My trip to Bhopal was an extremely fascinating one. The capital city of Madhya Pradesh tells an interesting tale of its existence and rich history. Its prominent mosques, elegant havelis, busy bazaars, never-ending alleys, and several other noteworthy places can compel many a traveller to extend their trip to this rustic, magnificent city. Famously called as the City of Lakes, Bhopal is popular for its Upper Lake and Lower Lake, both serving as a point of attraction for locals and tourists alike.
From the moment you enter Bhopal, you are intimated about the intriguing history of this city with every place you visit. The most noteworthy is the Mughal architecture showcased by the ornamental mosques here. I also got a chance to relish some Nawabi delicacies here. The sizzling kebabs that I had here were extremely delicious, so much so that I can go back right this instant to have another plate of those hot, aromatic delights!
Whenever you plan to visit the city, here is the list of local sightseeing places of Bhopal that you can use for your reference: -
1. Taj-ul Masjid
Being one of Asia’s largest mosques, the Taj-ul-Masjid is the first place that I visited on my Bhopal tour. A popular local sightseeing place in Bhopal, this mosque draws a lot of travellers. Upon reaching the massive mosque, I saw two towering minarets, massive domes, and a breathtaking hallway. I was instantly in awe of the elegant architecture of the mosque. I visited the place at the time of the dawn azan where I could spot countless worshippers. Overall, it was a great start to my Bhopal sightseeing tour.
2. Tribal Museum
Next on the list was Tribal Museum which is quite an interesting sightseeing place in Bhopal. To start with, it is as atypical a museum can be. The exhibits of the museum have a fascinating story behind their formation. You will be surprised to know that over 1500 Adivasis used materials from their villages to create the exhibits at this showroom. The museum has 5 massive galleries that feature striking artisan pieces, models of tribal houses, and ritual sites. I particularly liked the wedding pillars here that were carved and shaped out of trees.
3. Gauhar Mahal
The next leg of my Bhopal sightseeing tour comprised a visit to the 19th-century Gauhar Mahal. The royal palace looks beautiful with its marvellous balconies, beautiful hallways, and scenic courtyards. An interesting thing about this palace is that it offers you a peek into an amalgamation of Rajput, Mughal, and various other architectural styles. Do make sure you visit this archaic wonder on your Bhopal sightseeing tour.
4. Upper Lake
As I mentioned before, Bhopal upholds the moniker of the City of Lakes because of the numerous lakes it houses. Forming an important part of Bhopal sightseeing, the Upper Lake is a prominent lake of Bhopal. I made a stop at Upper Lake during nightfall as most of my day went in touring the captivating structures of the city. I found myself at peace when I settled by the lake to watch the distant sparkle of golden lights.
Also called Bhojtal, the lake is a chief source of potable water for the city’s residents. One can go canoeing, kayaking, rafting, and parasailing at the lake. For me, the best memory of the lake has to be watching the sun rays disappear as I sat by the calm waters of the lake.
5. Moti Masjid
Moti Masjid is one of the best sightseeing places to visit in Bhopal. Perched on a raised plinth, the mosque was constructed by Sikander Jahan Begum. If you have ever been to Jama Masjid in Delhi, you will find a stark resemblance between the two structures.
The masjid is composed of cupolas and dark-pink minarets that really appealed to me. I caught a great view of the city standing in Moti Masjid’s courtyard.
6. Lower Lake
Another great addition to the ‘City of Lakes’ Bhopal is the Lower Lake. Being one of the most relaxing sightseeing places to visit in Bhopal, the Lower Lake has a distinct charm of its own. The calm waters, the soft breeze, and the picturesque surroundings made my visit to the place a very satisfying one. It instantly became one of my favourite spots in the city, one that I found really hard to leave. Also called ‘Chhota Talab’, the lake flows charmingly amidst captivating hills and captivates you with its serenity.
Tip: The other lakes that you can visit are Shahpura Lake and the Bhoj Wetland.
7. Van Vihar
Van Vihar is a zoological space and National Park that you can visit on your sightseeing trip of Bhopal. Located close to Shymala Hills, Van Vihar offers enchanting views of nature. A magnet for nature lovers, the area lets you spot several animals such as Nilgai, panthers, leopards, and many more. Even birds such as wagtails, bulbuls, kingfishers, etc. can be seen flying here. I took a safari ride here and spotted Nilgai and different birds. The park looks lovely, especially in the winter months.
Sightseeing near Bhopal
I had a long visit planned during my Bhopal travel, so I decided to visit the Great Stupa, one of the iconic sightseeing places near Bhopal. Being an ancient Buddhist monument in India, the stupa had always piqued my interest. Constructed way back in the 3rd century BCE, it is said to house Buddha’s ashes.
Although I spent a generous amount of time in Bhopal, I will definitely visit the city again. Even if you are touring some other part of Madhya Pradesh, do make at least a one or a two-day stop in Bhopal within your Madhya Pradesh tour itinerary.
I promise you that the rustic charm of Bhopal will stay with you long after you conclude your trip. All in all, the sightseeing places in Bhopal are sure to keep you hooked throughout.