Khajuraho Temples in India “Stunning and inspiring in the way they fuse the sacred and the erotic in their architecture, the famous temples of Khajuraho stands as a unique testament to the arts of love”…, situated a hundred miles south-east of the town of Jhansi in the modern-day state of Madhya Pradesh, these temples are over thirty in number. The Khajuraho temples represent, one might say, a happy and almost unique coincidence of religious emotion, abundant patronage, artistic genius, and aesthetic sensibility. The Khajuraho temples were built during the reign of the Chandelas. While some show marks of a Shaivite sensibility, others clearly manifest the influence of Vaishnaism, Jainism, and tantrism. These temples have an architectural character distinct from that of any other group of temples elsewhere in the country. Instead of being contained within the customary enclosure wall, each temple stands on a high and solid masonry terrace. Though none of the temples are very large, they are still imposing structures because of their elegant proportions and rich surface sculpture. Unlike the rather plain treatment of other central Indian temple interiors, the Khajuraho temples are richly decorated with sculpture. Other than numerous deities enshrined in wall niches, there are attendants, graceful “maidens” in a variety of provocative postures, dancers, musicians and embracing couples. On one temple alone, the figures thus depicted are over six hundred and fifty in number. Many of these compositions display great sensuality and warmth. There are also scenes of explicit sexual activity which possibly illustrate the tantric rites that accompanied temple worship. It is quite reliably said that some of the sexual postures follow the Kama Sutra, the ancient Indian manual of lovemaking.
Most of the temples at Khajuraho were built in a short span of about a hundred years, between 950 and 1050 AD. The Chandela dynasty claimed its descent from a Brahmin priest’s daughter, Hemvati, who is said to have fallen in love with Chandra, the moon-god, while bathing in a secluded pool. The child of this union, Chandravarman, founded the dynasty. Inscriptions found near the temples show that Harshadeva ruled in the early 10th century, and was followed by Yasovarman, Dhanga and Vidyadhara. As each of them expanded the Chandela kingdom, they also made additions to the temple complex. At the height of their empire, the Chandelas ruled over almost the entire present-day Madhya Pradesh. The first Muslim invasions of India came during the reign of Vidyadhara. A turbulent period followed during which the Chandelas moved to hill forts to defend their kingdom against Muslim attacks. Their rule eventually ended in the 14th century. And the temple complex at Khajuraho, created in a remote, heavily forested area, remained forgotten till 1838 when it was rediscovered by Captain T.S. Burt of the Asiatic Society.
Devi Jagadambi, Varha Temple, Chausath Yogini, Lakshmana Temple, Chitragupta Temple, Kandariya Mahadev, Matansgesvara, Vishvanatha Temple.
The Western Group of Temples Kandaria Mahadev
The largest and the most typical contains about 900 status, dedicated to lord Shiva. It sours to a height of 31 meter. The sanctum enshrines a lingam while the main shrine consists of gods and goddesses with apsaras in elaborate detail. The entrance arch, the massive pillars, portico, main hall are adorned with exquisite carvings. Besides the main sikhara tower, there are 84 smaller subsidiary tower.
The Laksman Temple
is the best preserved of the temples with carving all around .The sanctum doorway has a panel of incarnations of Lord Vishnu. There is also a panel of the 9 planets. There are carvings of Krishna on the walls. The pancha-rath sanctum has a three-headed, four armed form of Lord Vishnu surrounded by 10 different incarnations.
The Chitragupta Temple
Dedicated to the sun-god Surya , the temple of the early 11th century faces east ward to the rising sun. The inner sanctum boast of an impressive image of the deity – the majestic sun god looming 5 feet high and driving a chariot.
The Eastern Group of Temples
The Eastern group mainly consists of Jain temples. There are three Jain temples within an enclosure wall. The Parsvanath Temples built in the mid 10th century is the largest .There are many beautiful Vaishnava Deities carved on the walls of the temples. The temple was originally dedicated to Adinath but the image of Parsvanath was placed in the sanctum in 1860. The
Santinath Temple with a 4.5m statue of Adinath, is the main place of worship. The inscriptions dates back to 1027 AD. The three Hindu temples in the group are the Brahma Temple, which has a four -faced lingum, The Vamana Temple embellished with images of apsaras at their alluring best,and the Javari Temple with a variety of sensuous attitudes mischievous ,sensuous and provocative, giving credibility to Khajuraho’s eroticism.
The Southern Group of Temples
The southern group lies 5kms from Khajuraho village. The Chaturbhuj Temple has an excellent sanctum which contains a 2.7 meter and four armed Dakshina-Murti image of lord Shiva. The Duladeo temple was the last Chandela temple in Khajuraho.
Fairs and Festivals
The thousand year old temples at Khajuraho, built by the Chandella Kings, are majestic structures sculpted in stone. Only 22 of these temples remain today, to bear testimony to the craftsmanship of Chandella builders. Every year in March, these splendid temples come alive during the week-long festival of classical dances.Lokranjan Festival: Folk and tribal dances of ancient India. This is an effort to conduct various forms of dances at one platform. Lokranjan festival is organised in Khajuraho by the Adivasi Lok Kala Academy during 8-12 in Dec. It is a symbol of cultural awareness.
The festival marks Shiva’s marriage with Parvati, the daughter of the Himalayas. The 2.5-m-tall lingam of Kandariya Mahadeo temple is dressed as a bridegroom, with white and saffron dhotis, and surmounted by a huge, conical, silver paper crown. The nightlong ceremony is performed by the chief priest’s son who anoints the lingam with water from the sacred rivers of India. The chanting of hymns continues throughout the night, until the Brahmins stand to throw bel leaves and flower petals over the lingam, a sign that the wedding is complete.
How to Get Reach
Daily Flights are available to Khajuraho from Delhi and Varanasi.
The nearest railheads are Mahoba (64 km) and Harpalpur (94 km). Jhansi (175 km) and Satna (117 km) are convenient railheads for visitors from Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Agra and Varanasi Now Khajuraho is directly connected with Rail Network to Delhi.
Khajuraho is connected by regular bus services with Mahoba, Harpalpur, Satna, Jhansi, Gwalior, Agra, Jabalpur and Bhopal.