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Old 16th July 2010, 12:20   #1
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Default Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!

Not often do I get surprised lately by an unheard-of historical place in India. But on a day trip to Bhopal on work, I managed to spend a couple of hours being awestruck by the majesty of one of the largest Shiva Lingams in India, at Bhojpur, about 25 km away from Bhopal.

Quote:
Bhojpur is famous for the incomplete Bhojeshwar temple, which is dedicated to Shiva. The temple houses the largest Shiva lingam in India, which is 5.5 m (18 ft) tall and 2.3 m (7.5 ft) in circumference and is crafted out a single rock.

Today, the ruined and incomplete Bhojeshwar Temple still humbles the mind. Constructed in the latter part of the 11th century, its great stone blocks encompass a doorframe, which towers ten meters high and five meters wide. Four titanic pillars, richly carved, rise to support an incomplete dome. The high noon sun lances through the dome, illuminates a massive pedestal made of three stepped blocks of sandstone, seven meters square. An iron ladder ascends this huge pedestal to reach the uppermost platform, directly beneath the high roof, open to the sky. Dominating this platform and the great brooding temple is a magnificent lingam more than five meters high and over two meters in circumference.
Source: Bhojpur, Madhya Pradesh - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Here we go, accompanied by a P&S camera - this was not a holiday trip, and the visit was totally unplanned.

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150053k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150054k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150055k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150056k99.jpg

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Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150061k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150060k99.jpg

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 16th July 2010 at 12:21.
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Old 16th July 2010, 14:10   #2
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SST good beginning. There are many such monuments in India which are not very known but are really old and beautiful.

It seems like a good weather. Did you drive down?
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Old 16th July 2010, 14:46   #3
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Bhopal is my home town. Our family used to visit Bhojpur every year on the festival of Maha Shiv Ratri.

I haven't been there for the last 10 years or so. Looks like the temple has been restored.

Earlier, the place was in a bad condition. It didn't even have a roof above it.

The beautiful sculptures in this temple were defaced by the British during their colonial rule.

IIRC, there is another temple nearby. You need to climb down the mountain and cross a little river to reach the other temple.

Rohan
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Old 16th July 2010, 15:07   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
Did you drive down?
From Delhi? In a day, and back?

Nothing more I can say about the temple, that Wiki does not already.
Quote:
In the temple, religion and architecture, sculpture, drama and a weird vision combine in a compelling assertion of reality. There is a brooding imminence about this great black temple that demands attention and reverence; and streams of ...girls, as bright as moving garlands of flowers, moved up and down the ladder seeking the blessings of the great monolith, bowing to mumbled prayers from an ochre-robed... priest who stood near like a vision of a benevolent and slightly portly Father Time.

If the incomplete temple can evoke such awe, how much reverential fear would have been evoked by the final work of Raja Bhoja? But the savant king was fated never to complete his imposing shrine. For, at the glorious end of the Paramara era in 1060, the Chalukyas of Kalyani and Gujarat combined with Lakshmi-Karna of the Kalachuri dynasty attacked Raja Bhoja's capital. In that fierce battle, Raja Bhoja died defending his kingdom.
So here are the pictures from there, for you to enjoy.

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150062k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150063k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150064k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150066k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150067k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150068k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150069k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150070k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150072k99.jpg

The size of the Shiva linga is far more imposing than the pictures convey.
Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150073k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150074k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150075k99.jpg

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Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150079k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150080k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150082k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150083k99.jpg

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Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150091k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150092k99.jpg

The usual coterie of beggars, performing artistes, dogs, and flower and trinket sellers follow you around, but they are less insistent than at more famous places.
Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150095k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150088k99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150096k100.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-p7150094k99.jpg
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Old 16th July 2010, 15:45   #5
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Why not? If Bhopal Shatabdi can do it in a day then why not by road, involving some night driving. You said you spent few hours there, so its possible though tiring.

The pics are good. Is there any other place to be visited in and around Bhojpur?
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Old 16th July 2010, 16:03   #6
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@rohaniitr. Were the sculptures defaced by British? The british seldom do such things. Most of sculpture defacing in India was done by the portuguese and the muslim invaders. British have been credited with finding out lost temples like Kajhuraho! They are known to not touch religious things.
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Old 16th July 2010, 16:09   #7
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Monolithic structures are always amazing. Thanks SST! Now i know where to go if i am near Bhopal/Bhojpur.
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Old 16th July 2010, 16:25   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
@rohaniitr. Were the sculptures defaced by British? The british seldom do such things. Most of sculpture defacing in India was done by the portuguese and the muslim invaders. British have been credited with finding out lost temples like Kajhuraho! They are known to not touch religious things.
I am not 100% sure on this. I have heard it from people, who might have heard it from some other people.

It might have been done by the Mughal invaders also.

Rohan
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Old 16th July 2010, 18:37   #9
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A couple of videos I shot there, but it appears the P&S I was using does not record audio. So enjoy the silent movies!




Here's a related video of the temple, found on YouTube.


And so comes to an end a short but surprising visit to a (to me) hitherto unknown monument, which did not find mention even on Team-BHP till now. Wiki continues to wax eloquent...

Quote:
Stones still lie around partially carved as they had been when the sculptors fled nine centuries ago when Bhoja fell. Eagles still wheel in the wide sky as they did over that ancient bloody battlefield. And a train chuffs and mourns across the plain like a sad spirit of a warrior, slowly departing.

