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Hugging the banks of Upper Lake and located right in the heart of India, Bhopal is the capital of the Indian state, Madhya Pradesh. Known as the City of Lakes, due to the number of natural and artificial lakes, Bhopal is also one of the greenest cities in India. Sadly, despite its picturesque location, it is still haunted by its recent past and the disastrous gas explosion in 1984, which tragically killed over five thousand people.

Today, it is a small princely state with a number of small scale historical sites. North of the lakes is Bhopal's Muslim-dominated old city, characterised by mosques and thronging bazaars, and south of the lakes, Bhopal is more modern, home to most of the city’s offices, hotels and museums.

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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I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.
Bill Bryson

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