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Bhopal

Bhopal vacation package to explore the land of history and culture

Bhopal Tourism in MP beckons tourists from all parts of the world. Tour to Bhopal to explore imposing architectural marvels and magnificent lakes. Bhopal vacation package covers various acclaimed temples and mosques built in the days of yore. Make sure of ample time in hand to explore the various Tourist Attraction in Bhopal.

Bhopal is known as the the city of lakes. The capital of the state Madhya Pradesh and home to 1,519,100 people, Bhopal is also an industrial town (cotton industry, chemical industry, jewel processing), and a cultural center with a university, music academy, theater, movie theaters, museums and some of the best infrastructure (airports, highways and rail system). Bhopal is located along the artificial gigantic, 102-square-mile Upper Lake on the Vindhya plateau.

Bhopal’s name dates back to the 11th century, when Raja Bhoj (1010-1053), was Parmar king of Dhar. Originally the city was called Bhojpal, after the names ‘Bhoj’, king of Dhar and ‘pal’ which means dam. Dams were constructed by the king to form the lakes, which surrounds Bhopal. At the end of the 17th century Dost Muhammad Khan (1672-1740), an opportunistic soldier of fortune, former soldier and former general of the great Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (1618-1707), conquered the region in order to erect his own state after the ruin of the Mughal Empire. In 1723, Bhopal was declared the capital of the principality and remained so until 1956.

The Islamic dynasty established by Dost Muhammad Khan became one of the most important ruler families of central India. Therefore, one can see clearly the influence of Islamic culture and architecture in Bhopal. The city is full of old and beautiful mosques. Members of the royal family belonged to the favored few under Great Britain’s viceroys. They were always honored by a 19 gun salute in recognition of their support of General Thomas Goddard (1740-1783) in his march on the Hindu state of Marathas during 1778. From 1820 until 1926 the principality was reigned solely by women. The Begums (princess) led the scepter behind the Parda and led the erection of noble buildings including the three mosques made of sandstone which are the “picture” of today’s Bhopal.

On December 3 1984 over 3000 died and more than 20,000 people were injured after Methyl isocyanides (MIC), leaked from a defective tank in the plant of the American chemical group Union Carbide Corporation.

While in Bhopal you will have the chance to visit many sites including the Jami Masjid which towers over the old city area. The mosque, with its red sandstone walls and stout minarets, was built in 1837 at the request of Qudsia Begum (1801-1881), the first female ruler of Bhopal. On the east side of the city stands the Moti Masjid, a pearl mosque erected in 1860 by Qudsias, daughter of Sikander Begum (1818-1858). Its slim minarets with golden tips and sandstone dome are remarkable.

The most impressive building found in Bhopal is the Darul Uloom Tajul Masjid, one of largest mosques in India. Its colossal pink-colored minarets, that overpower the cityscape, earned the mosque the name ‘the mother of all mosques’.
Also worth seeing while in Bhopal is the Adivasi center. Located on the east shore of the lake, Adivasi will let you experience the life of Indian tribes in their natural environment. You can also visit the University of Bhopal which opened in 1970.

In addition to the sites within town, make sure you allow some time to visit the Buddhist Stupas in Sanchi, the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka and the Udaigiri caves. On a hill in the vicinity of the small village Sanchi in central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage centers of the world, and is where you’ll find the world’s oldest, 2000-year-old Buddhist Stupas. The stupas symbolize the holy tree of life and Buddha’s enlightenment.

Sanchi does not stand in direct connection with life of Buddha, but rather with emperor Ashoka. After the death of Buddha, there was the period of great Maurya emperor Ashoka (reigned around 268 B.C. to 232 B.C.), who after fighting several wars and killing thousands of people converted himself to the religion of Buddhism and helped it to spread it across the country. He sent his son and daughter to various countries of Asia including Srilanka to preach Buddhism and spread its teachings. During the Ashoka period Buddhism reached its glorious period when 84,000 large and small Stupas were erected in honor of Buddha. His role in the spread of Buddhism is comparable with Constantine’s fight for Christianity.

Great Stupa of Sanchi

The most famous building of Sanchi is the hemispherical brick structure, the Great Stupa. It consists of a terrace-shaped substructure, the actual Stupa. Surrounded by four portals decorated with sculptures, there is a platform crowned by a conical spiral. The Stupa of Sanchi is 51-feet-high and recognized by scientists as the ideal type of the Buddhist Stupa. It is a massive, windowless relic shrine and fulfills a symbolic function. Each Stupa allows a believer expression of their own beliefs, acts as a sign for others to stop and worship, and allows others to share the teachings of Buddha. According to the legend, every Stupa includes at least one grain of Buddha’s ashes. The four entrances to the Stupas are decorated with four magnificent gates.

The gates’ detailed relief work exhibit the high mastery of the stonemason art during this period of India. Each gate features a different scene of Buddha’s life: The western gate shows the seven incarnations of Buddha, the first sermon of Buddha and the temptations of Buddha. At the southern gate, the scenes are depicted relating to the birth of Buddha. The eastern gate shows Gautama Buddha leaving his fatherly palace in order to seek the truth in the seclusion. Best preserved is the most artistic northern gate which details Buddha’s accomplishments and the miracles ascribed to Buddha.

You’ll walk away from your visit peaceful and with a renewed look on life, as you’ve had the chance to relive Buddha’s life by viewing the scenes that decorate the gates. Today the Stupa is used as a peaceful place of mediation and the gates symbolize sympathy, tolerance and peace.

The Stupa was discovered during 1818 by the British officer, General Taylor, who accidently ran into the ruins. In 1881 professional restoration began on the gates and Stupa. Then between 1912 and 1919 under the direction of the archeologist Sir John Marshall further restorations helped return the buildings to their current condition. In 1989 UNESCO added the Stupas and the surrounding buildings (temples, gates, monasteries and other religious buildings) to its list of world cultural heritage sites.

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka

When you visit the rock caves of Bhimbetka you’ll be stepping into the area where the oldest traces of human life were found. The 9000-year-old caves carved dring the Stone Age lie at the southern foot of the Vindhyan Mountains in the central Indian plateau in Madhya Pradesh. The caves’ rock paintings illustrate the everyday life of the former cave dwellers and exhibit traditions still carried on by the inhabitants of 21 villages around the rock shelters. The oldest rock drawings date from the Mesolithic period and include paintings of animals like Elephants, Sambar, Bisons and Deer, plus hunting scenes, hunters, skeletons of bison, communal dancing and drinking. It is a miracle that these paintings are not faded with the passage of time as the “paint” was made out of colored stones, vegetable dyes, and animal fats. The brushes might have consisted of plant fibers.

In 2003 the rock shelters were added by UNESCO to its list of world culture heritage sites.

Udaigiri caves

The Udaigiri rock caves are located near the old Indian city Vidisha, located northeast of Bhopal. They are from the Hindu culture and from the 5th-century Chandragupta II.

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