Bhojeshwar Mandir, host of the largest Ancient Shiva Linga.

Bhojpur Madhya Pradesh:
There was this little kingdom ruled by Raja Bhoj in the 10th cen AD, who had very ambitious plans for his kingdom. Ambitious would be an understatement, for when we go visiting the now present Bhoj it gives us a glimpse of this great vision.

Locked into itself within a natural fort of hills with a little river flowing by is the land of Bhoj.
Residing within the lap of a lush green untouched landscape among rocky cliffs and watered by a clear river flowing by, is this ancient little town that once boasted of great wealth. Its a slow life into paradise, where low boats ferry you down the river to the great dam built centuries ago. Big bolders of rock capture the water as it flows through bringing refreshing water to the land of Bhoj. The air is heavy with silence peace and tranquility, an atmosphere so absent in our current lives.

And right in the midst of this sea of green, in everlasting silence, stands a single chamber large and hollow with fresh cool air. It doesnt boast of elaborate craftsmanship, it doesnt boast of a kingdom once alive, it just brings back a towering concept that looms around in the mind as one walks up towards the huge structure - Bhojeshwar temple.

Sheer rock, heavy and large, piled up one over the other make up the main structure of this one chamber that needs no explanation. The darkness within, revealing towering pillars holding up the roof allowing partial light into the chamber. A hint of scupture gives an idea of what magneficence there would have been in the minds of those who planned this temple.

A silent magestic shiva linga once worshipped, now displays itself within this stark interior. No lamps, no flowers, just spotlit within its hollow interior. The sun's flames, the only light, the rain, the only water that bathes this linga, the wind, the only carrier of fragrance of flowers when all else is forgotten. The Lord stands there silent, an imposing self, still shining bright against polished stone.
Imagine a tune being hummed within these walls, as the air carries the notes and the sound echoes within the chamber, ringing in your ears. You wake up to that underlying rhythm of drums as the Lord dances in the heart of anyone who beholds him in his silent abode.

A temple half built, a vision half finished, a ramp half used, a roof half closed, a wall half built, a prayer that rings within its interiors, but a thought complete, an emotion felt.

Stone by stone, a temple in shape, put together with gigantic walls and pillars. What do we remove and what do we keep, what do we finish and what do we renovate. This temple stands all silent on a rocky ground holding up bolders of rock that once belonged to Raja bhoj. A deep breath in the silence, a thougth so crystal clear, a temple so imposing, even when its half finished... Such was the vision of Raja bhoj.

Please click on the pictures to see the enlarged view.
Photo courtesy: http://photos1.blogger.com http://www.shunya.net/


Third Eye Closed said...

"A Visual Mesmerism as the texts unfolds itself. The words paint a tantalizing dream."

After seeing the pictures, I would tend to wonder if they would have been as appealing and enticing before reading.

It has left an extremely sapid picture to dream on.


Prema said...

dear kavitha

It's beautiful- what you have written about the temple as well as the temple itself.it brings tears to my eyes. feel like going and seeing it.
absolutely a graphic piece of writing


JC Joshi said...

Hi, Kavitha, Feelix,...

A nice description!

In retrospect, I believe that the childhood experience of almost getting crushed between the devotees of ‘Krishna’ - on His birthday - a fear of the crowd was generated in my mind (of course that helped me later to appreciate the significance of formation of Black Holes and the Hindu concept of 'man as a model of the universe') . Although, that didn’t turn me into an atheist, I remained in a state of belief that - being omnipotent and omnipresent - He is taking care of the whole universe…

It is only at a relatively late stage that I learnt, from reading of Gita, that the purpose of man is to seek the Formless as well as the God(s) with forms, i.e, Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh too…

With the above as background, and my personal background of belonging to the Himalayan region, a mountain and a lake anywhere (maybe ‘artificial’) to me now 'naturally' represents Kailash-Mansarovar or Shiva-Parvati, Earth-Moon (sky), and so on, the thought that perhaps Raja Bhoja not only received, but also executed it - in the ‘past’...

Virtual said...

Dear Kavitha..


I liked the pics of the Bhojpur Temple.. I have been there and I did find that Big Shivalinga very imposing but the beauty and the power I found in the one Shivalinga that is in the front of the big one. There I had done meditation for many hours together and it gave me lot of bliss. It has this calming effect on you when you sit in the hot sun and feel the cool shade of the small temple on your body with the Om Namah Shivaya echoing in your thoughts...

The other beauty of the place is the river that flows like caressing the feets of Lord Shiva... It was very serene to be there and I remembered the Ganges of Rishikesh..

Om Namah Shivaya

JC Joshi said...

It's very true that the ancients were much advanced not only in the architecture but also in site selections, at 'naturally' available 'shakti pithas' or energy centres availble at isolated locations in hills...

