Vidhisha is an ancient city in Madhya Pradesh state in India. It is also the administrative capital of the district with the same name. It was known as Besnagar in ancient times. Vidhisha city was known as Bhelsa during the medieval period.
Heliodorus Pillar alias Khamba Baba or Kham Baba is situated around four kilometers from the Vidisha town, on SH-14 towards Ganj Basoda. It is 20 feet and 7 inches tall stone column, believed to be erected by the Greek ambassador of King Antialcidas, the Indo-Greek King of ancient times. It is located on the northern banks of River Vais. The inscriptions on this stone pillar tell us that it was built to pay homage to Lord Vishnu.
Emperor Ashoka, the Great of the Maurya Dynasty, served as the governor of Vidisha during his father’s regime. His first wife and Buddhist Empress Vidisha Devi were brought up in Vidisha. (Great Emperor Ashoka was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Maurya Dynasty.)
There are many ancient Hindu temples in this city.
Vidhisha Museum or Vidhisha District Museum
The museum in the city has sculptures from the 9th to the 10th century CE. There is also terracottas and coins belonging to the first millennium. Harappan art also finds a place in this heritage museum.
Bijamaṇḍal is an eleventh-century temple ruin in the city. Archaeological Survey of India has a store on one side of this ancient temple, where sculptures collected from the neighborhood are stored. A seventh-century step-well is also there in the same temple compound. It is one of the most massive ancient temples in India.
Lohangi Pir Rock Tomb
Lohangi Pir Rock Tomb is a large rock tomb of Lohangi Pir. It has got Persian inscriptions on it, which date back to 1460 BC and 1583 BC. Locally known as Lohangi Pir, he was a saint who was officially known as Shaykh Jalal Chishti. Moreover, the remains of a medieval temple dedicated to Goddess Annapurna, can be seen very close to this rock tomb. Both of these are situated close to the Vidhisha railway station.
At around 10 kilometers from this ancient city lies Udaygiri. Gupta Era rock-cut sculptures of Hindu and Jain gods can be seen here (i.e., the 4th and 5th century AD). More than twenty caves exist here. It is believed that Tirthnkara Sheetal Nath attained nirvana here. Nirvana means enlightenment, liberation, salvation, etc.
Maladevi Temple is around 40 kilometers distance from the city of Vidisha. It is a massive temple situated on the eastern slope of a hill, which gives a superb view of the valley. NH-86 passes close to this ancient 9th-century temple.
There are many other ancient temples in and around Vidisha city.
Vidisha city is considered one of the sacred Puranakshetras. Puranakshetras are linked to the lives of the great Jain saint or savior or spiritual teacher. For example, Shitalanatha, the 11th Tirthankar, is believed to have been born here. Ttirthankar means a savior and spiritual teacher.
There are 14 Jain temples in the city.
How Do I Go to Vidhisha or Bhelsa or Besnagar?
Vidhisha city is around 60 kilometers from Bhopal city, the state capital of Madhya Pradesh. It is situated at a distance of around 9 kilometers from Sanchi.
Vidhisha railway station is situated in the town. It is on the mainline connecting Delhi to Chennai and Mumbai. The railway station is around 54 km from Bhopal.
Sculpture at Sanchi Stupa
Sanchi railway station on the Jhansi-Itarsi section is another nearby railway station.
Bhopal airport is the nearest airport to Vidhisha city.