Introduction – Bhojpur is famous for Bhojeshvara Temple, dedicated to Shiva. This temple houses the largest Shiva-lingam in India, 2.03 m high and 5.5 m in circumference. Bhojpur was built by Raja Bhoj (1018-85 AD), the most versatile Parmara ruler, who was an engineer, a warrior, an administrator and a man of formidable vision. He also wrote books on subjects as varied as religion, medicine, grammar and architecture. There is a very famous story series, Sinhasana Battisi, which contains 32 stories where Raja Bhoj’s conversations with 32 yoginis (nymph) are described. As per this book Raja Bhoj once got to know that there exist one simhasana (royal seat) and if anyone sits on that, he gets the power of justice and truth. Raja Bhoj sent his soldiers to get hold of that simhasana. When he got that, he saw that the grand simhasana is equipped with 32 yoginis all around the four sides. When he tried to sit on that, all the yoginis started laughing. Raja Bhoj asked the reason, then yoginis told that this particular simhasana is of the great king Vikramaditya and Raja Bhoj is not suitable to sit on it till he makes certain that he possesses all the qualities equivalent to King Vikramaditya. Then those 32 yoginis told stories of King Vikramaditya’s greatness, kindness and true justice.
1. The Bhojeshwar temple – This Shiva temple, that Raja Bhoj built, was never completed. However scholars rate this monument as one of the finest examples of contemporary temple architecture. This temple is built upon a jagati (paltform) of size 32.25m x 23.5m x 5m. The linga in the sanctum stands tall at 2.03 m with a circumference of 5.4 m. It is set upon a massive platform 6.6 m square, and is composed of three superimposed limestone blocks. The main door of the temple has a chandrashila on the top and statues of Ganga and Yamuna on lower side of door jambs. The river goddess on door jamb is a striking feature of Gupta architecture. There are guardians on either side of the main door. There are many stones and unfinished statues around the temple compound.