Archdiocese of Bhopal
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In a land area of 25, 000 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the revenue districts of Bhopal, Harda, Hoshangabad and Sehore.

Bhopal is the capital of Madhya Pradesh and is the main rail junction of Central India. The city caught international attention after the worst industrial disaster of the world, when the Union Carbide plant leaked deadly methyl isocyanate gas during the night of Dec. 3, 1984 which claimed over 20,000 lives and affected more than 500,000 people. The municipality covers 286 square kilometres. It has two very beautiful big lakes. The city has uneven elevation and has small hills within its boundaries.

Population

Bhopal has a population of 1,836,784 with 968,964 males and 867,820 females. The population consists of 56% Hindus and 38% Muslims, with the rest of the population including Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and, Buddhists.

Ethnic groups in the territory include Maharahstrians, Gujaratis, Malayalees, Marwaris, Tamils and Telugus.

Language

Most of the people speak Hindi, Urdu and Malwi but there are many people who speak English.

History

The history of the Catholic Church in Bhopal goes back to 1785, when Salvador Bourbon, a descendant of the French Royal Catholic Family of Bourbons, came to Bhopal to work for the reigning Begum Mamola at Bhopal. In 1829 Bhopal was officially a part of Agra Vicariate. It was Bishop Hartmann OFM,Cap., who is in a very real sense the founder of the Church of Bhopal. In 1873 he acquired a plot of land from the Muslim ruler of Bhopal and built the first little church, which, in 1964 became the Cathedral of the newly erected Archdiocese of Bhopal.

In 1886 the Diocese of Allahabad was formed and Bhopal was then attached to this new diocese. On March 11, 1935, when the Mission Territory of Indore was elevated to Prefecture to Indore. In 1958 the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh was shifted from Nagpur to Bhopal and this necessitated the creation of the new Archdiocese of Bhopal.

Bishop Eugene D'Souza was transferred from Nagpur to Bhopal to be its First Archbishop.

Archbishop Eugene laid down his office and handed over to Bishop Pascal Topno, SJ, of Ambikapur, who was promoted as Archbishop of Bhopal on May 20, 1994. On June 15, 2007 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Dr Leo Cornelio as the new Archbishop of Bhopal.

Suffragan Dioceses of the archdiocese are Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur, Jhabua, Khandwa, Sagar (Syro-Malabarese), Satna (Syro-Malabarese), Ujjain (Syro-Malabarese).

Transportation

It is very well connected via Railway, Road and Air Transport Services.

Climate

Bhopal has a humid-subtropical climate, with mild, dry winters, a hot summer and a humid monsoon season. Summer starts in March and continues till mid-June. The average temperature being around 30 degrees Celsius, with the peak of summer in May, the temperature rises upto 44 degrees Celsius. The monsoon starts in late June and ends in late September. These months see about 40 inches (1020 mm) of precipitation, frequent thunderstorms and flooding. Temperatures rise again up to late October when winter starts, which lasts up to early March. Winter in Bhopal is mild, sunny and dry, with average temperatures around 18 degrees Celsius and minimum temperature dropping below 4 degrees Celsius.

Economy

Bhopal has several major industries of electrical goods, cotton, chemicals and jewellery.

Being the state capital, the city has a majority of residents working for the State and Central Government Departments. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, the largest engineering and manufacturing enterprise in India, has a unit in Bhopal.

Education

Bhopal has more than 250 state government run schools (affiliated to the Madhya Pradesh Board). There are, also, nine Kendriya Vidyalayas (Central Schools) in the city (affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education). Additionally, there are numerous convent and private schools, which are affiliated to either the Madhya Pradesh board of Central Board of Secondary Education and even 17 schools affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certification Examination (C.I.S.C.E.). Bhopal has 70 engineering colleges.