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Coordinates: 23°32′N 77°49′E / 23.53°N 77.82°E / 23.53; 77.82Coordinates: 23°32′N 77°49′E / 23.53°N 77.82°E / 23.53; 77.82
Country India
State Madhya Pradesh
District Vidisha district
Elevation 424 m (1,391 ft)
 • Official Hindi

Vidisha is a city in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India.

It is located near the state capital Bhopal. Vidishā was the administrative headquarters of Bhelsa, or Bhilsa, during the Medieval period.


As of 2011 India census,[1] Vidisha had a population of 155,959. Males constitute 53.21% of the population and females 46.79%. Vidisha has an average literacy rate of 86.88%, higher than the national average of 74.04%: male literacy is 92.29%, and female literacy is 80.98%. In Vidisha, 15% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Historic places and monuments[edit]

Bajramath Temple
Jain sculpture inside Bajramath Temple
Maladevi temple

Near the eastern edge of the old town are the remains of a large temple of the late Paramara period known as the Bijamaṇḍal. The building was probably started in the second half of the 11th century. That it was never finished is shown by carved niches and unfinished architectural pieces found round the base of the temple plinth.[2] On top of the plinth is a small mosque made using pillars, one of which has an inscription dating probably from the time of king Naravarman (circa 1094-1134). It is a devotional inscription revering Carccikā (i.e. Cāmuṇḍā), of whom he was a devotee.[3] The miḥrāb suggests the mosque was constructed in the late 14th century. To one side of the Bijamaṇḍal is a store house of the Archaeological Survey of India containing many sculptures collected in the neighbourhood. A step-well of the 7th century is in the same campus and has, beside the entrance, two tall pillars with Kṛṣṇa scenes. These are the earliest Kṛṣṇa scenes in the art of central India. Bijamandal Temple at Vidisha is one of massive dimensions comparable with Konarak in Orissa.

  • Heliodorus pillar : The Heliodorus pillar is a stone column that was erected around 113 BCE in central India.[7] Historically, it is one of the early surviving inscription related to the Vaishnavism in India.[8][9]
  • Maladevi Temple : The Maladevi Temple is a partially rock-cut temple, dating back to 9th century and built in Pratihara style. The shikhara of this temple are of nagara type.[14] The temple has images of tirthankaras and Jain deities. However, this was originally a Hindu temple.[15]
  • Lohangi Pir
  • Hindola Torana
  • Dashavatar Temple
  • Girdhari Temple
  • Udayeshwara Temple


Pillar in the Bijamaṇḍal with an inscription of Naravarman

The town is situated east of the Betwa River, in the fork of the Betwa and Bes rivers, 9 km from Sanchi. The town of Besnagar, 3 km from present-day Vidisha on the west side of the river, became an important trade centre in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, under the Shungas, Nagas, Satavahanas, and Guptas, and was mentioned in the Pali scriptures. The Emperor Ashoka was the governor of Vidisha during his father's lifetime. His Buddhist Empress Vidisha Devi who was also his first wife was brought up in Vidisha. It finds mention in Kalidasa's Meghdoot.

Emergence as Bhelsa[edit]

Besnagar was known as Bhelsa during the medieval period.[citation needed] It became famous for the temple of Sun god Bhillasvanin.[16] It was ruled by the Later Gupta king Devagupta and Rashtrakuta king Krishna III. The name is first noted in an inscription of 878 AD by a merchant Hatiaka of Paravada community.[17] The 12th century Tri-shashthi-shalaka-purusha-charitra mentions an image of Bhillasvamin at Vidisa, along with a copy of Jivant Swami buried in the sand.[18] Minhajuddin's Tabaqat-i-Nusiri states that the temple was destroyed by Iltutmish in A D. 1233-34.[19]

In 1293, Alauddin Khalji of the Delhi Sultanate sacked the city as a general of Sultan Jalaluddin. It shows that Vidisha had an importance in the medieval era.[20] In 1532 Bhilsa was sacked by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat Sultanate. It thus, passed on to the Malwa Sultans and then to the Mughals and the Scindias.

