“शिल्पविद्या सदा रम्या सर्वदानन्ददायिका” meaning “Shilpa vidya is always the best and gives all bliss.”

Let’s begin this article by analyzing an inscription belonging to the neighbouring Kingdom of Paramaras:

VADNAGAR PRASASTI belonging to SOLANKIS of Annhilapataka, used the epithet of “MALAVA-CHAKRAVARTI” for his rival – Raja Bhojadeva of PARAMARA Dynasty. One can imagine the aura of Bhojadeva (the greatest Paramara King) that even a rival King calls Bhojadeva with such an honorable title in his inscription.

Brief Description Of Paramara Rajaputras

Main branch of Paramara Rajaputras ruled the Malwa region which created a powerful Kingdom and reached its zenith under Bhojadeva. The most definite points about Paramaras that are to be concluded from their inscriptions and literary evidences: 

  1. Paramaras were/are Kshatriyas (Rajaputras) as attested by Prabhavakacharita (1277-78) “परमारमहावंशसम्भूतः क्षत्रियाग्रणीः” AND Piplianagar copper plate Inscription of Paramara dynasty, 1211 CE, which uses the title of kshatriya-sekhara (crest jewel of Kshatriyas) for Yashovarman (Paramara King).
  2. Paramaras had/have Vashistha gotra.
  3. Paramara definitely had some sort of original link to Abu (Arbhuda), Rajasthan.


Although the Paramaras contributed to the field of Literature and other cultural activities; when it comes to Architecture it seems that a huge wave of TEMPLE BUILDING was witnessed in Malva during 10th to 12th century. The Paramara dedication in the field of Architecture can be highlighted from the fact that Paramara King Bhojadeva himself wrote an excellent architectural text called Samarangana Sutradhara.

Dr. Sudarshan Kumar Sharma comments, “Samarangana Sutradhara is a voluminous treatise with technical subjects such as town planning, house architecture, temple architecture and sculptural objects like Pratima Lakshana, Iconography, Iconometry . . . It deals with the canons of painting and devotes a big chapter to the art of mechanical contrivances and yantras . . . also dealing with the robots meant to act as guards.”

Moreover, Udaipur prasasti calls Bhojadeva as KAVI-RAJA. He encouraged literature & art; Patron of scholars & himself a polymath & poet of high rank. BHOJA was a zealous SHAIVA – Bhargabhakta in Udayapur prasasti, which also gives him credit for building a number of TEMPLES in honour of SHIVA.

Udayapur Inscription of Paramara Rajaputras mentions that Bhojadeva, who caused best men to tremble, made world (जगती) worthy of its name by covering it all around with Temples (सुराश्रय) i.e. “श्रीभोजराजः नरोत्तमाकम्पकृदद्वितीयं … सुराश्रयैः व्याप्य च यः समन्ताद्यथार्थसंज्ञां जगतीं चकार”

From literary references we gather that Bhojadeva rebuilt & beautified the city of DHARA. It is in Bhoja’s MAHUDI GRANT that we find the expression “Dhar-avasthitair-asmābhih” for the 1st time. This suggests that RAJA BHOJA permanently established his capital DHARA, before 1018 CE.


Bhojadeva had built Shārdasadan (Bhojashala) a college for Sanskrit studies at Dhar in which Sanskrit aphorisms on various subjects were inscribed on stone. The college was converted into a mosque by Mahomedans and still subsists at Dhar being known as the KAMAL MAULA MOSQUE. Parijata Manjari written by Mahākavi Madana during reign of Paramāra King Arjunavarman (ca. 1210-1218 CE) describes Shārdasadan (Sanskrit Pāthshālā) in  Dhara Nagari: “चतुरशीतिचतुष्पथसुरसदनप्रधाने…शारदादेव्याः सद्दानिसकलदिगंतरोपगतानेकत्रैविद्यसहृदयकलाकोविदरसिकसुकविसंकुले…”

अर्थात् – “धारा नगरी के चौरासी चौराहों के चौरासी मंदिरों में प्रधान, और अन्य देशों से आये हुए तीनों विद्याओं के जानने वाले विद्वानों और रसिक कवियों से पूर्ण शारदा सदन में …”

Some important Paramara era Temples


A Grand Paramara temple of considerable dimension (comparable to Konark Temple): VIJAYA MANDIR / BIJA MANDAL (circa 11th – 12th century). This temple saw continuous vandalism by Muslim iconoclasts. Infact, Prafull Goradia in his book (Hindu Masjids) has rightly named the chapter describing this Temple as “Four Vandals, One Temple”. Four Vandals were Iltutmish, Alauddin Khilji, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, and Aurangzeb. The Deva-Pratimas had remained concealed from the time of destruction of Bijamandal temple. Even after the destruction, the structure preserved its Hindu association in the name itself i.e. “Bija Mandal.” 

