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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Bhopal: City of biggest artificial lake in Asia

Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh (India), is a fascinating blend of old historic monuments, modern urban planning and scenic beauty. The city today presents a multi-faceted profile; the old Bhopal with it's markets, mosques and palaces, equally impressive is the new city with it's garden, parks and buildings. 

Bhopal is well connected to other cities in the country by air, rail and road. It is 740 km from Delhi and 790 km from Mumbai. Major tourist attraction around Bhopal is Sanchi and Pachmarhi.

The two lakes, 'Bada Talab' and 'Chotta Talab', still is the lifeline and the nucleus of the city. Bada Taalab” or “Upper Lake” which is one of the prides of Bhopal is said to have been built in the 11th century by the Parmar King, Raja Bhoj. Hence the lake is also known as “Bhojtaal”. This lake, with an area of 31 km2, was created by constructing an earthen dam across the river Kolans and is the biggest artificial lake in Asia. 

Later on in 1965 another dam with eleven gates was constructed at Bhadbhada, hence called the Bhadbhada dam, to control the outflow of the lake. Bada Taalab is a major source of drinking water in the city. Its water is also used for irrigation purpose. There are 87 villages of Bhopal and Sehore district in its catchment area.   

Bhojtaal or Bada Taalab is also a popular tourist and picnic place for the locals and the nearby residents because of its scenic and panoramic beauty, particularly during the monsoon. India’s first National Sailing club has been established at the Boat Club located at this very lake. The club offers various sporting events such as kayaking, canoeing, rafting, water skiing, and parasailing. A number of boat operators provide facilities for exciting boating trips on sail, paddle and motor boats, but prefer to the facilities provided by M.P. Tourism. An island, called Takia island, at the centre of this lake has a tomb of Shah Ali Shah Rahamatullah Alla and hence a place of religious and archaeological significance.

Fig.1: Banks of Bhojtal

An old meter gauge steam engine, “Hill Stallion” manufactured by Tata Locomotive in 1963 used and retired by Indian Railways, is also at display at the banks of the lake.

A national park called “Van Vihar” and a museum called “Manav Sangrahalaya” is located nearby to the lake. At Van Vihar one can see tigers, bears, leopards, variety of deer, alligators, and other reptiles in captivity.  “Manav Sangrahalaya” depicts the ancient and tribal history of India.