For other uses, see Bhopal (disambiguation).
Metropolitan city
Clockwise from top
Upper Lake, Vallabh Bhawan (MP Secretariat), Union Carbide Plant, Van Vihar, Raja Bhoj Airport, Birla Mandir, Taj-ul-Masajid
Nickname(s): City of the Lake

Location of Bhopal in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh

Coordinates: 23°15′N 77°25′E / 23.250°N 77.417°E / 23.250; 77.417Coordinates: 23°15′N 77°25′E / 23.250°N 77.417°E / 23.250; 77.417
Country  India
State Madhya Pradesh
Region Malwa
District Bhopal
Ward 85 Wards
  Type Mayor–Council
  Body Bhopal Municipal Corporation
  Mayor Alok Sharma (BJP)
  Member of Parliament Alok Sanjar (2014 - till date)
  Metropolitan city 685.88 km2 (264.82 sq mi)
Elevation 527 m (1,729 ft)
Population (2011)[2]
  Metropolitan city 2,798,218
  Rank 17th
  Density 3,887/km2 (10,070/sq mi)
  Metro 2,286,100
  Metro rank 20th
Demonym(s) Bhopali
  Official Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Pincode 462001 to 462XXX
Telephone 0755
Vehicle registration MP-04-XXXX
Literacy Rate 76.29%
Precipitation 1,123.1 millimetres (44.22 in)
Avg. high temperature 31.7 °C (89.1 °F)
Avg. low temperature 18.6 °C (65.5 °F)

Bhopal (/bˈpɑːl/; Hindustani pronunciation: [bʱoːpaːl]) is the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and the administrative headquarters of Bhopal district and Bhopal division. The city was the capital of the former Bhopal State. Bhopal is known as the City of Lakes[3] for its various natural as well as artificial lakes and is also one of the greenest cities in India.[4] It is the 17th largest city in the country and 131st[5] in the world.

A Y-class city,[6] Bhopal houses various institutions and installations of national importance, including ISRO's Master Control Facility[7] and BHEL. Bhopal is home to the largest number of Institutes of National Importance in India, namely IISER, MANIT, SPA, AIIMS and NLIU.

The city attracted international attention in December 1984 after the Bhopal disaster, when a Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide manufacturing plant (now owned by Dow Chemical Company) leaked a mixture of deadly gases composed mainly of methyl isocyanate, leading to one of the worst industrial disasters in the world's history. The Bhopal disaster continues to be a part of the socio-political debate and a logistical challenge for the people of Bhopal.[8]

Bhopal has been selected as one of the first twenty Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi's flagship Smart Cities Mission [9] and will be the first smart city of India in coming years.[10] The city has been adjudged as the 21st cleanest city in India.[11]


Early history

According to folklore, Bhopal was founded in 11th century by the Paramara king Bhoja, who ruled from his capital at Dhar. This theory states that Bhopal was originally known as Bhojpal after a dam (pal) constructed by the king's minister.[1] No archaeological evidence, inscriptions or historical texts support the claim about an earlier settlement founded by Bhoja at the same place, although the Bhojeshwar Temple ascribed to him exists at Bhojpur, which is 28 km from Bhopal. An alternative theory says that the city is named after another king called Bhupala (or Bhupal).[12][13][14]

Mausoleum of Dost Khan founder of Bhopal state

In the early 18th century, Bhopal was a small village in the Gond kingdom. The modern Bhopal city was established by Dost Mohammad Khan (1672–1728), an Afghan soldier in the Mughal army.[15] After the death of the emperor Aurangzeb, Khan started providing mercenary services to local chieftains in the politically unstable Malwa region. In 1709, he took on the lease of Berasia estate and later annexed several territories in the region to establish the Bhopal State.[16] Khan received the territory of Bhopal from the Gond queen Kamlapati in lieu of payment for mercenary services and usurped her kingdom after her death.[17] In the 1720s, he built the Fatehgarh fort in the village, which developed into the city of Bhopal over the next few decades.

