A Travel Guide to Bhopal

Bhopal Airport Directory (BHO)
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Bhopal is steeped in history, which is visible through the century-old temples, stupas, caves, and forts. Bhopal was formerly known as 'Bhoj-pal' after Raja Bhoj, who is said to have founded the city. Said to have been ruled by the Nawabs' wives, the city's beautiful landmarks are enough to make you fall in love with the place. It is a charming city with a fantastic blend of two different cityscapes, an old town filled with ancient mosques, chowks, narrow alleys, old bazaars and impressive havelis in the north, and the new Bhopal, towards the south. This part features wide roads, swanky shopping complexes, lavish hotels, and restaurants. Once you come here, you can expect an extensive travel guide to wondrous places. 

Best time to visit

The ideal months to visit Bhopal are from October to February. It is the best time to explore the city and walk around beautiful attractions. 

How to reach Bhopal

  • By air: Raja Bhoj Airport or Bhopal Airport is about 15km northwest. IndiGo now provides direct flights to Bhopal from several other destinations.
  • By train: Bhopal has two main railway stations - Habibganj Railway Station in New Bhopal and Bhopal Railway Station in Old Bhopal. The city is well-connected to all major parts of the town through a vast network of trains.
  • By bus: Bhopal has a vast network of state-run and privately-run buses, connecting the city to nearby towns.
  • Getting around in Bhopal: The public transportation in Bhopal includes buses, mini-buses, auto-rickshaws and tempos. There are full-sized buses called 'Red Buses' operated by a private firm and taxis are also available at reasonable rates.

Most spoken languages in Bhopal

  • English
  • Hindi
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Places to visit in Bhopal

  • Bhojtal or Bada Talaab: Bhopal has an abundance of natural beauty. So, start your trip with the most famous spot Bhojtal, also known as the Bada Talab. The lake has a substantial historical relevance as it is said to have cured skin disease of Raja Bhoj. Constructed in the 11th century, it is India's largest man-made lake and a primary source of drinking water for the residents of Bhopal, supporting flora and fauna of the region as well. You can enjoy the beauty of the lake by boating or indulging in water sports. There is also another lake known as Chhota Talab near the Bada Talab, separated by an over-bridge.
  • Van Vihar National Park: Alongside the Bada Talab, surrounding the hills lies Van Vihar National Park. Home to tigers, lions, leopards, hyenas, birds, and bears is the most significant animal conservation area developed by the Forest Department of Madhya Pradesh in the middle of the city. The best part of this park is you can find animals in their natural habitat.
  • Taj-Ul-Masajid: This is an impressive 19th century structure, Taj-Ul-Masajid, meaning 'Crown Among Mosques'. Shah Jahan Begum – Bhopal's third female ruler, wanted to build the world's largest mosques, but it was not completed until the time of her death in the 1980s. White domes, two 18-storey high minarets, a prayer hall with 27 scalloped ceiling domes, and a vast courtyard adorned India's largest mosque and counted among Asia's largest mosques. 
  • Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS): Also known as National Museum of Humankind or Museum of Man, this anthropology museum tells you the story of man's evolution. It lies on the Shyamla Hills covering an area of about 200 acres. The museum features few permanent exhibitions categorised as open exhibitions, indoor galleries and temporary/periodical exhibitions. Bhopal also boasts of several other museums that are worth visiting. The list includes state museums spread over 17 galleries comprising paintings, rare Jain sculptures, fossils and rare Bagh paintings. 
  • Gauhar Mahal: A great testimony to Bhopal's rich legacy, Gauhar Mahal was built by the first female ruler of the city, Qudisiya Begum in 1820. Located alongside the Bada Talab, the palace showcases the fine craftsmanship of Nawabi era. The palace's architecture is a mix of Hindu and Mughal architecture, and its intricate jharokhas, woodwork mirror, and ancient painting are worth noticing.
  • Lakshmi Narayana Temple: Located near Chhota Talaab, Lakshmi Narayan temple's brilliant architecture in yellow colour is a sight to experience. Try to visit the temple during the day as it looks stunning and reflects the influence of ancient Indian architecture in the form of wooden chhattries (umbrellas) and shell roof.
  • Kerwa Dam: If you want to get closer to nature, take a trip to Kerwa Dam, a prime eco-tourism site in Bhopal. Experience cool breeze amidst scenic mountains and beautiful flora and fauna and enjoy a host of activities, including bird spotting and sightseeing.
  • The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka Ghat: The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka Ghat is a must-visit while in Bhopal. With over 700 rock shelters in the cave having rock painting, the whole place takes you on a journey into the ancient times, giving an insight into the ancient arts. You will also notice small stupas and inscription from the Maurya/Sunga period. Zoo Rock, Boar Rock, and an Auditorium Rock Shelter are also a part of the Bhimbetka premises.

Places to eat in Bhopal

Under the Mango Tree
Under the Mango Tree

It is Jehan Numa palace’s best restaurant that specialises in tandoor dishes (both veg and non-veg) and barbecued kebabs. Almost all the cuisines listed on their menu are superb but the sampler platter of mixed kebabs is a must try.

Bapu Ki Kutia
Bapu Ki Kutia

Since 1964, Bapu ki Kutia is known to serve delicious Indian veg dishes. Be prepared to share your table with locals and hear out the local facts about the city.

