The NH86 passes through Bhopal and moves north east towards Uttar Pradesh. A few kilometres out of Bhopal is the town of Raisen. Raisen is 23.33N while Bhopal is 23.25N
23.26N is the Tropic of Cancer. As you drive from Bhopal to Raisen, you will see this in your car windshield.
A closer look on the tarmac gives you this
The road itself winds through fields of soya, gram, wheat and sugarcane. It is a road a lot of history buffs are likely to take.
From Bhopal it links up with Raisen where a 900-year-old fort which has changed hands from one dynasty to another stands atop a hill.As one approaches Raisen, the fort looms over the dargah of Hazrat Peer Fatehullah Shah Baba. Not much is known about this Sufi saint (at least on the web) but the crowds at the shrine suggested the existence of a long standing legend. All drivers (cabbies, bus drivers, truckers, etc) halted, lit couple of incense sticks, stood for a couple of minutes and then continued their drive.
Onward from Raisen is Sanchi and Vidisha, both of which fall on the Buddhist traveler’s itinerary.
I crossed the ToC a couple of times during my work-cum-pleasure trip in Madhya Pradesh in September 2009. I wrote about it here. I wonder if similar lines have been put on other roads elsewhere – say in Gujarat