King Bhoja – Paramara Dynasty – 11th Century AD

King Bhoja Paramara Dynasty 11th Century Medeival IndiaThere have been a lot of Kings and Emperors who were skilled at warfare, annexed and ruled over a huge landmass. But there are very few who are remembered for reasons other than their military conquests. One of them was King Bhoja, of the Paramara Dynasty who lived in Medieval India in the 11th Century AD (He ruled between 1000 and 1050 AD). 

Of course, Bhoja was a good military commander too. He had a vast kingdom in the Central/ Western India. He had a strong alliance with the powerful King of South – Rajendra Chola and had even helped the Shahi Kings to resist the attacks of Mohammad of Ghazni. That, the formidable King of Arabia had to take a devious route via Kutch and Sind for his return after the historic plunder of Somnath to avoid a clash with Bhoja in 1025 provides the political strength and importance that Bhoja had gained in Western India at that time.

But, not all kings who ruled over a large landmass are remembered! In addition to being a King, he was a great scholar, great poet, great critic, great builder, great virtuoso, great experimenter, great thinker and great giver! It seems, even the weavers of his land were fluent in Sanskrit (which was the dominant language of the time) and he stressed much on education. The copper grant plates given by him are found even today. The remnants of the Bhojeswara temple, near Bhopal speaks of the magnificence of the structures built under his regime. In fact, a dam that he constructed in Bhojpura (In Betwa river) is considered as a unique feat of hydraulic engineering of that time.

In the words of a renowned historian Vincent Arthur Smith, “He (King Bhoja) reigned gloriously for more than forty years. Although his fights with neighboring powers, including one of the Muhammadan armies of the Mohammad of Ghazni are forgotten, his fame as an enlightened patron of learning and a skilled author remains undimmed”

So, what has he written about? Almost everything!! The royal titles, books and temples created by him were estimated to be around 84, a figure that he perhaps liked. His works covered diverse fields of knowledge like poetry, grammar, lexicography, philosophy, Dharmasastra, astronomy, astrology, applied sciences, medicine, architecture, engineering, etc. Its quite possible that he did not write all those books (each of them was like an encyclopedia) but organized the luminaries of his kingdom to collect materials in each subject and compile them in to books, and there were extensive references in his books to earlier works and even quotes from them.

Literary criticism was one of his favorite topics, and he wrote two exhaustive books on that subject – Srirangaprakasa and Sarasvatikanthabharana. Perhaps his unique contribution to Indian poetics is his contention that ‘Sriranga’ is the one and only rasa. ‘Sriranga’ denotes highest and the zenithal phase of bliss and according to him, it is the highest aesthetic principle. Prior to Bhoja, Bharata had categorized 49 Bhavas (qualities/ emotions) and Bhoja wanted to establish that all those Bhavas were below the state of ‘Sriranga’. There were even two biographies written on him – Bhojacharitra (History of Bhoja) and Bhojaprabandha (Life story of Bhoja). But it would suffice to say that he himself was a patron of great literary works and also encouraged other luminaries and helped organize literature in various volumes in various topics and categories – a work that was never done prior to him.

Source: ‘Cultural Leaders of India – Aestheticians’ – Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.

Destination Infinity

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13 Replies to “King Bhoja – Paramara Dynasty – 11th Century AD”

  1. Interesting piece of history!

    I am trying to make it interesting, but not sure how I can cover vast subjects in tune with the tastes of the Internet browsing audiences!

  2. Life Story of Bhoja was in our academics in Telugu actually. I never liked it that much though now I understand its importance.

    We never studied about Bhoja here! But chances are, we did and I forgot! I guess when we are students, we do not like history, even though its like a story is because we are made to memorize that stuff. How I wish this mugging up and memorization goes away from the educational system…

  3. YEs This was in my history books and when i had my 10th class boards the history exam had a essay type question on King bhoja 🙂 he hehehe I kano i am sad to have remembered this for so long but its the truth 🙂

    Thanks for the info…

    Bikram's

    That's some memory alright! 🙂 I too remember one thing about my tenth standard history – The Russian Revolution. But I remember it because I omitted the whole chapter back then!! But later on, I read a whole book on that subject!!

  4. A very interesting post DI! I remember having a lesson on Bhoja in my Sanskrit book.. Are you aware of a story in which a fish bone gets stuck in Bhoja's skull and he suffers from the ailment? We had that story and it was pretty interesting too.. Ashwini doctors (who are heavenly doctors) come down to Earth to cure Bhoja.. I looooove history and like to read more about kingdoms and those dynasties 🙂

    In the Wikipedia, it was mentioned that he had a tumor in his brain which was cured by some specialist surgeons by putting him in to coma using some herbs. I too like to read history, especially from the time I left college. I have the 'Glimpses of world history' by Jawaharlal Nehru which is a comprehensive account of historical events. I have read half of it. Need to read the remaining half soon…

  5. Interesting anecdotes! I have heard about Bhoja raja and must have read about him in school. But don't remember reading so many positive news about him. I remember the Somnathpura temple swindling by Ghazni, though! Negative news is staying in our memory!

    Thanks for this positive post, Destination Infinity!

    In his auto-biography book, L K Advani mentions something unique about the Somnath Temple. He says that the temple was raided and destroyed many times, but people's spirit for reconstructing it has never been destroyed. He says, that's the right spirit of looking at negative events, and I kinda agree with him. There is always some positivity behind negativity. We ought to broaden our horizons of thinking…

  6. It's amazing how little of history one actually knows or remembers. History was one of my favourite subjects in the sense that I used to read historical novels and biographies a lot at one time. Stories of heroes always interest me. We learnt about the various dynasties in the south in school but I do not remember King Bhoja.

    I too don't remember studying it … But when I was in school, I thought history was boring! I guess we need to come to a certain stage in life when we can appreciate history… Also, the memorization culture of the schools makes it difficult to like subjects.

  7. Interesting info DI.. usually I like the history about wars but when it comes to literature and other art works I feel sleepy 🙂 🙂

    There will be a period of your life, when you start liking all that…

  8. Wonderful article on history.

    I don't remember reading about King Boja in school but i love history,was not able to take history as my subject in graduation because of mom's pressure.

    I didn't like history when I was in school, it was afterwards that I started liking it!

  9. i only know king bhoja of the vikramadhithya stories 😉

    It seems there were many Bhojas after him (and probably before him too…). I somehow totally missed the vikramadhithya stories… 🙁

  10. I am interested in history but was a student of Engineering and business.
    One must know history of self otherwise forget about development and achievement.

    1. I too think history is very important. I guess many great people had similar opinion and that’s why we study history as a part of our curriculum in schools.

      Destination Infinity

  11. i am sanjiv kumar singh son of late shri raghunath prasad singh who belongs to dynasty of raja bhoj. iam Advocate in Supreme court of india and national leader congress party.

  12. As per history of India the Might king Bhoja had ruled over Malwa . He was also best writer so will remember long ,But I can not understand how Gajani got success to rob Somnath temple .On those days religion was more important than lives therefor I have doubt Gajani was not a ruler and the incident of his attack was not true

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