Friday, 8 March 2013

Bhojpur, Madhya Pradesh-Temple with tallest Shiva linga in the world

               Earthen ramp behind the temple at Bhojpur

              Ruins of the walls of Bhoja's palace at Bhojpur

                Graffiti near the palace remains at Bhojpur

                                     Shiva Temple
                                 History of Shiva Temple

                                         beside view

                      The linga at the Bhojasvāmin Temple 

       River Betwa close to the Bhojeshwar temple at Bhojpur

                       Bhojeshvara Temple from a distance

                          Mantunga Acharya Shrine

 Interior of the temple dome at Bhojpur, before conservation

                                      Front View

Lord Shiva in the form of Tallest linga. Notice the size of pillars supporting the roof.

                                     Front View

                                   Front View

                                        Front View


 Beautiful carvings on the roof

Beautiful Yakshis on the entrance panels

Shiva Temple (Bhojpur)
 Founded by the legendary Parmar king of Dhar, Raja Bhoj (1010-53), and named after him, Bhojpur, 28 km from Bhopal, is renowned for the remains of its magnificent Shiva Temple and Cyclopean dam. The temple, which has earned the nomenclature of the Somnath of the East, is known as the Bhojeshwar Temple. In plan a simple square, with an exterior dimension of 66 feet, it is devoid of the re-entrant angles usual in such buildings. The richly carved dome, though incomplete, has magnificent, soaring strength of line and is supported by four pillars. These like the dome, have been conceived on a massive scale, yet retain a remarkable elegance because of their tapering form. Divided into three sections, the lowest is an octagon with facets of 2.12 feet, from which springs a 24-faced section. 

                  Bhojpur - Introduction
Founded by the legendary Parmar King of Dhar, Raja Bhoj (1010-1053), and named after him, Bhojpur, 28 km from Bhopal, is renowned for the remains of its magnificent Shiva temple and Cyclopean dam.

The temple which has earned the nomenclature of the Somnath of the east, is known as the Bhojeshwar Temple. The temple was never completed and the earthen ramp used to raise it to dome-level still stands. Had it been completed, it would have had very few rivals. As it is, even with the ravages of time, it remains one of the best examples of temple architecture of the 11th - 13th centuries.

The lingam in the sanctum rises to an awe-inspiring height of 7.5 feet with a circumference of 17.8 feet. Set upon a massive platform 21.5 feet square, and composed of three superimposed limestone blocks, the architectural harmony of lingam and platform creates a superb synthesis of solidity and lightness.

Bhojpur takes its name from king Bhoja (reg. c. 1000-1055 CE), the most celebrated ruler of the Paramāra dynasty.There is no archaeological evidence from Bhojpur before the eleventh century, a fact confirmed by local legends which recount how Bhoja made a vow to build a series of dams “to arrest the streams of nine rivers and ninety-nine rivulets”. A location was found in the kingdom that allowed the king to fulfil this vow and the dams were duly built at Bhojpur.
Although the dams were constructed of cyclopean masonry, one of them was opened on the orders of Hoshang Shah of Malwa in the fifteenth century. According to Persian chronicles, he ordered the dam to be broken at the request of local merchants in Bhopal and Vidisha whose carvans were being raided by bandits taking refuge at an inaccessbile spot protected by the lake.

Bhojpur - Temple with tallest Shiva linga in the world!

When you travel in India, you always come across some hidden gems. Places which are not on regular tourist circuit but they leave you with a feeling of fulfillment. Bhojpur in Madhya Pradesh is one such place. Not many visit Bhojpur which is off Bhopal. When we were on the road trip to Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh last year, Bhojpur was on the top of "Must see" places. We had heard about the unfinished temple for Lord Shiva which would have been one of the largest in the country if completed.

Bhojpur is at a distance of 35 KMs from Bhopal. The road is good and once you come out of 
hurly-burly of city traffic, you will enter the peaceful environs of Betwa basin. Betwa is an important river in Central India. 

We notice a small hillock with a huge red granite structure on top of it from a distance as we drive towards the place. The first sight of the temple tells you what to expect – the massiveness. Bhojpur is a nondescript village. Few shops on the way to the temple welcomes us as we park the vehicle.

We won’t get disappointed when we go closer. Our jaws drop when we see the massive Shiva Linga on a large platform. It is really tall. Bhojeshvara temple built by Raja Bhoja in 11th century.  It houses the tallest Shiva Linga in the world – taller than the one in Brihadeeshwara temple in Tanjavur in South India. The incomplete dome could have been the largest and is supported by four massive pillars. The main entrance is embellished with exquisite sculptures of Yakshis. The side walls have intricately carved balconies.

Though it was a weekend, there was very few people around which was good for us. A small group of kids from local school had come for a picnic. The place was quiet and serene.

                     Getting there
Bhojpur is at a distance of 35 KMs from Bhopal which is the capital of Madhya Pradesh state in Central India. Bhopal is well connected to other parts of India by air, train and bus. It is recommend to hire a taxi from Bhopal to visit the place as local bus services are irregular.

                         Best Time to visit
The months immediately after monsoon should be the best. This means September. The place will be green and soothing and the red granite structure provides a nice contrast to surroundings. Otherwise the best time would be from October to March. Winter months of December - January will be very cold in the morning. If planning to visit during summer months of April - July, make sure you visit the the place early in the morning or late in the evening. Day temperatures in these places soar to 45 degree centigrade in summer months.


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