Madhya Pradesh Khajuraho Group Of Temples
|Location||The City of Khajuraho is situated in the forested plains of Madhya Pradesh in the region known as Bundelkhand|
|Built by||Rulers of Chandela Empire|
|Built in||Between 950 and 1050|
|Important Festivals||Khajuraho Dance Festival is held from - 25th Feb - 30th Feb|
|Attraction||Western Group of Temples Eastern Group of Temples, Southern Group of Temples|
|Name Derived From||'Khajur', The Date Palm.|
|Must See||Art Sculptures, Carved Temples and Dance Festival.|
|Significance||Listed as World Heritage Site|
Khajuraho situated in the state of heart of India, Madhya Pradesh and just a throw of 620 kilometers (385 Miles)from southeast of New Delhi is in city of Chhatarpur District. With its famous, marvelous and erogenous sculptures it is the largest group of medieval Hindu and hence attracts the numerous tourists.The erotic sculptures engraved on the temple walls, ceiling attracts thousands of visitors to khajuraho.
“Kharjuravahaka” now known as Khajuraho is the blend of the Sanskrit word kharjura=”date palm” and vahaka=”one who carries”. British engineer T.S. Burt was the first to visit the area. Later for the Archaeological Survey of India General Alexander Cunningham found this place to be put on the world map and had described it in very radiant words. It is considered to be in the “Seven Wonders” of India and also has been registered on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Also stated with the name of Kamasutra temple used to have 75 temples as stated on the UNESCO world heritage site out of which only 22 temples persist today. The temples in Khajuraho are devoted to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and some of the Jain divinities. The temples have beautiful sensual carvings in its interiors and exterior. The temple walls have the sculptures on nymphs have generously contoured and bejewelled bodies. The sculptures depict these apsaras in various indian classical dance forms, playing games, women doing their daily chores. Besides theses the walls of temple are engraved with the extravagantly interlocked maithunas, or lovemaking couples.
The Khajuraho temples have been sectioned into three different areas that are western, eastern and southern as per their locations. Out of the three areas western compound embraces the most prevalent temples of Khajuraho. The western group consists of total eleven temples, eastern group comprises of six temples and the southern section has two temples.
History says that the son of the moon or god Chandra, Chardravarman established this beautiful place of Khajuraho. As said Chardravarman who inclined on a beautiful maiden as she bathed in a stream. Most of the temples built in the Chandela reign have been originated from the lakes. They have been there for five centuries and before their dwindling due to the assault of Mughals. The 25 remaining temples out of 85 have been the artistic pearls of brilliance people from AD 950 to 1050.
The Temples of Khajuraho have been the most exquisite cenotaphs of medieval times in the history of country. The temples are the believed to have been built by every ruler of the Chandella between AD 900 and 1130. It had been like a ritual for every ruler of Chandella to build at least one temple in his lifetime. This makes the temples look more attractive as they have been built by various rulers and not only just one.
Abu Rihan al Biruni in AD 1022 made the first ever reference of the Khajuraho temples and then by an Arab traveler Ibn Battuta in AD1335. With innumerable conservation and upkeep 25 of 85 temples still stand today. The temples share their glory over an area of about 9 square miles.
To keep up the glory of the temples Chandella rulers differentiated their religios and political capitals separately. While Khajuraho was the pious capital, Mahoba was their political capital which is just 60km away from Khajuraho. Khajuraho is hemmed in with 8 gates used for access and leaving. Each gate is fringed by two date/palm trees. The presence of these trees suggested the name Khajura-vahika which describes “Khajura” as Date’ and “Vahika” as ‘Bearing’ in hindi language. In the history it has another name associated to it “Jejakbhukti”.
With the captivation of Muslim invaders and the fall of Chandellas after AD1150, the locals in Khajuraho left the place. Muslim invaders showed chauvinism which led the people of Khajuraho leave their homes with the optimism that the seclusion will not detriment the temples and so in a way both the temples and people will be safe. This period from 13th century to 18th century made the Khajuraho temples enter the era of concealment of forests until it was re-discovered by British engineer T.S. Burt.
The structural design divides the temples into three different terrestrial sections viz. western, eastern and southern.
The structures have been constructed with the use of sandstones. The creators avoided the use of mortar and instead used mortise and tenor joints and were placed in by the gravity. This type of construction required very detailed and accurate joints. The use of standing stone that weighed up to 20 tons in the columns and moldings made the structure strong and beautiful.
