers from Bhopal. Sanchi is 60 kilometers from Bhopal. Udaigiri caves is about 20 more kilometers further up from Sanchi. The times have changed, and the small time Bhopal, has exploded. While I took several snaps in Bhopal, I am uploading a picture I took outside my parent's house, indicating, how times have changed in Bhopal. Bhopal, thou, remains, Malwa Ki Shaan.