Tour starts form Bhopal, the city of lakes. You will be picked up from the location of your choice in Bhopal and transferred to the hotel.
Today you will be visiting Islam Nagar, 11 kms from Bhopal, to see a magnificent palace. The palace of Islam Nagar is built by the Afghan ruler Dost Mohammad Khan who ruled over Bhopal between 1708 and 1726. The Islam Nagar palace is a luxurious one, and lovely gardens surround both the palace and the pavilion nearby. The palace is a mixture of both Hindu and Islamic art and has columns richly decorated with floral motifs.
We will come back to Bhopal in the evening and visit Gauhar Mahal, one of the first buildings built by the nawabs of Bhopal in 1816. The Mahal is a magnificent expression of the fusion of Hindu and Mugal architecture. Gauhar Mahal is situated behind Shaukat Mahal on the banks of the Upper Lake. It is an architectural gem built by Kudsia Begum, also known as Gohar Begum.
You may also opt to visit Chowk bazaar. In the heart of the city, the Chowk is lined with old mosques and havelis are reminders of a bygone era. The shops in its narrow alleys are treasure troves of traditional Bhopal crafts: silver jewelry, exquisitely fashioned beadwork, embroidered and sequined velvet fashioned purses and cushions.
Today you will be going for the heritage walk of Bhopal city. The walk to this trail will take you on a journey over time, right from the days of the first ruler of Bhopal Dost Mohammad Khan to the period of late 19th century cultural efflorescence under Nawab Shahjahan Begum.
The tomb of Dost Mohammad, the founder of Bhopal State and his wife Fateh Bibi are situated within the campus of Gandhi Medical College. These were built by their son Yaar Mohammad Khan in the year 1742. Situated on a high square platform, these are surrounded by 12 ft. high wall with minars in four corners and three entrance doors. The graves of Dost Mohammad and Fateh Bibi are surrounded by low latticed marble screens.
Adjacent to the tomb of Dost Mohammad lies the Dhai Sidhi ki Masjid which is supposed to be the first mosque built in the Bhopal State.This mosque also holds the pride of smallest mosque in the country. Though the monument is plain, the two and half steps leading to the prayer hall is distinctive and gives the monument its name (2-1/2 stairs mosque). It is said that the soldiers deployed as guards to Fatehgarh fort decided to build this mosque so that they could perform namez while guarding the fort walls.
Fathegarh was the first fort of the Bhopal State. The construction of Fatehgarh began in 1726 and Dost Mohammad Khan named it after his wife Fateh Bibi. It is said that the idea of this fort was conceived by both of them during a shikar expedition and Dost Mohammad selected the site on that very moonlit night. Remains of the fortification wall can be seen from the mosque.
The Tajul Masjid is famous as the third largest mosque in the world. Though it was conceived by Nawab Shahjehan Begum in 1877, it was built in many phases spread over a number of years. The mosque is placed on a high platform with a huge courtyard. The main entrance is 74 ft. high. The northern part was reserved for the veiled women for performing 'namaz'. On the western side is the prayer hall with nine entrance doors supported by pillars and roof with 27 domes.
The pillars and walls have beautiful arabesque and floral designs. Every year an international three day Iztima held in the mosque where religious and theological discussions take place. Believe it or not, apart from Agra, Bhopal also has a Taj mahal. The construction of the 'Tajmahal' situated in Shahjahanabad, was started by Nawab Shahjahan Begum in 1871 and was completed in 1884 at the cost of approximately 30 lakhs. This huge palace has 120 chambers and 8 halls. Every chamber had its own distinct colour arrangement and its own matching style of furniture.
The 'Sawan Bhadon' pavilions in the palace is said to be inspired by similar structures in the Red Fort, Delhi and the Shalimar Bagh in Kashmir Valley. The 'Sheeshmahal' once had exquisite coloured glass mirrors, remnants of which can be seen till date. On the occasion of the completion of the palace, a three year festival called 'Jashn-e-Tajmahal' had been celebrated.
This marble tomb of Nawab Siddique Hasan, the second husband of Nawab Shahjahan Begum, was built by the Begum in 1890. Nawab Siddique Hasan was well versed in Arabic, Persian and Urdu and was renowned as a scholar. The design of the lattice screen around the grave is of particular interest.
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