Bhopal is the state capital of Madhya Pradesh and an important economic and cultural hub. The city is also an excellent base from which to visit the extraordinary paleolithic cave-paintings of Bhimbetka and Satpura National Park as well as Sanchi and Mandu – two of the state’s finest ancient sites. Bhopal itself is, like many Indian cities, an amalgamation of the old and new – the historic centre chaotic, noisy and frenetic, the planned city spacious and increasingly modern. Named after its 11th century founder Raja Bhoja, from the 19th century Bhopal was ruled by a succession of enlightened Muslim women who established innovations including a new postal system and a state-wide railway. The building of a series of grand municipal buildings was also initiated during this period with the grand three-domed Taj-ul-Masjid Mosque, Jama Masjid, 150 year old Moti Masjid and Shaukat Mahal – which stands by the city’s main market place – the most important sites.