Bhojeshwar Temple is a magnificent structure even with its incomplete status. The temple dedicated to Lord Siva holds one of the largest Shivlingams in India. Carved out of a single rock, the lingam in the sanctum is of a breathtaking 7.5 ft tall and 17.8 ft in circumference. With the Shivlingam in its enormous and intricate alignment, the temple prides its position as ‘Somnath of the East’.
Bhojeshwar Temple being an unparalleled example of temple architecture from the 11th to 13th centuries, it would have been a one of its kind wonder of ancient India if completed. The temple’s opulently carved dome and stone structures, intricately crafted doorway and the exquisitely sculpted figures on both the sides of the doorways humble the onlooker.
The balconies of the temple are supported with huge brackets and pillars. The outer walls and the superstructure of the temple were never built. The old earthen ramp used to raise the temple to the dome level is still visible, giving us a taste of ancient intelligence in masonry.
After paying a visit to the cave of Parvati, you can venture out to visit the remains of Bhoja’s Royal Palace. The entire palace is now destroyed with only the surviving foundations. Even though, the palace is not present in its full might, the foundations do give the onlookers a hint about the possible valour it had in the yesteryears.
The complex is laid out as a grid with its courtyard lying in the centre. The orientation of the site plan is according to the architectural treatise attributed to king Bhoja titled Samaranganasutradhara. The palace with its carved blocks and engraved graffiti on the rock floor is spectacular. One can also see diagrams for games laid out from the eleventh century giving you a sense of royal entertainment.
The Jain temples lie close to the Bhojeshwar Temple. One can view yet another incomplete structure of this legendary Jain shrine. The incomplete structure also has a stone-raising ramp similar to the Bhojeshwar Temple. The temple has three figures of the thirthankaras characteristic of all Jain Temples. Among these, the most important one is a colossal statue of about 20 ft high of Mahavira.
The remaining two statues are of Paraswanath. The temple is of a rectangular plan. There is also an inscription on the base of one of the statues mentioning the name of King Bhoja. The same temple complex also contains a shrine for Acharya Mantunga who wrote the famous Bhaktamara Stotra.
The Cave of Parvati is another offering of Bhojpur tourism. Facing the Bhojeshwar Temple is the famous Cave of Parvati. It is a typical rock shelter on the west side of the Betwa. The cave is now used by religious mendicants. A visit to the cave can take you to the marvellous 11th century world where you can see a lot of ancient sculptures and architectural fragments.
Since it is still a hub of religious mendicants, the flavour of the space is as lively as it might have been thousands of years ago. Tourists can coin visits to Bhojeshwar Temple, Rock Drawings and Quarries, Cave of Parvati and the remains of Bhoja’s Royal Palace together to make them mesmerized in this ancient world.
The Rock Drawings and Quarries are the remnants of the process of building the great temple at Bhojpur. The temple was left unfinished, and a series of massive architectural parts can be seen at the site of rock drawings and quarries. It is here that the stones were cut, chiseled and decorated to be taken to the temple.
There are also a major number of engravings, moldings, pillars and temple plans visible in the environs. The large earthen ramp is exemplary of the medieval craft acumen.