The Heliodorus Pillar is a column that was erected on the outskirts of Vidisha in central India in about 113 B.C. and is considered to be one of the most important archaeological finds on the Indian subcontinent.
The Shaukat Mahal was constructed in the 1830s as a wedding gift for Sikander Jahan Begum, the first female ruler of Bhopal. Architecturally it is a bit of an oddity compared to other buildings in the heart of Bhopal, the building has many western elements combining both gothic and islamic themes. This is due to the design being attributed to the Bourbons of Bhopal, widely considered to be descendants of renowned French kings.
Eran, a small village situated on the south bank of the river Bina in Madhya Pradesh, is probably one of the most ancient towns in India.
Here at Udayagiri is one of the earliest cave temple sites in India, attributed to the ‘Golden Age’ of Hindu revival marked by the change from Vedic to idol worship, around 1,500 to 1,700 years ago.
With the light rapidly fading and having already visited Bhimbetka, Bhojpur, Taj-ul-Masajid and the Taj Mahal Palace that day, my visit to the Moti Masjid was all too brief. So much so that I completely missed the grand eastern entrance to the mosque, if you visit this place make sure you don’t do likewise !
If I told you I had just visited the Taj Mahal that was built by Shah Jahan whilst I was staying in Bhopal, you could quite rightly claim I’ve perhaps had a couple of Kingfishers too many. But I did exactly that, although this monument was built by his namesake Shah Jahan, she was the begum of Bhopal in the late 19th century.
Taj-ul-Masajid (which translates to “the crown of mosques”, and also spelt Taj-ul-Masaajid or Taj-ul-Masjid), dominates the center of Bhopal and so it should. It is one of the largest mosques in Asia, often reported as the largest mosque in India although I believe that particular accolate goes to the Jama Masjid in New Delhi. Ironically, just a stone’s throw away from the Taj-ul-Masajid is the Dhaai Siddi ki Maszid, the smallest mosque in India.
Bhojpur is just 30km south east of Bhopal, and makes for a great stop-off point on your way back to the city if you have visited the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters in the morning.
The village is most famous for the Bhojeshwar Temple, believed to have been constructed by the 11th century Paramara king, Bhoja. It is widely believed that he also founded Bhojpur itself, and was the catalyst for constructing the now breached dams in the surrounding area.