Zenith of the North India Nagara architectural grace is what Khajaraho can be referred to as. The Nagara style is characterized by a beehive shaped tower (a central tower also known as shikhara) with the uppermost point over the temples primary immortal. This shikhara is then oftenly encircled with subordinate towers (urushringa) and then the transitional towers. This type of style draws the attention to the peak point like looking a distant peak from various successions of peaks. The temples are set on the elevated base (adhisthana) draws the rising attention and thus uphold the vertical quality. The Khajuraho’s arch have been built with the practice of technique called corbelling in which arch is constructed by offsetting successive courses of stoneat the springline of the walls so that they project towards the archway's center from each supporting side, until the courses meet at the apex of the archway.
Amalaka is like a disk that crests on the edge which is the over the temples main tower. This resembles more like the lotus and hence has been emblematic as the pew for the idol below. It has also been described as Sun, which signifies it as an entrance to the divine world. An amalaka is capped with the kalasha (finial), with which the temple banner is often hung.
Entrance Porch (Ardhamandapa)
The ingress forms an interim amid the outside world and mandapa (hall). The most established temples have kind of an interim space between the central shrine (garbhagrha) and the outside world.
A Mandapa is referred as a hall in the temple which has a provisional space between ardhamandapa the small hall which gives access to the central shrine, the inner very holy sanctuary of the temple) and mahamandapa (the biggest and largest mandapa among the various mandapas in the temple). These can generally be seen in the big temples
Great Hall (Mahamandapa)
A mahamandapa is the biggest and largest hall in the temple. The central shrine or the garbhagrha is detached from the mahamandapa by a short porch name the antrala. The interior of the temple is designed in such a manner that there is a lobby between the central shrine or garbhagrhaand the external world. These kind of interiors can only be seen in the most largest and developed temples. At the Khajuraho temples, the mahamandapa is eminent by the transepts which are the bumped-out portions perpendicular to temples main axis.
Antrala referred to as the interim space between the main hall and the central shrine or a garbhagrha in the temple. One can see the antralas only in the big and large temples. These architectural components script the inceptive for the exterior world and the heavenly world. This type of architecture at Khajuraho is defined with the sexually explicit scenes (particularly on the Vishvanath and KandariyaMahadevtemples). Although these placements cannot be fortuitous but the observers differ in their beliefs. The minimal it could specify is that the sexuality and encountering the divine stumble upon.
Inner Sanctum (Garbhagrha)
The most divine place in the temple is the Garbhagrha or the inner altar. This space is occupied by the temple’s primary deity. The elementary purpose of any Hindu temple is to house the deity in a holy and sacred place and is often visited by the disciples to pay their devotion to the deity. Hindu temples thus differ from many of the other religious ethnicities.
Secondary Tower (Urushringa)
Urushringa also known as the secondary towers. They resemble the figure of the tallest central tower and hence help to draw the attention upward to the highest point. It strengthens the feeling of height given by the temple
Base Platform (Adhishsthana)
Adhishsthana is referred to as the base of the temple. The temple stands on the Adhishsthana. Khajuraho temples have high Adhishsthana which heihtens their rising shove.
How to Reach
Khajuraho has its own domestic airport just 2km from south of the city. One can board flights to Khajuraho from Delhi and Varanasi. Mostly the flight plies in and out from here at the noon time to these two termini.
Khajuraho is well connected by rail route though it doesn’t have its own station. Get down to the nearest station like Harpalpur (94km) and Mahoba (63km) from the main city. Northern india is connected to khajuraho by Jhansi (172km). Those travelling from Mumbai, Allahabad and Varanasi can get down at Satna (117 km) for their further journey to khajuraho.
It is well connected by road from various places in Madhya Pradesh like Mahoba, Harpalpur, Satna, Jhansi, Gwalior, Agra, Jabalpur, Bhopal, Indore, and Chhatarpur. Direct bus service to Khajuraho is available from all these points.
MP tourism runs its buses to khajuraho and between all the above major cities in Madhya Pradesh. There are AC/ Non AC, Deluxe/ Non-Deluxe bus services provided by different private tour operators.
Western Group of Temples
Western compound is the largest and embraces the most important and prevalent temples at Khajuraho.
Explore the following temples in the western complex:
- KandariyaMahadeva Temple
The most vital and largest temple at Khajuraho is the TheKandariyaMahadeva. The temple is out-and-out devoted to Lord Shiva. It is embossed with glorious statuaries on the peripheral and cores of the temple. Opulently fashioned can be used as a synonym for the this temple.
