Khajuraho (ancient Kharjuravahaka), located in Madhya Pradesh, was originally a tribal region belonging to the Gonds. Built during the 10th – 12th centuries, these temples around a lake of impressive size called the Suvasagar. They were described by Ibn Batuta (an Arab traveler) in the 14th century in his travelogue, Riblah.
Despite Khajuraho’s once-great reputation as an important cultural center, there are no surviving non-religious buildings. Of the legendary 85 temples, only 25 have survived and belonged to three religions: Vaishnava, Saiva, and Jain. These temples of Khajuraho make it one of India’s most significant historical sites today and worthy of its name given by the 11th century CE Muslim historian Abu Rihan Alberuni as ‘the City of the Gods‘. UNESCO lists Khajuraho as a World Heritage Site.
The second major school of the nagara style was developed under the Chandellas of Jejakabhukti. They ruled from Khajuraho, a medieval city with many Brahmanical temples dedicated to the Puranic gods, Siva and Vishnu, apart from a few Jain temples. Carefully planned and designed to enhance the temple’s monumental architectural significance, the Khajuraho group of temples is famous for its grandeur and aesthetic appeal.
- 1 The architecture of Temples Of Khajuraho
- 2 Temples of the West Group
- 3 Eastern Group of Temples
- 4 The Southern Group
- 5 Erotic Sculptures Of Khajuraho
- 6 Places Around Khajuraho India
- 8 When to visit Khajuraho?
- 9 Summary on Temples of Khajuraho
The architecture of Temples Of Khajuraho
The Khajuraho India temples architecturally display the art of Khajuraho, and they followed the floor plan in three or five sections. The more prominent temples have an ardhamandapa (porch), a mandapa (hall) leading to the mahamandapa (main entrance), from where an aunterale (vestibule) led into the Garbha griha containing the devta (god ) or Devi (goddess). This sanctuary is covered with an enclosed pradakshinapathar (corridor or verandah).
The second and final features were omitted in the smaller temples. Every part of the sanctuary had a pyramid-shaped tower, which, like several mountains, led to the upward shikara in the ascending order (building).
The ornate vertical elements are matched by horizontal bands of sculptures that go around the temple. The executions are excellent and seem to be sprouting out of the temple itself. The sculptures are divided into five broad groups. The first group is the spiritual pictures, and the Shilpashastra is rendered precisely as stated in the manual. Some of them are carved in the Jain Museum as Tirthankaras
The second category is the reliefs and niches, which generally depict attendants, custodian deities, Gandharvas, shiva Ganas, ashta dikpalas, etc.
The third is the apsaras – also known as Sapna Sundari’s. These magnificent women seemed to have been sculptured in various activities by the sculptors. They seem so beautiful and lifelike, and every minute detail is fascinating.
These lovely nymphs represent people’s emotions. They seem to dance, paint, carry a parrot, caress a child, scratch their backs, or dress up. These are not unique to Khajuraho as they can be seen in many temples in Hoysala and other temples.
And then you have everyday life scenes. The book calls them secular sculptures. You can see Warriors, singers, musicians, and locations of a royal court, a teacher and a pupil, a sculptor with his pupils, and funeral scenes. You even see mythical animals and also flower prints, along with all of them.
At last, you see Khajuraho’s famous erotic sculptures. Mithunas mating to group sex and with even unnatural sex scenes. And while they stay before you, the rest of the arts produced on these temples are missed by many of us
Tourist temples are divided into three categories: East, West, and South.
Temples of the West Group
At Khajuraho, in the two great temples of Lakshmana and Kandariya Mahadeva, which have been dedicated to Vishnu as Vaikuntha and Siva as Sadasiva, the temple comes into being as the monument of manifestation. They symbolize the cosmic and mythical Mount Meru and Kailasa, their towers rising like mountains with miniature sikharas graded and harmoniously arranged in proportionate and progressive ascent around the main sikhara.
