The city of lakes - Bhopal

36.8 13 Jun 2024

  • Known as the city of lakes for its natural and artificial lakes
  • The Bhojtal or Bada Talab is the largest man-made lake in India
  • The Taj-Ul-Masajid is one of the largest mosques in India.
  • The Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalay documents the lives of over 450 of India's Adivasi Tribes

The city of lakes - Bhopal

Bhopal, also known as the `the City of Begums` has a significant history. Between 1819 and 1926, it was ruled by the generation of Begums for over 100 years, who gave the city its waterworks, railways, postal system, and municipality. The Begums of Bhopal were great reformists and patrons of education, art, culture, and public works. They also built several great monuments, which still stand as testimonies to the city's celebrated past.

Bhopal is adorned by beautiful lakes and striking landscapes. Towards the north, you'll be welcomed by the old city that encompasses fascinating mosques, narrow alleys, amazing food corners, and buzzing chowks. On the other side of the upper lake is the new Bhopal. Modern, with wide roads, shopping complexes, plush hotels, and restaurants. Both contrasting sides are well-connected and offer something to everyone!


The Lakes

Bhopal, often known as the "City of Lakes," boasts two magnificent lakes, Upper Lake and Lower Lake.

Raja Bhoj constructed the Upper Lake, known as "Bada Talab," in the 11th century. The 36.1 sq km lake is flanked by a lovely garden and Kamla Park. It is the ideal location for water activities. The "Chota Talab" is located east of Upper Lake, and the two urban water bodies combined are referred to as "Bhoj Wetland". The lake's management also provides boat rides on paddle, sail, and motor boats in addition to sightseeing opportunities. One may enjoy the cool breeze and breathtaking views of Bhopal while riding.

Gohar Mahal

Qudsia Begum chose this vantage point along the road that circles the Upper Lake, to build her first-ever castle between 1819 and 1837. It serves as a magnificent historical sentinel, bearing witness to the splendours of Bhopal's renowned royal families. It is a fusion of Hindu and Mughal architectural traditions, covering an area of approximately 4.65 acres. The many portions of this maze-like structure are reached through winding passageways and steep flights of stairs that provide a breathtaking view of the Upper Lake.

One can shop for traditional handicrafts at the government emporium, Mrignayani located here. Gohar Mahal is a protected site and is a venue for frequent craft fairs.

Birla Mandir

The impressive Lakshmi Narayan Temple or Birla Mandir was constructed by Hindustan Charity Trust between 1960 and 1964. It is located on the highest peak of the Arera hills, now known as Lakshminarayana Giri. The ochre and red building feature a sacred yellow flag perched atop the spire and is decorated with holy Hindu symbols. The temple offers panoramic views of both the old and new Bhopal from its campus. It is silhouetted against the clear sky and surrounded by lush, well-kept lawns. Beside the temple, there is a Birla museum which houses some amazing artefacts and antique sculptures.

Van Vihar National Park

The Van Vihar National Park is a zoological park that is bordered by Upper Lake. The park is spread over 445 hectares and is home to several wild animals like tiger, lion, bear, hyena and herbivores like cheetal, sambhar, and blackbuck. The atmosphere of the park is filled with the constant chirping of numerous birds in the park. So far, over 200 species have been listed, including the Common Greenshank, Eurasian Spoonbill, Grey Hornbill, cormorants, etc. The proximity to the lake adds beauty to its landscape.

Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya

South of the Upper Lake sprawls the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya a.k.a. the National Museum of Man, the largest anthropological museum in India, and one of the biggest in Asia. On an undulating terrain of over 200 acres, one can see an open-air exhibition of human habitations. Life-size dwelling units of the tribal, coastal and Himalayan villages are built in traditional architectural styles using indigenous raw materials, housing different ethnographic objects.

Tribal Museum

The Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum in Bhopal takes you on an immersive journey through the culture and tells the stories of tribal heritage through full-scale models and colourful art installations and performances. It is one of the best museums in India where one can also witness magnificent traditional music, dance and drama performances hosted by the museum.

Regional Science Center

Nestled atop Shyamla Hills in Bhopal, Regional Science Center is more than just a museum. It's a captivating journey into the world of science and technological wonder. Boasting over 300 enthralling exhibits, it attractively packages entertainment with education. Along with this, the center also hosts sky observation events on weekends, allowing visitors to explore more about celestial bodies in the sky. It's a place where you can explore cutting-edge technology, question the mysteries of the universe, and marvel at the beauty of science. 

Whether you're a curious student or a science enthusiast, this is a must-visit. 

Taj-ul- Masjid

Literally meaning the 'crown of mosques', Taj-ul-Masajid is one of the most prominent tourist attractions of Bhopal. Touching the skyline, the massive proportions of the Taj-ul-Masajid leave one awestruck. This imposing three-storey, pink sandstone structure, measures 160 m from east to west.

Fascinated by the Jama Masjid in Delhi, Shah Jahan Begum wanted a replica to be built in Bhopal. However, the structure of Taj-ul-Masajid was found to be much larger in comparison to Shah Jahan's Jama Masjid.

