Bhopal is probably one of the most laid back cities you would visit. For the capital of once, the largest and still one of the largest states in India, the place is too quiet and too relaxed. The first shopping mall is yet to hit the city. There are very few high rises that you would see. The roads are virtually empty and you can take a leisurely walk anytime around the city.
Places to visit in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
Bhopal also called the city of lakes, is actually clustered around two huge lakes called the upper and lower lakes. The upper lake is huge and as you move around the periphery of this lake, you can see the Bhopal skyline on the other edge of the lake. There are not too many things to be seen in Bhopal. But you can spend about half day going around, admiring the old Masjids, Birla temple, and few museums.
State Archeological Museum, Bhopal
The new state archeological museum is quite impressive. With numerous galleries depicting all kinds of art forms, sculptures, collections from pre-historic times to the modern day history. If you are one of those who likes to explore museums, you can easily spend 3-4 days studying this museum. There are sculptures that have been excavated from various historic sites in Madhya Pradesh. You would notice them in distinct colors of stone white, beige, green, pinkish, brown and hues of grey. You would notice sculptures from Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. There are some exclusive sculptures that I have not seen elsewhere.
Miniature Art Gallery
There is a miniature art gallery with a huge collection, a paintings gallery, a huge restored painting pre-historic bagh painting. A collection of stamps, handwritten letters by eminent people of the region. Personal belongings of the local nawabs and kings, arms, and some more things. The staff is friendly and would willingly guide you through the maze. Though I wish there were guides or experts available to help you understand the nuances of the numerous artifacts in the premises.
Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya
Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya is a good attempt to depict the rural and tribals life of various parts of India in one place. But being in the open the place is difficult to go around, especially during the day. I think they need to add much more things to the place to make it truly a must visit place in Bhopal. Which it has the potential to become. They can add the cultural activities, live food stall with local food. Sell local stuff like clothes and toys there. Basically one should be able to do there, what the locals do.
For example, a village must have some animals, and if the visitors want they should be able to tend to them. Be able to participate in the village like activities. Maybe I am thinking aloud. But then merely putting up various types of huts is not that interesting for someone to make a special visit.
I asked quite a few people about what is special in Bhopal? Anything special to eat or do, and the answer was always ‘What special, there is nothing special here, it is a normal city’. I tried to find out if there is a famous eatery, but the answer was again no. We could not spot any explicit restaurants. Most of them were the ones attached to a hotel. What I infer from this is that eating out is not really a culture here. The shopping places are usual bazaar-style shops, again nothing very big. It is possible that we did not ask the right people. But then the people we asked were representative enough for the city.
As a traveler, Bhopal is like a junction. Which connects you to many of the scattered pieces of history around it. It can provide you the needed respite from hectic travels. And render the clutter-less living for few days, if possible, while in Bhopal. Recommend you to stay at a lakeside hotel. Enjoy the serenity of the place in the early morning and in the evening.
Recommend you to read following travel blogs on Madhya Pradesh Tourist places.