Khajuraho is one of the well-known tourist spots in Madhya Pradesh. It has gained fame through the ancient temples that are present here, which are regarded as one of the finest monuments across the globe. The city of Khajuraho was built between 950 AD and 1050 AD by the Chandela Dynasty.
The temples depict various forms of meditation, spiritual teachings, kingship, wrestling, royalty and most significantly - erotic art. The group of monuments have found their way into UNESCO's World Heritage Sites list because of their stunning display of fine sculptures and architectural treasures.
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The erotic and other carvings that stretch across the three groups of temples are known to be among the finest in the world. The Western group of temples, in particular, is home to some stunning sculptures.
Where Is It Located?
Khajuraho is at a distance of 372 km from Bhopal, 176 km from Jhansi and 282 km from Gwalior. The main railway station is the Khajuraho Railway Station, which is around 5 km from the town. The station is well connected to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
It also has an airport, which has flights flying in from across the country.
The Legend Of The Place
According to the local legends, the Chandela rulers who began the construction of the temples got the entire area enclosed by a wall. The wall is said to have had eight gates, which were used for entry and exit.
Each gate was flanked by date and palm trees on either sides, and hence the name was derived from these trees and was called "Khajuravahika", which later, along with time, changed to Khajuraho. "Khajura" in translation means Date Palm and "Vahika" means Bearing. The date palm tree is found in abundance in this region.
More Details On The Temples Present Here
The temples were built by the Chandelas while they ruled over the region. As time passed by, the empire began to decline and so did the magnificent structures, which were left in a neglected stage.
The temples became very vulnerable to the dangers of the invaders and rulers (13th-18th century) who destroyed many of the sculptures during that time.
Out of the 85 sculptures built, only 20 of them have stood the test of time. Their remote location was a contributing factor that these temples were spared. All the monuments were covered by the overgrowth of vegetation and forests; and it was in the 20th century that they were rediscovered and later restored and preserved.
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Best Time To Visit Khajuraho
The best time to visit Khajuraho is during the months from October to March.
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This temple took 20 years to be built and was completed around 954 AD under the reign of Dhanga, according to an inscription found at the mandapa (front pavilion). It is one of the best preserved structures of all the Khajuraho temples.
To its southern side of the base, one would come across Khajuraho's most-abandoned carvings, which include a man proving that a horse can be a man's best friend, while a shocked figure peeps out from behind the hands.
You would come across carvings of battalions of soldiers around the base. Some of the astonishing carvings can be found in the inner sanctum. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and there are two small shrines facing the east end of the temple, which is the Lakshmi temple and the Varaha temple.
The Lakshmi temple usually remains locked and the Varaha temple houses a wonderful 1.5-metre-high sandstone carving of Vishnu in his Varaha avatar or the boar, which dates back to 900 AD.
Kandariya Mahadev Temple
The 30.5-metre-long temple was built between 1025 AD and 1050 AD. It is the largest temple in the Western Group of monuments and is an apt example of the Chandela architecture. Most representations of female beauty and sexual acrobatics can be found here.
The 31-metre-high shikhara or the temple spire is shaped like a lingam. The mandapa is decorated with 84 smaller spires, which make it look like a mountain - like a rooftop similar to Mount Kailash.
It is believed to have been built in 1002 AD, and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is a superlative example of the Chandela architectural style. The temple has a lot of carved figures that continue up to the level of the shikhara.
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The sculptures here include a female headstand, "sura sundaris" writing letters, cuddling babies, looking into mirrors scratching their backs and there are miniatures of camels, elephants, musicians, warriors and dancers that can be seen.
As all the temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, one would come across Nandi, Shiva's vehicle. The Nandi here measures 2.2 metres in height.
This temple is very unique and rare among all the North Indian temples dedicated to the Sun God 'Surya'. It is said to have been constructed during the period of 1000 BC to 25 AD. The temple has some fine carvings of the apsaras, elephant figures fighting, hunting scenes and a procession of stone carriers.
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This group of temples is the most striking and among the well-preserved temples. All these temples come under a fenced off-section and are the only temples here for which you'll have pay to see them.
The tickets are priced at INR 30 for Indians and INR 500 for foreigners.
It is the largest of the Jain temples in the walled enclosure and is known for its exceptional precision in construction and also for its sculptural beauty. Some of the most famous images of Khajuraho can be seen here.
It is the youngest temple in Khajuraho (dating 1100-1150 AD) and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The wooden carvings, which were repetitive here, suggest that the sculptors had passed their artistic peak by this point, although they did not lose their fondness to eroticism.
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