Begum rule

Bhopal became a princely state after signing a treaty with the British East India Company in 1818.[18] Between 1819 and 1926, the state was ruled by four women, Begums — unique in the royalty of those days — under British suzerainty. Qudsia Begum was the first woman ruler, who was succeeded by her only daughter Sikandar Begum, who in turn was succeeded by her only daughter, Shahjehan Begum. Sultan Jahan Begum was the last woman ruler who, after 25 years of rule, abdicated in favour of her son, Hamidullah Khan. The rule of Begums gave the city its waterworks, railways, a postal system, and a municipality constituted in 1907.[19]

Post independence

Bhopal State was the second-largest Muslim-ruled princely state: the first being Hyderabad. After the independence of India in 1947, the last Nawab expressed his wish to retain Bhopal as a separate unit. Agitations against the Nawab broke out in December 1948, leading to the arrest of prominent leaders including Shankar Dayal Sharma. Later, the political detainees were released, and the Nawab signed the agreement for Bhopal's merger with the Union of India on 30 April 1949.[20] The Bhopal state was taken over by the Union Government of India on 1 June 1949.

Bhopal disaster

Main article: Bhopal disaster

On 3 December 1984, a Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal leaked around 32 tons of toxic gases, including methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas which led to the worst industrial disaster to date. The official death toll was initially recorded around 4,000. A Madhya Pradesh government report stated 3,787 deaths, while other estimates state the fatalities were significantly higher (16,000) from the accident and the medical complications caused by the accident in the weeks and years that followed. The higher estimates have been challenged.[21][22] The impact of the disaster continues to this day in terms of psychological and neurological disabilities, blindness, skin, vision, breathing, and birth disorders.[23][24][25] The soil and ground water near the factory site have been contaminated by the toxic wastes.[25][26] The Bhopal disaster continues to be the part of the socio-political debate; the clean-up of environmental contamination and rehabilitation of those affected continues to challenge the people of Bhopal.[8] December 3 is annually observed as the official day of mourning, and every year, all government offices in Bhopal remain closed on this day. For a detailed report by Dr. Varadarajan and CSIR scientists on Bhopal disaster, see also [27] and Themistocles D'Silva, The Black Box of Bhopal [28]


A view of upper lake, part of the city and the hilly Vindhya terrain.

Bhopal has an average elevation of 500 metres (1401 ft). Bhopal is located in the central part of India, and is just north of the upper limit of the Vindhya mountain ranges. Located on the Malwa plateau, it is higher than the north Indian plains and the land rises towards the Vindhya Range to the south. The city has uneven elevation and has small hills within its boundaries. The prominent hills in Bhopal are Idgah hills and Shyamala hills in the northern region, Katara hills in southern region. City's geography has in it two lakes namely upper lake and lower lake.

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm


Bhopal has a humid subtropical climate, with cool, dry winters, a hot summer and a humid monsoon season. Summers start in late March and go on till mid-June, the average temperature being around 30 °C (86 °F), with the peak of summer in May, when the highs regularly exceed 40 °C (104 °F). The monsoon starts in late June and ends in late September. These months see about 40 inches (1020 mm) of precipitation, frequent thunderstorms and flooding. The average temperature is around 25 °C (77 °F) and the humidity is quite high. Temperatures rise again up to late October when winter starts, which lasts up to early March. Winters in Bhopal are cool, sunny and comfortable, with average daily temperatures around 16 °C (61 °F) and little or no rain. The winter peaks in January when temperatures may drop close to freezing on some nights. Lowest temperature ever recorded was 0.3C. Total annual rainfall is about 1146 mm (46 inches).

Climate data for Bhopal
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33.0
Average high °C (°F) 25.3
Average low °C (°F) 10.5
Record low °C (°F) 0.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 13.2
Source: [29][30]


Religion in Bhopal[31]
Religion Percent
Population % by religion; †Includes Sikhs

According to the 2011 census, the population of the Bhopal city (the area under Bhopal Municipal Corporation) is 1,798,218, with 936,168 males and 862,050 females. The population of the Bhopal metropolitan area (the urban agglomeration that extends beyond Bhopal city) was 1,886,100 in 2011.[32] The total effective literacy rate (for population aged 7+ years) was 85.24%, with male and female literacy respectively at 89.2% and 80.1%.[1]

Out of Bhopal's total population in 2001, 1.34 million were Hindus (73%), 420,000 were Muslims (23%), and rest were Jains, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and others.[31]



Bhimbetka pre-historic rock cave painting near Bhopal include 500 sandstone caves and shelters. These are dated to range from 12,000 years ago to chalcolithic era of human history. They are a UNESCO World Heritage site.[33]

Bhimbetka Caves are about 35 kilometres from Bhopal city. They have evidence of dwellings of pre-historic man during the Paleolithic era. Rock paintings in the caves are specimens of pre-historic settlements in India. There are about 600 caves, but only 12 are open for visitors. The caves are located in the midst of sal and teak forests. They were discovered by Wakankar in 1957. UNESCO declared Bhimbetka Caves as a World Heritage Site in 2003.[34]

Activity centres

A leopard in Van Vihar, Bhopal

Regional Science Center is a science museum located on the picturesque Shyamala Hills. This centre houses about 300 science exhibits in ‘Invention’ and ‘Fun Science’ galleries. ‘Taramandal’ and Planetarium at the centre helps the students and enthusiasts study the astral and mysterious world of stars, galaxies and the universe. Stargazing sessions are organised at the planetarium for those who want to have a real close view of these luminous bodies.