- Lakshmana Temple
The yet another temple categorized under the western complex of Khajuraho temple is also known as the Chaturbhuj temple. The temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu and is embellished with figures of gods, goddesses, vyalas, apsaras, mithunas and have other erogenous effigies. The statuaries illustrate the daily life. With its most amatory statues it also resembles the real face of Khajuraho temples.
- ChaunsathJogini Temple
It is considered as one of the oldest temples in western khajuraho. The ChaunsathJogini Temple has been dedicated to the Mother Goddess Shakti, manifestation of great power. This temple belongs to the Western Group of temples. Its structure is made up of granite and is the only temple in western khajuraho made of granite which makes it completely different from the Chandela style of architecture. It is situated on the bank of the Shivsagar Lake and under the Vindhya mountain range. There are hardle any carvings in this temple.
- Devi Jagdamba Temple
Devi Jagdamba Temple is on the same platform as KandariyaMahadevatemple.As its name it is incorrectly thought to be a temple dedicated to Devi Jagdamba, in genuineness it is temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This temple also embosses the clear sensual statues of mainly illustrating the mithunas in perverted positions. Along with the sculptures on mithunas it also has sculptures representing devanganas and divimities.
- Chitragupta Temple
The temple is consecrated to the Hindu sun divine known as Surya. It in many ways resembles the Devi Jagdamba Temple in its architecture. It has a sculpture of Lord Sun steering the seven horse chariot. The other features that describe the temple are the seat-slabs, window openings, shikhar profiles and the yet another statues on devanganas and mithunas that are on the peripheral. As one of Khajurah temples it has obvious amatory statues in different forms – elegant, ardent and deviant.
- Vishwanath Temple
This temple is again dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple depicts the celebrations of the blissful marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The temple comprises of porch, mandapa, vestibule, the sanctrum , the circumbulatory around it, torana and window features.
- Nandi Temple
Nandi as the name suggests is a name of the bull that serves as a mount to Lord Shiva. As the temple is dedicated to the Nandi Bull, it has a giant colossal of Nandi Bull, which not only is the vahana for Lord Shiva but also serves as a gatekeeper to Lord Shiva and Parvati. The temple ceiling is circular with the seating slabs. The sculptures in this temple resemble those of females with their daily chores and practices.
- Parvati Temple
It is a small temple close to the Vishwanath temple dedicated to Parvati wife of Lord Shiva. The temple is in derelict state as one can only see the door frame and part of shikhara remains.
- Lakshmi Temple
This temple belongs to the western group of temples and is one of the smallest temples in Khajuraho. The temple has been dedicated to goddess Lakshmi, also known as the goddess of wealth.
- Varaha Temple
This is another form of Lord Vishnu known as Varaha or boar. It has a gigantic and skillfully carved polished sculpture of the boar.
- Matangeshwar Temple
With one of the largest lingams in North India another temple dedicated to Mrityunjaya or death-conquering god Lord Shiva. The only temple in Khajuraho that is used on daily basis.
Eastern Group of Temples
Next is the group of eastern temples which is just 10 mins from the western group. The most applauded temples in this region of eastern group in khajuraho are:
- Brahma Temple
As the temple has a four face Shivalinga, the templ was thought to be allied to Lord Brahma but in reality it resembles to Lord Vishnu despite its name being Brahma Temple. The temple is situated on the banks of Khajursagara tank and gives a picturesque view with khajuraho village as its background. The walls of the temple are made of granite while the shikhara is made up of sandstone. It has the striking carving of river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna at its doorway. The temple is strikingly different from the western group of temples.2.
- Vamana & Javari Temples
The groups of eastern temples, both the temples are dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Vamana is considered as one of the Lord VishnusDashavtar and is the first avatar in which Vishnu was in complete human form. Vamana temple embellishes the various sculptures of celestial nymphs (apsaras). This form of Vishnu was most worshipped in the era it was built (1050 AD and 1075 AD).
The Javari temple is very near to and visible from Vamana temple. The temple got its name from the millet crop known as Javar, which was grown in the nearby fields of the village. The temple is famous for its remabletorana. It was built between 1075 AD and 1000 AD.
- Parshvanatha Temple
The Parshvanatha temple is dedicated to first Jain TirthankaraAdinatha and is the largest Jain temple. It was built by King Dhangadeva between 950 AD and 970 AD. The temple does not have any window. The temple was renovated in 1860 and the present image of Parshvanat was replaced by original placed idol of Adinath. The temple has the sculptures of apsaras, vyalas and other creatures. The other deities that reside in this temple are Ram, Balarama, Krishan and Shiva.
