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.
Let us take a pictorial tour of the place.
Bhojeshvara Temple from a distance
The entrance to Sanctum – Santorum. Notice the height of the roof and incomplete status.
Lord Shiva in the form of Tallest linga. Notice the size of pillars supporting the roof.
Beautiful Yakshis on the entrance panels
Notice the size of the pedestal and the size of Linga
Beautiful carvings on the roof
Don’t miss this place when you plan your India travel. If you are there in Bhopal next time don’t miss to visit Bhojpur.
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.
There are no stay options in Bhojpur. Make Bhopal as the base to explore. Bhopal has stay options suiting all budgets.
a) The best time to visit the temple is early in the morning or during sun set. One will be able to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere surrounding the whole place.
b) Make sure that you take a loot at the exquisite sculptures at the entrance and on the ceiling of the temple. Since the roof of the temple is very high, a binocular would help.
c) If you have time on hand explore Jain temples, ruins of Raja Bhoja’s palace, Rock shelter popularly known as “Parvati’s cave”.
c) It is recommended to pack your food as we did not see any good eating places. However you will be able to get some good chai.
d) It is recommended to have Bhojpur a part of a day trip which extends to Bhimbetka, a UNESCO World heritage for rock shelters which are renowned anthropological ruins.
You may also see the related link on Lord Shiva in this blog