This post is mostly a photographic presentation of monuments from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Bhojpur – Shiva mandir
Bhojpur is famous for the incomplete Bhojeśvar temple dedicated to Shiva. The site is under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India as a monument of national importance. The temple houses one of the largest liṅga-s in India, 5.5 m (18 ft) tall and 2.3 m (7.5 ft) in circumference. It is crafted out a single rock. The liṅga was repaired by the Archaeological Survey of India who also added a roof over the top to prevent weather damage.
The attribution of the temple to Bhoja is based on the testimony of Merutuṅga, who reports in the Prabandhacintāmaṇi that Bhoja bestowed on the poet Māgha “all the merit of the new Bhojasvāmin temple that he was about to build himself”, and then “set out for the country of Mālava”. The style of the sculpture on the building confirms an early to mid-eleventh-century date for the structure.
The building as it stands consists of the inner cella or garbhagṛha, supported by massive pillars, surmounted with an elegant corbelled dome. The outer walls and superstructure of the temple were never built, but unfinished parts lie nearby.
Udayagiri – Ancient Hindu & Jain caves
The Udayagiri Caves are twenty rock-cut caves near Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh from the early years of the 5th century CE. They contain some of the oldest surviving Hindu temples and iconography in India. They are the only site that can be verifiably associated with a Gupta period monarch from its inscriptions. One of India’s most important archaeological sites, the Udayagiri hills and its caves are protected monuments managed by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Udayagiri caves contain iconography of Vaishnavism (Vishnu), Shaktism (Durga and Matrikas) and Shaivism (Shiva). They are notable for the ancient monumental relief sculpture of Vishnu in his incarnation as the man-boar Varaha, rescuing the earth symbolically represented by Bhudevi clinging to the boar’s tusk as described in Hindu mythology. The site has important inscriptions of the Gupta dynasty belonging to the reigns of Chandragupta II (c. 375-415) and Kumaragupta I (c. 415-55). In addition to these, Udayagiri has a series of rock-shelters and petroglyphs, ruined buildings, inscriptions, water systems, fortifications and habitation mounds, all of which remain a subject of continuing archaeological studies. The Udayagiri Caves complex consists of twenty caves, of which one is dedicated to Jainism and all others to Hinduism. The Jain cave is notable for one of the oldest known Jaina inscriptions from 425 CE, while the Hindu Caves feature inscriptions from 401 CE.
Vidisha – Heliodorus pillar (Khamb Baba)
Heliodorus (Greek: Ἡλιόδωρος) was an Indo-Greek ambassador sent to the court of King Bhagabhadra by Antialcidas (Indo-Greek King of Taxila) in 113 B.C.
He is known for building a pillar called the “Khamb Baba” or “Heliodurus Pillar” which still exists in Vidisha, India near Bhopal, India.
(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)