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About City

Bhopal is the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and the administrative headquarter of Bhopal District and Bhopal Division. Bhopal is known as the Lake city (or City of Lakes as its landscape is dotted with a number of natural lakes. Bhopal is also one of the greenest cities of India.

Historically, Bhopal was capital of the Bhopal state. The city attracted international attention due to the tragic Bhopal disaster, when the Union Carbide plant, which manufactured pesticides, leaked deadly methyl isocyanate gas during the night of 3 December 1984. The plant was operated by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL).

This gas leak caused the worst industrial disaster in history. There was a massive loss of human life - numbering in thousands. Thousands others were rendered sick and have been facing chronic health problems such as psychological and neurological disabilities, blindness etc. Skin, vision and breathing disorders also are common. The rate of birth defects, in children whose parents or even grandparents (i.e. second generation) were exposed, is still very high.The soil and ground water, near the factory site, has been polluted due to toxic contaminants still leaking from the factory. The Indian government, however, maintains that no such pollution has taken place or that any such toxins are even present at the site.Since the disaster, Bhopal has been a center of protests and campaigns which have been joined by many people from across the globe.

On 11 April 2005, the Indian Space Research Organisation established a Master Control Facility in Ayodhya Nagar, to control the movements of satellites. It is the second such installation in the country (the first being at Hassan. Bhopal would be the second city to have an All India Institute of Medical Sciences campus, the first one being in Delhi.

Geography

Bhopal has an average elevation of 499 metres (1637 ft), 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 major hills in Bhopal comprise of Idgah hills and Shyamala hills in the northern region and Arera hills in the central region.

The municipality covers 298 Sq Km. It has two very beautiful big lakes, collectively known as the Bhoj Wetland . These lakes are the Upper Lake (built by King Bhoj) and the Lower Lake. Locally these are known as the Bada Talab and Chota Talab respectively. The catchment area of the Upper Lake is 361 Sq Km while that of the Lower Lake is 9.6 Sq Km. The Upper Lake drains into the Kolar River.

Kheoni Wild Life Sanctuary is situated 125 km from Bhopal.

Climate

Bhopal has a humid subtropical climate, with mild, 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 mild, sunny and dry, with average temperatures around 18 °C (64 °F) and little or no rain. The winter peaks in January when temperatures may drop close to freezing on some nights. Total annual rainfall is about 1146 mm (46 inches).

Economy

The city is divided into six major areas and about 75 suburbs.The major areas include Old City and the New City. The major industries in the old city are electrical goods, cotton, chemicals and jewelry. Other industries include cotton and flour milling, cloth weaving and painting, as well as making matches, sealing wax, and sporting equipment.[21] The residents of Bhopal also engage in large retail businesses. Handicraft is a major product of the old city. There is a huge demand for its very famous zardozi work, which is a kind of embroidery done on bridal dresses, sherwanis, and purses. Another famous handicraft of Bhopal is 'Batua', a small string purse, usually used with Indian traditional dresses.[22] There are a large number of garages in the older city which specialise in automobile conversion. These garages produce custom-modified and tuned cars, SUVs and motorbikes.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, the largest engineering and manufacturing enterprise in India, has a unit in Bhopal. It occupies a large area on the eastern side of the city and maintains a suburb named after it. A majority of the residents of the suburb are employed by the unit. Mandideep is an industrial suburb of Bhopal. It is located to the South of Bhopal on the Bhopal-Itarsi highway and houses a number of plants belonging to some of the reputed companies of India like Procter & Gamble, Fujitsu, Eicher, L&T, HEG,crompton greaves Ltd.having many of its branches like the traction motor plant, the transformer plant etc. and VA Tech Hydro. A North Western suburb of Bhopal called Bairagarh, which was earlier a camp for Sindhi refugees from Pakistan, has developed into market for textiles.

Bhopal is also home to the Bhaskar Group which is a Rs. 2500 crore (Rs. 25 billion) business conglomerate with strong presence in newspapers, television, entertainment, printing, textiles, fast moving consumer goods, oils, solvents and internet services. 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.

The Madhya Pradesh State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd. is going to develop a software and hardware technology park in Bhopal.[24] Multinational companies like Genpact,[25] Fujitsu and Taurus Microsystems are expected to open their centers in the Technology Park.

Education and Health Care

There are more than 550 state government sponsored schools and affiliated to the Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education (MPBSE) located within the city limits. In addition, there are four 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. And there are some schools which are affiliated to National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) board.

Bhopal is home to one of India's premier engineering colleges, the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, established in 1960 and one of the first Regional Engineering Colleges. Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology is also categorized by the Government of India as an Institute of National Importance. There are several other public and private engineering schools (numbering almost 90) located in and around the city. Government of India established an Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and a School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in the year 2008.

