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Bhopal

Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh, is located right in the heart of India. Known as the City of Lakes, some of which were constructed as far back as the 11th century, it is one of the greenest cities in the country. The present city, hugging the Upper lake, was laid out by the Afghan Chief Dost Mohammad Khan in 1724 with bazaars, mosques and palaces from where ruled the legendary Begums. Bhopal is surrounded by fantastic sites like the Bhimbetka caves paintings that exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India and Sanchi Stupa, one of the oldest Buddhist monuments.   

The Nawabs of Bhopal built several structures like the Taj-ul-Masajid and Taj Mahal palace in Indo-Islamic and European styles. The modern southern end of the city is home to most offices, hotels, art galleries and museums such as the Bharat Bhavan and the MP Legislative Assembly both of which were designed by the famous Indian architect and urban planner Charles Correa, celebrated by RIBA as "India's Greatest Architect" for his sensitivity to the needs of the urban poor and for his use of traditional methods and materials. Sadly, Bhopal’s picturesque location is overshadowed by its recent past and the disastrous gas explosion in 1984, which tragically killed over five thousand people. 

Bhopal is the best place for a stopover for those who are visiting the surrounding wildlife and birdlife sanctuaries. The city is located an easy drive from the Buddhist stupa of Sanchi, India’s oldest extant built structure known for its exquisitely carved railings depicting the life of the Buddha, and the Bhimbetka Caves, which are home to cave paintings estimated to be over 30,000 years old. Discovered in 1957 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, Bhimbetka Caves are made up of 600 caves, 12 or which are open for visitors, set amongst beautiful sal and teak forests.

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