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Bhopāl ( , pron. ) is the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradeshmarker 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 disastermarker, when the Union Carbide plant leaked deadly methyl isocyanate gas during the night of 3 December, 1984. The plant was operated by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL). The gas caused a massive loss of human life - numbering in thousands. Thousands others were rendered sick and have been facing chronic health problems such as Psychological & Neurological disabilities, blindness etc.The rate of birth defects, in children whose parents or even grandparents (i.e. second generation) were exposed, is still very high.
Protest Rally Against DOW, Bhopal
Since then, 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.

History

Bhopal is said to have been founded by the Parmara King Bhoj (1000–1055), who had his capital at Dharmarker. The city was originally known as Bhojpal named after Bhoj and the dam ('pal') that he is said to have constructed to form the lakes surrounding Bhopal. The fortunes of Bhopal rose and fell with that of its reigning dynasty. As the Parmaras declined in power, the city was ransacked several times and finally faded away into obscurity.

An Afghan soldier of the Orakzai tribe called Dost Mohammad Khan (not to be confused with the later Afghan King carrying the same name) laid out the present city at the same site following the death of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707. He brought with himself the Islamic influence on the culture and architecture of Bhopal, the ruins of which can be found at Islam Nagar. Bhopal, the second largest Muslim state in pre-independence India was ruled by four Begums from 1819 to 1926. Qudisa Begum was the first female ruler of Bhopal City, who was succeeded by her only daughter Sikandari, who in turn was succeeded by her only daughter, Shahjehan. Kaikhusrau Jahan Begum was the last female ruler, and stepped down to her son. The succession of the ‘Begums’ gave the city such innovations as waterworks, railways and a postal system. Several monuments still stand in the city as reminders of this glorious period in its history. A municipality was constituted in 1907.

It was one of the last princely states to sign the 'Instrument of Accession' 1947. Though India achieved Independence in August 1947, the ruler of Bhopal acceded to India only on 1 May 1949. Sindhi refugees from Pakistanmarker were accommodated in West Bhopal Cities, Bairagarh Sub-Area (Sant Hirdaram nagar), a western suburb of Bhopal. According to the States Reorganization Act of 1956, Bhopal state was integrated into the state of Madhya Pradeshmarker, and Bhopal was declared as its capital. The population of the city rose rapidly thereafter.

Bhopal disaster

On December 3, 1984, a Union Carbide Corporation plant in Bhopal leaked 32 tons of toxic methyl isocyanate gas, leading to the Bhopal disastermarker. The official death toll of this disaster was about 5,000 initially. A more probable figure is that 18,000 died within two weeks, and it is estimated that an additional 8,000 have since died from gas-poisoning-related diseases. The Greenpeace organization cites a total casualty figure of 20,000 as its own conservative estimate. The Bhopal disaster is often cited as the world's worst industrial disaster.December 3 is observed as an annual day of mourning for this disaster, and each year, all of the government offices in Bhopal are closed on this day.

The Union Carbide India, Ltd., (UCIL) plant was established in 1969 in East Bhopal City. 51% of it was owned by Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) and 49% by Indian authorities, although UCC was responsible for all techniques and designs. It produced the pesticide carbaryl (trade mark Sevin). Methyl isocyanate (MIC), an intermediate in carbaryl manufacture, was also used, and in 1979 a plant for producing MIC was added to the site.

During the night of December 3, 1984, large amounts of water entered the chemical storage tank E610, which contained about 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate. The resulting reaction generated a major increase in the temperature of liquid inside the tank to over 200°C (400°F). The MIC holding tank then gave off a large volume of mixed toxic gases, forcing the emergency release of pressure. Massive panic resulted as people woke up in a cloud of noxious gasses that burned their lungs. About nine thousand people died immediately from the gasses, and many more were trampled by others who were fleeing.

Theories for how the water entered the chemical storage tank differ. At the time, workers at the plant were cleaning out some chemical pipes with water, and some authorities claim that because of bad maintenance and leaking valves, it was possible for the water to leak into the tank E610. The Union Carbide Corp. maintains that this was not possible, and that the disaster was an act of sabotage by a "disgruntled worker" who introduced water directly into the tank. Much speculation arose in the aftermath, since the government of India and the Union Carbide Corp. did not release the results of their own investigations.A recently published highly researched book, entitled "The Black Box of Bhopal", which has also appended several original documents not scrutinized before, presents a more complete picture about the events on the morning of 3rd of December 1984.

The deciding factors that contributed to the disaster included:

  • The chemical plant's poorly-chosen location—located near a densely populated west city area, instead of the other side of Bhopal City where the company had been offered land.
  • Using hazardous ingredient chemicals (methyl isocyanate) instead of less dangerous ones
  • Storing these chemicals in large tanks instead of several smaller storage tanks.
  • Possible corrosion of the metals in the pipelines
  • Poor maintenance at the chemical plant
  • Failure of several safety systems, which where not in operation at the time.
  • Deficient staffing policies, such as in the number of employees hired and their training for working with dangerous chemicals.
  • Negligence on the part of the Union Carbide India, Ltd., and the Governments of India and the state of Madhya Pradesh.


