The Top 10 Things To See & Do In Bhopal

| @ Akshat Agrawal
Shreyas Kulkarni

Bhopal, the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, is a city of contrasts. In one side, there’s the Muslim-dominated Old City, a mesmerizing district of stunning mosques and vibrant markets. On the other side of Bhopal, the beauty of the Old City is countered by a bleak, sobering landscape: here you’ll find the infamous Union Carbide chemical plant, site of one of the world’s worst industrial tragedies, the Bhopal Disaster. Heading South you’ll find a more modernized and hopeful dimension of Bhopal, with wide roads, shopping complexes, and upmarket hotels and restaurants nestled comfortably in the Arera and Shamla Hills, which overlook the lakes and the Old City beyond. Read on for our guide to the top ten sights and activities to explore in this multifaceted city.

Bada Talaab From VIP Road

Upper Lake

Upper Lake or Bhojtal is the oldest manmade lake in India, said to have been built by the Parmara Raja Bhoj during his tenure as King of Malwa (1005–1055). It’s fabled that the waters of this lake cured the skin disease of the ailing king. Today, the Upper Lake serves as the major source of potable water for the residents of Bhopal. This lake also is a hub for fun water sports and other lakeside activities in Bhopal, such as sailing, paddle boating, and exhilarating motor boat rides. The beauty of this lake is only enhanced by the charms of the nearby Kamla Park.
Near CM House, Bhopal, India +91 755 2766750

2. Van Vihar National Park


Situated in the center of the city, the gorgeous Van Vihar National Park stretches across a staggering 445 hectares. This green expanse offers a new home to a wide variety of orphaned animals, brought in from other parts of the state or acquired in exchanges with other zoos. This is a unique national park where the herbivores roam freely, while the carnivores are enclosed in areas fitted with trenches and walls in order to prevent poaching. Predators like tigers and lions are fed mutton, while other animals like sambar, black buck and blue bull feed on the lush grass and other plant species growing in Van Vihar. The national park also shelters an admirable number of endangered species. This is a must-see for outdoorsy types and anyone interested in Indian wildlife.
Admission Fee: Budget
Opening hours: 9am-5pm

4. National Museum of Mankind

Building, Library, Museum

National Museum of Mankind

The National Museum of Mankind or the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya is the only museum in the world to combine its installations with actual tribal habitats, pairing exhibits of contemporary tribal cultures with actual-size dwellings of typical the tribal villages found in different Indian states. The features at this museum are broadly divided into three categories: open-air exhibitions, indoor galleries, and periodical or temporary exhibitions. The main building encompasses exhibition halls, a reference library, indoor and outdoor auditoriums, and other miscellaneous facilities in approximately 16 levels. Covered with Dholpur sandstone cladding from all sides and featuring authentic Kota stone flooring, this museum is a treat for the architecture alone, and a fantastic resource for learning about tribal lifestyles and histories all over India.
Price: Budget
Opening hours: 10am-5.30pm
Shymala Hills, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh +91 755 266 1458

5. Regional Science Centre

Regional Science Centre

Sanchi Stupa | © Eileen Delhi/Flickr

7. Bharat Bhavan

8. Za-aiqa


Unquestionably one of the best restaurants in Bhopal, you’ll find the brilliant Za-aiqa in the upscale heritage hotel Noor-Us-Sabah Palace. The restaurant serves Mughlai and Peshwari cuisine in a picturesque setting, with gorgeous views overlooking the lake, and an equally entrancing view of the see-through live display kitchen where you can watch as your meal is prepared. The meat and seafood here are the starring attractions, so come hungry and prepare for a sumptuous meal of biryani and fish tikka.
Price: High range
Opening hours: 12pm-3pm 7pm-11pm
Watch out for: their non-vegetarian platter

9. Bhopal Ropeway

Bhopal Ropeway

Manua bhan ki Tekri is a very famous Jain temple in Bhopal. To reach this secluded, sacred site, you have to use a special ropeway, which offers magnificent scenes of Bhopal along the way. The ropeway itself is a novel experience offering a unique perspective on the city, and once you’ve reached the temple, you can sit back and relax with the family while absorbing glorious Jain architecture and Bhopal’s exotic scenery.
Price: Budget
Opening hours: 10am-7pm
Sun City, Lalghati, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh +91 755 2766750

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