Welcome To Bhopal

Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, is a fascinating amalgam of scenic beauty, old historic city and modern urban planning. It is the 11th century city Bhojpal, founded by Raja Bhoj, but the present city was established by an Afghan soldier, Dost Mohammed (1707-1740). His descendants build Bhopal into a beautiful city. The city attracted international attention in December 1984 after the Bhopal disaster, when a Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide manufacturing plant (now owned by Dow Chemical Company) leaked a mixture of deadly gases composed mainly of methyl isocyanate, leading to one of the worst industrial disasters in the world's history. The Bhopal disaster continues to be a part of the socio-political debate and a logistical challenge for the people of Bhopal.

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Demographics

Geography

History

Tourist Attractions

Demographics

According to the 2011 census, the population of the Bhopal city (the area under Bhopal Municipal Corporation) is 1,798,218, with 936,168 males and 862,050 females. The population of the Bhopal metropolitan area (the urban agglomeration that extends beyond Bhopal city) was 1,883,381 in 2011. The total effective literacy rate (for population aged 7+ years) was 85.24%, with male and female literacy respectively at 89.2% and 80.1%. Out of Bhopal's total population, 1.25 million were Hindus (71%), 0.5 million or 500,000 were Muslims (27%), and rest were Jains, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and others. Almost all the people of Bhopal speak Hindi. But, on the other hand, pure Hindi is not spoken always; instead, the language spoken by common people is rather mingled with massive Urdu vocabulary. Therefore, Hindustani is more common than pure Hindi. However, amongst 0.5m Muslims, bilingualism is often found, the actual native language of Muslims is solely Urdu, but they regard themselves as native Hindi-Urdu or Hindustani speakers Most of the Christians in Bhopal are from Kerala and tribal states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha .But there are some remaining descendants of French nobility, who settled in India to escape wrath of commoner during the French revolution

Geography

Bhopal has an average elevation of 500 metres (1401 ft). Bhopal is located in the central part of India, and is just north of the upper limit of the Vindhya mountain ranges. Located on the Malwa plateau, it is higher than the north Indian plains and the land rises towards the Vindhya Range to the south. The city has uneven elevation and has small hills within its boundaries. The prominent hills in Bhopal are Idgah hills and Shyamala hills in the northern region, Katara hills in southern region. City's geography has in it two lakes namely upper lake and lower lake. It has two big lakes, collectively known as the Bhoj Wetland. These lakes are the Upper Lake (now renamed to Bhojtal) and the Lower Lake. Locally these are known as the Bada Talab (literally, big lake) and Chota Talab (literally, small lake) respectively. The Upper Lake drains into the Kolar River. The Van Vihar National Park is a national park situated besides the Upper Lake. Bhopal has a humid subtropical climate, with cool, dry winters, a hot summer and a humid monsoon season. Summers start in late March and go on till mid-June, the average temperature being around 30 °C (86 °F), with the peak of summer in May, when the highs regularly exceed 40 °C (104 °F). The monsoon starts in late June and ends in late September. These months see about 40 inches (1020 mm) of precipitation, frequent thunderstorms and flooding. The average temperature is around 25 °C (77 °F) and the humidity is quite high. Temperatures rise again up to late October when winter starts, which lasts up to early March. Winters in Bhopal are cool, sunny and comfortable, with average daily temperatures around 16 °C (61 °F) and little or no rain. The winter peaks in January when temperatures may drop close to freezing on some nights. Lowest temperature ever recorded was 0.3C. Total annual rainfall is about 1146 mm (46 inches).

