Vidisha is a district of Madhya Pradesh, state of central India. The district derives its name from the head quarter town of Vidisha. Previously it was called Bhilsa, but after 1956 it was called as Besnagar and after that it was changed to Vidisha. It is one of the famous historical places of Madhya Pradesh.

Vidisha or Besnagar as it is called in the Pali scriptures, once the prosperous capital of the western dominions of the Sungas, contains some remarkable antiquities that throw light on the considerable architectural development of the period.

Situated in the fork of the Betwa and Bes rivers, Vidisha, 10 km from Sanchi, occupies an important place amongst the ancient cities in India. In the 6th and 5th centuries BC, it rose to become an important trade centre and a bustling city under the Sungas, Nagas, Satvahanas and Guptas. The Emperor Ashoka was governor of Vidisha, and it finds mention in Kalidasa's immortal Meghdoot. Deserted for three centuries after the 6th century, it was renamed Bhilsa by the Muslims who built the now ruined Bija Mandal, a mosque constructed from the remains of Hindu temples. It later passed on to the Malwa Sultans, the Mughals, and the Scindias.

Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh extends between Latitude 230 21' and 240 22' North and Longitude 770 15' 30" and 780 18' East. The District is situated in Eastern part of the fertile Malwa Region. The shape of this District is more or less Elliptical and the longer axis lies from North West to South East with slight projections on the North, North-West, South and South-West. Its greatest length from North-West to South-East is about 133.6 km and the greatest width from North-East to South-West is about 96 km . The Tropic of Cancer passes through the Southern stretch of the District about 2 km South of the District Head Quarters. It is bounded in the North by Guna District in the South by Raisen District and in the East by Sagar District

Location info:

Vidisha district located of Madhya Pradesh extends between 23° 21`, 24° 22` Latitude North and 77° 15`, 78° 18` altitude East. The district is situated in the eastern part of the fertile Malwa Region. It is bounded in North by Guna district, South by Raisen district and east by Sagar District. The tropic of Cancer passes through the southern stretch of the district about 2 kilometers south of the district head quarter. The total area of the district is 2,742km sq.


The climate of the Vidisha is normally dry. During summer the temperature is upto 46 degree Celcius and the minimum temperature may drop down to 10 degree also. The average rainfall of the district is 1,229.9 mm.The river Betwa or Vetrawati and Bes are the main rivers of flows through Vidisha.

The nights are generally pleasant and justify the praise by the Mughals for a Shab-E-Malwa famous throughout India. The monsoon comes during the month of June and continues till the end of September. The year may be divided into four seasons. The cold season starts from the month of December and ends in February and is followed by the hot summer season till mid-June. The period from mid-June to about the end of September experiences the South-West monsoon. The month of October and November may be termed the post-monsoon or retreating monsoon. The average annual rainfall received by this district 1,229.9 millimeter. During the summer season on individual days the maximum temperature goes above forty six degree Celsius. After the month of October, both the day and night temperatures steadily decreases till January which is the coldest month. The district is affected by cold waves during the cold season in association with the western disturbances passing across the northern part on India and the minimum temperature may drop down occasionally to a degree or so above the freezing point of water and frosts may occur.

History of Vidisha:

The District derives its Name from the Head Quarters town of Vidisha. The earliest reference of Vidisha is contained in Ramayana by Valmiki. It is stated there that Shatrughna's Son Shatrughati was placed in charge of Vidisha. In Brahmanical religious observance again, the place is called Bhadravati, the residence of Yuvanashva who supplied the famous horse to Yudhishthira during his Ashvamedha sacrifice.

The historicity of the ancient city of Besnagar, three Kilometers from Vidisha and identified with ancient Vidisha, goes back to some centuries before the birth of Christ. Besnagar figures prominently in Buddhist, Jain and Brahmanical Literature in various forms such as Vessanagar, Vaisyanagar etc. Tradition connects the town with Raja Rukmangada who neglecting his own wife for the Apsara Visva named the town Vishvanagar after her.

There is a reference of Vidisha in Ramayana. It is stated that Shatrughna`s son , Shatrughati was placed in the charge of Vidisha. But in Bramhincal literature`s religious observance, the place is called Bhadravati, the residence of Yuvanashva who supplied the famous horse to Yudhishthir during his Ashwamedha sacrifice.