The Mahadeo Temple of Kandariya
Every temple is a universe in itself, and so have been conceived and constructed the main temples of the 11th to 12th centuries. The Kandariya Mahadeva is like a three-dimensional mandala, a well-structured monument, and is more than the sun of its architecture and sculpture. The manifestation of Shiva around the central linga is alive. In the dikpalas, navagrahas, and other deities, the cosmic symbolism is established at the mandala’s outskirts.
The female figures of apsaras, surasundaris, and incredibly erotic sculptures on the joining walls speak a twilight (sandhya or dusk that symbolizes a threshold which isn’t here or there) of fertility symbolical symbolizes (bhasha). These and even the hybrid (vyala) species have an optimistic character and are considered to have magical-protective functions.
The temple is a prime example of North Indian temple design, built around 1025 CE during the time of Vidyadhara (r. 1004-1035 CE). The outside has a spectacular set of towers (Sikharas) that gradually reaches the highest sikhara from its entrance (31 m) above the sacred shrine of the temple (garbhagriha) on the rear. Also surrounding the main Sikhara is a quarter and half-sikharas, and topped by a large amalak – a circular ribbed stone.
Therefore, the building seems a mountain range of diverse highlands. The architect’s deliberate intentions are that the Himalayas and ‘world mountains’ were representatives of the Hindu temples, which had been accentuated only by the white, now lost. O
The Kandariya Mahadeo is seen as the most evolved example of central architecture in the Indian temple. This is also the biggest temple of Khajuraho dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The Temple of Lakshmana
This unique temple is one of Khajuraho’s most iconic locations. With its walls full of carvings of Hindu gods, animals, and other spectacular exhibits, this architectural wonder stands out. God Vaikuntha Vishnu’s artistically crafted sculptures should be checked out on the journey. The temple was designed by Yashovarman, an architect of his day, according to historical records.
The Temple of Devi Jagdamba
Many consider the temple of Devi Jagdamba to be one of Khajuraho’s most erotic temples. The temple contains the most spoken, sensuously carved image of Khajuraho, Mithuna. Until today it is not clear which deity is dedicated to this temple.
Vishvanath Temple and Nandi Temple
Lord Shiva’s and Parvati’s wedding is celebrated in Vishvanath and Nandi’s temple. The most attention is drawn to the way the women were represented in this temple. They are often seen as the most provocative of photos from traditional images of women who caress their babies and write letters.
The oldest of the Khajuraho temples remaining in India is Chaunsat Yogini. This temple is for the goddesses of Kali. This is the only temple constructed in granite in Khajuraho, India. The name chaunsat (64) derives from the cells of Goddess Kali’s 64 servants. The 65th was Goddess Kali herself.
It is claimed to be more of a reflection of Tantric religion and faith. It’s hanging in a magical breeze, but all the sight is void. Khajuraho is believed to be filled with energy, and the 64 yoginis regulate the very essence of life and balance both the mind and the body. As one reads different tantric convictions, one of them also compared a metaphor for the Mithunas, which indicates the erotic imaginativeness of the life force – a union of Shiva and Shakthi. Philosophy also affects architecture. Some also consider architecture as a representation of Shiva and Savitri’s marriage.
Another interpretation also says that the temples themselves are a “seductive” type. And this belief is based on tantric cultivation, which explains why sculptures are metaphors and are simply a type of expression, a form of teaching of various cult doctrines through symbols and illustrations.
The Lakshmi and Varaha, Mahadev, Chitragupta, Parvati, and Matangesvara temples are other significant temples in the western group.
Eastern Group of Temples
The Parsvanath Temple is the largest of Khajuraho, India’s Jain Temples and the finest. Originally dedicated to Adinath and then Parsvanath was committed to it. It is the best example of sensitive art without sex motivations. The temple of Adinath with fine sculptures is near this temple. The shrine is very similar to the Khajuraho Hindu shrines.