History

According to folklore, Bhopal is said to have been founded by the king Bhoja of the Paramara dynasty (AD 1000–1055), who ruled from his capital at Dhar. This theory states that Bhopal was originally known as Bhojpal after a dam ("pal") constructed by the king's minister. No available archaeological evidence, inscriptions or historical texts support the claim about an earlier settlement founded by Bhoja at the same place, although a temple complex constructed by him exists at Bhojpur, which is located 28 km from Bhopal. An alternative theory says that the city is named after another king called Bhupala (or Bhupal). In the early 18th century, Bhopal was a small village in the local Gond kingdom. The modern Bhopal city was established by Dost Mohammad Khan (1672–1728), an Afghan soldier in the Mughal army. After the death of the emperor Aurangzeb, Khan started providing mercenary services to several local chieftains in the politically unstable Malwa region. In 1709, he took on the lease of Berasia estate, and later annexed several territories in the region to establish the Bhopal State. Khan received the territory of Bhopal from the Gond queen Kamlapati in lieu of payment for mercenary services, and usurped her kingdom after her death. In the 1720s, he built the Fatehgarh fort in the village, which developed into the city of Bhopal over the next few decades.In 1818, Bhopal became a British princely state. Between 1819 and 1926, it was ruled by four women, Begums, – unique in the royalty of those days - under British suzerainty. Qudsia Begum was the first woman ruler, who was succeeded by her only daughter Sikandar Begum, who in turn was succeeded by her only daughter, Shahjehan Begum. Sultan Jahan Begum was the last woman ruler, who after 25 years of rule, abdicated in favour of her son, Hamidullah Khan. The rule of Begums gave the city its waterworks, railways, a postal system and a municipality constituted in 1907. Bhopal State was the second-largest Muslim-ruled princely state, the first being Hyderabad. After the independence of India in 1947, the last Nawab expressed his wish to retain Bhopal as a separate unit. Agitations against the Nawab broke out in December 1948, leading to the arrest of prominent leaders including Shankar Dayal Sharma. Later, the political detainees were released, and the Nawab signed the agreement for Bhopal's merger with the Union of India on 30 April 1949. The Bhopal state was taken over by the Union Government of India on 1 June 1949. Hindu Sindhi refugees from Pakistan were accommodated in Bairagarh, a western suburb of Bhopal (now renamed to Sant Hirdaram Nagar). According to the States Reorganization Act of 1956, the Bhopal state was integrated into the state of Madhya Pradesh, and Bhopal was declared as its capital. The population of the city rose rapidly thereafter.

Tourist Attractions

Bhojtal  formerly known as Upper Lake, is a large lake which lies on the western side of the city with a small island called Shah Ali Shah Island. The lake was created after the Lower Lake since the population of the city increased. It is a major source of drinking water for the residents of the city. Along with the nearby Chhota Talaab, meaning small lake in Hindi, Bhojtal constitutes the so-called Bhoj Wetland. The lake was created by constructing an earthen dam across the Kolans River. An eleven gate dam called the Bhadbhada dam was constructed at Bhadbhada in 1965 at the southeast corner of the Lake, and now controls the outflow to the river Kaliasote. The lake was called Upper Lake or Bada Talab ("Big Pond") until March 2011, and thereafter it was officially renamed as Bhojtaal. A statue of Raja Bhoj was also installed on a pillar on one corner of the lake.About 10 kilometres from the city is Hathaikheda, a place for water and fishing sports.

Bhimbetka Caves are about 35 kilometers from Bhopal city. They have evidence of dwellings of pre-historic man during the Paleolithic era. Rock paintings in the caves are specimens of pre-historic settlements in India. There are about 600 caves, but only 12 are open for visitors. The caves are located in the midst of sal and teak forests. They were discovered by Wakankar in 1957. UNESCO declared Bhimbetka Caves as a World Heritage Site in 2003.

Taj-ul-Masajid, which literally means "The Crown of Mosques", is the largest mosque in Bhopal. The mosque is also used as a madrasah (Islamic school) during the day time."Taj-ul-Masajid". The mosque features Mughal architecture. The Jama Masjid of Bhopal, built in 1837, has an inner sanctum built out of marble. The Moti Masjid or the Mosque of Pearls is situated in the center of Bhopal. The Moti Masjid was built in 1860 by Sikandar Begum, and became an important landmark of Bhopal. Sikandar Begum's practice of dressing like a man and public appearances without a veil, led Bhopal to be known for its relatively liberated, progressive women. Shaukat Mahal And Sadar Manzil is in the walled city. Designed by a Frenchman, it reflects a fusion of post-Renaissance and Gothic styles to Islamic architecture. Gohar Mahal, is situated behind Shaukat Mahal on the banks of the Upper Lake. It was built in 1820. The Mahal is an expression of the fusion of Hindu and Mughal architecture.