The history of Besnagar can be find three kilometers away from Vidisha . There is also mention of Besnagar in Buddhist, Jain and Bramhincal literature in various forms such as Vessanagar, Vaisyanagar. Tradition connects the city with Raja Rukmangada who neglects his own wife for the Apsara `Visva`, for which the town was named Visvanagar after her.

Mayuras, Sungas, the Kanvas, the Nagas, the Vakatakas, the Guptas, the Kalchuries of Mahismati, the Parmars, the Chalukyas, Mughal, Marathas, and the Peshwas were the dynasties who ruled over Vidisha. Later in the year 1904, Vidisha was raised to a district having two Tehsils of Vidisha and Basoda till the formation of Madhya Bharat in 1948. In the year 1949, the town and the district were formed as Vidisha.

On the destruction of Besnagar, located on the western side of the river Betwa sometime after 7th century A.D., a new town sprang up on the Eastern bank of the River. This new town was known as Bhailaswamin or Bhillaswamin, the name of the place was later corrupted to 'Bhilsa' or Bhelsa. The name Bhelsa appears to have probably been obtained on account of the famous Suryamandir dedicated to God Sun.

Samrat Ashok, still a prince aged 18, was appointed as a Viceroy by his father, Bindusaar, at Ujjain. While on his way from Patliputra to that place he met Devi, a banker's daughter of Vidisha or Besnagar of the Sakya clan and married her. Her son Mahendra, and daughter Sanghmitra are famous in history as their father's religious ambassadors to Ceylon. They are known to have carried a twig of the original 'Bodhi' tree and led a Buddhist Mission to that country. Devi never visited Patliputra. She stayed at Besnagar only and embraced Buddhism afterwards. A monastery type of building has been excavated near Sanchi setup (nearly 8 kms away from Vidisha Town) which is stated to have been constructed for her residence. It is said that before sailing for Ceylon Mahendra came to visit his mother at Besnagar. The mother took her son to a " Chaitya Giri " which, by popular belief was none other than the Sanchi Stup.

After the Mauryas the Sungas, the Kanvas, the Nagas, the Vakatakas, the Guptas, the Kalchuris of Mahishmati the Parmars, the Chalukyas remained in power at Vidisha. Idols regarding these regimes have been found in the Vidisha territory. Some Idols and monuments are placed in the District Archaeology office Vidisha.

Later this region remained under Mughals, Marathas and Peshwas and thereafter became a part of the Sciendia's Gwalior State and was a Tehsil of Isagarh Pargana. In 1904 Vidisha was raised to a District having two Tehsils of Vidisha and Basoda till the formation of Madhya Bharat in 1948. The District was enlarged in 1949 by the merger of small States of Kurwai. The Sironj Sub-Division which was formerly in Kota District of Rajasthan State and small pargana of Piklone belonging to the Bhopal State were added to the District with the formation of new Madhya Pradesh. At the same time, the town and the District were renamed as Vidisha. However, under the Mughals Aurangzeb tried to rename the City as Alamgiri Nagar after himself, but without success.

Even today, the antiquity and the modern historical progress of the plateau of Vidisha vividly reflects its grandeur in the form of Besnagar, Gyaraspur, Udaypur, Udaygiri, Badoh-Pathari etc.

Educational Institutions in Vidisha:

Except Several schools and Colleges of the district two law colleges such as LBS Law College and SSL Jain Law College and a Civil Engineering Technology Development Cente are also available.












Vidisha people mostly use western Hindi (Malvi and Bundelkhandi) and Gondi as spoken language.


Vidisha people mostly use western Hindi (Malvi and Bundelkhandi) and Gondi as spoken language.Shivratri and Ramnavami are the important festivals of Vidisha people. Festivals of Orchha, Malwa, and Panchmarhi are famous among tribals. Bhagoriya festival is the important festival of tribals.Tansen festival , Gwalior Samaroh, Ustad Alauddin Khan festival are the musical festivals every year organized by the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh. It also includes Maihar, Kalidas Samaroh, and Ujjain Samarohas with dance functions.

