Bhopal Travel Guide
Bhopal – the name of this Indian city strikes fear in the heart of Westerners. Most associate it with one of the world’s worst environmental disasters. In 1984, a Union Carbide plant leached deadly chemicals, killing between 2,250 and 8,000.
More than half a million suffered injuries from the release, making this the worst industrial incident in history. Today, however, the city has recovered, offering visitors a pleasant stay while they visit attractions in the area.
Stone Age homes, Buddhist cultural sights, and other attractions await – don’t leave Bhopal off your list.
Soon after arriving in Bhopal, make plans with a tour agency to see the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka. This attraction is a series of caves and rock shelters inhabited by people between 100,000 and 30,000 years ago. The latter was put together by these tribes, making their walls and floors the oldest in the entire world.
Within some of these enclosures, you’ll find rock paintings depicting life in the Paleolithic and Mesolithic eras. Because of its immense historical significance, UNESCO recognized this place as a World Heritage Site in 2003. Located 45 kilometres from Bhopal, it is easily reachable on a day tour, so don’t miss it.
Bhopal is also home to some significant religious points of interest. When in the area, make a trip out to the Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi. This complex is home to pillars, gateways, and carved reliefs.
However, all pale in comparison to the grandeur of the Great Stupa. Built in the 2nd century BC for Emperor Ashoka, this dome served to enshrine relics of the Buddha. As you may your way through the complex, there is more to admire than just old structures. On the walls, reliefs depict the life of the Buddha through a series of illustrated tales. You can find these detailed artworks everywhere, so give yourself enough time to appreciate everything.
While this UNESCO World Heritage Site is also outside Bhopal City, it is situated close by to the Sanchi rail station. This fact makes it an easy day trip, so ensure this attraction makes it on to your itinerary.
Learn how the tribes of Central India once lived by paying a visit to the Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum. Opened in 2013, it endeavours to teach people about the hunter/gatherer tribes that once lived off the land.
As you make your way through, you’ll learn about the art, rituals, and other cultural aspects of these tribes. For only 250 Rupees, the long-forgotten legacy of seven tribes will be brought to life – check it out.
Dive deeper into the development of human society in India by visiting the National Museum of Mankind. Known locally as the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, this institution tells the story of India from the Stone Age through to the development of various civilizations.
This complex has indoor and outdoor components. The indoor portions have displays with everything from arrowheads to pottery, while outdoor parts show off different housing styles.
Check out wildlife common to Central India by exploring Van Vihar National Park. It is not a traditional national park – rather, it more closely resembles a zoological park. Set over four square kilometres, it is a cosy place.
For this reason, zoo officials have separated carnivorous and plant-eating animals from each other. Herbivores (antelope, boars, monkeys) roam freely, while carnivores (tigers, wolves, etc) are penned and fed by park rangers.
Military buffs will want to include Yodhasthal on their Bhopal itinerary. Here, you’ll learn about the battles the Indian army has fought over the years. On display are the guns, tanks, planes, helicopters, and other hardware they use to accomplish their missions.
Do your kids need to burn some energy while you check out more exhibits? This attraction has a rock climbing wall that will keep them occupied as you explore this exciting museum further.
Bhopal, like most Indian cities, can get extremely hectic at times. If you are getting stressed during your time here, spend some time on the shores of Bhojtal Lake. While city engineers increased its size in the 1960s, legend maintains King Bhoj created it in the 11th century.
In the evening, locals head out onto its placid surface in boats of all shapes and sizes. If you’re not up for a ride, you can enjoy a walk, as locals do every morning and evening. Grab a snack from a food stall and watch as the sun sets – magnificent!
Is the weather not cooperating during your stay in Bhopal? Salvage your day by heading to the DB City Mall. Opened in 2010, it has become a popular place for locals to shop, eat, and socialize. Within, you’ll find 135 stores, five restaurants, a massive food court, and a six-screen multiplex.