Notable persons[edit]

Born in Vidisha Kailash Satyarthi won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.[21]


Vidisha is a railway station on the Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Mumbai main line of the Central Railway, at a distance of 54 km from Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh. Sanchi on the Jhansi-Itarsi section of the West Central Railway and Bhopal to Bina triple electrified broad gauge lines, from Bina to Katni double electrified Lines, Vidisha 102 km from Bina, and Vidisha, 9 km from Sanchi, are more convenient.


Vidisha is a home to a range of colleges and schools. Vidisha has a large student population and is a popular educational centre in central India. Most primary and secondary schools in Vidisha are affiliated with the M.P. Board, however, quite a few numbers of schools are affiliated with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE); as well. Seth Sitabray Laxmichand Jain Trust funded schools are the most popular school in Vidisha, [श्रीमंत सिताबराय लक्ष्मीचंद्र जैन ]. This trust is serving in the area of education since last 70 years and shaping the fortune of thousands nd lakhs by running schools & colleges to all.

S.A.T.I college is one of the oldest and popular Engineering College in central India. Vidisha has many other big and small science and arts colleges.


  1. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  2. ^ O. P. Mishra, "Bijamaṇḍal and Carccikā: Tutelary Goddess of the Paramāra King Naravarman," Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 22, 1 (2012), pp. 107–113.
  3. ^ H. V. Trivedi, Inscriptions of the Paramāras, Chandellas, Kachchhapaghātas and Two Minor Dynasties, Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, volume 7 in 2 parts (New Delhi, 1978-91) 2: 120-22.
  4. ^ Fred Kleiner (2012), Gardner’s Art through the Ages: A Global History, Cengage, ISBN 978-0495915423, page 434
  5. ^ a b Margaret Prosser Allen (1992), Ornament in Indian Architecture, University of Delaware Press, ISBN 978-0874133998, pages 128-129
  6. ^ The inscriptions are dealt with in J. F. Fleet, Inscriptions of the Early Gupta Kings and their Successors, Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, vol. 3 (Calcutta, 1888), hereinafter CII 3 (1888). Some of the records are re-edited, often with mischievous results, in the revised edition, D. R. Bhandarkar et al, Inscriptions of the Early Gupta Kings, Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, vol. 3 (revised) (New Delhi, 1981).
  7. ^ Avari, Burjor (2016). India: The Ancient Past: A History of the Indian Subcontinent from C. 7000 BCE to CE 1200. Routledge. p. 167. ISBN 9781317236733. 
  8. ^ Burjor Avari (2016). India: The Ancient Past: A History of the Indian Subcontinent from C. 7000 BCE to CE 1200. Routledge. pp. 165–167. ISBN 978-1-317-23673-3. 
  9. ^ Romila Thapar (2004). Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300. University of California Press. pp. 216–217. ISBN 978-0-520-24225-8. 
  10. ^ Mitra, Swati (2010), Temples of Madhya Pradesh, Goodearth Publications, p. 41, ISBN 9789380262055 
  11. ^ Mitra, Swati, Buddhist Circuit in Central India: Sanchi, Satdhara, Sonari, Andher, Goodearth Publications, p. 24, ISBN 9789380262499 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Tondon, O. P. (1986), Jaina Shrines in India, Publications Division Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, p. 45, ISBN 9788123024547 
  15. ^ Mitra, Swati (2010), Temples of Madhya Pradesh, Goodearth Publications, p. 23, ISBN 9789380262055 
  16. ^ Art & architecture of Daśārṇa (Malwa) Region, Rahman Ali, Sharada Pub. House, 2008, p. 14
  17. ^ (Malwa Through the Ages, from the Earliest Times to 1305 A.D, K.C. Jain, p. 485
  18. ^ Gleanings of Indian archaeology, history, and culture: Prof. Dr. R.N. Mehta commemoration volume, Volume 1, 2000, p. 263
  19. ^ Madhya Pradesh: District Gazetteers, Volume 42, V. S. Krishnan, Government Central Press p.30
  20. ^ [Studies in the Religious Life of Ancient and Medieval India, Dineschandra Sircar, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1971, p. 117]
  21. ^ "10 things to know about Noble Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi". Zee News.