Most of the people of this district are farmers. Betawa River is the main source of irrigation for the production of high quality Wheat, Gram and Soyabin. It is a major tourist place, which also provide livelihood for few section.

How to reach Vidisha?

Nearest Railway Station:

Vidisha is a railway Station on the Delhi-Madras, Delhi-Bombay main line of the Central Railway, at a distance of 56 km from Bhopal, the State capital of the Madhya Pradesh State. Sanchi on the Jhansi-Itarsi section of the Central Railway, and Vidisha, 10 km from Sanchi, are more convenient.

Nearest Airport:

Bhopal Airport.

Road Transport:

Regular bus services connect Vidisha, Udaypur, Gyraspur, Sanchi with Bhopal. Tongas and tempos for Udayagiri and Khambha Baba are also available from Vidisha.

Tourist Attraction of Vidisha:

Vidisha is a tourists' paradise with its archaeological and historical sites. With exciting destinations like Udaigir Caves, Maladevi Temple, Gadarmal Temple, Lohangi rock and many more, the list is never ending.

Udaigiri Caves:

Cut into the sandstone hill, six km from Vidisha and 3 km from Sanchi are a group of rock-cut cave sanctuaries. . This archaeologically important site of antiquity is between the rivers Bes and Betwa. The site is mainly known for its ancient rock-cut temples excavated in an isolated stand stone hill and the numerous Buddhist remains in its neighbourhood. This isolated hill extends from North-West to South-East and is about a km. long, rising to a height of about 110m above the plain. Traces of some ancient buildings were also found here. These temples are known as Udaigiri. Some of these contain inscriptions, dated and undated, of considerable importance. The caves are mostly small chambers, enshrining idols or images of various dynasties carved into the rock of the hill. The caves and the other remains found at the site show that the site has passed through the influence of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism in those days. An inscription in one of these, states that it was produced during the reign of Chandragupta-II (382-401 AD), thus dating these caves to 4-5 AD.

The caves possess all the distinctive features that gave Gupta art its unique vitality, vigour and richness of expression: the beautifully moulded capitals, the treatment of the intercolomination, the design of the entranceway and the system of continuing the architrave as a string-course round the structure.

They have been numbered probably according to the sequence in which they were excavated, beginning with Cave 1, which has a fontage adapted out of a natural ledge of rock, thus forming both the roof of the cella and its portico. The row of four pillars bear the 'vase and foliage' pattern, of which the eminent art historian, Percy Brown, so eloquently says: "the Gupta capital typifies a renewal of faith, the water nourishing a plant trailing from its brim, an allegory which has produced the vase and flower motif, one of the most graceful forms in Indian architecture."

Characterised by richly carved facades and doorways, the shrines are progressively more spacious and more ornate. Cave No. 9 is remarkable for its large cell and massive, 8 feet high pillars, its long portico and pillared hall. Throughout, there is evidence that master craftsmen of Besnagar practiced their art with skill and artistry under the Guptas, four centuries later. Cave No. 5 is awe-inspiring in the sheer magnificence of the vision of its builders: here, a massive carving depicts Vishnu, in his Varaha (Boar) incarnation, holding the Earth Goddess Prithvi aloft upon one tusk. Yet another stupendous sculpture is of the reclining Vishnu.

Holiodorous Pillar:

According to Purana's 'Bhagabhadra' was a King of Sunga Dynasty. During his reign the Greek King Antialcidas of Taxila sent Dion's son Heliodorous, as his personal Ambassador to the Sunga court at Vidisha and a part of this information is inscribed on a lofty Garuda Pillar (Eagle Mounted Tower) locally named as Kham-Baba a favourite deity of Bhois or Dhimars.The inscription engraved on the pillar records the name of the pillar as Garuda-dhvaja, the column surmounted by Garuda which was erected by Heliodorous in the honour of God Vasudeo in front of the temple of Vasudeva.The inscription engraved on the pillar records the name of the pillar as Garuda-dhvaja, the column surmounted by Garuda which was erected by Heliodorous in the honour of God Vasudeo in front of the temple of Vasudeva. Location : 4 km away from Railway Station, Vidisha.

Location : 4 km away from Railway Station, Vidisha.

