The World Heritage Site at Sanchi, is a remarkable specimen of Buddhist art and architecture from the early Mauryan period (c. third century BC to twelfth century AD). Emperor Asoka laid the foundations of a religious centre at Sanchi. He erected the Great Stupa (Stupa 1) here after redistribution of mortal remains of Lord Buddha for erecting several stupas all over the country in order to spread Buddhism. This stupa was originally a low structure of brick, half the diameter of the present edifice hemispherical in shape with raised terraces at the base. It was enclosed by a wooden railing and a stone umbrella at the top. This Great Stupa served as a nucleus to the large Buddhist establishment during the later period. During Sunga times, several edifices were raised at Sanchi and its surrounding hills. The Asokan stupa was enlarged and faced with stones and decorated with balustrades, staircases and a harmika on the top. In the first century BC the Andhra-Satavahanas, who had extended their sway over the eastern Malwa, caused the elaborately carved gateways to Stupa 1. The Great Stupa of Sanchi displays an austere grandeur and the exquisite carvings of the doorway depict in detail the significant episodes and miracles from Lord Buddha’s life and events depicted in the Buddhist Jataka stories. Open from sunrise to sunset. Entrance Fee: Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 30 per head. Others: Indian Rs. 500/- per head (children up to 15 years free)
The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka are located about 45 km south east of Bhopal on the road to Hoshangabad. The site spread over 10 km in length and about 3 km in width has more than 700 rock shelters, of which over 400 have paintings. The earliest human activities are known from the numerous stone tools including handaxes, cleavers and also the pebble tools. Numerous rock paintings are present in the Auditorium Rock Shelter, Zoo Rock and Boar Rock in Bhimbetka Cluster. The earliest endeavour here other than for mere run of the mill activities for survival is the engravings of small cup like depressions at the end of the Auditorium Rock Shelter, which is dated to nearly 100000 years. Near the end of this tunnel there is a cluster of painting depicting a hunter, deer, tiger cattle and stylised peacock. Further ahead on the same path one comes across the Zoo Rock Shelter, which qualifies as the most densely painted rock shelter, paintings spanning from the Mesolithic to the Mediaeval. The paintings here include those of a Mesolithic boar painted in dark red, animals like: elephant, rhinoceros, boar, barasingha, spotted deer and cattle and snake, etc. Later paintings include battle scenes painted in red and an elephant painted in white. The Boar Rock, which is the last among the rock shelters accessible for tourist has a depiction of a mythical boar with horns that is many more times larger than the human being chased by it. Open from sunrise to sunset
Bhojpur takes its name from king Bhoja (reg. c. 1000–1055 CE), the most celebrated ruler of the Paramara dynasty. Bhojpur is famous for the incomplete Bhojesvar temple dedicated to Shiva. The temple houses one of the largest lingas in India, 5.5 m (18 ft) tall and 2.3 m (7.5 ft) in circumference. It is crafted out a single rock. The building, as it stands, consists of the inner cell or garbhagriha, supported by massive pillars, surmounted with an elegant corbelled dome. The outer walls and superstructure of the temple were never built. There are a significant number of architectural drawings engraved on the flat surfaces of the quarry showing mouldings, pillars, and temple plans. Also of note is the large earthen ramp behind the temple which shows how medieval craftsmen raised the large blocks of stone into position. Immediately opposite the temple, on the west side of the gorge facing the Betwa, is a rock-shelter or cave, popularly known as Parvati’s Cave. The cave contains a number of sculptures and architectural fragments dating to the eleventh century. On the low plateau above the Cave of Parvati and opposite the Bhojpur temple are the remains of Bhoja’s palace. Only the foundations survive. The complex is laid out as a grid in a square, with a courtyard in the centre. It is oriented on an exact north-south axis as prescribed in the Samaranganasutradhara, an architectural treatise ascribed to Bhoja.Among the many features of interest are unfinished carved blocks and graffiti engraved on the rock floor. The palace is a unique survival, being the only medieval building of its kind in northern India. The place also has remains of a unfinished Jain Temple, which contain a statue of Bhagwan Shantinath and two statues of Bhagwan Parshvanath and Bhagwan Suparshvanatha. On the base of one of the images is an inscription mentioning king Bhoja, the only epigraphic evidence connecting Bhoja to the site.
