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Asia > South Asia > India > Plains (India) > Madhya Pradesh > Bhopal-Narmadapuram Division > Bhopal


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Bada Talaab

Bhopal (Hindi: Bhopaal) is the capital of Madhya Pradesh, India.


Bhopal is a good mix of the old and the new with a lot of old portions of Bhopal reminiscent of the Mughal influence and the new showcasing the planned development of a modern Indian city. Bhopal is the seat of the Madhya Pradesh Government and is a beautiful mid-sized city in the heart of India. It is said that Bhopal was originally called "Bhoj-pal" after Raja Bhoj, who is attributed with founding the city. It was an important part of the "Bhoj" kingdom with Ujjaini (a city close to Bhopal) being the seat of the kingdom.

Bhopal is also known for the world's worst industrial disaster, that of 1984 poison gas leak from the Union Carbide chemical plant. The accident caused over 3,700 deaths, half a million injuries, birth defects and suffering even to this day. Yet the impoverished still live in slums next to the abandoned plant.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Raja Bhoj Airport (BHO IATA). Raja Bhoj Airport's new terminal comprises separate sections for domestic and international flights. Separate entry and exit points have been made for national and international flights. A 1,500-capacity car park is outside the airport. Air India links Bhopal with New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Indore, Chennai, Kolkata/Calcutta and Mumbai. Raja Bhoj Airport (Q7285421) on Wikidata Raja Bhoj Airport on Wikipedia.

By train[edit]

The city is railway hub for the Central and Western Railway networks. The main railway stations are Bhopal Railway Station in old Bhopal and Habibgunj Railway Station in New Bhopal. Shatabdi Express runs between Delhi and Bhopal. Trains connect Bhopal to other cities as well.

By car[edit]

National highways connect the city to the rest of India.

Get around[edit]

Bhopal has a decent public transportation system comprising of buses, mini-buses, three wheeled autos and the odd looking tempos that are a major pollution concern for this growing city. It is also fairly easy to book a taxi for a full day to get in and around the city for reasonable rates. Usually, any hotel you choose to stay in will help you get transportation according to your needs. If it's your first visit to Bhopal, the safest thing to do is book a taxi rather than try the colourful public transportation system in Bhopal.

Recently, a private firm has plied a number of full-sized buses called Star-bus in the city streets which are quite safe and fun to travel in. These have started to gain popularity and are increasing in number.

By car[edit]

You can easily visit Bhopal by car, and there are many rental car companies available. Radio taxis are available by calling 0755-655 5555

You can even get a self-drive car to use for your travel in and around Bhopal, there are multiple options of cars to choose from. Dial 9512341234 TO BOOK yours.



Bhopal is a city rich in heritage and history. It's an amalgam of the old and the new, the rich and the poor, the wide roads of New Bhopal and the narrow "gullies" of Old Bhopal and a mix of planned development on one side with urban sprawl on the other.

There are various old mosques in Bhopal that will give you a glimpse into the Mughal architecture, some of it from before the British raj and the people of Bhopal, particularly the mix of the Muslim and the Hindu population will also give you a glimpse of what makes India tick with different religions and cultures living together.

Some of the mosques and temples that are worth visiting are:


  • Idgah.
  • Jama Masjid.
  • Moti Masjid.
  • 1 Taj-ul-Masajid. One of the largest mosques in the country.


  • Bhojeshwar Temple (If you have a car, it can be reached on the way back from Bhimbetka to Bhopal, though it might take another 20–30 minutes.). The construction of the Shiva temple began in the 11th century but was never completed. It boasts the largest Shiva-linga in India.
  • 2 Laxminarayan Temple (Birla mandir). 06:00 to 20:00. free.
  • 3 Takeri (Manuabhan Tekri). A very beautiful place is known as "Takeri". It is near Lal Ghati. Here is a Temple on the hill. To reach temple by the rope way or by the road or stairs. You can see a beautiful view of Bhopal from Takeri.