Geography

Bhopal has an average elevation of 499 metres (1637 ft). Bhopal is located in the central part of India, and is just north of the upper limit of the Vindhyamarker mountain ranges. Located on the Malwa plateau, it is higher than the north Indian plains and the land rises towards the Vindhya Rangemarker 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 square kilometres. It has two very beautiful big lakes, collectively known as the Bhoj Wetland . These lakes are the Upper Lakemarker (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 km² while that of the Lower Lake is 9.6 km². The Upper Lake drains into the Kolar River. The Van Vihar National Park is a national park situated beside the Upper Lake.
A Panther in Van Vihar,Bhopal
The national park also has a museum in its premises. 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. 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. There are a large number of garages in the older city which specialise in automobile conversion. These garages produce custom-modified and tuned cars, SUV and motorbikes.
Construction of infrastructure has become huge business


Being a state capital, the New City has a majority of residents working for the State and Central Government Departments. There are two major office complexes on Arera Hills named Satpura and Vindhyachal, which house a number of State Government offices and projects. Adjacent to them is the State Secretariat, Vallabh Bhavan. In their vicinity are other State and Central Government offices which include major national banks and insurance companies. Bhopal's major commercial area is M.P Nagar, Bhopal which accommodates many business houses. There are a number of hardware as well as software vendors in this part of the city. Other businesses include daily newsletter offices and press, hotels and restaurants, coaching and tuition centers and entertainment.

Bhopal has a cantonment in the old city as well as military presence near Bairagarh and the airport. The cantonment houses one of the Services Selection board centers that recruits troops and officers for the armed forces.

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. Mandideepmarker 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 & Hardware Technology Park in Bhopal. Multinational companies like Genpact, Fujitsu and Taurus Microsystems are expected to open their centers in the Technology Park.

Education & 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 eleven 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.

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 70) located in and around the city. An Indian Institute of Science is also proposed to be set up at Bhopal in the near future.

Gandhi Medical College is the city's oldest and most prominent medical college and is associated with Hamidia Hospital. The medical college is affiliated to the Barkatullah University. The hospital and the college played a crucial role in emergency response and care after the December 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedymarker.

Building
Other institutes of higher learning that offer courses in pure sciences, liberal arts, accounting, communication and other professional training include the Rajiv Gandhi Technical Universitymarker, the Barkatullah University, the Madhya Pradesh Bhoj Open University (for distance education) and the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism.

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, a highly ranked law school in India.

Other city institutes of learning that offer a diploma in education are, The Regional Institute of Education (RIE) of Bhopal, a constituent unit of the National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT) and the Digdarshika Institute of Rehabilitation and Research, a non-profit and educational organization serving the health sector.

Bhopal is also famous for its engineering colleges, which are 63 in number.

Government and Politics

Bhopal is the capital city of Madhya Pradeshmarker. It houses the State Legislative Assembly, or the Vidhan Sabha, which seats 230 members of Legislative Assembly. The twelfth (and current) Vidhan Sabha was elected in May, 2008. Currently, the party in the majority in Vidhan Sabha is Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is led by Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Bhopal district elects seven seats to the Assembly.

The administration of Bhopal city is handled by Bhopal Municipal Corporation, also known as BMC. The total area under BMC is 285 km². The city is divided into 66 wards. Each ward elects a corporator. The winning party elects a council of members, who are responsible for various departments. The council members chose the Mayor among themselves. At present, there are ten members in the council. The Commissioner of Bhopal is the highest officer of Municipal Corporate Office, which is responsible for the departments of public works, revenue and tax, water supply, planning and development, fire brigade, health and sanitation, finance & accounts etc. The Commissioner of Bhopal currently is Manish Singh.

Transportation

Roads

Today Bhopal Roads are best in whole Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh,all road in and around Bhopal are four lane,six lane and Eight lane.e.g. Lalghati to Bairagarh Eight Lane.Bhopal has for a long time been a railroad and highway transportation hub. Bhopal has its own lower level. which disabled people friendly city bus services (BCLL) which is always under GPS navigation, for faster and comfortable journey.Metro Taxi and Auto-rickshaws are another major means of transport.In some routes in the older city and the new city as well, the new Tata Magics are running successfully which have replaced the old bigger diesel rickshaws - known as "bhat".

Bhopal is also implementing a "Bus Rapid Transit System", projected to become functional in the year 2009.

Apart from the long distance services, there are many services to nearby places within the state. The bus services are operated from 9 Major bus stands in the city:
  • ISBT Terminal
  • Naadra Bus Stand, Old City
  • Jawahar Chowk Stand
  • Halalpura Bus Stand
  • Bharat Talkies Stand
  • Jnyaneshwari Bus Stand, South
  • Piplani Bus Stand, East
  • Ayodhya Nagari BusStand
  • ISBT Bus Stand, Kasturba Nagar


National Highway 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 Indore in the West. There are number of daily buses to Indore, Ujjain, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Khajuraho, Sanchi, Pachmarhi, Vidisha, and as well to Ahmedabad, Jodhpur, Kota, Nagpur, Jaipur, Agra, and Allahabad. An interstate bus terminus is near the Habibganj station. There are also a number of Metro Buses running in the city.

