Contributed by BHARTI SRIVASTAVA
Bhojpur is a town of historical and religious importance having several monuments and archaeological ruins. The town takes its name from king Bhoja, the most celebrated ruler of Paramāra dynasty. The town located about 32 km south-east of Bhopal in Raisen District is famous for the incomplete Bhojeśvar temple dedicated to Shiva. The temple stands magnificently on the right bank of the river Betwa on a sandstone ridge. The temple houses one of the largest linga’s in India, 18 ft tall and 7.5 ft in circumference crafted out of a single rock. The temple is under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India. The west facing temple is raised on a 106 ft. long, 77 ft. wide and 17 ft. high platform. The structure comprises of a large garbhgriha supported by massive pillars surmounted with a corbelled dome. The outer walls and superstructure of the temple were never built. A number of architectural parts can still be seen in the quarries where the stones were cut. In addition, there are a significant number of architectural drawings engraved on the flat surfaces of the stones showing mouldings, pillars, and temple plans. Several folklores prevail in the area regarding the construction of the temple. According to one folklore this temple was built by the Pandavas during their exile. However the architectural style of the building indicates an eleventh century date for the structure.
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