Bhopal is the state capital of Madhya Pradesh – but to many the name immediately reminds us of the disaster of 1984 when a pesticide plant leaked deadly gases that led to the deaths of thousands of people. Bhopal remains an important industrial city as well as an educational and political centre. It is known as the city of lakes and has a history reaching back to 1000. Just 47 kms north east of Bhopal is Sanchi – one of the most important Buddhist sites in India. There are a group of stupas and abandoned monasteries on a hill with commanding views of the surroundings. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1989. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site is the prehistoric rock shelters at Bhimbetka, which lie 45 kms to the south east.

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