Jameel Hotel
Jameel Hotel

Fulfill your love for biryani at Jameel Hotel. Don’t worry about the price, even if you have less, you can be sure to get your stomach filled with delicious biryani. For the past 50 years, it has maintained its quality. Also try their other specialities like Mutton Stew, Keema Kaleji and Tandoori Roti.


If you are in search for south Indian food in Bhopal then head to Sankalp. The place offers a creatively designed menu with a slight twist in the flavours. It is known for its quality and quantity. Dig in to their Chettinad Dosa, crispy Kara Mura Dosa and Kanchipuram Idli along with Telangana Aloo in the starters.


Shopping in Bhopal

  • New Market: If you want to see Bhopal's modern shopping arena, then head out to New Market, filled with shopping centres and malls.
  • Chowk Bazaar: To experience a local shopping in Bhopal, you must take a stroll in the narrow alleys of the old city market or Chowk Bazaar. The narrow lanes here are the hub for Bhopal's ancient traditions, practices and lifestyle. The city's signature embroidery art – Zardosi craft is in preparation for the past 300 years, exquisite beadwork, Chanderi and Maheshwari sarees. You can get clothes, purses or shoes designed in different craft forms here.
  • Habibganj Market: This is another market that gives you the local shopping experience. You will see lines of shops selling cheap trendy accessories, to bags, shoes, apparels amongst others at a reasonable price. But make sure you do bargain while you shop from this market.

Some of the shopping malls in Bhopal:

  • Aura Mall
  • Capital Mall
  • Gammon Mall (Shrishti CBD)
  • City Walk Mall
  • Vardhaman Mall
  • DB City Mall
  • Aashima Anupama Mall

Where to stay in Bhopal


Swistar Guest House Located close to the Raja Bhoj Airport, Inter-State Bus Terminal and also several tourist spots, Swistar Guest House is ideal for regular travellers. It offers a comfortable stay backed by all necessary amenities.


Noor-Us-Sabah Hotel It’s a 3-star heritage property, offering the best views in Bhopal. The hotel offers all sorts of modern amenities starting from a swimming pool, business centre, gift shop among others. The cherry on the top is its location, that makes it close to famous tourist attractions.


Hotel Shikhar Palace Offering a warm stay to its guests, Hotel Shikhar Palace is a perfect budget hotel to stay, featuring nicely decorated and spacious rooms.


Hotel Nirmal residency If you are looking for a comfortable stay near to all relevant locations, then consider Hotel Nirmal residency. Spread over four floors, the hotel boasts of 39 well-designed rooms equipped with amenities like mini bar, wardrobe, flat-screen TV amongst other.

Places to visit near Bhopal

  • Sanchi: A well-known Buddhist pilgrim site needs no introduction. Sanchi offers spectacular views and insights into the Buddhist religion. It is about 45km from Bhopal, easily reachable by road.
  • Khajuraho: A fantastic getaway to experience ancient art in the form of figurines and statues, Khajuraho is about 383km from Bhopal.
  • Jabalpur: It is another excellent nearby location to travel from Bhopal, featuring an abundance of natural beauty. You can visit Kanha National Park, Dhuandhar falls, Balancing rocks and many more, Jabalpur is a delightful city to visit.
  • Gwalior: A small city with a rich historical significance. The magnificent Gwalior Fort and the superb Scindia palace are few of the landmarks to visit in the city.

Nightlife in Bhopal

  • Black Mamba
  • 10 Downing Street
  • Trio
  • High Spirits

Festivals in Bhopal

  • Diwali: Diwali is celebrated with great fervour and adds more brightness to the city. Social gathering, fair, food and fun are the essential features of the festival.
  • Ijtima: Ijtima, an important festival of Muslim is popularly celebrated in Bhopal. This festival is held every year and stretches for three days Muslim pilgrims come from various regions in Bhopal on this auspicious festival. Even non-Muslims gather during the auspicious occasion. Large fair is also held during the three days of the festival.
  • Ram Navami: The festival dedicated to mark the birth of Lord Rama is celebrated on Chaitra month's ninth day. People in Bhopal celebrate it with great devotion. Devotees take a bath in the early dawn. Pure water and nd prayers are offered to the Sun.
  • National Drama Festival: National Drama Festival is celebrated in September with great pomp and show. Artists, poets, writers gather in large number to showcase their talent. Folk dance, song and cultural activities add more glitter to the festival.
  • Bharat Bhavan Summer Festival: Bharat Bhavan Summer Festival is one of the significant festivals of with a high degree of high recognition and acceptance in Bhopal. Celebrated with great zest every year. Traditional music, songs, poem concerts, folk dance, art exhibition make it a cultural fest.
  • Dhrupad Samaroh: This festival is one of the most popular festivals of the city, and it is celebrated with great excitement. This festival sets the platform for the promotion of classical music. Noted artists present soul-stirring vocal and music performances. The classical music lovers come from various corner of the world to relish the festival. Dhrupad Samaroh in Bhopal provides unique opportunities to get classical experiences.
  • Lokrang: This traditional festival of Lake City is celebrated on Republic Day. This festival stretches for five days and pulls the crowd like a magnet. Tribal and folk programs, cultural activities and performing arts make it a colourful extravaganza. The festival gives out the traditional flavour of Madhya Pradesh.

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