The temples of Khajuraho are famous all over
the world for the magnificent art forms of early medieval period.
The carvings and sculptures on the walls of the temples are
so intricately done that they fascinate tourists even to this
day and speak of the genius craftmanship of that period. The
intricately done carvings are highly erotic and sensual and
are regarded as manifestations of human love and other emotions.
Instead of depicting sensuality as a degraded emotion, the art
forms raise it to a higher level to show them as an integral
part of human relationships.
The temples were constructed by the powerful Chandela rulers
of the place during the 9th and 10th century A.D. The Chandelas
were known for their love of art and luxury. There are a complex
of Hindu and Jain temples in the place. According to historical
details, there were a total of 85 temples but not all of them
could stand the tests of time. Only 22 of them remain at present.
The temples of Khajuraho are located in Khajuraho village, a
small place in the Bundelkhand region of central Indian state
of Madhya Pradesh.
Reaching the Khajuraho Temples
Air : Khajuraho is air-linked with Delhi, Agra
and Varanasi. Both Indian Airlines and private service providers
operate flights to Khajuraho.
Rail : The nearest railheads from Khajuraho
are Harpalpur (94 km) and Mahoba (63 km).
Road : Though the location of Khajuraho is
somewhat isolated, a good road network connects Khajuraho with
other towns and cities of Madhya Pradesh. There are bus services
to the place from Panna, Satna, Chattarpur, Jabalpur, Mahoba,
Bhopal, Gwalior and Indore.
The temples of Khajuraho are divided into three categories-Western
Group Temples, Eastern Group Temples and Southern Group Temples.
The western temples are some of the largest, precisely built
and located centrally. The eastern group temples consist of
five separate sub-groups. The temples of the southern group
are located at some distance.
Some of the finest temples of the three
groups starting with the western group are mentioned below
Kandariya Mahadeo Temple( western group) :
The largest and the most attractive of Khajuraho temples is
Kandariya Mahadeo. There are as many as 900 statues in the walls,
ceilings and other parts of the temple. Most of the statues
are meticulously carved in erotic postures. The huge temple
is dedicated to Lord Shiva and rises to a height of 31 metres
from the ground. The main shrine has many exquisitely done carved
images of gods, goddesses and apsaras (heavenly maidens). The
six interior compartments of the temple comprise of the portico,
main hall, transept, vestibule, sanctum and ambulatory.
Chaunsat Yogini Temple( western group) : Dedicated
to goddess Kali, Chaunsat Yogini is one of the oldest surviving
temples of Khajuraho. It is the only temple of Khajuraho built
in granite. It is very unfortunate to note that none of the
images of Goddess Kali could survive to the present. Originally,
there were 65 cells in the temple but only 35 of them have remained
intact. The temple was constructed during 900 A.D.
Vishwanath Temple(western group) : Deviating
from the practice of carving images of humans, many exquisitely
done animal carvings could be seen in this temple. The temple
enshrines a three-headed image of Lord Brahma. Lions have been
shown guarding the main northern entrance to the temple while
elephants flank the southern entrance. A Nandi temple with a
massive 6 ft high Nandi bull faces the Vishwanath Temple.
Lakshamana Temple(western group) : This temple
shows the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva with Goddess
Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort. The sanctum has a three-headed idol
of Vishnu's incarnations, Narasimha and Varaha.
Parsvanath Temple (eastern group) : Parsvanath
is regarded as one of the finest of sculpted Khajuraho temples.
This is also the largest Jain temple of Khajuraho. The deity
originally worshipped was Adinath, but in present times saint
Parsvanath is worshipped in the temple. The art forms of the
temple are very beautiful but unlike the other temples of Khajuraho,
sexual motifs have not been emphasised upon. The sculptures
of the temple try to depict every human activity, even the most
ordinary ones in an attractive manner. An amazing range of such
sculptures could be seen in the temple.
Adinatha Temple( eastern group) : Adinatha
is another Jain temple of the eastern group that has an impressive
range of sculptures. The temple walls have some of the most
attractive sculptures of yakshis among others.
Ghantai Temple( eastern group) : This Jain
temple depicts in a sculpted form the 16 dreams of Lord Mahavira's
mother. There is another sculpture of the multi-armed Jain goddess
perched on a winged Garuda.
Chaturbhuj Temple(southern group) : One of
the biggest and most beautiful temples of the southern group,
Chaturbhuj temple sports a huge, elaborately carved image of
Lord Vishnu in the sanctum.
Duladeo Temple( southern group) : Duladeo is
another attractive temple of the southern group. The deity worshipped
in the temple is Lord Shiva. The temple has a number of sensuous
images of the apsaras and a few other exquisite sculptures.