Temple of Shantinath
The youngest in Khajuraho, India, was Shantinath temple. While the temples in Khajuraho look like others, it’s just a century old. The temple has an Adinath statue of four and a half meters.
The Ghantai Temple
The Ghantai temple has now been mostly in ruins with fine columns, chains, and clocks, with a Jain goddess’s image on a garuda.
The Temple of Brahma and Hanuman
The temple of Brahma and Hanuman is one of Khajuraho’s oldest temples. The temple is primarily constructed of sandstone and granite. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Nearby is the Hanuman temple that has a statue of 21⁄2 m with the earliest inscription from 922 AD.
The temple of Javari and Vamana are two other impressive temples.
The Southern Group
In the southern group of temples, only two temples remain. The Duladeo is a bit new, constructed when Khajuraho’s imagination was at a very high stage. The temple contains wooden structures that somewhat remove its authenticity.
Chaturbhuja is the other temple, very far from the village. The temple has a 3-m-high Vishnu statue.
Erotic Sculptures Of Khajuraho
Khajuraho is mistakenly associated with erotic sculpture, which only constitutes one-tenth of its imagery. The erotic sculptures in the Khajuraho – stories to moral convictions, seem to vary, and we thought to share them with you and have your opinion.
Like other medieval temples, where religious and worldly desires combine, it belongs to a particular tradition. The key to an accurate interpretation of the monuments lies in placing the divinities and their arrangement in the architectural plan. The erotic figures appear in the kapili or part of the crossroads that connect the sanctuary and its hall and convey something beyond the erotic – an intermediate zone or transit of this world, the higher, the spiritual, from this world to the other. The key gods arise from a manifesto in the temples of manifestation, a phase that is visually depicted in a graded hierarchy via Siva and Vishnu’s various forms.
We are going to start with stories that are our favorite. The Moon always calls for romance, and then the descendants of the heavenly moon god create monuments that stand for love. The tale says that a beautiful woman Hemavathy, who the Moon seduced, was bathing in the dark under the moonlight. But the Moon promised her that one day their son would rule over a kingdom, she fled to refuge in the forests and brought up her son, Chandravarman.
Chandravarman grew up to set up the Chandela dynasty, true to Moon’s word. He was inspired by the tale of his mother and therefore designed temples with sculptures representing humanity’s emotions and the futility possibly of it.
Another belief that says that the carvings of mithuans are symbols of “good luck,” along with some sculptures that showcase mythical beings, is that you are not intrigued by the history behind the erotic sculptures in Khajuraho. Another interpretation is that they served as a form of sex education, rekindling passions in Buddhism’s ascetic minds.
There are many interpretations of Hinduism which seem to be at the forefront. One of them speaks of leaving behind the lust and desires before entering the temple – that is possibly why sex sculptures are not sculpted the temple’s insides. The Mithunas or couples in love are portrayed only on the outer walls of the shrines. My guide Gopalji tells me it’s a reflection of the Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha Hindu philosophy. Maybe, once you are done with all of your worldly joy, you will reach nirvana.
As we researched Mauryas and Guptas, Chalukyas and Cholas, we forgot to read the valor of Chandelas, which also had held Mohammad Ghur in disrepair and recovered from Mahmud Ghazni their lost Kalinjar fort, invaders whose exploits fill our historical texts.
Consequently, while celestial symbolism is the mark of any significant shrine in India from the 11th-12th century, Khajuraho’s architecture exceeds other shrines and religious imagery in the various hierarchies.
In reality, Khajuraho reflects Chandella’s court setting and atmosphere, represented by Krishna Misra’s Prabandhachandrodaya, a poet whose work is a philosophical metaphor that sheds authentic light on a Khajuraho religious environment. Khajuraho shows the interface between art and politics, and between art and literature, the sculptors were well-versed in art, architecture, and poetry. In the religious system of the temple, acharya guided them.
