Bhojpur temple trip

There’s an ancient temple about thirty kilometers from here known as Bhojpur temple. I have visited the temple several times in the past since its one of the closest ancient temples from Bhopal and the area around it has been meticulously developed by our tourism department. Its a great place for a quick outing.

There are so many myths surrounding the temple that its worth going there just to hear the stories from the locals.

According to Wikipedia, Bhojpur takes its name from king Bhoj (reg. c. 1000-1055 CE), the most celebrated ruler of the Paramara dynasty. There is no archaeological evidence from Bhojpur before the eleventh century, a fact confirmed by local legends which recount how Bhoj made a vow to build a series of dams “to arrest the streams of nine rivers and ninety-nine rivulets”. A location was found in the kingdom that allowed the king to fulfil this vow and the dams were duly built at Bhojpur.

Although the dams were constructed of cyclopean masonry, one of them was opened on the orders of Hoshang Shah of Malwa in the fifteenth century. According to Persian chronicles, he ordered the dam to be broken at the request of local merchants in Bhopal and Vidisha whose carvans were being raided by bandits taking refuge at an inaccessbile spot protected by the lake.

Raja Bhoj suffered from a terrible disease, an ascetic advised him to construct a lake larger than any other in India, fed by 365 springs and bath in it at an auspicious hour. After being cured from the disease, as thanksgiving Raja Bhoj began the construction of great Bhojeshwar temple. Constructed in the latter part of 11th century, its great stone blocks encompass a doorframe, which towers ten meters high and five meters wide. Four giant pillars, intricately carved, support an incomplete dome. The high noon sun lances through the dome, illuminating a massive pedestal made of three stepped blocks of sandstone, seven meters square.

Bhojpur Lake is a rare piece of engineering feat. It was an object of wonder, and helped to maintain in the region an equable climate. A vast sheet of water stretching over 250 square miles was impounded by rising embankments for shutting off the outlet in a circle of hills. About 40 kilometers from Bhopal, near head waters of river Betwa, Bhoj’s engineers found just such a concourse of natural springs. With great ingenuity, they constructed a lake which, spread over 64,750 hectares, changed the climate of Malwa region. The great social benefits of this stupendous work must have soothed the troubled mind of Raja Bhoj because after he bathed in the lake his ailment was cured. The great lake, now drained but still lush and green-bedded with fields, showed Bhoj’s imperial might.

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