The Museum of Mankind in Bhopal exhibits tribal and folk houses from all corners of India.[35]


Bharat Bhavan is the main cultural centre of the city. It has an art gallery, an open-air amphitheatre facing the Upper Lake, two other theatres and a tribal museum.

Bharat Bhavan Bhopal

Diwali and Eid are major festivals in Bhopal. Gifts and sweets are exchanged and donation are made to the poor. Diwali is celebrated by worshiping the wealth goddess Lakshmi. Eid is special to the city as all the Hindus take time out to visit their Muslim friends and greet them and get treated with delicacies, the speciality of the day being sweet sewaiya. Bhopali culture is such that both Hindus and Muslims visit each other on their respective festivals to greet and exchange sweets. During Ganesh puja and Durga Puja (Navratras), idols of Ganesh and Durga are established in jhankis throughout the city. People throng to offer prayers to their deities. At the end of Navratras, on the day of Vijayadashami (or Dussehra), huge effigies of Ravan are burnt in different parts of the city. Some of them are organised by the local administration and stand as tall as 60 feet (18 m).

Bhopal Ijtema is an annual Muslim world preachers congregation, is held at Ghasipura 11 km from Bhopal. The congregation is said to be one of the largest Islamic gathering other than Hajj at Mecca in Saudi Arabia and "Bishwa Ijtima" at Tongi in Bangladesh. The annual congregation near Bhopal draws between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Muslims from all over the globe.[36]


The major industries in the old city are electrical goods, medicinal, cotton, chemicals and jewellery. Other industries include cotton and flour milling, cloth weaving and painting, as well as making matches, sealing wax, and sporting equipment.[37] The residents of Bhopal also engage in large retail businesses. Handicrafts, like zardozi and batua (a small string purse, usually used with Indian traditional dresses) are some of the products of the Old City.[38]

Bhopal is also home to the DB Corp, informally called the Bhaskar Group (after its major publication Dainik Bhaskar), a Rs. 1700 crore (Rs. 17 billion) business conglomerate with strong presence in media. Its head office is located in Maharana Pratap Nagar. Manjul Publishing House, located in the old city, is a major publishing house made famous by the translation of the Harry Potter series of novels into Hindi.[39]



Basic education

National Law Institute University

Bhopal has more than 550 state-sponsored schools, which are affiliated to the Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education (MPBSE). In addition, there are five Kendriya Vidyalayas in the city, affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The city is also served by numerous other private schools affiliated to either CBSE or MPBSE.

Some schools are also affiliated to National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and ICSE Board, Institution Of Secondary Distance Education (ISDE) or Private Non-Governmental Board of School Education.

Higher education

IIFM arc

The Bhopal is the home of many universities. The universities headquartered in the city include

No. Institute Founded
1 Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology 1960 2 Barkatullah University 1970
3 Madhya Pradesh Bhoj Open University 1991
4 National Law Institute University 1997
5 Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya 1998
6 Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication 2015

Civic Administration

Bhopal Municipal Corporation is the urban civic body which oversees the needs of Bhopal city. The municipal corporation is spread over an area of 285.88 km2 (110.38 sq mi).[1] The city is divided into 85 wards. Each ward elects a corporator. The winning party elects a council of members, who are responsible for various departments.

Bhopal Municipal Corporation was ranked 3rd out of 21 Cities for best governance & administrative practices in India in 2014.[42] It scored 3.7 on 10 compared to the national average of 3.3.[43] The present mayor of the city is Alok Sharma.[44] Chhavi Bhardwaj is the municipal commissioner of the city.[45]

Government and politics

It houses the State Legislative Assembly, or the Vidhan Sabha, which seats 230 members of Legislative Assembly. The thirteenth (and current) Vidhan Sabha was elected in May 2013.[46] As of February 2016, the party in the majority in Vidhan Sabha is Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 166 seats[47] which is led by Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Bhopal district elects seven seats to the Assembly.



