Khajuraho Temples in India – Matchless, glorious, striking…. 85 magnificent temples were carved out of stone in Khajuraho over 100 years under the patronage of the Chandela kings, between 950 AD to 1050 AD. Though only 22 have survived the ravages of time, they still reflect the highly evolved culture and creativity of the dynasty, as well as the tantric practices followed then. Rediscovered in the 19th century in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, the Khajuraho temples have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Having the largest cluster of temples within a single complex in India, Khajuraho is known for its erotic depictions on stone and offer a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of medieval India.
While the Panchayatana layout of Indian temple architecture has been followed, the temple complex is charecterised by gradually rising spiral shikharas. The secondary shikharas rise from a broad base to support the main spire, the largest being 116 feet from the ground These spires rise over the temple elements such as the ‘ardhamandapa’, porch, mandapa, assembly hall, mahamandapa, principal assembly hall, anataral, vestibule, garbagriha, and the sanctum sanctorum.
The layout divides the temples into three groups – the western, eastern and the southern.The western group is best known for the majestic Kandariya Mahadev temple, which enshrines 900 statues dedicated to Lord Shiva. Others include the Chaunsat Yogini, reportedly the oldest surviving temple, the Chitragupta temple, dedicated to Surya, the Sun God, and the Matangaeswara, Vishwanath and Lakshmana Temple.
Some of the temples are dedicated to the Jain religion, largely enclosed within the eastern group,while the rest house the traditional Hindu deities such as Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and Durga. Of the Jain temples, the largest are the Adinath, Shantinath and the Parshvnath carrying inscriptions dating back to the 11th and 12th century.
How to reach Khajuraho
Khajuraho is well connected by road, rail and air. Agra, Varanasi and Katmandu are directly connected to Khajuraho through daily domestic flights. Mahoba, Satna and Jhansi are nearest rail stations, while good infrastructure exists for those wishing to drive to the temple site.
The Sound and Light Show held daily at Khajuraho traces the life and times of the Chandela kings, and is a must see for all tourists. Besides, the Khajuraho temple complex offers the perfect platform for India’s best dancing talent at the annual Dance Festival hosted every March.