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What to See in India
Khajuraho Temples

Khajuraho Temples

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
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.
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What to See in India
What to See in India
Taj Mahal Agra
Taj Mahal - Khajuraho Temples
Kalka - Shimla Railway - Golden Temple
Forts of Rajasthan - Temples of South India
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