Bhojpur District lies on the bank of Betwa River. It is located 28 km away from the capital of Madhya Pradesh i.e. Bhopal. It is nestled on the sandstone edges of central India which is next to the deep gorges of Betwa River. In the 11th century, there were 2 large dams built with huge hammer-covered stones in order to block and divert River Betwa and to make a large lake.
Bhojpur is named after the most celebrated and honoured King Bhoj from Paramara Dynasty. Before 11th century, no archeological evidence was found, according to the legends who explained how Raja Bhoj made a pledge to construct a range of dams in order to capture the streams of 99 rivulets and 9 rivers. King had fulfilled his pledge and built the dam perfectly at Bhojpur which were built with cyclopean stonework.
Devoted to Lord Shiva, Bhojeśvar Temple is the religious and historic destination for which Bhojpur is famous. Bhojpur is famous for the incomplete Bhojeśvar temple dedicated to Shiva. The center of attraction here is largest Shiva Linga in India. The height of this Shiva Ling is about 18 feet (5.5m) and circumference is about 7.5 feet (2.3 meter). Only a single rock is used to craft this giant Shiva Ling. The Archeological Survey of India has protected this building. The sculpture is made on the style which dates back on 11th century. Entire temple building is supported by inner cella and massive pillars and triumphed with beautiful corbelled dome. The superstructure and the outer walls were never constructed.
The Bhojpur temple was left under-construction with a succession of massive architectural parts. This attribute makes it unique. These parts are still found in the quarries or mines where such stones were fashioned and cut. On the flat shells of quarries, several architectural paintings were engraved. These drawings show temple plans, pillars and moldings. A huge clay ramp is also there which explains how large blocks were raised by the craftsmen of medieval era.
The remnants of Bhoja’s Royal Palace are found in front of Bhojpur Temple and next to the Cave of Parvati. The remains are strategically laid out with courtyard and in square in the center. On the immediate north-south axis, the Royal Palace remains are oriented. The incompletely carved blocks and rock-engraved graffiti are some of the most amazing parts of interest. Dates back to 18th century, the graffiti features some figures of names and for games. The Royal Palace was the building of medieval era which is only one of its kinds in the entire northern India. The site is recognized for both international and local cultural values. The neighboring dams and various sites are still unprotected. Because locals are collecting stones from the site for their own purposes to build modern buildings, the leftovers of the Royal Palace are eventually getting removed.
Jain temple was also incomplete in Bhojpur and is now one of the famous tourist places near Bhopal. It has a 6 m. tall Shantinath’s idol and two Parshvanath and Suparasnath statues on the left and right sides of Shantinath’s statue respectively. There is an inscription on the base of these statues which is the only evidence of King Bhoja that connects him to this famous Shiva temple in India. A shrine of Acharya Mantungais also found in the same premises of the temple.
On the western gorges of River Betwa, Cave of Parvati is located just in front of Bhojeshwar Temple. You may call it a cave or rock shelter. Now religious beggars have been settled over there. Parvati’s Cave boasts several architectural wreckages and sculptures which are from 11th century.