Khajuraho Temples History
Madhya Pradesh is land of great antiquity. Madhya Pradesh is the home of monuments representative of various periods of history. Among most popular world heritage sites of Central India like Rock paintings, Buddhist Stupas and Temples, Khajuraho is known for its ornate temples that are spectacular piece of human imagination, artistic creativity, magnificent architectural work and deriving spiritual peace through eroticism. Khajuraho Temples are among the most beautiful medieval monuments in the country. These temples were built by the Chandella ruler between AD 900 and 1130. It was the golden period of Chandella rulers.
It is presumed that it was every Chandella ruler has built atleast one temple in his lifetime. So all Khajuraho Temples are not constructed by any single Chandella ruler but Temple building was a tradition of Chandella rulers and followed by almost all rulers of Chandella dynasty.The first recorded mention of the Khajuraho temples is in the accounts of Abu Rihan al Biruni in AD 1022 and the Arab traveler Ibn Battuta in AD 1335. Local tradition lists 85 temples in Khajuraho out of which only 25 temples are surviving after various stages of preservation and care. All these temples are scattered over an area of about 9 square miles.
Khajuraho is believed to be the religious capital of Chandellas. Chandella rulers had tried to discriminate politics from religious & cultural activities, so they established their political capital in Mahoba which is about 60km. away from Khajuraho and religious/cultural capital in Khajuraho. Whole Khajuraho was enclosed by a wall with about 8 gates used for entry/exit. It is believed that each gate is flanked by two date/palm trees. Due to these date trees present Khajuraho get its name Khajura-vahika. In hindi language, “Khajura” means ‘Date’ and “Vahika” means ‘Bearing’. In history Khajuraho is also described with the name of Jejakbhukti.
After fall of Chandella dynasty (after AD 1150), Khajuraho Temples suffered destruction & disfigurement by muslim invaders in this area which forced local people to leave Khajuraho. As muslim invaders had a ruling policy of intolerance for worship places of other religions so all the citizens of Khajuraho left the town with a hope that its solitude will not attract attention of muslim invaders into the temple area and in this way both temple and they themselves will remain unhurt. So from about 13th century to 18th century, Khajuraho temples remain in forest cover, away from popularity till it was re-discovered by British engineer T. S. Burt.
Temples In Khajuraho
Khajuraho Temples stand as the last relics of the reign of the Chandela kings in the beautiful hamlet of Khajuraho. These exquisite temples are the prime attractions here and have earned the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples were built over a period of 200 years. The marvellous architecture and erotic carvings are the crowning glory of these temples. The temples of Khajuraho are segregated into three groups – Eastern, Western and Southern wings. The Western Wing is considered the finest as it features maximum number of huge and attractive temples. These include Kandariya Mahadev Temple, Devi Jagadambe Temple, Chaunsat Yogini and Chitragupta Temple. There are many other temples as well like the Vishwanath Temple, Nandi Temple and Varaha Temple. The Eastern Group is dominated by meticulously designed Jain Temples, as this was the prime abode of the Jain community during the reign of Chandelas. Parswanath is the largest Jain temple of this wing. This temple is noted for its exquisite detailing, sculptures and theme carvings. Other temples that add to the popularity of this group are Adinatha, Ghantai, Brahma, Vamana and Javari temples. Khajuraho’s Southern Group comprises three temples, namely Duladeo Temple, Chaturbhuj Temple and Beejamandal Temple. Out of these, Duladeo Temple is the most popular, while the Chaturbhuj is the only temple in Khajuraho that lacks any erotic carvings. Opening Closing Time Light and Sound Show at Western Group of Temples.
06:30 pm – 07:25 pm (English)
07:40 pm – 08:35 pm (Hindi)
An important feature in the western group of temples is the 55-minute light and sound show, both in Hindi and English languages, organised every evening. The narration has been done by Amitabh Bachchan, the Indian superstar.
Dance Festival In Khajuraho
Every year in the month of February and March, Khajuraho sees a week-long dance festival celebrated with full grandeur. This festival has classical dances from different Indian states including Bharat Natyam, Manipuri, Kucchipudi, Oddissi, Kathak, Mohiniattam and Kathakali performed by famous dancers. A visual treat, this festival is eagerly awaited by people across the globe and it’s a good idea to plan a trip during this time.
Kandariya Mahadev Temple
Kandariya Mahadev Temple is one of the most imposing structures in the Western group of Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the largest and the most beautiful temple in the whole complex. Dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shiva, this revered shrine was built by Vidyadhara – a powerful Chandela king. The superb craftsmanship of about 900 sculptures, reflected in the impressive and refined architecture of the temple, gives an insight into the city’s royal past. Contrary to the intricately carved exterior, the interiors are quite simple with a beautiful Shiva Linga in the garbha graha (the innermost sanctum in a Hindu temple where the idol of the main deity is kept). There are six compartments in the temple, namely hall, transept, portico, sanctum, vestibule and ambulatory.The architecture of the Kandariya Mahadev Temple is quite unique. You can see amazing statues and designs of apsaras, dikpalas and surasundaries here. The beautifully sculpted ceilings and the outer walls with three horizontal panels featuring deities of the Hindu pantheon illustrate the eternal glory of Khajuraho.
