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Jehan Numa Palace, Bhopal


It is easy to see why the Bhopal city and the surroundin­g regions are so well-planned, clean roads, elegant architectu­re (Taj-ul-Masjid and others), well-placed administra­tion, thoughtful­ly laid of greens and water bodies, with a legacy in enriching literature and arts. Respect for the local tribes, the natural environmen­t and Bhopal’s history is evident on the streets, in their civic sense, their museums (Tribal museum and Museum of Man) and their demeanor.

After all, Bhopal was ruled by the powerful women of the royal family for over 400 years, and is popularly known as `The land of the Begums’. Carrying the Bsgums’ philosophy of preserving the environmen­tal and cultural heritage forward are the Jehan Numa Palace and the Jehan Numa Retreat, and the people behind them, the direct descendent­s of the Begums.

Jehan Numa Palace stands at the foot of Shyamla Hills with sweeping views of the city. Built by the last son of the Begum, General Obaidullah Khan in the early 19th century, the Palace beautifull­y captures the family’s legacy and history of Bhopal and the royal’s way of life. The royal Bhopali cuisine with a treasure trove of dishes created using centurieso­ld recipes are served along with the global, modern cuisines, heritage rooms open onto balconies with views of the pool of the royal stables and racecourse - undeterred love for horses has been a significan­t legacy in the family.

The Jehan Numa Museum located in the central courtyard embodies the unique story of Bhopal and the Royal Family, tracing their engagement­s and efforts. Jehan Numa Palace is synonymous with an understand­ing of Bhopal’s history, so much so that all walking tours begin at its door.

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