Founded by the legendary Parmar King of Dhar, Raja Bhoj (1010-1053), and named after him, Bhojpur, 28 km from Bhopal, is renowned for the remains of its magnificent Shiva temple and Cyclopean dam.
The temple which has earned the nomenclature of the Somnath of the east, is known as the Bhojeshwar Temple. The temple was never completed and the earthen ramp used to raise it to dome-level still stands. Had it been completed, it would have had very few rivals. As it is, even with the ravages of time, it remains one of the best examples of temple architecture of the 11th - 13th centuries.
In plan, a simple square with an exterior dimension of 66 feet, it is devoid of the re-entrant angles usual in such buildings. The richly carved dome though incomplete has a magnificent soaring strength of line and is supported by four pillars. These like the dome have been conceived on a massive scale, yet retain a remarkable elegance because of their tapering form. Divided into three sections, the lowest is an octagon with facets of 2.12 feet, from which springs a 24-faced section.
Also, incomplete, and with a similar stone-raising ramp, is a Jain shrine that stands close to the Bhojeshwar temple. Three figures of the tirthankaras are contained within; one of a colossal statues of Mahavira 20 feet high, and the other two of Parswanath. Rectangular in plan, this temple probably belongs to the same period as the Bhojeshwar.
West of Bhojpur once lay a vast lake, but nothing remains except the ruins of the magnificent old dams by which its waters were contained. The site was chosen with great skill, as a natural wall of hills enclosed the whole area except for two gaps, 100 yards and 500 yards in width respectively. These were closed by gigantic earthen dams, faced on both sides with enormous blocks of sandstone, many being 4 feet long, 3 feet broad, and 2.5 feet thick, set without mortar. The smaller dam is 44 feet high and 300 feet thick at the base, the larger dam 24 feet high with a flat top 100 feet broad. These embankments held up an expanse of water of about 250 square miles. This great work is ascribed to Raja Bhoj, but it may possibly be of an earlier date.
Bhopal (28 km from Bhojpur ) is the nearest airport. It is connected with Mumbai, Delhi, Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior.
Bhopal, on the Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Mumbai mainline is the most convenient rail-head.
Bhojpur is connected by bus with Bhopal.