The city is also home to several management and law institutes. The prominent ones include the Indian Institute of Forest Management, The National Judicial Academy (for training judges and one of its' kind in India) and the National Law Institute University, one of the premier law schools in India.

Demographics

According to the 2011 census the total Bhopal population is about 23,68,145.[1][2] The population consists of 56% Hindus and 38% Muslims, with the rest of the population including Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and, Buddhists. The Old City of Bhopal is a predominantly Muslim area with large population that claims Pashtun descent, but New Bhopal is a demographically cosmopolitan area.

The chief languages are Urdu (Hindustani) and English, but there are a substantial number of Marathi, Sindhi, Marwari speakers as well. In the princely state of Bhopal, Persian was the court language until nineteenth century. The common street Urdu spoken in Bhopal is termed as Bhopali and is the subject of comedy in Bollywood movies. An example of the language is used by actor Jagdeep in the film Sholay and Arshad Warsi in the film Ishquia.

Culture

Shairis and poetry recitals are popular in Bhopal. Bhopal is famous for its culture of parda and zarda. Parda is a curtain, which was used to veil the women of the house from outsiders, zarda is a kind of tobacco product which is quite famous with Bhopalis. The official language of Bhopal City is Hindi, and Hindi-Urdu with a peculiar Bhopali accent is spoken in western and eastern parts of the city.

Bhopal has an extensive culture of paan eating. Paan (Beetle leaf) is a preparation with a betel leaf topped with variety of seasonings, the most common being chuna, kattha and supari(nut). Bhopalites treat paan preparation as a science and an art, which is perfected among the streets of Bhopal, a tradition passed down generations. The paans in Bhopal are wide in variety and innovations[31]

Bharat Bhawan,a big centre for theatre,music,arts and other cultural activities.Bharat Bhavan is the main cultural centre of the city and of the most important cultural centers of India. It has an art gallery, an open-air amphitheatre facing the Upper Lake, two other theatres and a tribal museum. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (National Museum of Humans) showcases the various hutments that tribals of across India use for shelter. Popular holiday spots near Bhopal include:

Bhojpur (famous for a Shiva temple which is India's biggest Shivling built by Raja Bhoj. and Jain shrines)Sanchi (notable for ancient Buddhist Stupas built by Ashoka),Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (a World Heritage Site of archaeological interest).Islamnagar was the palace of Bhopal's Afghan rulers and was built by Dost Mohammed Khan. Formal gardens surround the palace and the pavilion.Delawadi, a picturesque picnic spotThose into archeology can venture about forty kilometres from Bhopal to Bhimbetka, which has one of the largest collections of pre-historic paintings and rocks, some of which date back more than 10,000 years.Shiva temple in Bhojpur holds great religious value and is famous for a massive Shivalingam. Anglers can head about 10 kilometres from the city to Hathaikheda, which is a popular fishing zone. Or, you can travel fifty kilometres to the city of Sanchi, a site famous for Buddhist monuments and temples dating back several centuries.

Bhopal has many mosques including Taj-ul-Masajid (one of the largest mosques in Asia), Dhai Seedi ki Masjid (one of the smallest mosques in Asia), Jama Masjid (built by Qudsia Begum in 1837) and Moti Masjid (built by Sikander Begum in 1860). Some of the major historical buildings in Bhopal include Shaukat Mahal (a mixture of Indo-Islamic and European styles of architecture).

Gohar Mahal (built by Qudsia Begum, fusion of Hindu and Mughal architecture), Sadar Manzil (used by the Begums for public audience, now used as the head office of the Municipal Corporation) and Purana Kila (part of the 300-year-old fort of Queen Kamalapati, situated in the Kamala Nehru Park). Lakshmi Narayan Temple (or Birla Mandir), situated to the south of Lower Lake, is a temple devoted to Vishnu and his mythological consort Laxmi. An annual fare is held on Kartik Purnima at Manua Bhan Ki Tekri (Mahavir Giri), a Jain pilgrimage center located around seven kilometres away from Bhopal.

The Udaygiri Caves, located near the town of Vidisha, are cut into the side at a sandstone hill, date back from A.D. 320 to 606. An inscription in one of these caves states that it was carved out during the reign of Chandragupta II (A.D. 382-401). A three-day Iztima-Muslim dhaarmik sammelan or Muslim religious assembly (religious congregation) used to be held in the precincts of the Taj-ul-Masjid annually. It draws scores at Muslim pilgrims from all parts of India. It has now been shifted outside the city limits. Every year in January/February, the villages of the Manav Sangrahalaya hosts the potters' workshops, folk music and dance, and open-air plays. It showcases the tribals of the region who demonstrate their skills in painting, weaving, and the fashioning of bell metal into works of art.


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