Kerwa Dam

This is one of the most serene dams of Bhopal. The natural landscape is breathtaking and attracts innumerable visitors and locals who come here for an outing with family and friends for casual hangouts and picnics. MPT Kerwa Resort is a comfortable accommodation in Bhopal situated close to Kerwa Dam where you plan a leisurely stay.


There are many excursions from Bhopal, which you can plan while exploring the City of lakes.

Bhojpur Temple: The majestic Bhojpur temple is just 29 km from Bhopal. The temple is about 1000 years old and dates to the reign of Raja Bhoj, the legendary Parmar monarch of Dhar. Even today, during the Shivaratri celebrations, this temple draws a sizable number of devotees of Lord Shiva.

Bhimbetka Rock Shelters: On the highway leading to Hoshangabad, the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka are situated about 45 km to the southeast of Bhopal. The site is 10 km long and around 3 km wide.

Sanchi Stupa: Sanchi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated 49 km from Bhopal, known for its stupas, pillars and stunning gateways.

Jagdishpur: The forgotten capital of Bhopal, Jagdishpur is just 15 km from the city of lakes. Famous for its rich legacy, one can explore Chaman Mahal, Rani Mahal and Gond Mahal during their trip to Jagdishpur.

Beejasan Mata Temple, Salkanpur: Vindhyavasni Beejasan devi temple, dedicated to the goddess Durga, is one of the major spiritual tourist destinations situated in the Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh. It is located around 70 km from Bhopal by road and the nearest railway station is Hoshangabad.


One can explore this city throughout the year, but the best time to visit Bhopal is between August to February. Bhopal being located on a hilly area, is enriched with scenic views that emerge during the monsoon and winter season. During this time, the streams and lakes of Bhopal are brimming with fresh water and the lush greenery flourish through the entire city.


By Air: Raja Bhoj Airport in Bhopal is situated at a distance of 15 km from the city centre. Bhopal is well-connected to other major airports in the country.

By Rail: Bhopal Junction (Station Code: BPL), located near Hamidia Road is the main railway station of Bhopal. The newly inaugurated Rani Kamlapati Railway station is also one of the major stations of the city. Bhopal is on one of the two main Delhi to Mumbai railway lines and also on the main line to the southern state capitals of Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Thiruvananthapuram.

By Road: There are extensive bus services (private and state) to cities within the region and interstate. The major Bus stand of Bhopal, ISBT is located just 3.5 km from Rani Kamlapati Railway station.

Rural Life Experiences Around Bhopal

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Visit Shaurya Smarak in Bhopal

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In the wild at night

There is nothing exhilarating for a wildlife enthusiast to see an animal in its natural habitat. And an encounter at night is even more thrilling. Now, enjoy night safaris at Van Vihar National Park & Zoo, Bhopal, between 7 pm and 10 pm. Keep your eyes ope to spot deer, sambar, nilgai and other herbivores wandering in a green expanse.

Explore Narsinghgarh Fort Near Bhopal

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Walks and Trails

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Bhopali Tea Stall

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Food Court at DB Mall

Be it a get together with family or friends, or you wish to spend an evening simply enjoying your favourite snacks then do visit the food court at DB Mall. The cheerful ambience here will light up your mood and you can enjoy your meals listening to some good music.

Sulemani Chai

Explore the special variety of tea served with a glob of cream at Jamal Bhai Tea Shop, famous for its Sulemani Chai.

Zari Zardozi in Old City

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Shopping at Bhopal Haat

Bhopal Haat is a one stop solution for those who wish to enjoy a bit of cultural scene in the city of lakes and also shop to their heart's content. Art and culture lovers get to witness various cultural events and fairs are organised wherein artisans get to showcase their creativity via handlooms, handicrafts etc.

Fish Dishes at Halali Highway Treat

Don't forget to take a halt at Halali Highway Treat and treat your tummy with mouth-watering menu offering fish recipes.

Shahpura Street Food

When it comes to trying out the street food culture in the city of lakes- Bhopal, Shahpura street tops the wishlist of foodies. With umpteen snack options to try out, you can even enjoy a nice sunset view at Shahpura lake.

Sagar Gaire

Do head to Sagar Gaire for their extremely popular sandwich varieties. The menu offers a wide range of other tempting snacks too and you have a nice get together with your friends or family at this outlet in Bhopal.

Manohar Diary

When it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth, there is simply no match for Manohar Dairy in Bhopal. With 2 functional outlets in the city this extremely popular joint also provides the facility to dine.

Best Places to visit

Sair Sapata

Gauhar Mahal

Moti Masjid

Sadar Manzil


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MPT Palash Residency, Bhopal

Price: INR 3590 - 5990 Phone: (0755) 2553006 / 2553066 / 2553076 / 3259000

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Banyan Tree Farms's Homestay in Bhopal

Price: Rs 1750/ per room per night Phone: 7024243391, 7024243392, 9425009102

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Nearby destinations

Sacred Sanchi (48 KM)

The town of Sanchi is synonymous with Buddhist Stupas - hemispherical structures typically containing relics of the Buddha or his followers. The Stupas of Sanchi were constructed on the orders of



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Cave paintings dating back to approximately 30,000 years. Rock shelters that were home to humans, millennia ago. And a rich flora and fauna surrounding these, indeed, make Bhimbetka a gift to us



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