Khajuraho is a small village in Madhya Pradesh that is far and wide praised for its enormous spectacle of incomparable temple architecture. The name Khajuraho is actually derived from Hindi word “Khajur” means “date palm” that grown in an abundant amount in this place.
History Of Khajuraho
Due to its exotic shrines, Khajuraho has become a major tourist destination for honeymooners. These temples portray a wonderful picture that is encompassed with abundant emotions like love, joy and sensuality. These temples are highly erotic and portray graceful forms intimate pictures of the wide range of human emotions.
Khajuraho temples are located in Madhya Pradesh. These beautiful monuments were built by Chandella ruler between AD 900 and 1130 and this period is considered as golden period of Chandella rulers. All these temples are constructed by different Chandella rulers. The first shrine was built by Abu Rihan al Biruni in AD 1022. Khajuraho had 85 temples, but only 22 exist in modern era and all these erotic temples were built over a period of hundred years.
There are a number of views that motivated Chandella rulers to start the construction of Khajuraho temples. The most popular myth connected with the initiation of building temples is that King Chandravarman who was the establisher of Chandella Empire had a vision where his mother beseeched him to built shrines dedicated to actuality of human desires and needs. It is also believed that Chandravarman came into this world by the unification of beautiful mortal and moon God.
List Of Khajuraho Temples
The astonishing beauty of Khajuraho temples magnetizes millions of national and international visitors throughout the year. Khajuraho temples are generally devoted to Jain Tirthankaras and Hindu Gods. According to studies, it is said that the elements of shrines portray the concept that physical conjecture is the path to achieve enlightenment. The passionate statues depict romantic couples in their private moments.
Each temple has three major sections that is the entry gate (Ardhamandapa), the actual sanctum (garbha griha) and the assembly hall (Mandapam). Khajuraho temples are divided into three sections on the basis of their geographical position. Southern, Eastern and Western groups are the three parts of these temples.
Western Group Of Temples
The western group of temples is the largest and best temple group in Khajuraho. Nestled in the midst of lush green fields and flower beds, the shrines of western group are extremely captivating and mesmerizing. Included in World Heritage Site, these temples clinch the most outstanding and passionate statues of Khajuraho. Chitragupta temples, Kandariya Mahadev and Jagdambi temple are the most amazing and excellent one.
Lakshmana Temple - Lakshmana temple, an impressive edifice consisted in western group of temples. The temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu. The magnificent structure was constructed by King Yasovarman. The exquisite carved walls of the temple depicts the artistic flight of human fantasy and passion. The temple platform has fascinating fresco of horsemen and elephants in procession. The temple has astonishing sculptures of curvaceous and voluptuous forms of nude women with ornate jewelry.
The Kandriya Mahadev Temple - This temple was constructed in 1030 AD by King Vidyadhara and it is the tallest amongst all Khajuraho temples. The shrine is devoted to Lord Shiva visually and aesthetically appealing. It is constructed completely without the use of mortar and cement. The magnifiect edifice has countless sculptures and figures consisting of some famed exhibit of eroticism by the “Mithunas” (carved erotic images).
Devi Jagdamba Temple - The Devi Jagdamba Temple is smaller, but much more gracefully carved and proportioned temple. It is embellished with some of the most excellent statuettes at Khajuraho. The temple is also known as “Garbha Griha” and houses an enormous image of universal Goddess, Jagdambi. The graceful figure statues, beautiful apsaras, mithunas and pictures of deities on the outer walls of temple can easily snatch anyone’s attention.
Matangeshwara Temple Placed in the exterior grounds of western group, the sanctified place of worship is glorified to Lord Shiva and houses 8 feet tall ‘Shivalingam’. An archeological museum is also placed in south of the shrine that illustrates a wonderful assortment of frescos and sculptures collected from the area.
Chaunsat Yogini - Chaunsat Yogini is the oldest surviving temple of western group. It is devoted to Goddess Kali and framed in 900 AD. The temple is built with granite blocks and well-known for its simple architectural design. Chausath means 64; the temple had 64 cells for the shapes of 64 yoginis who met with Goddess Kali.
Chitragupta Temple - An ancient temple, glorified to Lord Surya, Chitragupta Temple is an 11th century old edifice facing eastward direction. The astonishing picture of Lord Surya in a standing position driving a seven horse chariot is simply awe-inspiring. Wonderfully carved walls that illustrate full-figured and curvaceous sura-sundaris and erotic couples in passionate moments are like a rare feast to visitors.
Vishwanath Temple - One among the western group of temples, the fascinating Vishvanath temple locates on north-eastern corner. It is devoted to Lord Shiva and houses a beautiful and exquisite Shivalinga as the prime deity. The plentifully carved walls of temple portrays beautiful images of gorgeous apsaras, along with the marvelously carved women statues add enormous beauty to temple.
The Chandragupta Temple - This is the only Sun temple situated in Khajuraho. The shrine hordes a 7 feet image of Sun-God dressed in boots and armored coat. Thought the condition of temple is not in a good condition like others, but it shows some interesting works consisiti8ng of an 11 headed statue of Lord Vishnu on Southern wall.
Eastern Group Of Temples
The Eastern Group of Temples is a wonderful collection of popular temples like Javari, Vamana, Ghantai, Parsvanath, Adinath and Brahma.
Brahma Temple Brahma temple is one of the most beautiful and prominent structures in Eastern group. Even though the shrine is named as Brahma temple, but in reality it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This temple occupies a fine place on the banks of Ninora Tal or Khajuraho Sagar. It is a meek edifice, including a porch and a sanctum. The Brahma temple is destitute of any sort of ornate carvings, intricate architecture and sensuous statues.