As per Historical records (available on the Internet), the 11th century Paramara ruler had created an enormous lake from the waters of the river Betwa, with ridge of hills on one side and two huge earth embankments on the other.

The 400 sq.km artificial lake was later destroyed by the second Sultan of Mandu, Hoshang Shah. His invading army cut a breach through the smaller of the two dams, and legend has it that it took three years to empty it. Its eventual disappearance is believed to have transformed the local climate.

kavitha said...

Hi Virtual,

The picture you paint of the river is indeed so fabulous... the river flows like it caresses the feet of lord Shiva.

Very well put indeed.

I do envy your experience of having been there and spent many hours on your own bathing in the beauty of the place.

I will make it there some day.


Third Eye Closed said...

I just had a thought/vision/dream of the skylit roof.

Just Imagine...
On a misty night where the moon bathes the dark sky with its blissful aura. The interiors lay in a clam silence of darkness.
But a glorious vision lights up my inner spirit.

I see The Glowing Linga in extreme brilliance emanating an aura of a pristine shine as a pillar of moonlight rises towering high above beyond my mortal eyes... I took a deep breath and wished my body was there with my soul.

PS: My words are no sufficient to describe the divine beauty my mind saw. Do not read the words rather feel the glorious image, that I am trying to show.

JC Joshi said...

Hi Felix,

Surely, you have got it right!

The lingam represents formless Shiva (mithya jagat or illusory earth). And, the roof might have been left open deliberately with a view to performing and participating in the 'spiritual marriage' of sun's energy - absorbed in the lingam during the day - and the moonrays ('somrus' - associated with Shiva)in the night!

A Hindu marriage is believed to be marriage between souls and used to be performed in the night, ritually, earlier at least perhaps with similar thought in mind (bridegroom and bride were considered Vishnu-Lakshami/ Shiva-Parvati!)...

JC Joshi said...

Hi felix,
As per ancient Hindus, the universe is projection of innumerable forms by Naadbindu on His mind's eye. That is to say that the Creator is a point source of energy, and therefore real time and space is zero... and forms are illusory or as they appear to Him from one apparent time to another!

'Time' - as 'we' apparently reckon it on earth - is a result of relative motions of our earth around its own axis (one rotation is one day) and around the sun (one revolution is one year). Thus, relatively, considering our sun as stationary, it is 'zero' for it. But, as we move out, towards the earth and farther, we find one year comparatively increasing - for planet Mercury it is 88 days, 224 days for Venus, 365 days or one year for earth, 1.88 years for Mars, 11.86 years for Jupiter, 29.46 years for Saturn, and so on... and the solar system was born, as per present estimate, within 8 to 10 billion year old universe (although as per ancient ‘Hindus’ it is unborn and unending and real time and space is zero) only about 4.6 billion years ago and likely to dissolve one day when Hydrogen in our sun gets consumed – or maybe God could switch it off like we humans apparently do when we get ready to go to sleep! Visualize the scenario then: What happens to humans and the time to which we are so accustomed!

As per Hindu mythology, Brahma's day is 4.32 billion years (for 1000 Mahayugas or one Kalpa, as believed, and it could perhaps be 4.6 billion years if 360 degrees x 3 Mahayugas are considerd in one Mahayuga, to account for the Trinity) which is followed by His night of equal duration!

JC Joshi said...

A coincidence perhaps, read the following item in today's newspaper, 'The sun is going away, but don’t panic…'

The Nigerian government, anxious to avoid a repeat of riots that marked a solar eclipse in 2001, warned citizens they may suffer ‘psychological discomfort’ during a new eclipse on 29th March but urged them not to panic.

Information Minister Frank Nweke said an eclipse five years ago caused riots in North Borneo state because people did not know why it happened. “Some people even felt some evil people in their communities were responsible for the eclipse. The eclipse is not expected to have any real damaging effect, only social and psychological discomforts are envisaged,” Newke said.
He did not explain what the discomforts might be.

JC Joshi said...

In the statement, "...and the solar system was born, as per present estimate, within 8 to 10 billion year old universe..." please read 10 to 15 billion years (in place of 8 to 10).

Anonymous said...

Wow, i never knew this temple existed. Thank you so much for writing about it.

Anonymous said...


Impressed with your notes about temples.
Can you please kindly contact me for possible cooperation with our magazine (The Art Review). Thank you.

Ati Metwaly
Editor in Chief
The Art Review

Rahul said...

very beautiful and lucidly written... comprehensive and researched content....loved the content... keep posting...

myself said...

A Shiva Linga similar to that in Bhojpur has been cosecreated by Sadguru J Vasudev at Isha foundation - yoga center at Coimbatore. Sadguru has made certain comments on Bhojpur temple also. Accordingly, this temple was also to be cosecreated in a similar manner as that of Isha's Dyanalinga. but was interupted during the last stage when only a small work remained to be done. The main person conducting this creation had to loose his leg when there was an attack by some forces during that period.