Most of the numerous pillars, pilasters and lintels, used in the mosque (made on Temple complex) are of Paramara Style. Infact some of the pillars contain Sanskrit Inscriptions mentioning the name of Paramara Kings like Naravarman (circa 1094-1133 CE).


Among the noteworthy objects excavated from this site are figures of Mahishasura Mardini, Standing 8-armed Ganesha, Dancing Female Figures, Dancing Sapta-Matrikas, exquisitely carved architectural members, bracket figures, fragmentary Parmara Inscription etc.


DC Ganguly in the book “History of Paramaras” gives a vivid description of this Paramara temple:

The great Nilakanthesvara temple at Udayapur or Udaipur (in Vidisha district, Madhya Pradesh) was built by King Udayaditya in 1059 AD. Nilakanthesvara temple at Udayapur is dedicated to Śiva. Architecturally, the temple spire belongs to a class known as bhūmija, or ‘earth born,’ a mode of temple building that originated in the Mālwa region.

External surface of ‘Tower of the shrine’ is divided into 4 sections by equal number of decorated horizontal bands. Each of these divisions is covered with 36 miniature sikharas divided equally into 5 rows. The bands are remarkble for their elegance of design and refined carving.

In the north west corner, immediately below ‘Amalakasila’, there is a human figure elaborately dressed and ornamented, holding lower end of a flag-staff. It is probably a statue of Udayaditya, founder of the temple. An inscription records that Udayaditya repaired this flag staff in 1080 AD.

It is one of the few temples in Malwa which was spared complete demolition by Muhammadan iconoclasts. Muhammad Tughlaq (AD 1325) is said to have razed to the ground the north east corner of the temple & the hall for reading Vedas, and erected in their place a mosque, which still contains two inscriptions, dated Hijra 737 and 739.


Village of Un is situated in Khargone District of Madhya Pradesh. During the rule of the Paramara dynasty, it was one of chief centres of architectural activity. Large number of temples still exist to prove its ancient greatness. They resemble the Khajuraho group in form and plan. With the exception of Khajuraho, Un is the only place in Northern India where we find so many ancient monuments together. On the wall of one of these temples there is an inscription of Paramar King Udayaditya (1059-1086 AD).

Temple group (Hindu and Jain temples) has following major ancient temples:

1) Chaubara Dera-I

2) Mahakaleshwar-I

3) Mahakaleshwar-II

4) Vallabheshwara

5) Nilakantheswar

6) Gupteshwar

7) Goalesvara

8) Chaubara Dera-II

Group of Temples at Un

Progress Report of Archeological Survey of India, Western Circle, Government of Bombay (for year ending 31st March 1919) says: “The newly discovered ancient temples (in around 1915) at Un in territory of His Highness the Maharaja Holkar, were on the whole well preserved. They were damaged recently (around 1919) when a MUHAMMADAN contractor, employed by Durbar, pulled down portions of them and converted them into road ballast (i.e. in order to provide rubble for road making).”

Progress Report of Archeological Survey of India, Western Circle, Government of Bombay (for year ending 31st March 1919).


Founded by legendary Parmar king of Dhar, Raja Bhojadeva “THE SCHOLAR KING” (1010-53 CE), Bhojpur is renowned for the remains of its magnificent Shiva Temple – Bhojeshwara Temple. The temple has earned the nomenclature of the Somnath of the East.

Gigantic Shiva Linga in sanctum rises to awe-inspiring height of 7.5 feet with a circumference of 17.8 feet. Set upon a massive platform 21.5 feet square, and composed of 3 superimposed limestone blocks, the architectural harmony creates superb synthesis of solidity & lightness.

The temple was not 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 ravages of time, it remains one of best examples of temple architecture of the 12th and 13th centuries.

In 2006-07, ASI team led by archaeologist KK Muhammad led conservation efforts at the temple. According to KK Muhammad, one reason why temple was abandoned could have been because calculations show that structure was not able to bear the load of stone roof and roof collapsed.

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