History of Bhopal
Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, has an illustrious history.
The city was founded in the 11th century by the illustrious Paramara King of Malwa, Raja Bhoja.
It derives its name from the ancient 11th century city of Bhojpal – ruled ruled by Raja Bhoja of the Paramara dynasty – upon who’s foundations it stands today. The Parmara’s reigned over Malwa till the the 13th century. After their reign and by the 18th century, Bhopal was reduced to a mere village in the local Gond kingdom. In fact, it was an Afghan General Dost Mahammad Khan, who founded what was to grow into present day Bhopal in 1723 after Auragzeb’s death. His successor, Ghous Mohammad had a widowed daughter , Qudsia,who became the first of the famed Begum’s of Bhopal. Successive Queens governed the city through the 19th and early 20th centuries. Under their patronage, Bhopal reached the apogee of art, architecture and culture.
The king was engaged in a fierce power struggle with his contemporaries – the Chalukyas, Chandelas and Kalchuris. He built a pala (dam) to secure his eastern frontiers. This led to the formation of the beautiful Bada Talab (Upper Lake). He then built a fort and laid the foundations of a city that was named Bhojpal, from King Bhoja’s pala. Over a period of time Bhojpal came to be known as Bhopal.
The old city still bears the imprint of this golden period in the form of spectacular palaces and mosques. On the other hand, New Bhopal, developed post independence, creates an equally favorable impression. The city is quickly developing into one of India’s most promising urban area’s, and this is evident in it’s modern buildings, interspersed with well- laid- out parks and expansive green spaces. Two lakes separates the city districts, constituting the heart of Bhopal and dominating it’s landscape.
It’s magnificent history and prestigious lost empires guarantee Bhopal a place in the canon of great Indian cities. Yet the rapidly developing infrastructure betrays her true Metropolitan nature. This convergence is at the heart of Bhopal’s charm. Sadly, the city is also synonymous with the industrial disaster of December 1984, in famously known as the gas tragedy, which claimed the lives of thousands.
A gas leak at the Union Carbide plant led to absolute mayhem as thousands lost their lives or were grievously injured . To this day, December 3rd of every year is observed as a day of mourning, and all government offices remain closed.A memorial sculpture of a mother and child has been erected outside the now deserted factory. Funds are also being raised to set up a museum in the memory of the victims.