Recommended is a visit to Old city market (chowk bazaar) and walk around the narrow lanes to see how the old city functions and also to get some great bargains on the special arts of Bhopal like the bead work and the hand embroidery for which Bhopal is known.

On the modern side, the Government of Madhya Pradesh has made significant efforts to make Bhopal an important seat for the arts. Bharat Bhawan [1] is an example of this and it is a centre for performing arts with many nationally renowned artists showcasing their art through this institute. The institute boasts of art galleries, an outdoor theater, and a library rich with history of Indian poetry and arts.


  • 4 Bharat Bhavan, J. Swaminathan Marg, Shamla Hills, Near Upper Lake, +91 755 266 0239. Bharat Bhavan is a world famous art complex and museum. Bharat Bhavan (Q2767116) on Wikidata Bharat Bhavan on Wikipedia
  • 5 Bhimbetka (Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka). Bhimbetka is a World Heritage site and has some of the oldest cave paintings of the world. Situated about 40 km from Bhopal, you can go there by bus. Make sure the driver knows where you are going and he will let you off in what first looks like the middle of nowhere. However, clear signs will now guide you through a 3 km walk uphill to the cave paintings. To get back, just wait for a bus at the road and waive. Taxi from Bhopal is of course a more comfortable option. A guide at the cave paintings is recommended and costs around ₹150.
Bheem Baithika Caves Paintings
  • 6 Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (Museum of Mankind). Another impressive museum; the Museum of Man created by the government of Madhya Pradesh, showcases how the people of the state live in their natural form, what they cultivate, the kind of tools they make and utilize in their daily lives etc. It has been created sprawled on a small hill and gives breath taking views of the city.
  • 7 Manav Sangralay (Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya). A museum of urban tribal culture.
  • 8 Science Centre (Regional Science Centre). A science museum located at Shyamla Hills.
  • 9 Union Carbide Chemical Plant. Site of the world's worst industrial disaster. For interested urban explorers, avoid the main gate: it is possible to enter the site where there is 1 a hole in the perimeter walls. Local children and cows roam inside the area of the old plant. Abandoned industrial structures and buildings make for good photo opportunities. Bhopal disaster (Q129029) on Wikidata Bhopal disaster on Wikipedia


There are two lakes in the centre of Bhopal.

  • 10 Upper Lake. Upper Lake (Bada Talaab) is a beautiful water body created during the time of King Bhoj. The water of Upper Lake was reputed to have cured Raja Bhoj of a skin disease which otherwise remained untreated. Today, you can rent boats, indulge in other water sports related activities and enjoy the splendor of the lake.
  • 11 Lower Lake. The Lower Lake (chota talaab) was created during the Mughal empire. This lake is separated from the Upper Lake by an over-bridge.

Along the Upper Lake and surrounding hills, the Forest department of Madhya Pradesh has created the biggest animal conservation area in the middle of a city. You can see tigers, leopards, bears, different types of water animals, birds, deers etc. as you drive around "Van Vihar"

  • 12 Van Vihar (Van Vihar National Park). Van Vihar is a wildlife sanctuary.


Bhopal is a fairly quiet city for nightlife, and has few clubs and bars. Most of the restaurants close around 23:00, although many in the larger hotels have bars that are open at least midnight. The hotels of Amer Palace and The Residency in the Maharana Pratap Nagar have nightclubs.


No visit to this city is complete without buying some bead work or embroidered purses, bags, shawls, tunics etc. Also, you can get good quality fabric (silk, satin, cashmere, pashmina) from the various emporiums run and operated by the governments of the different states of India. One visit to Bhopal will give you an exposure into the various kinds of fabric and material, arts and crafts that come from different parts of the country.

To buy arts and crafts specifically originating in Madhya Pradesh as well as fabrics/ sarees/ shawls from Madhya Pradesh, visit the MP Government state emporium Mrignayani [2]

To buy some authentic north Indian fabric and shawls head towards Lakherapura in the old city. The Chowk are is also famous for the traditional glittering ladies purses.

