famous for its magnificent temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord
Vishnu and the Jain Tirthankaras. These temples are built
between 950 A.D. and 1050 A.D. The temples of Khajuraho
represent some of the most exquisite specimens in medieval
India, only 22 temples out of 85 now survive.
The art of Khajuraho India has a long history. Today the art of
Khajuraho India is world renowned. The beautiful temples that
dot the town of Khajuraho are believed to have been built by the
mighty Chandela rulers in 9th and 10th century AD. The
engravings on these temples are highly sensual and erotic and
much has already been discussed their symbolic importance.
Tantricism and the Shakti cult, where the pancha makaras (five
tenets), namely, matsya (fish), madira (wine), maithun (sexual
activity), mamsa (meat), and mudra (gesture) were to release the
human spirit from the bondage of the flesh, have been described
as the possible explanations for the sculptural sensuality of
Out of 85 temples, only 20 have survived the ravages of time.
Made of sandstone blocks fitted together, the temples are
aligned east-west. For convenience, these may be divided into
western, eastern, and southern groups of temples.
Places to See
Architecturally, the temples of Khajuraho India reveal the art
of Khajuraho, they followed a three- or five-part floor plan.
The larger temples have an ardhamandapa (porch), then a mandapa
(hall) leading to a mahamandapa (main hall) from where an
aunterale (vestibule) led into the Garbha Griha (sanctum)
containing the devta (god) or devi (goddess). An enclosed
pradakshinapathar (corridor or verandah) runs around this
Western Group of Temples
The Kandariya Mahadeo is considered the most evolved example of
central Indian temple architecture. Dedicated to Lord Shiva,
this temple is also the largest of Khajuraho's temples.
The Lakshmana Temple
Temple is one of the oldest and finest of the western group of
temples. The temple is rather big with four other shrines
attached to it. Although the general norm in other temples is
three bands of sculpture, this temple has only two. Recurrent
themes are battles, hunting, and women.
The temple of Devi Jagdamba is considered by many to be one of
the most erotic temples of Khajuraho. The temple houses
Khajuraho's most talked-about image, mithuna, and the sensuously
carved figures. It is not clear until today as to which deity
this temple is dedicated.
Vishvanath and Nandi Temple
The temple of
Vishvanath and Nandi celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva with
Parvati. The way women have been depicted in this temple draw
the most attention. From traditional images of women fondling
babies and writing letters, they are seen also as the most
provocative of images.
Chaunsat Yogini is
the oldest of the surviving temples of Khajuraho India. This
temple is dedicated to goddesses Kali. This is the only temple
in Khajuraho India that is built in granite. The name chaunsat
(sixty-four) comes from the cells of 64 attendants of Goddess
Kali. Goddess Kali herself was the 65th one.
Other important temples in the western group are the temples
of Lakshmi and Varaha, Mahadev, Chitragupta, Parvati, and
Eastern Group of Temples
The temple of Parsvanath is the largest of the Jain temples in
Khajuraho India and the finest. The temple was originally
dedicated to Adinath and latter to Parsvanath. It is the finest
example of the sensitive art without any sexual motifs. Near
this temple is the temple of Adinath with fine carvings. The
temple is quite similar to the Hindu temples of Khajuraho.
Shantinath is the youngest of all the temples in Khajuraho
India. Though it looks like the most other temples in Khajuraho,
it is just a century old. The temple has a four and a half meter
statue of Adinath.
Mostly in ruins now, the temple of Ghantai has fine columns and
chains and bells, with a figure of a Jain goddess on a garuda.
One of the oldest temples in Khajuraho is the temple of Brahma
and Hanuman. The temple is built mostly of granite and
sandstone. Actually, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Nearby is a Hanuman temple reputed to have the earliest
inscription dating back to AD 922 on a 2½ -m statue.
Two other notable temples are Javari and Vamana temple.
The Southern Group
There are only two temples in the southern group of temples. The
Duladeo is somewhat new and built in a time when the creativity
of Khajuraho was well down its peak. The temple has wooden
structures that take away its authenticity somewhat.
The other temple is of Chaturbhuja, pretty far from the village.
The temple has a 3-m-high statue of Vishnu.
Apart from the temples, another place that can be visited here
is the Archeological Museum. It has a very good collection of
sculpture, inscriptions, and architectural objects.
Dhubela Museum is 64 km away from Khajuraho. Located on the
bank of a lake, the museum houses a wide variety of sculpture of
the Shakti cult. There are different sections on garments,
weapons, and paintings.
Benisagar Lake is a tourist spot around 7 km away from
Khajuraho. There is a dam on Khudar River and is an ideal place
for boating and angling.
Panna is a historical city and was the capital of Bundela
kingdom. Panna has one of the most famous diamond mines of the
world and is around 56 km from Khajuraho. There is also the
Panna National Park, spread over 546 km and situated on the
banks of Ken river. This is an ideal place for wildlife
Ranguan Lake is 20 km from Khajuraho. This is a site at the
confluence of Ken and Simri rivers.
At the foot of Maniyagarh hills is Rajgarh Palace. This palace
is around 50 years old and 25 km away from Khajuraho.
At a distance of 80 km is the Ajaygarh Fort, once the capital of
Chandelas in their declining years. It is built at a height of
688 m. Another fort is Kalinjar, located on the Vindhya Range at
a distance of 100 km. It was built during Gupta period and
captured by Shri Yashovarman, the Chandela king, in the 10th