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Anupriya Bedi Apr 04 2014

Which are the places to visit around Bhopal?

Reet Cheema Apr 04 2014
1 person found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Whether you are planning to visit or looking for a quick escape from Bhopal, we have a list of places to visit around Bhopal.

Islamnagar (11 km)

On the Bhopal-Berasia Road, almost directly to the north of the city, stands Islamnagar. It was once the royal seat of the city’s Afghan rulers. Built in 1714 by Dost Mohammed Khan, Islamnagar has landscaped gardens around the periphery of the palace.

Bhojpur (28 km)

Turn south-east from Bhopal to reach Bhojpur, founded by Raja Bhoj and the site of a magnificent 11th-century Shiva temple and a dam. The Bhojeshwar Temple, known as the Somnath of the East, has a richly carved shikhara (pinnacle), supported by four solid pillars. A legend has it that Mahmud Ghaznavi undertook its construction after the invasion of the original Somnath Temple. The lingam in the sanctum soars to 71/2 ft. Close by is a Jain shrine, which has a 20-foot statue of Shantinath. The dam is now a forlorn relic of a once great sandstone structure.

Bhimbetka Caves (46 km)

Further down south-east, you will find a historic site hedged by the Vindhya Ranges. Bhimbetka consists of 600 rock shelters dating back to 5,500-1,000 BCE. Set in the middle of the Ratapani Sanctuary (famous for its leopards, jackals and sloth bears), the shelters stretch for some 10 km. Here lies South Asia’s richest collection of prehistoric paintings.

Photo of Bhimbetka Caves (by Raveesh Vyas)

The etchings depict the lives of the cave dwellers — they are executed in a colourful medley of reds, greens, yellows and whites. Scenes of hunting, dancing, horse and elephant rides, animal fights, masks and household tableaux, chronicle lives long gone. Interestingly, the top crust in some paintings shows that the walls were repeatedly used. Fortunately, the colours have remained intact — thanks to the chemical reaction from the oxide present on the surface of the rocks.

Sanchi (68 km)

Inspiring peace with its very name, Sanchi lies to the north-east of Bhopal. UNESCO declared “the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence and… a major Buddhist centre in India until the 12th century CE” a World Heritage Monument in 1989. Most of the structures here date back to the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE and are in different states of conservation. But now, as is typical of India, Sanchi is marked by nothing more than a huddle of haphazard construction — a museum, a couple of guest houses, some wayside shops. Nevertheless, this is a place of incredible serenity and calm. The Great Stupa is the legacy of one of India’s most charismatic emperors, Ashoka.

There are a total of 50 monuments at Sanchi. The beautifully carved gateways depict the different stages of the Buddha’s life. Other noteworthy monuments at Sanchi are the Ashoka Pillar, the Buddhist Vihara, the Great Bowl and the Gupta Temple. The museum below the Sanchi hillock has on display, among other things, metal objects used by Buddhist monks of yore and the lion head of the Ashoka Pillar.

Vidisha (78 km)

This is a pretty little town, further north-east from Sanchi and Bhopal, on the fork between the Betwa and Bes rivers. It was known as Besnagar in the Pali scriptures. It is today dotted with white lime mortar temples, a 2ndcentury CE Brahmanical shrine and a museum stocking 9th-century CE sculptures and terracotta objects. Not far north from Vidisha stands the Heliodorous (or Garuda) Pillar, known locally as the Khambha Baba. This pillar carries 140 BCE inscriptions. Heliodorous of Taxila, an envoy of the Indo-Bactrian king, Antialkidas, raised it. The pillar is a perfect meld of Buddhist and Hellenic styles. Not to be missed are also the Lohangi Rock, Gumbaz-ka-Maqbara and the 11th CE Bijamandal Mosque at the centre of Vidisha hamlet.

Udaygiri Caves (82 km)

Directly north of Sanchi, this group of rock-cut cave sanctuaries is reached after travelling 4 km by road from Vidisha. It was sculpted during the reign of Chandragupta II (375-415 CE). Take in the beautiful design of the entrance, the massive pillars and the artful façade, albeit eroded by time and the elements. Cave 5 has a depiction of Vishnu in his Varaha avatar, holding aloft the Earth Goddess, Prithvi. Caves 1 and 9 are remarkable.

So, pick one from this list of places to visit around Bhopal and head there.

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