A wealth of impressive ancient monuments lie within a couple of hours’ journey from Bhopal. To the northeast, the third-century BC stupas at Sanchi are an easy day-trip. Its peaceful setting also makes an ideal base for visits to more stupas at Satdhara or Udaigiri’s rock-cut caves and the nearby Column of Heliodorus at Besnagar. South towards Hoshangabad and the Narmada Valley, the prehistoric cave paintings at Bhimbetka can be visited in a day by bus.

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