Main article: Bhopal Airport

The Raja Bhoj International Airport is located near the satellite suburb Bairagarh is the primary airport serving Bhopal in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India.[48]

There are three routes or ways to reach the airport: (1) Via Bairagarh, (2) Via Panchvati, (3) Via Gandhi nagar road (N.H 12). From within the city, VIP road, a four lane road connects with the airport. Bhopal Airport is the international airport of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and lies 15 km to the north of the city. International flights began operations in 2010. Domestic direct flight services operate from Jet Airways, JetKonnect and Air India. As of July 2016, Bhopal has non-stop flights to New Delhi, Mumbai, Jabalpur and Raipur and direct flights to Pune and Hyderabad.[49]


Bhopal lies in the West Central Railway Zone. Considering both North-South and East-West train routes, it is one of the most rail connected cities in India which halts more than 200 daily trains, with a total of more than 380 trains within a week. The main stations of Bhopal are the Bhopal Junction station located in old Bhopal as well as Bhopal Habibganj station located in new Bhopal. Both of the stations are equipped with WiFi, has enough waiting halls, refreshment center, passenger ticket counter and ticket vending machines, vehicle parking, communication facility, sanitary facility and dedicated Government Railway Police force to ensure security. Altogether the city has six railway stations within its city limits.

The Bhopal Junction station as well as Bhopal Habibganj station are selected along with 47 other railway stations to emerge as The World Class Railway Station. While the work has already started on development of Bhopal Habibganj as the first world class railway station of India.[50] The Bhopal Junction and Bhopal Habibganj have already received ISO 9001:2000 CERTIFICATE.

Bhopal railway stations with their station code and details:

Station name Station code Railway zone Total platforms Important trains
Bhopal Junction BPL West Central Railway 6
Bhopal Habibganj HBJ West Central Railway 5
Bhopal Bairagarh BIH Western Railway 2
Bhopal Misrod MSD West Central Railway 2
Bhopal Sukhisewania BSSN West Central Railway 3
Bhopal Mandideep MDP West Central Railway 2

The Bhopal Junction station houses the Divisional Railway Managers (DRM) head office under Central railways.

Roads and Highways

Kushabhau Thakre ISBT Bhopal
Bhopal VIP road

National Highway No.12 passes through Bhopal which connects it to Jabalpur in the East and Jaipur in the West. National Highway 86 connects Bhopal to Sagar in the East to Dewas & Ujjain in the West. State Highway 17 connects the city with Indore.

Shivaji statue at Shivaji Nagar Square Bhopal

An interstate bus terminus is located near the Habibganj railway station,[51] called the Kushabhau Thakre Inter State Bus Terminal which was inaugurated in 2011.[52]

Bhopal BRTS

Bhopal has Bus Rapid Transit System, which became functional from the year 2013. Bhopal City Link Limited (BCLL) is responsible to connect the whole City by a well planned bus network. The company has identified 4 trunk and 8 standard routes in the city on which 225 buses would be operated daily (365 a day in a year), from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. 82 Bus Stops are built along the 24 km long corridor. These Bus-Stops have Display-Boards with the information of incoming Buses and siting arrangements has been made for the passengers. A 2-door system will help safe ride for the passengers, where one door will open only when the Bus arrives and another door will open only if the person carries a valid ticket.[53]

Metro Rail

A metro rail project is under implementation for the city and expected date is 2020.[54]


Bhopal Badshahs is a hockey team based in Bhopal that plays in World Series Hockey. The team is captained by Indian hockey player Sameer Dad and coached by Vasudevan Bhaskaran who was the captain of India's Olympic victory in 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. Badshahs defeated Chandigarh Comets in the inaugural match of 2012 World Series Hockey 4-3. Aishbagh Stadium in Bhopal is the home ground of Bhopal Badshahs.


