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Best Places To Visit Near Bhopal - Weekend Getaways
Located in the heart of India, Bhopal is one of the greenest cities ripe with two big lakes. With national parks home to leopards and lions and tigers, museums and mosques that are renowned, Bhopal is highly coveted in its own right for tourism. However, the locals and even travellers who come here, also look for places nearby to visit for a night or a quaint weekend. From the spiritual towns like Ujjain to the fortified ones like Gwalior, from Sanchi Stupa to Vidisha; there is much to explore around Bhopal. Here’s a list of places to visit near Bhopal, especially for a weekend getaway.
Located only 50 km from Bhopal, the Sanchi Stupa in the town of Sanchi, Raisen, is a phenomenal place to visit for a day’s trip away. You can even make a short weekend out of it. The stupa was commissioned by Emperor Ashoka back in 3 BCE and is etched with almost a blueprint of the ancient era. It forms the centre piece of a number of stupas and is home to the famous Ashoka Pillar, from where the Indian emblem of four fierce lions has been inspired. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is best visited in winter months, between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm every day.
Satpura National Park
Situated in Hoshangabad, the Satpura National Park is home to ravines and sandstone peaks, gorges and rugged landscape. With wild animals like black bucks and leopards, tigers and crocodiles, Indian bisons and peafowls, the Satpura National Park is a dream for animal lovers and nature enthusiasts. It is a safari trip highly coveted over a weekend by Bhopal locals and usually undertaken in summer and winter months. Satpura is located 150 km away from the city of Bhopal.
Only 45 km away from Bhopal is the magnificent Raisen Fort, on the foothills of which is a city settled by the same name - Raisen. It is a highly visited place for a weekend off, especially by Bhopal citizens. The Sanchi Stupa is found in this city and you can take a tour of the sandstone fort as well. Late monsoon and winters are great for a visit here, as is spring. You can also visit the temples and dams around the city, and enjoy a hike up the Raisen Fort.
The name suggests its ancient roots. Vidisha has been around for more than 3000 years. Some of the oldest Pali records point to it being a major trade centre back in the 5th Century BCE. Today Vidisha is home to the archaeological sites, monuments, ruins and of course, Pali scriptures that describe much of the Maurya and Gupta Empires. From Bhopal, you can take your car and an hour’s ride away is Vidisha, glorious and welcoming with its temples and museums. November to February is great for a weekend getaway.
Pachmarhi is a renowned hill station in Madhya Pradesh. Yes, you heard it right. Hill station in Madhya Pradesh. Perched on a height of 1100 m, Pachmarhi was discovered and developed by a British Captain in the 19th Century. This was also the place where Pandavas spent their exile. With its lush greenery through most of the year, fresh windy atmosphere and pleasant views of the Satpura Hills, Pachmarhi is amazing for a long weekend with family. It is a round the year destination and is only 195 km away from Bhopal.
Bori Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in Itarsi, the Bori Wildlife Sanctuary sits on the banks of the Tewa River. With an area of 518 sq. km. the place is lush and open, making the larger Panchmarhi Biosphere Reserve area with the Pachmarhi Sanctuary. There are quite many resorts here, many safaris and camping activities open in some seasons of the year. The Bori Wildlife Sanctuary is approximately 170 km from Bhopal.
One of the major cities of MP, with great food, great bazaars and amazing Holkar history; Indore is a nice escapade from the homeliness of Bhopal. You can take your car or an intercity train from Bhopal to Indore and enjoy the city with all its grand trimmings. Sarafa Bazar shopping for zardoshi is fun, as are trips to places like Lalbagh palace and Rajwada. Since summers in Indore are scorching hot, and monsoons wet as a dog, winters are the most appropriate for a visit. For most people, a short weekend is not enough, and they end up expanding their trip to at least 3-4 days while here.
The holy city of Ujjain is a lot of spiritual awakening and a little ancient history. From the legendary Kaal Bhairav Temple that is home to the god of death and time, to Mahakaleshwar, where the deity is satisfied with daily alcohol offerings, Ujjain is a city of many wonders. Located 190 km from Bhopal, Ujjain can easily be reached by taking a bus or train, or driving in your own car. The town’s history dates back to 600 BC, which makes it one of the oldest cities in the world. The ghats and temples, markets and townhouses, they all make Ujjain unique.
Mandu is a unique setup. It is a town of Afghan architecture. Yes, miles and miles away from the North Western Frontier, this little ancient town in the thick of Madhya Pradesh has beautiful Mahals and Tombs, Quilas and Masjids, echoing with love stories of kings and queens. You can take a walk across some of these monuments or go through the stories of their past, adoringly narrated by the local guides. Mandu is a must visit during winters, and places like Jahaz Mahal, Mandu fort, Hindola Mahal, Rani Rupmati Pavilion and Baz Bahadur Quilla should definitely be on your list.
Mandu is around 300 km from Bhopal and is easily travelled to by car or train.
You may know this place as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. That is the reason it is a tourist spot as well as pilgrimage. The Omkareshwar Island is home to an ‘Om’ symbol shaped flowing Narmada, with the Grand Sabha nearby where the jyotirlinga is located. The stone pillars of this Sabha are especially beautiful, with different deities situated on different floors of the 5-storied building. 260 km from Bhopal, Omkareshwar also boasts of ghats and scenic views just as it does of temples and myth.
Renowned for its gorgeous weaves that have come to be called ‘Chanderi Sarees,’ this historical town in MP is home to the massive Chanderi Fort. From the vantage of this fort you get the most beautiful, lush scenic views of the downstream lakes and forests. You can shop for authentic and relatively cheaper Chanderi sarees from the bazars and enjoy the local chaat on the street corners. Chanderi isn’t that far from Bhopal, only about 213 km. Hence it makes for a good road trip and weekend getaway.