Bhopal: The City of Harmonious Duality
The charming capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal, is divided by a couple of beautiful lakes. The two sides of Bhopal offer two incredibly different cityscapes. In fact, you may not even believe that you are in the same city when moving from one side to another. In the north lies the fascinating old city of Bhopal. A stunning collection of mosques interspersed with crowed bazaars decorate this part of the cityscape. You will be transported to a more regal era as you behold before you imposing palaces. Head south and you will be amazed at the transformation of the old world charm of the city into a modern vista. Wide roads with shopping complexes and swanky restaurants are replete in the southern side. This metropolitan side overlooks the marvelous lakes and the old city as the Arera and Shamla Hills rise up on either side. The interesting duality of Bhopal is not limited to its outlook. The city is a harmonious blend of the Hindu and Islamic cultures. Even traditions of north and south India have become one rather aptly, in the heartland of Madhya Pradesh.
How to Get There
By Air :
Bhopal Airport located at a distance of 15 km from the city. It is well connected to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Indore, Raipur, Chandigarh and Jabalpur.
By Rail :
Bhopal is a major junction on the Delhi-Chennai main line, as well on the Central railway route from Delhi to Mumbai.
By Road :
There are regular state and private bus services which connect Bhopal with Indore, Mandu, Ujjain, Khajuraho, Pachmarhi, Gwalior, Sanchi, Jabalpur. Distance from places; Khajurao: 372 km, Gwalior: 401 km, Mandu: 280 km, Ujjain: 190 km, Jabalpur: 310 km, Nagpur: 352 km, Pachmarhi: 200 km, Omkareswar: 263 km, Indore: 194 km, Bandhavgarh National park: 516 km,
Cusped by the northern edge of the Vindhyan Mountains, Bhimbetka is a portal into the Neolithic age of South Asia. More than 600 rock shelters lie in the rocky landscape surrounded by craggy cliffs and thick forests. After you conquer this difficult and yet beautiful landscape, you will come face to face with a panorama of rock paintings. The vivid details of the multitudinous paintings will make you wonder as to the skills of the prehistoric artists that made them. These fascinating paintings are scattered across 500 caves and showcase the life of the people who used to dwell in them. This site is an archeological treasure, an invaluable chapter in the history of man in the Indian subcontinent. The beautiful paintings are mainly done in red and white. Green and yellow colors pop up every so often. Watching these paintings is like watching the daily lives of the dwellers unfold before your eyes. The images show people dancing and hunting and collecting honey. Other images depict animals, music and household scenes amongst others.
The name Taj-ul-Masjid can be literal translated into ‘The Crown of Mosques’. That is a perfectly apt and concise description of the imposing pink structure. It lives up to the connotations of its name by being one of the largest mosques in Asia. The Masjid itself is crowned by two huge minarets with white domes. The Masjid surrounds a beautiful courtyard in the middle of which lies a large tank. The incredible architecture of the monument can stupefy you into speechless admiration. This magnificent masjid offers a perfect view of the surrounding landscape as well. One of the most marvelous sights inside the Masjid is the octagonal mirrors that are as tall as 18 stories.
Shaukat Mahal is an architectural curiosity. It is interesting, weird and you will not be bored in trying to guess the architectural origins of particular piece in the building. The rather beautiful Shaukat Mahal is a fascinating mixture of occidental and oriental styles of architecture and art. The Islamic style of architecture does tend to dominate the building, but it has been modified by the addition of other styles. Medieval gothic styles has been used alongside post-Renaissance styles in a harmonious blend with the Islamic style to give birth to this incredibly unique building. Intricate floral patterns line the outer walls and the whiteness of the building makes the building a truly spectacular one.
Van Vihar National Park
The immense Van Vihar National Park is like an oasis of green against the cityscape background of Bhopal. Filled with incredible animals and birds, the national park is more like a zoo than a national park. The science beauty of the landscape provides the perfect vantage point for enjoying the animals roaming leisurely in their home. The gharial, the sambar, the chital and the different species of tortoise are just some of the animals that you can see here. The sheer magnificence of the Upper Lake adds to the splendor of the National Park. The lake comes to life as thousands of stunning migratory birds descend as a feathery storm. As the dusk turns to night, the panoramic view of the Sun descending into a watery grave can entrance you.