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Located at a distance of 28km. from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, it was founded by the legendry Parmara king, Dhar Raja Bhoj. Bhojpur is renowned for the remains of its magnificent Shiva Temple .

Bhojpur is situated on the Betwā River, 28 km from Bhopal, the state capital of Madhya Pradesh. The site is located on sandstone ridges typical of central India, next to a deep gorge through which the Betwā River flows. Two large dams, constructed of massive hammer-dressed stones, were built in the eleventh century to divert and block the Betwā, so creating a large lake. The approximate size of the lake is shown in the site plan given here.

Bhojeśvar or Bhojasvāmin temple : The liṅga at the Bhojasvāmin temple, Bhojpur

Bhojpur is famous for the incomplete Bhojeśvar temple dedicated to Shiva. The temple houses
one of the largest liṅga-s in India, 5.5 m (18 ft) tall and 2.3 m (7.5 ft) in circumference. It is crafted out a single rock.The building is under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India.

The attribution of the temple to Bhoja is based on the testimony of Merutuṅga, who reports in the Prabandhacintāmaṇi that Bhoja bestowed on the poet Māgha “all the merit of the new Bhojasvāmin temple that he was about to build himself”, and then “set out for the country of Mālava”. The style of the sculpture on the building confirms an early to mid-eleventh-century
date for the structure.

The building as it stands consists of the inner cella or garbhagṛha, supported by massive pillars, surmounted with an elegant corbelled dome. The outer walls and superstructure of the temple were never built.

Quarries and rock drawings

The temple at Bhojpur is unique in being left unfinished, with a series of large architectural parts still located in the quarries where the stones were cut and fashioned. In addition, there are a significant number of architectural drawings engraved on the flat surfaces of the quarry showing mouldings, pillars, and temple plans. Also of note is the large earthen ramp behind the temple which shows how medieval craftsmen raised the large blocks of stone into position.

Cave of Pārvatī

Immediately opposite the temple, on the west side of the gorge facing the Betwā, is a rock-shelter or cave, now occupied by religious mendicants. Popularly known as Pārvatī's Cave, the cave contains a number of sculptures and architectural fragments dating to the eleventh century.

Remains of Bhoja's Royal Palace : One of the avenues in the ruins of the royal palace at Bhojpur

On the low plateau above the Cave of Pārvatī and opposite the Bhojpur temple are the remains of Bhoja's palace. Only the foundations survive. The complex is laid out as a grid in a square, with a courtyard in the centre . It is oriented on an exact north-south axis as prescribed in the Samarāṅganasūtradhāra, an architectural treatise ascribed to Bhoja.Among the many features of interest are unfinished carved blocks and graffiti engraved on the rock floor. The latter includes diagrams for games and a series of names dating to the eleventh century and later. The palace is a unique survival, being the only medieval building of its kind in northern India. Its association with Bhoja and its close conformity to a text ascribed to the king mark it out as a site of national and international cultural importance. The site of the palace, like the neighbouring dams, is unprotected. The remains of the palace are being slowly destroyed as local people collect stones for modern building purposes.

Jain temples : Idols at the unfinished Jain Temple, Bhojpur

Bhojpur also has an unfinished Jain temple containing a 6-meter-tall statue of Shantinath and two statues of Parshvanath (left) and Suparasnath (right). On the base of one of the images is an inscription mentioning king Bhoja, the only epigraphic evidence connecting Bhoja to the site. The same temple complex hosts shrine for Ācārya Mantunga who wrote Bhaktamara Stotra.


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