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Bhojpur Tourism and Travel Guide

History of Bhojpur

Founded by the legendary Parmar king of Dhar, Raja Bhoj (1010-53), and named after him, Bhojpur, 28 km from Bhopal, is renowned forBhojpur 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 a 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 Bhojeshwar temple tapering form. Divided into three sections, the lowest is an octagon with facets of 2.12 feet, from which springs a 24-faced section.

Richly carved above, the doorway is plain below, throwing into sharp relief the two exquisitely sculpted figures that stand on either side. On the other three sides of the structure are balconies, each supported by massive brackets and four intricately carved pillars. 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.

The temple was never completed, and the earthern 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 12th and 13th centuries.

Also incomplete, and with a similar stone-raising ramp, is a Jain shrine that stands close to the Bhojeshwar temple. Three figures of the tirthankaras are contained within, one being a colossal statue of Mahavira 20 feet high, and the other two of Parsvanath. Rectangular in plan, this temple probably belongs to the same period as the Bhojeshwar.

West of Bhojpur once lay a vast lake, but nothing remains except the ruins of the magnificent old dams by which its waters were contained. The site was chosen with great skill, as a natural wall of hills enclosed the whole area except for two gaps, 100 yards and 500 yards in width respectively. These were closed by gigantic earthern dams, faced on both Bhojpursides with enormous blocks of sandstone, many being 4 feet long, 3 feet broad and 2.5 feet thick, set without mortar. The smaller dam is 44 feet high and 300 feet thick at the base, the larger dam 24 feet high with a flat top 100 feet broad. These embankments held up an expanse of water of about 250 square miles. This great work is ascribed to Raja Bhoj, but it may possibly be of an earlier date.

The lake was destroyed by Hoshang Shah of Malwa (1405-34), who cut through the lesser dam, and thus, either intentionally or in a fit of destructive passion, added an enormous area of the highest fertility to his possessions. According to a Gond legend, it took an army of them three months to cut through the dam, and the lake took three years to empty, while its bed was not habitable for thirty years afterwards. The climate of Malwa is said to have been considerably altered by the removal of this vast sheet of water.

Bhojeshwar Temple

This is the most important places in Bhojpur. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and beckons devotees from all parts of India. The temple was built sometime around 11th century. The structure towers to a height of 66 feet. The dome is incomplete, still the beauty of it is captivating. The dome is supported by four richly carved pillars. The architecture of the temple fascinates not only tourists but archeologists as well. The temple is known as Somnath in the eastern part of India.

Jain Temple

The Jain Temple is famous for the magnificent 20 feet high statue of Mahavira and two statues of Parsvanath. There are three images of tirthankaras as well inside the temple. The temple is situated close to Bhojeshwar temple. The style and architecture of both the temples is quite similar which points out that both the temples were built almost in the same period.

Cyclopean Dam

Considered to be a marvel during olden times, the great dam now lay in ruins on the western side of Bhojpur. TheBhojpur dam was built on a vast lake which is no more there. Huge hills enclosed the entire area from all sides, but two big gaps were there that were blocked by different dams. The earthen dams were huge with the bigger one being 44 feet high and 300 feet thick and the smaller one being 24 feet high and 100 feet wide. The construction of the dams was done without using mortar. The dams held up water of about 250 square miles. Few believe that the dams were built by Raja Bhoj, but they were probably built before his time.

Where to Stay

Bhojpur has few good hotels along with budget ones. Most of the budget hotels will provide you with all basic facilities and are very clean and hygienic. You also have the option of going to Bhopal where you will find almost all types of hotel that cater to travelers of all kinds of needs.

How to reach

By Air: Bhopal is the nearest airport which is at a distance of just 28 km. Hire a taxi or take a bus for half an hour drive to Bhojpur

By Rail: Nearest rail junction is also at Bhopal. It is an important railhead in Central India and is connected to all the major cities of India.

By Road: It is connected to Bhopal from where you can get bus to all most all parts of Madhya Pradesh.

Hotels in Bhojpur

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