This post is mostly a photographic presentation of monuments from Ashapuri, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Bhopal is the capital city of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and the administrative headquarters of both Bhopal district and Bhopal division. Bhopal is known as the City of Lakes for its various natural and artificial lakes.
Ashapuri is an extraordinary site, with 26 temples in ruins, all standing close to each other in silence above a line of steps leading down to a large pond. The temples are on the slopes of a rocky hillock, once surrounded by thick forest and with flowing waters. Construction of this site continued over two centuries, under the royal patronage of the Pratiharas and Parmaras in central India between the ninth and eleventh centuries.
Over time, the ruling dynasties changed, money for construction got scarce, coupled with natural calamities and invasions, and gradually the glory declined. One temple fell after the other, and the site became ruinous, hidden under the earth, lost to nature for centuries.
In 2010, the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Madhya Pradesh, began a vigorous program of excavation. In the enthusiasm for discovering one plinth after another, the scattered architectural fragments were stacked on the rock nearby. Unfortunately, many fragments from different temples were jumbled together, making the task of working out the original designs all the more challenging. The Ashapuri Temple Project sponsored by World Monuments Fund is a collaboration between the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, and the School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal.
(Important Note: ALL photographs of this article added to the sourced texts by NovoScriptorium after kind courtesy of our friend Ben Lee – ALL photographs originally taken by Ben Lee)