Built by Chandela kings, Lakshmana Temple is one of the first magnificent structures established in Khajuraho. Known to be an architectural marvel, this beautiful shrine is amongst the largest temples set in the Western Wing of the Khajuraho complex. This temple is dedicated to the Hindu Lord Vishnu and houses an image of Vaikuntha-Vishnu.The temple’s architecture is simply marvellous and its exterior wall exhibits images of over 600 gods. The lowest platform called adhishthana, forms the base on which the imposing 25.9 m long Lakshmana Temple stands.Its framework comprises an entrance porch, a mandapa, antrala, maha-mandapa and garbha graha. The rectangular frame of Lakshmana Temple is unique and features subsidiary shrines at the four corners of its platform. Photo OppThe architectural grandeur of the temples at Khajuraho is wonderful, including that of Lakshmana Temple. With so many exquisitely carved sculptures all over the exterior wall of the temple, ample photo opportunities are available for you.
One of the major relics of the Chandela dynasty, the fascinating Vamana Temple is a beautiful shrine built in the Eastern complex of Khajuraho. It is dedicated to the Hindu Lord Vishnu’s dwarfed and chubby incarnation, Lord Vamana.The temple features an entrance-porch, sanctum, vestibule and maha-mandapa. It stands as a reminiscent of the bygone era and boasts of marvellous architecture that is symbolic of the fine craftsmanship.The exterior walls of the temple are adorned with intricate sculptures of apsaras and celestial nymphs in sensuous postures. Other carvings that can be seen here exhibit varied facets of life like women in front of a mirror, musicians and dancers.
Chitragupta Temple, an integral part of the Khajuraho Temples, is dedicated to the Sun God (Surya). This temple is located about 91 m towards the north of the Jagadambi Temple and 183 metres southeast of an ancient tank, known as Chopra.Architecturally, the plan and design of this temple consists of a maha-mandapa, entrance porch, vestibule and a sanctum. Inside the sanctum, visitors can see an attractive idol of God Surya riding a chariot, drawn by seven horses. Three similar figures are also carved on the lintel of the doorway.The octagonal ceiling of the maha-mandapa is one of its most striking features of the temple. On the walls, you can see beautiful carvings of sura-sundaris and couples in erotic poses. Images of eleven-headed God Vishnu also adorn the walls of the temple.
Javari Temple is a beautiful shrine in Khajuraho, noted for its distinct architecture. This temple, counted amongst the most beautiful shrines of the Eastern Group of Khajuraho Temples, is situated about 200 metres towards the south of the Vamana Temple. It is assumed that since there is no Hindu deity bearing this appellation, this temple might have been named ‘Javari’ after the one time owner of the land on which it is built.Architecturally, it is a small yet beautiful nirandhara temple that comprises a sanctum, mandapa, portico and vestibule. There are beautiful carvings on the temple walls that are representative of the artistic expertise of the era bygone.
Dulhadev or Dulhadeo Temple, situated on the banks of the Khurau Nala, is one of the most beautiful shrines of the Southern Group of Khajuraho Temples. This temple is the last shrine built in the southern wing of Khajuraho. The temple is also known as Kunwar Math and is dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shiva.Visitors can see beautiful carvings of Lord Shiva and his spouse, Goddess Parvati, all over the temple. There is a Shiva Linga installed inside the temple. Stunning sculptures of apsaras are carved on the temple ceilings. These intricate carvings showcase the skill and craftsmanship prevalent during the Chandela reign.
Within the popular Viswanath Temple stands a small shrine called the Nandi Temple. It is dedicated to Nandi Bull, which is considered to be the mount or vahana of the Hindu Lord Shiva. As per Hindu mythology, Nandi also serves as a gatekeeper of Lord Shiva and His wife Goddess Parvati.
Viswanath Temple is one of the architectural marvels of the Khajuraho Temple Complex – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by the Chandela king Dhanga in AD 999, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple comprises an entrance porch, sanctum, mandapa, maha-mandapa and vestibule. The sanctum .
Archaeological Museum Khajuraho
The Archaeological Museum Khajuraho, a noted tourist attraction of the destination, gives insight into the royal past of India. Khajuraho has been identified as UNESCO World Heritage Site owing to its beautiful temples with the erotic carvings. Though most of the temples here are well-preserved, some are partially in ruins.
Built in AD 1100, the Chaturbhuj Temple is also known as the Jatakari Temple and is counted amongst the Southern Group of Temples in Khajuraho. The shrine stands 3 kilometres away from the Eastern Group in the Jatakari Village and is popular for its impressive architecture. It has an entrance porch, sanctum without ambulatory, mandapa and vestibule. This temple is one-of-its-kind in the whole complex as it is the only shrine without any erotic carvings on the walls. Dedicated to the Hindu Lord Vishnu, the shrine houses a 9 feet tall idol in His Chaturbhuj form (with four arms). This is the reason why the temple has been named as the Chaturbhuj Temple.