Bijamandal OR Vijayamandira Temple:

LOCATION: Bijamandal is located at Vidisha, District Head Quarters. This Temple which was built in 11-th century A.D. was demolished in 1682 A.D. during the reign of Mughal King Aurangzeb and the mosque was erected on its site using the material of the temple. The mosque was known as Alamgiri Masjid. From an inscription carved on one of the pillars of the original temple it is evident that the temple was sacred to goddess Charchika. This inscription also record the name of king Naravarman. Vijaya was probably another name of this goddess after whom the temple is called Vijayamandira.

Historical Importance :-

This Temple which was built in 11-th century A.D. was demolished in 1682 A.D. during the reign of Mughal King Aurangzeb and the mosque was erected on its site using the material of the temple. The mosque was known as Alamgiri Masjid.

From an inscription carved on one of the pillars of the original temple it is evident that the temple was sacred to goddess Charchika. This inscription also record the name of king Naravarman. Vijaya was probably another name of this goddess after whom the temple is called Vijayamandira.

Maladevi Temple, Gyaraspur tehsil:

This temple is quite picturesquely situated on the slope of a hill overlooking the valley.Located on a huge platform cut out of the hillside and strengthened by a massive retaining wall, Maladevi temple is in fact imposing and stupendous building. It comprise an entrance-porch, a hall and a shrine surrounded by a circumambulatory passage and crowned with a lofty Shikara all covered with rich carving. Though now jain images occupy the shrine room and hall, a figure of a goddess occupying the dedicatory block on the outer door frame and other decorative sculptures probably indicate that the temple was originally dedicated to some goddess and it was subsequently appropriated by the Jains.

Hindola-Torana, GYARASPUR Tehsil: It is one of the 'Toranas' or ornamental entrance arches leading to a large temple either of Vishnu or of Trimurti. Hindola means a swing, and this tarana with its two upright pillars and cross-beam has a truly connotative name. All the four sides of the two lofty pillars are carved into panels with insets of the ten incarnations of Vishnu.


The bajramath is a fine example of a very rare class of temples with three shrines or cells placed abreast. All these shrines now occupied by Jain idols belonging to the Digambara sect. But it is clear from the sculptures placed on the door frames and niches on the basement that originally these shrines sheltered the Hindu Trinity. More precisely the central shrine was dedicated to Surya, the southern to Vishnu and the nothern to Siva. The carving of the doorway is exceptionally fine and vigorous. The Shikara of the temple is unusual in its plan and design.


A rare sculpture has been found at Gyaraspur.It is an exquisite stone figure of a Vrishaka (wood nymph) belonging to a period between the 8th & 9th century A.D. and kept in the archaeological museum,Gwalior.It has been brought there from Gyaraspur. This matchless oriental beauty represents a SHALBHANJIKA.The sculptured figure stands in a tribhang posture formed by bending her beautiful body in triple tortion and triple flexion while her face is alive with an intense expression, rather an unusual and rare phenomenon.Some smaller figures in similar pose are depicted on the sides of the 'HINDOLA TORAN' (gateway).

Udayeshwara Temple:

This temple is located in Udaipur village of the Basoda Tehsil. Its nearest Railway Station is Bareth on Bhopal-Bina main line of the Central Railway. It is also connected by Basoda Tehsil and Vidisha the District Head Quarters. Both these places are linked by road on which buses ply via Basoda. According to one of the many old Sanskrit inscriptions found here, Udaypura Town was founded by the Parmara King Udayaditya during the 11-th century A.D. The same inscription also mentions that the King built a temple dedicated to Siva and named it as Udayeshwara. The temple still exists here by the same name.


This temple is situated in Badoh - Pathari of the Kuwai Tehsil of the District. Badoh is about 19 km by road to the East of Kulhar Railway Station on the Delhi - Bombay main line of the Central Railway. From the district headquarters, it is around 84 kms away. Regular Buses are available from Vidisha to Pathari. In madiaeval times Badoh was a town of considerable importance as is testified by numerous remains of temples. Gadarmal temple is one of temples, which being of enormous height is visible from a long distance.The temple as it stands, is of two distinct parts belonging to different. basement of the shrine and the porch which are the remnants of the original temple, are of the 9th century A.D. Its Shikhara that replaced the original one. It is made up of the heterogenous pieces picked up from the ruins of Jain and Hindu temples.