Metro Train

MP Government is conducting a survey for startng Metro Train.

Railways

Bhopal railway station
  • Bhopal Junction Railway Station is a major railway station and junction. It is connected by rail to all parts of the country being on the main North-South line of the country. A list of all major trains passing through Bhopal can be found here. More than 150 daily trains have stoppages in Bhopal. It is also close to the main East-West junction, Itarsimarker.
Bhopal has Five other railway stations within the city, namely :
  • Habibganj Railway Station is the most developed and major station of Bhopal having lots of modern amenities and also holds the distinction of being the first ISO 9000:2001 certified railway station in India.other stations includes:-




Bhopal Express : Shaan - E - Bhopal, with its headquarter at Habibganj station, is also the first train in India to obtain an ISO 9001:2000 certificate.

international Airport

Bhopal has international airport with all modern amenities that connects it directly to Delhi, Mumbai, Indore, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Ahmedabad, Raipur, Hyderabad and many major cities of India.The Raja Bhoj Airportmarker is located near the satellite suburb Bairagarh. There are three routes ways to reach the airport: (1) Via Bairagarh, (2) Via Ranchyati, (3) Via Mahavir Tekari.

Demographics

According to the 2001 census the total Bhopal population is about 1,458,416. 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 Hindi-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 Hindi 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.

  • Population: 1.46 million
  • Total waste generation: 6 ton/day
  • Waste generation per capita: 0.43 kg/person per day


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 Bhopali is spoken in West and East Bhopal 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

Diwali is celebrated with equal pomp and glory as Eid. Gifts and sweets are exchanged and donation are made to the poor. Diwali is celebrated by worshiping the wealth goddess Lakshmi. Later that night, firecrackers are burst in the open by young and old. 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 specialty 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 organized by the local administration and stand as tall as .

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 :

Those 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 Vidishamarker, 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.

Sports

Cricket is popular in Bhopal. Although it does not have any stadium of international level, cricket at various levels is played at the Baba Ali stadium and the Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd. Sports Complex; the latter has even hosted a few matches at the national level. Construction of a Khelgaon is being carried out which will have facilities for hosting international cricket, football and tennis as well as other indoor games. At local level, cricket is played at Old Campion ground. Other tennis ball matches also take place in various parts of the city. The youngest captain of the Indian cricket team, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, was born and brought up in Bhopal. The Tatya Tope Stadium, located in the heart of the city, was a cricket stadium and held matches at local and state level. But it has lately been converted into a multi-purpose stadium, with facilities for athletics, footbal, tennis, squash, table tennis, volleball, basketball, skating, martial arts and a gymnasium.

Bhopal is also known for its hockey lovers. The Aishbagh stadium is synonymous for hockey players. Many players reach different grounds for practice. The city has produced many national and international players for Indian hockey team. The more famous one being Aslam Sher Khan, who represented India in several international games and was a part of the World Cup winning team in 1975. He later joined politics and went on to become a Member of Parliament. He also served the national hockey by being a part of the national selection committee. His father, Ahmed Sher Khan, represented India at the Berlin Olympics in 1936 along with Major Dhyan Chand.

Another popular sport of Bhopalites is bodybuilding. In the old city, there are a number of gyms where youngsters workout everyday to make their body muscular. Slowly, this trend has caught up even in the new city where more modern equipments are being employed to help their members get into better shape. Body builders from the local gyms participate at national level and have tasted success at the state level. Apart from this, at school and college level, table tennis, volleyball, basketball, football and swimming are also popular sports. Every summer, Sports Authority of India holds camps which provide coaching to students of various ages games and sports of their choices.

Another famous son of Bhopal is (Late) J P Narayanan. A graduate Mechanical Engineer from Maulana Azad College of Technology, Narayanan had to his credit broadcasting running commentaries in English for 100 One-Day Internationals and 44 Test matches in his career as a cricket commentator for All India Radio (AIR). The third One-Day International match between India and Pakistan played at Keenan Stadium, Jamshedpurmarker on April 9, 2005 was his last assignment as a cricket commentator. An employee of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, the BHEL sports complex was renamed to JP Narayanan Sports Complex, in an effort to honor his contribution to cricket in Bhopal and nationally as well.

Bhopal is also coming up as a center of adventure sports. Trekking camps are being organised by Youth Hostels and other private clubs and their destinations are Budhni Ghat, Narsingarh, Ratapani Sanctuary, Delawadi, Bhimbetkamarker, Manuabhan Ki Tekri etc. The government has also established India's first National Sailing Club at the Boat Club, in the Upper Lakemarker. This club offers various water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, rafting, water skiing, para-sailing etc. Since its inception, it has hosted Canoeing and Kayaking Championships at national as well as international levels.

Industrial Area

Bhopal has its own industrial area with the name "Govindpura". It has so many small and medium scale industries involve in various type of production. In near future bhopal might have an IT Park consisting of India's major IT companies branches such as TCS (TATA Consultancy Services).

See also



Further reading



References



External links






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