Also a visit to New Market is worth a try.

  • 1 Aashima Mall. Situated on Hoshangabad Road, Aashima Mall is in the heart of New Bhopal. Has a hypermarket, a 7-screen multiplex and food court.
  • 2 DB Mall. Retail hours:Monday- Sunday 10:30 to 20:30 (may vary for restaurants & cinemas). It is situated at Arera Hills near M.P.Nagar, in the heart of Bhopal. It has 7 anchor shops, 180 shops, 6-screen Multiplex, 4 star hotel and a food court..


Bhopal, like any other north Indian city offers a rich Indian cuisine to explore. People enjoy eating the sweet - sour and spicy "chaat" in Bhopal. Due to the Mughal influence, Bhopal also offers delicacies like Kebabs, Goat Biryani, Chicken Tikka, Jalebi, Ras Malai etc. The best chicken Biryani can be tasted at Jameel Hotel in old Bhopal .

Sashas restaurant in Indrapuri offers good South Indian non-vegetarian delicacies.

Hotel Jehanuma Palace in Bhopal has a very good restaurant that serves awesome North Indian delicacies. Hotel Noor us Sabah also has a couple of good restaurants to choose from. As in any mid-sized Indian city, the safest bets for good food and a variety of cuisines are in restaurants that are part of 3-4 star hotels.

Apart from North Indian and Mughlai cuisine, you can also savour Indo-Chinese, Continental and American cuisine in the various restaurants of Bhopal.

If you have a mixed taste, Generationext restaurant is a good option for you. An eclectic mix of cuisine is served, that is likely to suit your taste (and pocket too). There are many other good eating spots in New Market, MP Nagar and Hoshangabad Road area.

Filfora, Koh-e-fiza is a very good place for Mughlai delicacies. Kadai ghost may be best to eat here and biryanis of both made with chicken and mutton are good.

'Juli' is one of the famous Bengali mithai (sweets), and is available in the old city at Jain Mithai Bhandar.

  • Chhapan Bhog, new market (straight away towards new market road from MP Nagar), +919826037482. 10 am to 10 pm. Basically a restaurant-cum-sweets shop.
  • 1 Hotel Rajhans (Close to Hanuman Ganj police station). Tasty and unlimited Thalis at a very reasonable price.
  • Indian Coffee House, New Market.
  • Manohar Dairy and Restaurant, Hamidiya Road. Clean restaurant with a very wide selection of food and sweets. Tasty but portions are small. They seem to have a few branches in the city.


For tourists from foreign countries, it's recommended that they stick to mineral water. If you want to be adventurous, try the sugarcane juice from the streetside vendors. If you are lucky, you will not get an upset stomach and will be able to enjoy the rich sweetness of sugarcane.

Alcoholic drinks: Only use hotel bars for this as there are very few pubs in the city and the local bars are not a place to hang out. The only good place other than hotels is the Tavern Pub at Board Office Roundabout in M P Nagar.


Bhopal has some good budget as well as 3-to-4-star hotels to choose from if you want to spend a few nights in the city. A couple of hotels in the old Bhopal area are considered Grand Heritage hotels as they have been converted from palaces and residences of the Mughal era to modern hotels. Jehan Numa Palace Hotel and Noor us Sabah Hotel fall under this category and staying here will transport you into an era where you will be able to imagine how the Mughal aristocracy lived a life of pure luxury. The customer service at both these hotels is exemplary and you will enjoy your stay here.

Towards the New Bhopal area, Hotel Lake View run by the Ashoka group is a decent place to stay in. Also, hotels in the commercial hub of Bhopal, Maharana Pratap Nagar, like Amer Palace, The Residency, Nisarga, etc. serve more business travelers to Bhopal but are certainly good places to consider.

Taj-ul-Masajid Aerial Photo

Go next[edit]

Bhopal makes an excellent starting point if you want to travel to some unexploited but breathtakingly beautiful places in Madhya Pradesh.

This city travel guide to Bhopal is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.