Parsvanath Temple - Parsvanath is another magnificent temple that falls under eastern group; it is devoted to one of the Jain thirthankars. The temple houses a beautiful and fascinating statue of Parsvanath in the sanctrum. One of the major features of this shrine is that the idols of the temple are non-erotic. It also comprises statues of gorgeous sura-sundries in several attractive postures. This holy place is decked with picturesque statues. The northern wall of temple is carved with statues, representing the pictures of everyday activities.
Ghantai Temple - Ghantai temple is one of the most prominent Jain worship place found in Khajuraho. Located in South of Khajuraho, Ghantai is well-known for its excellent architecture that bears a resemblance to the temples of 10th century. The bells-n-chains carved on its tall eye-catching pillars are the main pieces of attraction. The place of worship also has a beautification displaying the 16 dream of Lord Mahavir’s mother and a multi-armed Jain goddess positioned on a winged eagle.
Vamana Temple - Vamana temple is devoted to Lord Vaman and located in north of Khajuraho village. The sanctified place portrays a pretty indication of verdant greenery of bare fields. It is 19.9 metre wide and 19.1 meters in length. The holy spot comprises of ‘garbha graha’ and ‘mandap’ that contains the dwarf pictures of Lord Vamana who was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Another worth-mentioning aspect of this place is that the third or top line of the ‘Jangha’ (walls) depicts framed niches including diamonds in the place of statues.
Javari Temple - Javari temple is one of the major attractions in Khajuraho and pulls visitors from every noon and cranny. It is popular for its intricate design and flawless architecture. The highly-structured gateway is the prime aspect of this temple. A good number of statues on the walls of shrine elucidate men and women in several sensuous postures. The outer walls of this beautiful place are also enveloped with exquisite sculptures.
Adinath Temple - A sumptuously beautified shrine with marvelous sculptures, Adinath temple is devoted to Jain saint, Adinath. It is said that the place of pilgrimage was constructed in 11th century in the form of ‘sapta-ratha’ with a sole towered ‘shikhara’ that makes it beautiful. The walls of this glorious edifice are bejeweled with beautifully carved pictures and postures of court musicians. The carvings of walls are also endows you with a closer look of the dance forms of Nilanjana. Beside all this, Shashan Devis, Vidyadevis and Apsaras add grace to the walls.
Southern Group Of Temples
Southern group of temples are situated at a distance of about 5 km from Khajuraho village. Akin to other groups, this group also consists of some famous and prominent temples like Chaturbhuj and Duladeo temples.
Duladeo Temple - Duladeo temple is also tagged as “Kunwar Math” and structured in 1130 and the last shrine framed by Chandella kings. An enormous shivalinga is the major piece of attraction. The superstructure is enveloped in traditional style, with various sensuous statues. The five-chambered captivating place has a big closed hall with ceiling that depicts 20 apsaras brackets that are further assembled in bunches. The ceiling is festooned with identical pictures of Shiva-Parvati and Shiva figures, sumptuously beautified with intricately carved jewelry, the Duladeo temple is an architectural marvel from every sense.
Chaturbhuj Temple - Chaturbhuj temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu and unique in many ways; it is the only temple at Khajuraho facing west. The shrine comprises of a porch, a small mandap and a square shaped grabha griha over which rises a slim and tall shikhara. The external walls of the consecrated place are organized into three bands of statuette and various niche statures, including the companion of Narsimha, on the north side. Entering the shrine is overawed by ornamental entryway and the enormous picture inside the sanctum. The deity of the holy place is a blend of three deities, Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Apart from this, the idol of Ardhanarishwar (half Parvati and half Shiv) is also worth-mentioning.
Khajuraho Fairs And Festivals
Apart from mesmerizing, sensuous and fascinating temples, the land of Khajuraho represents various hues that reflect the culture and tradition of this small town. As sunset gives way to darkness, light bathe the shrines in a dreamlike golden radiance creating an ideal ambient for the past to juxtapose. Khajuraho Festival of Dance is an outstanding affair that is organized in the months of February-March for a week. The grand carnival is a platform that showcases Indian classical dance forms and draws attention of leading performers of Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Odissi etc. The seven day musical carnival is unique treat for connoisseur all across the globe. While visiting Khajuraho, ensure that you attend the grand dance festival to get a chance to see the maestros and majestic dames of Indian dance perform.
Timings To Visit The Temples
The timings to visit Khajuraho temples begin at 8:00 am in the morning and visitor can visit the temples till 6:00 pm in evening. Visitors should avoid visiting temple after sunset as they can stagger on the rocks.
A Cursory Glance Over Some Fast Facts
- State- Madhya Pradesh
- District- Chhatarpur
- Area covered- 21 sq kms
- Best time to Visit- October to March
- Main languages- Hindi and English
- Summer - Max: 47. Min: 21. Winter - Max: 32. Min: 4.
How To Reach Khajuraho:
By Train - Khajuraho railway station is located at a distance of 5 km from Khajuraho village. In order to reach to the desired destination one can take direct trains from here.
By Road - The city of Khajuraho has a good connectivity to Katni, Jhansi, Orchha, Chhatarpur etc. Generally visitors arrive at Jhansi railway station by train and hire car or taxi to reach Khajuraho.
By airways - Khajuraho is having its own domestic airport, City Airport Khajuraho. It is settled at 2 km south of Khajuraho city.
Khajuraho temples would definitely leave you spell-bound by its elaborated handwork and architectural finesse of the sculptors and artisans of that era who were culpable for giving such a wonderful, fascinating and astonishing heritage to India.