Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, interweaves the various aspects of Hindu and Muslim cultures. The place also exhibits the true coherence of northern and southern influences and emanates a bygone charm that has remained unsullied till date. Its old city, with its colorful bazaars and historical monuments, evokes the aristocratic stamp of the yore. One can notice the breadth of vision of these Begums in the exquisite mosques of old Bhopal. On the other hand, the new city, with large boulevards and modern buildings, poses an equally charming picture.
Originally, Bhopal was a Hindu state, founded and ruled by the famous Parmara king Raja Bhoj. Bearing to this legendary ruler, the place was named as 'Bhojpal' and later became 'Bhopal'. With the decline in the power of the Paramars, the state was pillaged many a times, and finally was lost in oblivion. However, an Afghan soldier called Dost Mohammad Khan laid out the city, as it stands today, after the death of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1707. The preponderance of Islamic art and architecture of Bhopal can be accredited to him. Islamic architectural ruins are still found at Islam Nagar of the city.
As aforesaid, Bhopal came under the sway of four Begums from 1819 to 1926. The governance by Begums led to many innovations and developments in the city. Its exquisite mosques and palaces still resonate with the Nawabi charm that the city experienced during the rule of the Begums. The Taj-ul Masjid, considered as one of the largest mosque in India, deserves special citation for its brilliant artwork and its prominence amongst all the historical monuments in the state. Moti Masjid and Jama Masjid are two other notable mosques of the place that display the artistic brilliance of the erstwhile rulers.
Though the old and new city of Bhopal are bipolar with their own singular charms, they nevertheless confluence to impart the place its exemplary beauty. From the Gulmohar studded broad boulevards to its labyrinthine alleys, you cannot miss the celestial quaintness that pervades the place. Visit the old bazaars that are inexhaustible storehouses of traditional handicrafts. They are very popular amongst the visitors for their beaded handiworks and high-quality fabrics. You can also stroll around the many placid lakes that dot the city. With a blessed landscape and its architectural razzmatazz, Bhopal merits a visitation among all the cities in Madhya Pradesh.
The tiny hilltop fort of Mandu, embraced by the majestic Vindhya mountainous ranges of Madhya Pradesh, is a parable of many historical legends. Perched atop a height of 2000 ft, the picturesque place seems like a scene straight out of a fairy tale, especially with its pastel colored monuments studded in the emerald green landscape. Its rich historical saga that still looms over its architectural gems, bestows Mandavgarh with an enigmatic appeal. A place that celebrates the various aspects of joy, love and beauty, this sleepy town still chimes with a regal charm of the bygone era.
Mandu was originally the capital of the Parmar rulers of Malwa. However, towards the end of the 13th century, it came under the regime of the Sultans of Malwa. During this period, the place came to be known as 'Shadiabad', which means 'City of Joy'. In fact, Mandu saw the naissance and culmination of many ruling clans, who made it a beautiful montage of architectural specimens. It was also a monsoon retreat of the Mughals, whose lavishness and love for extravagance led to the fabrication of many pleasure palaces and lakes. The Jahaz Mahal and the Hindola Mahal are a few of the many examples.
Apart from its architectural grandeur, Mandu also has many historical tales to trade with its tourists. Till date, Mandu resonates with the eternal love story of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur and his beautiful wife Rani Roopmati. The balladeers and minstrels still sing about these legendary lovers whose romance has adorned the pages of history. The intriguing monuments, in the form of the Baz Bahadur's Palace and the Rupmati's Pavilion, makes these royal lovers come alive from the eon to the present. Thus, the place becomes ideal for couples who escape to hills to rekindle the candles of their romantic life.
During monsoons, when drizzle kisses Mandu with a new vigor, it blooms with a renewed freshness. The furrowed greenery & majestic monuments conspire to transport tourists to a dreamland that is not known in any other place. Especially the water bodies, comprising of lakes, streams, torrents, rivulets, baolis and talaos, bustle and get enliven with the showers. Thus, the grandiose monuments that are gently encased in the generosity of nature make the place a celebrated holidaying destination. The beauty of Mandu can be succinctly explicated in the following lines by Jehangir "I know of no other place that is as pleasant in climate and with such attractive scenery as Mandu in the rainy season."