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Legend suggests that Bhopal stands on an 11th century site created by Raja Bhoja, who is believed to have built a pal(dam) which created the lakes. The modern city was developed by Dost Mohammad Khan, one of Aurangzeb's Afgan governors who planned to set out wide roads, adorn it with monuments and replant the gardens. After his death Bhopal remained almost an island state in Malwa. Loyal to the British throughout the 18th century, from 1857 until 1926, Bhopal was ruled by two Muslim women. It still retains a strong Muslim character.

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