Notable people from Bhopal

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "District Census Handbook - Bhopal" (PDF). Census of India. p. 14,26. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  2. "Bhopal District Census Handbook" (PDF). Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  3. Educational Britannica Educational (1 July 2010). The Geography of India: Sacred and Historic Places. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 174–. ISBN 978-1-61530-202-4. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  4. Green (28 January 2010). "MSN's 8 green cities of India – 7 – Green News – Article – MSN India". Archived from the original on 28 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  5. "The world's largest cities". City Mayors. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  7. "ISRO Master Control Facility". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
  8. 1 2 Government braces for disposal of Carbide waste at Pithampur The Times of India, 21 May 2014
  9. "Why only 98 cities instead of 100 announced: All questions answered about smart cities project". 28 August 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  10. "देश का सबसे पहला स्मार्ट शहर बनेगा BHOPAL - smart city project in bhopal". Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  11. "Swachh Survekshan -2016 – ranks of 73 cities". Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  12. Pranab Kumar Bhattacharyya (1977). Historical Geography of Madhya Pradesh from Early Records. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 275. ISBN 978-0-8426-9091-1.
  13. CPI joins campaign against naming Bhopal as Bhojpal. Daily Bhaskar, 16 March 2011.
  14. Ashfaq Ali (1981). Bhopal, Past and Present. Jai Bharat. p. xxix.
  15. John Falconer, James Waterhouse (2009). The Waterhouse albums: central Indian provinces. Mapin. ISBN 978-81-89995-30-0.
  16. Khan 2000, p. 11.
  17. Kamla Mittal (1990). History of Bhopal State. Munshiram Manoharlal. p. 2. OCLC 551527788.
  18. Khan 2000, p. 68.
  19. "BMC History". 15 May 2007. Archived from the original on 12 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
  20. S.R. Bakshi and O.P. Ralhan (2007). Madhya Pradesh Through the Ages. Sarup & Sons. p. 360. ISBN 978-81-7625-806-7.
  21. Eckerman, Ingrid (2005). The Bhopal Saga—Causes and Consequences of the World's Largest Industrial Disaster. India: Universities Press. ISBN 81-7371-515-7.
  22. Carol Wood, The Bhopal Saga: Causes and Consequences of the World’s Largest Industrial Disaster, Environ Health Perspect., May 2005; 113(5): A344
  23. ALTAF QADRI (3 December 2009). "Victims of Bhopal Mark Anniversary". Time. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011.
  24. Lakhani, Nina (29 November 2009). "Bhopal: The victims are still being born". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 3 December 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  25. 1 2 "Bhopal marks 25 years since gas leak devastation". BBC News. 3 December 2009. Archived from the original on 7 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  26. "Subterranean Leak". Archived from the original on 2010-04-18.
  28. The Black Box of Bhopal, 2006
  29. "Bhopal Climatological Table 1949–2000" (PDF). Indian Meteorological Department. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 April 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  30. "Extremes of India" (PDF). Indian Meteorological Department. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  31. 1 2 Baseline Survey of Bhopal District, Madhya Pradesh Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India (2012)
  32. "Presentation on Towns and Urban Agglomerations". Census of India 2011. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  33. Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka UNESCO
  34. "Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka". World Heritage Site. Archived from the original on 8 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
  35. A House of Tribal Tradition- Bhopal India Today
  36. Bhopal, Ijtema. "Ijtema".
  37. "Bhopal industries". Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  38. "Zari and Batua". Archived from the original on 6 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-12.
  39. Kumar Shakti Shekhar (10 July 2005). "Chamber of Secrets translated into Hindi". NDTV. Bhopal. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  40. "Association of Industries - MANDIDEEP".
  41. Madslien, Jorn (2 December 2009). "Industrial success fails to lift Bhopal". BBC News. Archived from the original on 10 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  42. "Home - Bhopal Municipal Corporation". Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  43. Nair, Ajesh. "Annual Survey of India's City-Systems" (PDF). Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  44. "Bhopal Mayor". Bhopal Municipal Corporation. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  45. Anil Gupta (6 April 2016). "तेजस्विनी नायक की विदाई, छवि भारद्वाज BMC की नई कमिश्नर, देखें लिस्ट". Bhaskar (in Hindi).
  46. "Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha". Archived from the original on 27 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-08.
  47. "MP: BJP's Narayan Tripathi wins Maihar bypoll". Retrieved 2016-07-18.
  48. "Indore, Bhopal to have international connectivity soon". 15 January 2008. Retrieved 2011-06-19.
  49. "Air India to run flights from Bhopal to Pune, Hyderabad". 10 May 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  50. "India will soon have world class railway stations: Railway Ministry". Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  51. "Interstare Bus Terminus". Archived from the original on 26 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
  52. "ISBT starts services, passengers face inconvenience". Daily Pioneer. 2 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
  53. "BRTS in Bhopal to be completed by Feb 2011, says Gaur". 30 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  54. "Bhopal, Indore to have Metro Rail soon". Thaindian News.

Further reading

External links

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