Khajuraho Temples


Information on Khajuraho Temples, India
Khajuraho Temples

Khajuraho is a fascinating village situated in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. The fascinating temples of Khajuraho, India's unique gift of love to the world, represent the expression of a highly matured civilization. It is one of the very famous tourist places for both foreign and Indian tourists in India.

Temples of Khajuraho attract the visitors with their sculptural art, which is very exquisite and intricate. Perfect in execution and sublime in expressions these Khajuraho temples are a dedication to the womanhood. The artist's creative instincts have beautifully captured various facets and moods of life in stone.

History And Mythology :

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.

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 Khajuraho.

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.

The temples at Khajuraho are divided into three broad groups:

The Western Group :

This is the largest and paramount group with most of its constituent temples laid out roughly in two rows. The Lakshmana Temple, the Matangesvara Temple and the Varaha Temple form one complex and the Visvanatha and Nandi temples are not far from this complex.

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 is one of the oldest and finest of the western group of temples. 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. The temple of Vishvanath and Nandi celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva with Parvati. 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. This temple is dedicated to goddesses Kaliand is the only temple in Khajuraho that is built in granite. Other important temples in the western group are the temples of Lakshmi and Varaha, Mahadev, Chitragupta, Parvati, and Matangesvara.

The Eastern Group :

The eastern group of monuments, situated in close proximity to the Khajuraho village, includes three Brahmanical temples known as Brahma, Vamana and Javari and three Jain temples, the Ghantai, Adinath and Parsvanath.

The temple of Parsvanath is the largest of the Jain temples in Khajuraho 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. Shantinath is the youngest of all the temples in Khajuraho. 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. The temple of Brahma and Hanuman is also one of the oldest temples at Khajuraho. The temple is built mostly of granite and sandstone. Two other notable temples are Javari and Vamana temple.

The Southern Group :

The southern group of monuments comprises the Duladeo and the Chaturbhuja temples. The Duladeo is about a kilometer south of the Khajuraho village and half a mile southwest of the Jain 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.