Dashavatara Temple:

On the North side of the local lake, there exists ruines of a group of small Vaishnava shrines popularly called Sadhavatara Temple and a large open pillared hall, both dedicated to one or other of the ten incarnations of Vishnu. Their age ranges from 8th to 10th centuy A.D. On the western bank, there are ruins of several sati pillars, probably of the 9th or 10th century A.D. One of these have four sculptured faces, depicts a seated group of hara-Gauri, with musicians and dancers below, a bust of male figure holding up both hands.


It is located in the Badoh town of Kurwai Tehsil. The nearest railway station is kulhar on the Delhi-Bombay Main line of Central Railway. The building Sola-Khambi is situated on the Nothern side of a local lake and is flat roofed, open and sixteen pillared building locally known as Sola-Khambi. The building is 7.62 metres square and stands on 1.524 metres high moulded plinth. The building structure indicate belongs to the age of Guptas. At a small distance ahead there are two temples (1) Dashavtar Temple and (2) Sat-Madhi temple. In the former temple there exit ruins of a group of small Vaishnava shrines and a open pillared hall and the latter is a group of six temples. These were Vaishnavite and Shaivite. One is dedicated to Ganesh. The sculptures found there include three seated Idols of the Buddha.


Sironj, the HeadQuarters of a Tehsil of the same name is situated to the North-West of Vidisha, with which it connected by roads on which buses ply regularly. During May 1948 to October 1956, it was a district HeadQuarters town in Rajasthan State. Its nearest Railway Station Kurwai-Kethora on the Bhopal-Bina main line of Central Railway is about 48 km. from Sironj and it is connected by road. The place is also connected by roads with all the other Tehsil HeadQuarters of Vidisha District. The place is famous for the Calicos and Muslin.

Jain Images:

The oldest known monument as an idol of Chandranath, the eighth Jain Tirthankar found at Dharampur near Sironj. The inscription on this huge image is dated in Vikrama Samvat 1112, corresponding to A. D. 155. The image is about two metres high and is about one metre broad. It was found buried under the ground. When the image was lying half-buried under the ground it was locally known as Kali Telan. Another old object of interest is known as Nisaiya also sacred to the Jains. On excavation at one point the places yielded an old statue of Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankar in a broken condition

Girdhari Temple:

The Girdhari Temple situated in the town is assigned to the 11th century A.D. It is known for its sculptures and fine carvings. The temples of Jatashankar and Mahamaya are said to be old and sacred. The former is situated at a distance of about three km. to the South-West of Sironj in forest area. It is said that Tatya Tope of 1857-fame has halted here for some time. The Mahamaya temple is five km. away to the South-West of Sironj. It is situated on a hill. An annual fair is held here.


A Tehsil of Vidisha District, Gyaraspur lies in a gorge of some low steep hills, at distance of about 38.4 km. from the district and Tehsil headquarters town to its north-east. The place is situated on the old high road to Sagar. Buses ply on the road. The extensive ruins, scattered in and around the Tehsil, narrate the story of glory that was Gyaraspur in the late ancient and early mediaeval times. These ruins indicate that the place has passed through the influence of Buddhism, Brahmanism and Jainism

Lohangi Rock:

One of the objects of Historical and Tourist interest within the town is the Lohangi Rock, an isolated sand stone peak near the Railway Station. The Rock is about 6.086 metres in altitude, and rather a flat top of 9.129 metres in Diameter. On its western side there is low mosque with two Persian inscriptions inside. One dated A.H. 864 ( A.D. 1460), belongs to Mahmud Khilji - I of Malwa and the other is of Akbar, dated A.H. 987 (A. D. 1583). The tomb of Lohangi-Pir ( the title of Sheikh Jalal Chisti), after whom the rock is named is situated on its top. A bell capital of a gigantic Buddhist pillar atop the rock is popularly known as Pani-ki-Kundi. An old covered masonry tank is also there.

Hotels/Lodge/Accommodation in Vidisha:

Noor-us-sabah Palace
Hotel Jehan Numa Palace
The Sonali Regency Hotel
Amer Palace Hotel
Hotel Rajhans
Ranjit Hotel