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KHAJURAHO

GROUP HOTELS : CITIES : KHAJURAHO HOTELS : KHAJURAHO SIGHTSEEING


GENERAL INFO

The fascinating temples of Khajuraho, India's unique gift of love to the world, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, were built between 950 and 1050 A.D. Khajuraho derives its name from the Khajur tree (the date palm tree) which can be found in abundance in the area. The divine sculptures in these temples embody everything that is sublime and spontaneous about life. The murals depict the life and times of the Chandelas, and celebrate the erotic state of being. They not only testify to the mastery of the craftsman, but also to the extraordinary vision of the Chandela Rajputs under whose reign, these temples were constructed.

With the wane of the Chandela empire, these magnificent temples lay neglected, and vulnerable to the ravages of nature. It was only in this century, that they were rediscovered, restored and granted the recognition that they justly deserve. Originally there were 85 temples, of which only 22 still exist. Their style of architecture was also rather peculiar to their times. Each structure stands on a high masonry platform with a distinct upward direction to their build, further enhanced by several vertical projections to simulate the effect of an overall lightness. The three main compartments are the entrance (ardhamandapa), assembly hall (mandapa), and the actual sanctum (garbha griha). The temples are grouped into three geographical divisions western, eastern and southern.

SIGHTSEEING

KANDARIYA MAHADEO
This is the largest, and most typical Khajuraho temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it soars 31 m high. The sanctum enshrines a lingam, while the main shrine is ornately carved and depicts various gods, goddesses, apsaras (heavenly maidens) in elaborate detail. The entrance arch, the massive pillars and ceilings are adorned with exquisite carvings, that leave the visitor spellbound.

CHAUNSAT YOGINI
The oldest surviving temple in the group (900 A.D.), this is the sole granite temple dedicated to Goddess Kali.

CHITRAGUPTA TEMPLE
Dedicated to the sun god, Surya, this temple faces eastwards to the rising sun. The inner sanctum boasts of an impressive image of the presiding deity - the majestic sun-god looming 5 feet high, and driving a chariot. The other group scenes depict royal processions, group dances and other scenes of sheer luxury, typical of the Chandela court-life.

VISHWANATH TEMPLE
The temple enshrines a three-headed image of Lord Brahma. Lions guard the northern entrance to the structure, while elephants flank the southern flight of steps that lead upto it. A Nandi bull faces the shrine.

LAKSHAMANA TEMPLE
The lintel over the entrance of this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, shows the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva with Goddess Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort. The sanctum is adorned with a three-headed idol of Vishnu's incarnations, Narasimha and Varaha. The latter, the boar incarnation also appears as a nine-feet high statue at the Varaha Temple.

PARSAVANATHA TEMPLE
The largest in the group of three Jain temples, the Parsavanath image in this temple, was installed in 1860. Within the temple, a throne faces the bull emblem of first tirthankara, Adinath.

MATANGESHWARA TEMPLE
This temple, which happens to be outside the precincts of the western group, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It boasts of an eight feet high lingam.

GHANTAI TEMPLE
This Jain temple has a frieze depicting the 16 dreams of Mahavira's mother, and a Jain goddess perched on a winged Garuda.

ADINATHA TEMPLE
The last of the Jain temples, is dedicated to the Jain saint, Adinatha, and is gorgeously adorned with sculptures of yakshis among others.

The three Hindu temples in this group are the Brahma temple, which has a four-faced lingam, The Vamana temple which is embellished with images of ravishing apsaras at their alluring best; and finally the Javari temple, with its ornate gateway and lavish carvings.

DULADEO TEMPLE
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the highlights of this temple are the sensuous images of the apsaras, and other exquisite sculptures.

CHAHATURBHUJ TEMPLE
This temple sports a huge, elaborately carved image of Vishnu in the sanctum.