- Ghantai Temple
This temple is now in ramshackle state althogh it still has the bell motifs carved on the pillars of protico, which gave the temple its name as Ghantai Temple. There are only ornated ceiling, the beam, a doorway and the hall that can now be seen in Ghantai temple. The upper beams of the temple depict the 16 dreams of Mahavir’s mother while the main beam has the Jain deity Chakreshvari on a winged Garuda. The symbol of Chakreshvari proposes that temple was committed to Adinatha. The pillars of the Ghantai temple resemble the finest among the pillars of medieval india.
- Adinatha Temple
The door lintel consists of the 16 auspicious symbols that Jina’s mother dreamt of at the time of conception.
The temple of Adinath is in the dilapidated state with only the sanctum and corridor roof of the old shrine has been survived the beatings of time. The wall is encrypted with the nymphs in the classical dance poses ornate with jewelry. Apart from these figures of JainYakshis like Padmavati, Chakreshvari, Ambika, Manasi etc. can be seen. The temple has the single towered shikhara that adds to the beauty of the shrine. This kind of designs makes this temple unique in itself. The carvings on the door state the 16 propitious dreams of mother of Jina at the time of conception.
- Shantinatha Temple
Shantinath Temple is a modern combined structure that integrates sections of several temples. It has several small shrinesthat have been sculpted in 1027 AD and earlier. The monument of main deity is 14 feet and is in the standing pose. The exterior of the temple have a remarkable sculpture of dancing Kshetrapala and in the interior is carved with the fabulous Yaksha couple.
Southern Group of Temples
Though the southern has only two temples but consists of heavenly sculptures. The Southern Group of temples are situated at a distance of 5 km from the main Khajuraho village.
- Duladeo Temple
This Southern Group of temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and endorses the bodily images of the nymphs jeweled with ornate.
- Chaturbhuj Temple
The temple is the house of the various sculptures of Lord Vishnu. As the name suggests Chaturbhuj means one who has four arms, which depicts the Lord Vishnu.
Festivals and Events
The open and beautiful lawns of khajuraho give an enchanting experience every evening through the professional light and sound show. The show dictates the mesmerizing history, philosophy and the art of sculpting of the temples of Khajuraho. The show goes for as long as one hour and is narrated in both English and Hindi language. The first part of the show goes in English while second is depicted in Hindi.
As the sculptures of the temples of Khajuraho depict the various form of indian classical dance, a Khajuraho Dance Festival is held every year in the hypnotizing backdrop of Chitragupta or Vishwanath Temples.The visitors get the opportunity to get face-off with the various indian classical dance forms. This festival is held every year in the first week of February (viz. 1st to 7th).
Timings and Other Important Information
The Khajuraho Temples are open daily throughout the year.
Hours of Operation
The Khajuraho Temple complex is open from 8 am - 6 pm.
Timings of Sound & Light Show at Western group of temples:
- English: 06:30 pm to 07:25 pm.
- Hindi: 07:40 pm to 08:35 pm.
Entry Charges & Fees
- Indians: Rs. 10
- Foreigners: Rs. 500
Sound & Light Show
- Adult: Rs. 75
- Child: Rs. 25
- Adult: Rs. 300
- Child: Rs. 150
Weather and Time to Visit
Khajuraho experiences extreme summers from March to May with the temperature of around 47°C and chilling winters from December to February with a freezing temperature minimum of 4°C. Heavy rainfall accompanying the strong winds can be experienced from June toAugust.
The Dance festival of Khajuraho is held in the month of February attracts the tourist from all over the world. The festival is hosted in an open air auditorium with backdrop if famous Chitragupta Temple.
Plan to visit Khajuraho from October to March which are considered the best months. One should keep a watch on the post monsoon rains.
The closest hotel to the Khajuraho airport is the Hotel Lakeside.
It provides its visitors with all the high end aminities like restaurant, a 24 Hour room service, Laundry facilities, high-speed (wired) Internet access (surcharge).
Opposite Shivsagar Lake, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, 471606 India
The Lalit Temple View Khajuraho
This hotel stands among the luxury hotels of Kahjuraho. This is situated very near to the Khajuraho airport.
With the amenities like restaurant, full-service spa and a bar/lounge it has a golf course to keep its visitor busy.
Opposite Circuit House, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, 471606 India