On December 3, 1984, what is generally considered the world’s worst industrial accident took place in Bhopal, capital of the Indian state of Madya Pradesh. Tons of deadly methyl isocyanate gas leaked out of the American owned Union Carbide chemical plant and swept across the city killing an undetermined number of people. The initial official death toll was 3,828, however locals claim the number was much higher and that many bodies were secretly removed by the Indian government during the night. The continuing death toll has risen to over 20,000 and over half a million people suffer from illnesses related to the disaster.
The location of this terrible tragedy may seem an extremely unlikely tourist destination; however, Bhopal is quite an enjoyable city with what I have unofficially determined to be the best lassis in the country. (Definitely stop by the Manohar restaurant for a sweet lassi – and everything else.)
In addition to the creamiest lassis on the planet, there are tons of local attractions including two world heritage sites, the prehistoric rock paintings at Bhimbetka and the extraordinary Buddhist ruins at Sanchi. (One of my top goals in India was to visit the ruins at Sanchi.)
If you want to learn more about Bhopal and the long-term effects of the disaster check out www.bhopal.org.