The moment I heard of Bhojpur, I was reminded of the famous Hindi saying ‘Kahan Raja Bhoj, kahan Gangu teli’. A phrase which is commonly used to highlight the contrasts. The image of Raja Bhoj and hence his kingdom Bhojpur is that of something that has grandeur and prosperity which is incomparable. What you may not know is that he was actually responsible for building lakes in and around the present-day Bhopal. He belonged to the Parmar dynasty which ruled the region almost a millennium ago.
Bhojpur Shiva Temple – Bhojeshwar Temple
What is left in Bhojpur now to see is an unfinished but practicing Shiva temple in dark stone? Known as Bhojeshwar temple, built in the early 11th century. This temple is famous for the huge Shivalinga that it adorns. But as you may know, Shivalinga has two parts Linga and the Yoni. The lower platform like part is called Yoni. The yoni in this temple is probably the biggest you would ever see. The linga part is definitely not the largest, as a temple in Khajuraho has much bigger Linga. The yoni is huge and beautiful.
The roof of the temple is ornamental, with design in the form of concentric circles. Quite like the temples in Khajuraho. There are four pillars of the temple and the walls seem to have been put later. Or maybe restored recently as they look too bland in comparison to the rest of the temple. My guess would be probably the temple was open standing on the four pillars. Like many other Shiva temples, but I have no data to support that.
Huge Temple Platform
The temple is built on a huge platform, as was prevalent in those days. And on the right side of the temple, there is a ramp. Which was probably used to bring the stones up on the platform for constructing the temple? But for this ramp, we would have kept wondering how the huge stones and sculptures were ported on top of the platform. And even to build the platform how the stones were ported. There are two small temples outside the main temple which are again practicing ones. The outer wall on the right-hand side of the temple has some unfinished artwork. Which gives you a glimpse of how the work progressed as the temples were built.
Apparently, the excavations at the place have revealed that the intent and plan was to build more temples in this place. Probably a kind of campus of temples like the one in Khajuraho. But it could not be done and even this temple had to be left unfinished. Though the idol was set up in this temple and the worship must have started. As this is still a practicing temple.
As you stand on the huge temple platform and look around, you would see what Jawahar Lal Nehru would have called the temples of modern India. And what our future generations may blame us for polluting the world that we pass them on. You would see a line of huge factories. Throwing a constant stream of thick black smoke from their gigantic chimneys, forming the skyline of the neighboring industrial town of Mandideep.
How I wish I had lived in the times of prosperity in this land. Instead of going place to place tracing ruins after ruins.
Recommend you to read following blog posts on Madhya Pradesh Tourist Places.