Celebrate Maha Shivratri at the Bhojeshwar Temple

4 mins 14th February 2020

If you are looking for a break from your routine life to refresh yourself, we have some suggestions for you. Besides, with several extended weekend holidays in 2020, you can easily plan short trips to offbeat destinations nearby. This February, celebrate Maha Shivratri which falls on February 21, at the Bhojeshwar Temple, near Bhopal. Read on to know its history.


The temple, on the banks of the Betwa River, a short drive from Bhopal, appears to be just another archaeological site in Madhya Pradesh’s Raisen district. Only, it isn’t. The temple, built by the Parmara ruler of the Malwa region, Raja Bhoj (1010 -1055 CE), is a medieval enigma set in stone.

The shrine, although the site of active worship, is unfinished, and as if to tempt historians to solve the riddle, it has left clues scattered in the vicinity. Bhojeshwar Temple is also famous for another reason – it houses one of the tallest Shiva Lingas in the country.

Bhojpur village, where the temple is located, is named after Raja Bhoj, who ruled Malwa from his capital in Dhar. The king was a great patron of art, literature, and science and is believed to have commissioned the construction of three large earthen dams to create a massive reservoir that was later destroyed by Sultan Hoshang Shah of Malwa.

Raja Bhoj built the Bhojeshwar Temple on the banks of this manmade lake, with a massive Shiva Linga, 7.5 feet tall and 17.8 feet wide. The linga is set on three massive platforms superimposed on each other, all of them made of limestone. Each side of the platform measures 21.5 feet. The total height of the linga, including the platforms, is over 40 feet, making it the tallest linga in the country.

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While no one knows exactly when the temple was built, historians such as Dr Kirit Mankodi believe it dates to the middle of the 11th century, to the latter part of Raja Bhoj’s reign. But construction was abandoned midway.

Around 1,000 years later, clues to the original plans remain in the form of architectural drawings engraved in the surrounding rock, mason’s marks, architectural fragments at a nearby quarry, carved rock fragments near the temple’s entrance and a large, sleeping stone statue at the site. All these suggest that construction was abandoned rather hastily, pointing to a natural disaster, war or lack of financial resources.

In 2006-2007, a team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) led by archeologist K K Muhammad led a conservation effort at the temple. Muhammad has an interesting theory about why the shrine was never finished. Basing his suppositions on certain calculations, he believes the structure was unable to take the weight of the stone roof, which caused the roof to collapse. Thus Raja Bhoj was unable to rebuild the roof and complete the temple.

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The original architectural plans, carved in stone at the site, show that a much larger temple complex had been planned by Raja Bhoj. But they never materialised. Had the temple been completed, it could have been one of the largest temple complexes in the country and even occupied a prominent place along with the famous jyotirlingas!

Bhojeshwar Temple is only 28 km from Bhopal and within driving distance of other archaeological wonders, like the ancient Bhimbetka Caves. It is a must-visit and if you have budget constraints, you could avail of a Holiday Loan from Axis Bank. With flexible repayment options and attractive holiday loan interest rates, enjoy your much deserved much holiday. Axis Bank Holiday Loan comes with a moratorium facility of two months. Hence, your EMI will start from the third month onwards.

Disclaimer: This article has been authored by Live History India Digital, a Mumbai-based Digital Content Company. Axis Bank doesn’t influence any views of the author in any way. Axis Bank and Live History India Digital shall not be responsible for any direct/indirect loss or liability incurred by the reader for taking any financial decisions based on the contents and information. Please consult your financial advisor before making any financial decision.