Home to the Bhil and Bhilala tribes of central India, Kathotiya village lies secluded in the middle of a green valley surrounded by steep hills (Vindhyachal Ranges). A small forest village nestled among hills, abundant in wildlife and Birds. Kathotia has muliple rock shelters, similar to the famous Bhimbethika, with ancient cave paintings reportedly over 17000 years old. Kathotiya rock shelters are spread over two hills, facing each other and have over a 100 marked, documented and researched – shelters and caves containing a variety of Rock Art – depicting what is believed to be a timeline period from 17000 to 500-700 years back. The paintings are primarily in the regular Red Coloured Natural Dye but also use the White and a Green Dye, to create a myriad of Rock Art, depicting the life and times of the era. The Shelters and the Caves are beautifully perched on the face of the hill itself. As one walks from one shelter and cave to the other, you go through tunnels carved out by water over millions of years, are a delight by themself. MP Ecotourism Board runs a jungle camp at Kathotiya
Situated in a lovely forest glade, Delawari is a picturesque location within the Ratapani wildlife sanctuary. Rich in scenic splendor and natural beauty, the lush forest cover enhances its beauty. Located at 70 km from Bhopal on Rehti road approachable through NH-12, Delawari is excellent location for bird watching. Accomodation is available at the well-furnished Forest Rest House of MPTDC, the Delawadi Jungle Camp. Trekking, camping and wildlife sighting are activity options here. Delawadi is also base point to visit Ginnorgarh fort (Archeological site – 3 kms) with views of the 5 floor bawdi (ancient water collection systems). Also nearby is a Prisoners Of War (POW) camp from the second world war. Contact details – Mob.:+919893172441 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ratapani Tiger Reserve, located in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, in Vindhya Range in central India, is one of the finest teak forests in the state and is less than 30 km away from Bhopal. It has been a wildlife sanctuary since 1976. As of March 2013, in principle approval by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has been granted for upgrading it to a status of tiger reserve. It will become a tiger reserve by the notification of the Government of Madhya Pradesh. The reserve is rich in flora and fauna and a wide variety of birds and mammals call it their home. The total forest area is around 823.84 sq. km. and the landscape is undulating, with hills, plateaus, valleys and plains. A number of seasonal streams irrigate the site in the monsoon, and water is retained in some pools along these streams even in the summer. Two large reservoirs, namely Barna Reservoir and Ratapani Dam (Barrusot lake) are among the major waterbodies adjacent to or inside the sanctuary. The forest of Ratapani is dry deciduous and moist deciduous type, with teak (Tectona grandis) as the main tree species. About 55% of the area is covered by teak. The remaining mixed forests consist of various dry deciduous species. Bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus) overlaps the two aforementioned forest types and covers about one quarter of the forest area. http://ratapani.com/
Samardha Jungles is situated about 30 kms from Bhopal. History of Samardha goes back to the times of Nawabs who used to frequent the jungles for hunting and were known as the “Shikargah of Nawabs”. About 65 species of birds, 20 species of mammals and 45 species of trees can be found in the jungles of Samardha, which is the first community based ecotourism destination in Madhya Pradesh. http://samardhajungleresort.com
Kerwa dam is around 15kms from Bhopal city and very well connected by road. It is being developed as an eco-tourism site with scenic nature, birding, adventure games etc. It covers 69 sq.kms. area which includes its catchment area. Kerwa is a multi-purpose dam which is used for generation of Hydro-electric power, fulfill water requirement of Bhopal city and to develop an eco-tourism site where people can visit to spend their weekend time and children can enjoy the picnic.
Keri ke Mahadev
Approachable from Kolar road, Bhopal and Mandideep near Bhopal Keri ke Mahadev is situated in the jungle range of Ratapani reserved forest. A small spring flows from the rocks of the hills and flows through the arial roots of some trees, giving it a feel of water flowing from the hair-locks of shiva. This probably is the reason for the name Keri ke mahadev, although a small temple with a shivling also has come up near the site. The dense forest and the hilly terrains makes this a interesting location for a day visit.
Chiklod is situated 40 kms southeast of Bhopal in Raisen district. Chiklod is a historical town famous for its marvelous lake side palace. The palace was the summer resort of the former ruler, Nawab hamidulla Khan. Set amidst Sylvan surroundings, the Chiklod palace is surrounded by hills on three sides and there is a lake on the fourth side. This was a favourite destination of India’s first Prime minister Jawarharlal Nehru whenever he used to visit Bhopal.