According to folklore, Bhopal is said to have been founded by the king Bhoja of the Paramara dynasty (1000–1055 CE), who ruled from his capital at Dhar. This theory states that Bhopal was originally known as Bhojpal after the king and the dam ("pal") constructed by him. No available archaeological evidence, inscriptions or historical texts support the claim about an earlier settlement founded by Bhoja at the same place, although a temple complex constructed by him exists at Bhojpur, which is located 28 km from Bhopal. An alternative theory says that the name of the city was coined from the name of another king called Bhupala (or Bhupal). (During the British Raj, the railway tickets printed in the city and the signboards on the railway station mentioned the name of the city as "Bhupal" in Hindi-Urdu and "Bhoopal" in English.)
In the early 18th century, Bhopal was a small village in the local Gond kingdom. The modern Bhopal city was established by Dost Mohammad Khan (1672–1728), an Afghan soldier in the Mughal army. After the death of the emperor Aurangzeb, Khan started providing mercenary services to several local chieftains in the politically unstable Malwa region. In 1709, he took on the lease of Berasia estate, and later annexed several territories in the region to establish the Bhopal State. Khan received the territory of Bhopal from the Gond queen Rani Kamlapati in lieu of payment for mercenary services, and usurped her kingdom after her death. Hamidullah Khan, last nawab of Bhopal
During the early 1720s, Dost Mohammad Khan transformed the village of Bhopal into a fortified city, and acquired the title of Nawab. Khan's support to the Sayyid Brothers earned him the enmity of the rival Mughal nobleman Nizam-ul-Mulk, who invaded Bhopal in March 1724, forcing Khan to cede much of his territory. Dost Mohammad Khan and his Pathan associates brought the Islamic influence on the culture and architecture of Bhopal, the ruins of which can be found at Islamnagar near Bhopal. After Khan's death in 1728, the Bhopal state remained under the influence of the Nizam. The state also paid tribute to the Marathas, who defeated the Mughals at the Battle of Bhopal in 1737.
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