Places Around Khajuraho India
I any weather, Khajurao is the most photogenic location in India and is adored by all Instagram lovers. The city has many historical and natural landmarks over the centuries. Named after the khajur date palm, it remains the epicenter of culture and home of our times’ enormously famous monarchy.
Ahead, we rounded up all the travel information you need about Khajuraho attractions :
The Dhubel Museum is 64 km from Khajura. Located on the bank of the lake, the museum houses a wide variety of Shakti cult sculptures. There are separate sections on weapons, garments, and paintings.
Beni Sagar Dam
Offering a breath of fresh air to tourists seeking a break from the temple-hopping, the Beni Sagar Dam is a haven of peace where you can talk a long walk or sit down to meditate for some time. The environment is conducive to picnics, boating, and swimming.
Panna National Park
Panna is a historical city in Bundelkhand. Panna is known for its famous diamond mines and is approximately 56 km from Khajuraho. There is also the Panna National Park, situated on the banks of the Ken river. This is a great place for birdwatchers and animal lovers who like to enjoy the jungle safari of wild and open Animals. But Never Go unprepared, always take essentials for a jungle safari to keep your trip safe and sound.
In this reserve, you may see a wild cat or two if you are lucky. But there are tigers, jackals, antelopes, deer, and many other wild species in plenty. Other parks include the Mughal Garden and Indus Valley, Tropical Rainforest, and the Rupai Dam.
If your heart is pining for something unusual, visit the Raneh Falls. The waterfall, surrounded by rock formations and dense forests is a sight you will never forget. Visit Raneh Falls after August so you can enjoy the sight of water falling in cascades. If possible, relax and enjoy the stunning sunset amidst the glowing rocks.
Also, 30 km from Khajuraho is Pandava Waterfall. It is believed that the Pandavas spent some time here. The next waterfall is at a distance of 25 km from the Pandava Waterfall.
The Lake of Rangoon is 20 km from Khajura. This is a place at the confluence of the rivers Ken and Simri.
Rajgarh Palace is located at the foot of Maniyagarh Hills. This palace is about 50 years old and 25 kilometers away from Khajura.
Thousands of years ago, when the Chandela dynasty held power in the Vindhya mountains, the Ajaigarh fort was built. Standing on a peak of 206 meters, this fort was constructed with brilliant design and craftsmanship. The castle was built by the ruling dynasty when they saw their clan coming to an end. It would be best if you did not miss the sight of the Ken River along the way.
The Sound and Light show at Khajuraho
Please find out about the history of Khajura and its former ruling dynasty at the sound and light show in the western group of temples. While the voices of Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan play in the background, the 50-minute show is informative and entertaining. It will serve as a crash course on the history of Khajura and the significance of its temples. The show is broadcast in Hindi and English.
Adivart Tribal and Folk Art Museum
The Tribal and Folk Art Museum is a less frequent but worthy site to visit in Khajura. It is a peaceful place where metalwork, paintings, terracotta and wooden figures by the tribal population of the region are neatly displayed. Find it in the Chandela Cultural Complex.
When to visit Khajuraho?
The best time to visit is in the monsoon months because heavy rains make the ancient temples and monuments look more magical. It’s best to visit the temple town of Madhya Pradesh in the winter because the balmy sun allows you to enjoy sightseeing and other outdoor activities with ease.
The Khajuraho Dance Festival held in February is also the best time to plan your trip. Enjoy the rare classical dances of the country in a beautiful setting.
Summary on Temples of Khajuraho
Khajuraho, located in Madhya Pradesh, is full of ancient temples and landmarks that will help you fill up almost any of your itinerary requirements. These fabulous sights are sure to rack up thousands of Instagram likes for you along the way, for they are an experienced photographer’s delight.
There is a lot more to give on this topic but for this post, we will stick to this much. However, if you love to travel to different parts of India then I would definitely recommend you go through and check out different places you can visit in Rajasthan. I am sure Rajasthan will amaze you most in terms of Indian culture.