But Bhoja's forty-two-year reign is still celebrated in myth and legend as well as in this time-defying monument. For, as long as the temple stands, and the doorway towers and the sculptures enchant and the great lingam broods with implacable power in the 900-year-old Bhojeshwar, so long will the memory of King Bhoja shine like a diadem.
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Old 16th July 2010, 19:59   #10
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A nice and compact travelogue SST.

+1 to what MX6 said. I have never heard of any instance of Britishers destroying/defacing monuments (let alone religious one) anywhere in the World. As we know at one point of time they ruled from East to West.

Yes, they are definitely credited with carrying the stuff all the way to Britain but not destroying. Infact they have done some wonderful job with preserving the monuments.
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Old 16th July 2010, 20:40   #11
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SSTraveller,

The temple is majestic, especially the black portions ( granite?) at the entrance to the garbha griha. There seems to be a roof over the garbha griha-possibly a rough and ready one made by the government to protect the shiva linga. It looks a temple of a warrior king, very commanding. This is a must see. Thank you for showing us such a great piece of architecture, apart from the devotion aspects.

Seeing the temple, I was reminded of two temples which I have seen in pics and not had the opportunity to go and see; these are the Sun Temple at Rahila, near Mahoba, which is near Khajuraho. Built in the 9th century AD, it is made of granite and although in ruins today, has an architecture which bears similarity to Khajuraho. The other temple is the Govind Deo temple, built by Raja Man Singh of Amer in Vrindavan in the 16th century.

P. S. : IMHO, the British defacing places of worship would be very very surprising. The western world had become accommodating of others' cultures/faiths/ways of life, thanks to the Rennaissance, centuries earlier.

That this spirit of accommodation did not obtain amongst earlier invaders is a matter of great misfortune to lovers of Indian art and architecture, not to talk of indigenous philosophies.

Great experience SST, hope you have many such experiences to enlighten all of us!

Regards
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Old 17th July 2010, 20:18   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
Why not?
LOL...
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Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
The pics are good. Is there any other place to be visited in and around Bhojpur?
I'll quickly show you what else I saw there...

The Gandhi Medical College!
Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-aaak99.jpg

A mosque across the road from the Medical College, which I later identified as the Taj-ul-Masjid.
Quote:
Taj-ul-Masjid is a mosque situated in Bhopal, India. It is one of the largest mosques in Asia. The mosque is also used as a madrasah (Islamic school) during the day.

History
"Taj-ul-Masajid" literally means "The Crown of Mosques". The construction of the mosque was started by Sultan Shah Jahan, Begum of Bhopal (1868-1901). However, the mosque was not completed due to lack of money, and after a long lay-off, construction was resumed in 1971 by great efforts of Allama Mohammad Imran Khan Nadwi Azhari Of Bhopal and Maulana Luqman Elyas Nadwi.

Architecture
The mosque has a pink facade that is topped by two 18 storey high octagonal minarets with marble domes. The mosque also has three huge bulbous domes, an impressive main hallway with attractive pillars and marble flooring resembling Mughal architecture the likes of Jama Masjid in Delhi and the huge Badshahi Mosque of Lahore. It has a courtyard with a large tank in the centre. It has a double storeyed gateway with four recessed archways and nine cusped multifold openings in the main prayer hall. The Quibla wall in the prayer hall is carved with eleven recessed arches and has fine screens of trellis work. The massive pillars in the hall create 27 ceilings through squinted arches of which 16 ceilings are decorated with ornate petalled designs.


Source:Taj-ul-Masajid - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-bbbk99.jpg

This hotel...
Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-ccak99.jpg

...and a great view of the Upper Lake from my room.
Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-ccck99.jpg

Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-dddk99.jpg

And there was this interesting restaurant at the hotel, built inside a railway bogie! There were tables laid out on the "platform" too.
Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple, Bhojpur, MP: Wow!-eeek99.jpg

For more tourism info about Bhopal, check out this site: Places of Interest in Nearby Bhopal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
A nice and compact travelogue SST.
...they have done some wonderful job with preserving the monuments.
Quote:
Originally Posted by issigonis View Post
IMHO, the British defacing places of worship would be very very surprising.
Great experience SST, hope you have many such experiences to enlighten all of us!
Glad you liked it. Yes, what the British preserved, we have managed to vandalize over the last 60-odd years - and what we missed, the ASI has done with half-baked messed attempts at restorations.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 17th July 2010 at 20:21.
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Old 18th July 2010, 00:00   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
The pics are good. Is there any other place to be visited in and around Bhojpur?
If you mean, around Bhopal, then following are interesting places

- Sanchi
- Bhim Betka
- Bhojpur
- Udaigiri

Rest were mentioned in the webpage mentioned by SST
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Old 18th July 2010, 10:37   #14
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SST sir another place for you to visit: Brihadeshwara temple Tanjore. Shiva Lingam is huge!

But yes as you say, its amazing to explore an un-heard place. The satisfaction is one level higher.


@rohan, SST,
Also how far is the place from Bhopal? What is the period dated for these structures?
Is ~800-1000 AD of the times of tripartite struggle?

Last edited by ampere : 18th July 2010 at 10:40.
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Old 18th July 2010, 11:03   #15
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I used to think that Brihadeshwara temple had the biggest sivalingam. But then bhojeshwar is bigger. Thanks to SS-T who opened my (third) eye on this matter!

And yes, I've read about the bogie restaurant earlier. It comes with even level crossings and things like that.
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