Nearly 40 kms from Bhopal, there is a temple of stories. A temple whose significance cannot be undermined in the history of Bhopal and its rulers. Bhojpur Mandir is one of the largest Shivlings of the world. The temple is located far away from urban area amidst plains and rocks, by the river Betwa, giving a picturesque view. Not only this, the place has numerous incomplete shivlings and ancient rock carvings, revealing stories from the medieval time.
Majority of people believe that the temple was made by Kunti’s father (character from an Indian epic – Mahabharata), Raja Bhoj, who had a dream to build a Shivling in one night. The required rituals at this very temple would save him from bad luck. Kunti is said to worship this 18ft high Shivling, thus, making people wonder that characters from Mahabharata might have been this tall. Well, this is the story almost all the citizens have heard of an unfortunately it’s not true.
According to Archaeological Survey of India, a few wise men and monks at the temple, Bhojpur Mandir was indeed made by Raja Bhoj but this king was not Kunti’s father. The temple was constructed in 11th century and took nearly 45 years to complete. For no way, this huge piece could have been constructed in one night. A part of story still remains the same that Raja Bhoj (of 11th century) saw a dream where he was asked to build this temple and save himself from the dark.
One of the reasons for this misconception in story is presence of Bhim Bhetka. Bhim Bhetka is a rock cave where King Bhim took shelter during the war. He was said to meditate in these rocks. It is a beauty in itself. This place is 30 kms from Bhojpur and the fact that Pandavas visited that rock and confusion with two different Rajas gave birth to the first story.
Nonetheless, the place is a must visit. The giant structure would leave you awestruck and the privilege of having a serene view would make you visit this again.