Khajuraho group of monuments situated in the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India are a unique example of Indo-Aryan architecture. The temples are very popular all over the world for their erotic sculptures. These ancient temples were built between the 9th and 11th centuries by the kings of Chandela dynasty. There were initially 85 temples out of which only 25 remain. This travel guide includes details about all the temples you should visit in Khajuraho.
Khajuraho group of monuments
The Khajuraho temples are divided into the Western, Eastern and Southern groups. Prominent and impressive shrines belong to the western group.
THE WESTERN GROUP
The western group of temples is the largest and most important group with most of its constituent temples laid out roughly in two rows. The larger temples of this group face east and run north south in two parallel rows on opposite sides of the park. All the temples of this group are Shiva or Vaishnava.
This temple is the earliest and best preserved of the mature Chandela temples. It is dedicated to the triple-headed four-armed Vaikunth form of Vishnu. Its central head is a human one while on either side is a boar head and lion head.
It has a stunning colossal Varaha covered in a single block of sandstone, over 1.5m high. Varaha is the boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu and saved the Earth anthropomorphized into a goddess from devastating floods. The shrine image confirms the prevalence of this myth.
According to an inscribed slab now in the temple porch King Dhangadeva built this temple. Within the temple there are beautiful sculptures of a woman with a fruit in one hand and a parrot in another, a mother with her child, amorous couples and a Surasundari
This is the only temple in Khajuraho dedicated to the sun God, Surya. The sculptures on the platform of the temple show a party of stone carriers, hunting scenes and elephant figures. The sanctum has an impressive Surya image standing in a chariot driven by seven horses.
This temple is the largeest of all temples, and the one with the most carvings. From architecture point of view Kandariya is considered the best temple and looks like a mountain of masonry with shikharas appearing like peak upon peak.
Devi Jagadambi temple
Another temple stands on a platform right next to Kandariya Mahadev. The image within the sanctum is one of Parvati as goddess of the world. The carvings on the wall include Vishnu, Yama, amorous couples and Surasundaris.
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THE EASTERN GROUP
Located near the village away from the busy lanes of the town is the Eastern group which includes three Brahmanical temples (Brahma, Vamana and Javeri) and three Jain temples (Ghantai, Adinatha and Parsvanatha).
Built in 900 AD this temple with a simple plan and design also a sikhara (top) made of sandstone occupies a fine position on the bank of Khajuraho sagar. It was originally a Vaishnavite temple.
It is a Vishnu temple. In sanctum wall the image of Buddha in Bhoomisparsha Mudra is carved while main niches of the sanctums contain the figures of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
The temple one of the finest monuments in Khajuraho dedicated to the first Jain tirthankara. Despite its Jain affiliation architecturally this temple bears a very strong resemblance to Lakshman temple in the western group and its sculptures also show Vaishnava themes.
It is a Jain Tirthankar Adinath temple which contains three chambers and resembles the Vamana temple. The carvings around the wall depict Hindu Gods and Goddesses, flying Vidyadharas,attractive dancing girls and apsaras.
THE SOUTHERN GROUP
This is the newest temple among the Khajuraho temples. This east facing temple is dedicated to Shiva and is built on the Nirandhara style which is without circumambulatory path. It has sanctum-sanctorum, antarala, mukhamandapa, maha-mandapa.
This is the farthest temple situated about 3 km south of Khajuraho. The sanctum enshrines a colossal fourhanded image of Chaturbhuja Vishnu. The idol is 10 ft high and decorated with crown and other ornaments. It is a Nirandhara temple and lacks erotic sculptures.
You can find detailed information about Khajuraho group of monuments in the OUTLOOK TRAVELLER GETAWAYS.