Bhojpur (Bhojeshwar Temple)

Bhojeshwar is an uncompleted Hindu temple in Bhojpur village, 28km from Bhopal. It is dedicated to Shiva and houses a 2m lingam, one of the tallest in India. A huge, rough, blocky structure from afar, the temple reveals its delicacy as you approach. It is one more monument in India’s long list of architectural wonders.

bhojpur lingam

Lingam, Shiva’s emblem

It is thought that construction of the temple began in the 11th century, in the reign of Paramara Bhoja. It was abandoned for unknown reasons.

The temple has no mandaba or pillar hall adjoining the garbhagriha or sanctum, and has a rectilinear roof instead of the usual curvilinear shikara tower. This architectural simplicity has prompted a number of theories about the function of the place.

Some researchers think it was a funerary monument. Medieval texts describe this kind of building as commemorative temples, built over a person’s remains and seen as a vehicle for their ascension to the heavens. These temples were called svargarohana-prasada, “temples commemorating ascension to the svarga (heaven)”.

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