“Every city has a Sex and Age which have nothing to do with Demography”.
-John Berger


A city shares a great relationship with its inhabitants; it stirs their soul, it inspires them, amazes them, befuddles them and incubates them to realizing their dreams.
“I asked my Soul, What is Bhopal?
My Soul replied: The World is the Body and Bhopal its Life”. I am sure this thought powers millions of Bhopalis. Once you have lived in Bhopal for a length of time, you belong to it. In Bhopal, you can be in love with life, but wise to its follies.

The old city stands as a vibrant Testimonial to a Different Age, retaining its Old Walls, Coat of Arms, City Gates, Royal Graves, Multiple Palaces, Traditional Chaiwallas and Mithai vendors, peppered with Royal Residences and Courtyards, with whispers of the past. Penitent pilgrims make their oblations in Grand Mosques and Beautiful Temples. Chess aficionados contest their skill, in free flight, while discussion on the ‘patias’ debate the politics of life.


There are palpable legendary stories of 5000 Italian Prisoners of War, during World War II, whose gravesite tells their story; from whose tribe a Jazz Band was developed, that played for ‘Balls’ at the Nawab’s Palace. Hidden in the Back Alleys of the City are “The Bourbons”- a Family tracing their Origins to French Royalty of the 16th Century, whose Ancestors were in the employment of Emperor Akbar’s Court (can still be visited by appointment).

For the History curious tourist, “St Francis Church” in Jehangirabad can be visited and one can gaze upon the gravestone belonging to the Benefactor Isabella Bourbon (Madam Dulhan). This is a Heritage Structure under the supervision of the Archaeological Dept. “The Fleur de Lis”, a symbol of French Royalty and Family Coat of Arms, can still be found visible on the top of so many Heritage Buildings in the old city (A Bourbon Addition).

Nature’s Bounty has spread her magic blanket on this Unique Cauldron of Life.

Bhopal is endowed with a Beautiful Collection of Lakes, which have been a virtual bedrock, sustaining this thriving procession of mankind. Around their perimeters, have trudged millions of footsteps and more so done with athletic vigour today, for they sustain the platform of the City’s physical Catharsis. The old find Rejuvenation, the young find Romance, the Conscious Health Seeker finds vigour and vitality with the Pristine atmosphere and clear air. The Seasons are faithful to the cycles of Nature.


With its Lakes, comes the beautiful embellishments of Gardens, veritable Lushness everywhere, with thriving parks and Rose plantations – backed by a very warm Summer, clothed by a robust Monsoon, Winters bring Revelry. Very cool temperatures encourage a Festive Atmosphere during the whole season, that begins November and stretches till mid- March and is turned into a Central Indian Hill Station. A culturally vibrant city comes alive with its dance of the Performing Arts, Festivals like Diwali, Christmas, New Year and the Marriage Parade, bring a joie de vivre. A fire-fly glow emanates from Life. Romance is in the Air. The mendicant and mad man dance with joyful relief, in meditation with the clime. Fashion, Cuisine, Music, Dance and Literature Festivals become the Centrepiece at Winter’s Table.

“From the Cobblestones of the past to the Pavements of the Future”, the Grandeur of Nobility gives way to the Lustre of Independence. Bhopal has transmitted this Corridor with the Consummate ease of a Thoroughbred Stallion, set to win a Derby.

A metamorphosis, so smoothly encountered. Building on the wisdom and Treasured Legacy of its Erstwhile Rulers, the City has emerged as the Premier entry point for Business, Leisure and Tourism, into the Magnificent State of Madhya Pradesh.

Post-Independence, came the addition of Grand Buildings like the ‘Vidhan Sabha’, an imposing structure, part of the State’s Administrative facility. The ‘Bharat Bhavan’ Complex, nestling on the banks of the ‘Bada Talab’ or Central Lake of the Town – a uniquely designed and laid out facility, for the propagation and promotion of the Literary and Performing Arts. Both these sprawling world-class Complexes, were designed by world Renowned and Award winning National Architect, Charles Correa.

Iconic places of worship were designed and built. The beautiful Birla Temple, also proudly displays Historic Sculpture and Artifacts, spanning 10th – 14th Century vintage. A virtual combination of Modern Humanitarianism and Satvic Grace.

Lord Mahavir sits in Grand display, flanked by Ancient Deities in a Modern ‘Jain Temple’, which can be reached by ‘ropeway’ (for it is on top of a hill – Lalghati).


Great cities of the world pride themselves on their Museums.. like Paris has The Louvre, Rome has The Vatican Museum, London has The British Museum.. which drive millions of tourists to their doors, every year. We invite you to walk through some of Bhopal’s Magnificent “Collection of Museums”, which include:
1) The Tribal Museum
2) The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya
3) The State Museum
4) The Birla Museum
5) Regional Museum of Natural History
6) Military Museum “Yodasthal”
7) The Exemplary War Memorial “Shaurya Smarak” and its unique underground Museum, dedicated to war heroes. (This 12 acre park is also endowed with a 5000 seater Open Air Performing Arts Auditorium!)

No other city in the Sub Continent can boast of such a Treasure trove of Museums, well maintained, ably administered with world professional standards.

Certain Contemporary Landmarks that have become Iconic to Bhopal are the State of the Art Raja Bhoj International Airport and the Raja Bhoj Cable Bridge.

The City is an amalgamation of Palatial Grandeur and Modern Hi-Tech Amenities. Backed by a very committed and able Administration, Infrastructural provision for Tourism and Business, is in place. Luxury Palace Hotels and International Branded Hotels, offer a World Traveller the premium essentials of a Connoisseur. The City also offers a “Van Vihar” (Zoo) on the periphery of the large Central Lake, whose perimeter is a Walker’s Delight.

We Invite you to partake and experience the “Oxygen” of our Beautiful City - Bhopal and get a feel of its eternal “Ganga JamuniTahzeeb”.
PS.. We will next dwell on Cultural Vibrancy and the Arts

Joe Alvares Author of ‘BHOPAL, Echoes of an Era” – Coffee Table Book