Bhopal, the City of Lakes, is the capital of Madhya Pradesh (India). It was founded by Raja Bhoja, but was still a village in the early 18th c. when the Mughals took over the princely state. It was only then converted to a fortified city by Dost Mohammad Khan who ruled from 1708 to1726. It was Islamnagar that was the official capital of this Bhopal State.
The Royal family ruled this region with rich history of great Aryan architecture, beautiful Hindu monasteries, magnificent Buddhist stupas, and even the Paleolithic age caves once inhabited by our ancestors. They added their own chapter of architecture to this history with their unique palaces build in then the capital, Islamnagar. It was resident to other palaces too, for queens: Chaman Mahal and Rani Mahal (Mahal means Palace), which are surrounded by beautiful gardens, huge and long walls surrounding the palace and a beautiful view of the city from the balconies facing the lakes at the back of the palace.
The palaces have that unique features of balconies, central open air spaces and the intricately designed umbrellas on the roof which became the signature of Mughal architecture. They may not be as big as imagined for Royals, but they still have a flair and feel you cannot forget easily. It is amazing to see how well the rooms were build with those the views of lakes and farms through the large balcony.
This great picture is but lost in that land that was once the Center of the Bhopal state. It is now just another place for excursion for tourists, lying in the middle of an easy-to-be-missed village called Islamnagar. To reach that once great center of power, you travel on those those narrow roads through the farms and mud houses with a peek at the exterior walls of the palace now covered with dry grass.
The palaces are still well maintained, but no more frequently visited. The history of the the rulers who made Bhopal as it exists today – spread across hills, valleys and plains decorated with Mughal architecture – is lost in the middle of a small (yet beautiful) village and forgotten by many.
It may just seem like any story of but it is just a part of the history which deserves mention in the creation of the present that we admire and feel proud of.
What would you do if you come across something once treasured but now forgotten. Would you just remember it as another spot for tour or an unread chapter that needs to be shared and cherished ?