Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, is famous for its royal history, which can be seen in its monuments, architecture, mosques and also palaces, some of which have been converted into five star hotels in Bhopal. Two of the most sought after tourist places in the vicinity of Bhopal are Sanchi Stupa and Bhimbetka. Let us take a look at both.
Sanchi does not really need any introduction. It is already known as one of the most important places in the country. Sanchi, the town, is all about Buddhism. It is located at a distance of about 50 km from central Bhopal. This is a very famous tourist destination, which has lots of Buddhist structures, monasteries and pillars. Most of these monuments date back to the 4th and 12th century AD and Sanchi can now be found under the list of world heritage sites that are declared by the UNESCO.
The Sanchi Stupa
One of the most important tourist places in Sanchi is the Sanchi stupa, which is a very ancient monument showing the records of the coming of Buddhism and Buddhist culture and architecture. The stupas are a wonderful reflection of the various artistic works by the Buddhist monks.
The design and the framework show the nature and love of the historical times during the emancipation of the stupas. Its gateway has brilliant architecture along with female and male tree murals that are carved on the gateway. They say that these spirits show the mental state and human feelings.
Bhimbetka near Bhopal boasts of the pre-historic rock shelters along with few of the best prehistoric cave paintings from South Asia. Situated 40 km south of Bhopal right on the southern edge of Vindhyachal Hills, the town of Bhimbetka was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Archaeologists are of the opinion that these caves may have been occupied for over 10,000 years. The site has more than 800 rock shelters.
These caves evolved with time into large rock-shelters, great sites for the aboriginal settlements and lots of natural resources like the perennial water supplies, rich flora and fauna, natural shelter were conducive to ongoing development of the sustainable societies and the creation of great rock art. The very smooth rocks have resulted in some scientists to believe that these areas were once totally under water.
Overall, the nice landscape has a powerful appealing aesthetic quality, which is derived from the beauty of natural rock formations and contrasting lush, populous wooded vegetation, together give this place a timeless feel.
The Bhimbetka cave paintings have a close resemblance to those which were discovered in Kakadu National Park in Australia, the cave paintings of the Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert and the Upper Paleolithic Lascaux paintings in France.
These two UNESCO world heritage sites, Sanchi and Bhimbetka, are architectural marvels, which you cannot miss as a tourist in Bhopal. You can hire a car from Bhopal for a drive to these places.