Built by: Chandela Rulers
Built in: During 950 – 1050 AD
Attraction: Erotic sculptures
Significance: Listed as World Heritage Site
How to reach: One can easily reach Khajuraho Temples by taking regular Buses or by hiring taxis from anywhere in Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho Temples are standing testimonials of the glorious past of India. Located near Sanchi, Khajuraho Temple can be easily reached by regular buses or private taxis that are available throughout the state of Madhya Pradesh. Khajuraho is a world renowned place for its marvelous sculptural temples. The exquisiteness of these temples has made Khajuraho, to list amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The astounding beauty of Khajuraho Temples allures millions of tourists round the year. Owing to the fact, Khajuraho is the second most visited place after the ‘Taj Mahal’ in India. Khajuraho Temples illustrate the magnificent sculptures made on the lines of aesthetic elegance. The credible artistry of sculptors can be seen in the majestic expressions of sculptures. The rustic setting gives the perfect situation to explore some personal moments of life.
Khajuraho had once been the capital of Chandela Empire. As per the revelations made by the Archeological department, the temples were built between 950 and 1050 AD. The startling intensity of these temples was misplaced in the dust of the times. In 1838, the temples were re-discovered by the Britishers. Initially, the temples were 85 in number, but only 22 could stand the ravages of the times. The murals and sculptures embracing the walls of Khajuraho Temples serve as a portrayal of the lifestyle and period of the Chandela rulers.
Having glimpse of Indo-Aryan architecture, Khajuraho Temples are generally dedicated to the Hindu Gods and Jain Tirthankaras. According to the studies, the temples and their elements depict the notion that physical speculation is one path to attain enlightenment. The passionate sculptures portray amorous couples in their private moments. Khajuraho Temples are particularly known for their erotic sculptures that undoubtedly fan the flames of physical desires of an individual.
Khajuraho Temples have a basic theme in which women is celebrated with her countless moods and aspects. Each temple has three main compartments that is the entrance (ardha mandapa), the assembly hall (mandapa) and the actual sanctum (garbhagriha). According to their geographical location, the temples are divided into 3 groups, Western, Eastern and Southern.
Western Group of Temples
The western group of temples is the best and the largest group of temples in Khajuraho. Located amidst the green fields and flowerbeds, the temples of western group have been elaborated by the Archaeological Survey of India. Incorporated in the World Heritage Site, these temples embrace the most passionate and outstanding sculptures of Khajuraho. Jagdambi Temple, Kandariya Mahadeva and Chitragupta Temples are the most excellent specimen of sculptures in India.
In the Western group, Kandariya Mahadeo is believed to be the largest temple. The temple has approximately 900 statues that boast about the excellent craftsmanship of the artisans. In the sanctum, 31m high image of Lord Shiva is awe-inspiring. Apart from the image, there is a Shivalingam too. The walls are imprinted with images of various Gods, Goddesses and apsaras (heavenly maidens). The main archway, pillars and ceilings are also carved beautifully. There are three horizontal panels on the outer walls of the transept, illustrating group of lovers and deities from the Hindu pantheon.
Being the oldest surviving temple of the western group, Chaunsat Yogini becomes the center of attraction. The temple is believed to have been built in 900 AD. Dedicated to Goddess Kali, the temple had 65 cells out of which only 35 are left. The image of Goddess Kali that used to enshrine in the temple, sadly couldn’t resist the ravages of the time.
Chitragupta Temple is an exclusive shrine, which is dedicated to Surya (the Sun God). In the inner sanctum, a 5 feet tall image of the Sun God riding a chariot, gathers the major attention. There are numerous images that illustrate royal processions, group dances and other pictures of absolute extravagance.
Dedicated to Lord Brahma, Vishwanath Temple is one of the famous temples of the western group. The northern doorway of the temple is guarded by a series of Lions, whereas the southern steps are flanked by huge elephants. The shrine of Nandi bull lies in the opposite direction.
Lakshmana Temple comprises a beautiful shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The shrine embraces three-headed images of Narasimha and Varaha, who are the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. On the very entrance, the roof beam is adorned with images of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva along with Goddess Lakshmi.
Positioned in the outer grounds of the western group, Matangeshwara Temple is glorified to Lord Shiva and houses eight feet tall ‘Shivalingam’. In the south of the temple, there is an open-air Archaeological Museum that displays a marvelous assortment of statues and frescoes accumulated from the area.
Eastern Group of Temples
Situated near the village of Khajuraho, the Eastern Group of temples consists of the renowned temples like Brahma, Vamana and Javari. The group further includes Ghantai, Adinath and Parsvanath (Jain pilgrims) that are located near the Khajuraho Sagar.
Amongst the temples of eastern group, Parshvanatha Temple is the largest Jain temple. Dedicated to Lord Parshvanatha, the temple is adorned with picturesque sculptures. The northern wall of the temple is carved with sculptures; depicting the scenes of everyday activities. One can also trace the bull emblem of first Tirthankara, Lord Adinath.
Ghantai Temple is a Jain temple, which is famous for its astonishing frieze. This frieze depicts the 16 dreams of Lord Mahavira’s mother in conjunction with a multi-armed Jain goddess mounted on a Garuda.
Amongst the three Jain temples, Adinath Temple is the last shrine that is dedicated to Lord Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankara.
Amongst the Hindu temples, the Brahma temple, the Vamana temple and the Javari temple are the renowned shrines in the eastern group.
Southern Group of Temples
The temples that fall under the southern group are located at a distance of approximately 5 km from the Khajuraho village. Amongst the temples of this group, Duladeo and Chaturbhuj Temples are the most famous.
Built during 1100 -1150 AD, Duladeo Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The majestic temple lies at a distance of 1 km in the south of Khajuraho. Duladeo temple is ornamented with corporeal images of the apsaras (heavenly maidens).
Located at a distance of 3 kms from Khajuraho, Chaturbhuj Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is regarded as the preserver of the world. The temple houses an elaborately carved image of Lord Vishnu.
Khajuraho Dance Festival
A cultural festival of dance and music is organized at Khajuraho by Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad. At Khajuraho dance festival, eminent classical dancers come from diverse parts of the country to show their talent. Every year, the festival is held in the month of March for 7 days.