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Home >> Destinations>> Khajuraho

Khajuraho Temple Legend has it that when the Moon God saw the young maiden Hemavati bathing in a river, her beauty was such that he descended to earth to engage in a passionate affair. Before his return to the celestial realm, he swore she would bear a son who would one day erect a great temple to celebrate the beauty of their divine love. Thus the founder of the mighty Chandela dynasty, a robust clan of the warrior Rajputs, was born, and between A.D. 900 and 1100, the Chandela kings - who settled in remote Khajuraho, where they were clearly unhindered by the usual distractions of fighting off invading forces-built 85 temples, almost all of them featuring exquisite sculptures of men and women joyfully engaging in the most intimate and erotic acts.

The Chandelas held sway here until the start of the 13th century, when the Sultans of Delhi increased their hold over vast swaths of central North India. By the end of the 15th century, the temples were abandoned, hidden deep within thick jungle, until their accidental discovery by a British military adventurer in 1838. By this time, 7 centuries after the political decline of their Chandela creators, only 22 of the original 85 temples remained

Today these UNESCO World Heritage Site monuments are famous for their transgressive, taboo-breaking erotic sculptures, images that are almost as intimately associated with India as the Taj. But the temples also represent an outstanding synthesis of advanced architecture and refined sculpture.

Temple town of Khajuraho is much different from any other temple city of India. It is not about religion and worshipping and deities. The temples of Khajuraho are instead famous for the eroticism etched on its walls in the form of sculptures. An amalgamation of science and art of architecture, these 10th-11th century temples have a very interesting legend behind them that connects them to the origin of Chandela dynasty. It is said that in a fit of passion and lust, the Moon God seduced and ravaged a beautiful Brahmin girls known as Hemvati, resulting in the birth of Chandravarman (the founder of the Chandela dynasty). Later, Chandravarman had a dream where his mother requested him to make a temple, which would reveal all aspects of the treasure of passion and erotic fantasy to the world.

Western Group of TemplesWestern Group of Temples
The Western Group of Temples, are the most famous temples of Khajuraho, with the mithunas (couples), gandharvas, apsaras, vidyadaras and kinaras. The images of the apsaras are stunning, with their sensuous poses and liquid movements.. The Kandariya Mahadeo is the biggest and most stunning temple, with its 800 statues of gods and goddesses, the marble lingam and the ceiling that rises 31 meters high. It is considered the most evolved example of central Indian temple architecture. This temple is also the largest of Khajuraho's temples. The Lakshmana Temple has friezes of battle scenes and erotic poses, depicting both sides of the Chandela warriors' lives. The finely carved inner sanctum has a three-headed idol of Vishnu's incarnations, Narasimha and Varaha. The Varaha Temple has a 9-feet-high image of the boar incarnation of Vishnu, gorgeously carved with 474 images. The Chitragupta Temple is dedicated to the Sun God, and has many group scenes of royal processions, hunting, and dancing that reflect the lavish lifestyle of the Chandela courts. The Devi Jagdamba Temple has a gorgeous image of Parvati. It is perhaps the most erotic temple of Khajuraho. The temple houses Khajuraho's most talked-about image, mithuna, and the sensuously carved figures. The Matangesvara Temple has a 2.5-metre-high polished lingam of Shiva. This is the only temple that is actively used for worship. The temple of Vishvanath and Nandi celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva with Parvati. The temple draws attention by its provocative depiction of women. Chaunsath Yogini is dedicated to goddesses Kali. It is the oldest of the surviving temples of Khajuraho. The only temple in Khajuraho to be built of granite, the name of the temple is derived from the cells of 64 attendants of Goddess Kali (chaunsath: sixty-four).
Parsvanath TempleEastern Group of Temples
The Eastern temples are partly Jain and partly Hindu. The most striking is the Parsvanath Temple, with its exquisite sculptures depicting everyday activity. Only a century old, Shantinath is the most recent of all the temples in Khajuraho. Visited by the Digambar Jains, the temple houses a four and a half metre statue of Adinath. The Ghantai Temple, mostly in ruins now, has fine columns and chains and bells, with a figure of a Jain goddess on a garuda. Mainly built of granite and sandstone, the temple of Brahma and Hanuman is one of the oldest temples in Khajuraho.
Vishwanatha TempleThe Southern Group of Temples
The southern group of temples contains only two temples. The Duladeo Temple apparently is newer of the two and was built at a time when the creativity of Khajuraho was well below its peak. The other is the Chaturbhuj Temple, located far from the village.

General Information

By Air : Khajuraho (6 km). Charter flight / helicopter can be arranged.
By Rail : Umaria (35 km), Jabalpur (190 km), Katni (102 km), Satna (120 km). Khajuraho will have a rail station very soon.
By Road : Orchha (170 km) , Bandhavgarh (230 km), Varanasi (421 km)
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