image From Primitive to a Heritage trail: Bhopal in Day Two

Problem with breaking down a travelogue is that when it comes to your introduction, you are always at loss of words. And for me, loss of words means I am gonna ramble. And if I indulge this obnoxious habit of mine, I am not only going to increase my word count, but also bore you all to death.

Following my get-together with Sanchi, I decided to take a step back and admire man and his harmonious relationship with nature.  Yes, our primitive ancestors were as creative as the ones who has created Sanchi and other historical monuments. Day 2 of my Bhopal stay-over started with a hearty breakfast, reassuring my dearest mother about my safety and longevity, and my trail leading to the Pre-historic Rock shelters of Bhimbetka, another World Heritage Site that none of us were aware of. Bhimbetka is located 45 kms from Bhopal. According to rumours, the five brothers, called as Pandavas, from the grand epic Mahabharata, came and stayed in these caves, upon their banishment from their Kingdom. According to the natives who vouch by this theory based on the fact that the nearby places are named after the Pandavas, the massive rock shelters depicts the gigantic frame of Bhima, the second Pandava and hence the name Bhimbetka came about.

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If you go back into the pages of history, you will notice one common trend. World’s greatest historical treasures are often discovered in accident. I think this is one of the biggest reason why I love history so much. The caves of Bhimbetka is also another example following that very trend. Discovered in 1957 – 58 by an intrepid archaeologist from Ujjain, Dr. Vishnu Wakankar who literally strayed on to a road that has never been traveled. In due time, the prehistoric treasure trove revealed remains from the Lower Palaeolithic Age to Early Medieval Ages.

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The place is surrounded by a beautiful lush canopy that can transport you to pre-historic times, except for the pavements that has been laid down for the visitors. Every cave and rock shelter gave me the feeling of an outsider in a different time-zone. Paintings from Upper Paleolithic, Mesolithic to the prehistoric, early historic and Medieval period can be found in these rock shelters. Sounds like a natural art gallery right?? It looks like one as well. I was surprised seeing how well these magnificent paintings have persevered against the vagaries of nature as well as humans.

The one thing that I did not like about the place was lack of guides, in terms of path markers, as well as one to tell you about the place. But, Bhimbetka will definitely leave a lasting impression. And it will definitely ensure that you catch-up with your cardio 😉

Entry timing – 7 am to 6 pm

Visit duration – 1 to 2 hours

Entry fees – 10 rupees for Indians; 100 rupees for foreigners, 50 rupees for four wheelers parking.

Continuing on my trail of cultural history, my next stop was Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum aka Manav Sanghralaya. From what gathered, this a new venture undertaken by the Madhya Pradesh Governmen in the year 2014, and personally, a commendable one.  The museum showcases historical and cultural narratives depicting various facets of the numerous tribes that live in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh. Every section of the building has been creatively utilised beautifully to showcase different home architecture, architectural tools, tools that are used in daily lives, cultural diversity (I.e. Arts, paintings, wedding style, musical instruments). The rooms that fascinated me the most wereDevlok – the house of Gods and the room depicting the evolution of games. Every room will fill you with wonder and enrich your knowledge in one way or the other regarding the cultural of our country.

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is celebrated every August 9th at the museum to generate awareness about the tribal culture of the state. The space around the main building has been utilised to showcase the program, with arrangements made to accommodate the participatory tribes.

Timing: 10 am to 6 pm

Best time to visit: during day

Length of visit: 2 to 3 hours

Entry fees: 10 rupees for adults; 5 rupees for children

Bhojtal aka Upper Lake lies in the Western side of the capital city Bhopal. It is a large lake, with a catchment area of 361 km and is a major source of drinking water for the residents of the city. There are facilities for boating, but unfortunately I am not really fond of water, other than the one that is available in bathrooms, so I can not comment on the price.

If by some fortunate coincidence I haven’t fallen asleep, I love watching the roads and the people. Rarely, the opportunities come when the road actually surprises me.

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As the roads winds to the old city, the art definitely captivated me so much that I forgot about my next stop – Taj-ul-masjid.  It is nothing compared to the Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabhi, but it was nothing short of majestic. The construction of the mosque was initiated during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar by Nawab Shah Jahan Begum of Bhopal. The mosque was not completed due to lack of funds, hence the work was resumed in 1971.  The entire architecture resembles the Mughal era, and for a moment I was confused if I was back in Delhi. It was sad to see the blatant neglect of the beautiful mosque. Currently, it is undergoing reconstruction, hopefully this time to completion.

If you have reached the end of my rambling travelogue, you will be noticing the trend. Ranging from pre-historic to traditions. Now I will be winding up the trail at the doorstep of Modern History.

Bhopal gas tragedy, 1984 was a catastrophe that is considered as one of the world’s industrial history. In the early morning hours of Dec 3, 1984 a rolling wind carried a poisonous grey cloud from the Union CcRbide Plant in Bhopal. 40 tons of toxic gas was accidentally released. And the result was an absolute nightmare ; an estimate of 10,000 or more people died, and 500,000 or more people suffered agonising injuries with disastrous effect.. Unfortunately you can not visit the premises of the factory, so all my pictures are from the flyover facing the factory.

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