The state of Madhya Pradesh has always been one of the most adored tourist spots in India. Not only for its natural beauty, but mainly for the fascinating village of Khajuraho. With refreshing rural ambiance, an untouched cultural heritage, and a set of temples that have left the world mesmerized with their beauty, Khajuraho is best described as a tourist heaven. The fascinating temples of Khajuraho, India's unique gift of love to the world, represent the expression of a highly matured civilization. The Chandela rulers built the temples of Khajuraho in central India in the tenth century A.D and these marvelous temples contain stunning sculptures. Life in every form and mood, has been beautifully etched out in stone, justifying the excellent craftsmanship and artistry of the Chandela Rajputs.
History of Khajuraho Temples
The village of Khajuraho derives its name from the Khajur tree (the date palm tree) which are found in abundance in the area. Constructed during the reign of Chandel Empire between 950 and 1050 A.D, these temples are considered the "high point" of Indian architectural genius in the Medieval period. Originally there were 85 temples, of which only 22 still exist.
Architecture of Khajuraho Temples
Each temple stands on a high masonry platform with a distinct upward direction to their build, further enhanced by few vertical projections to give an effect of overall lightness. The three main compartments are the entrance (ardhamandapa), assembly hall (mandapa), and the sanctum sanctorum (garbha griha). The temples are classified into three groups based on their location : western, eastern and southern.
Western Group of Temples
: The most prominent structure at Khajuraho is the Kandariya Mahadeo temple, which is the largest soars 31 km high, dedicated to Lord Shiva, the sanctum enshrines a lingam, a phallic symbol. The amorous couples are most sensuously depicted in the Chaunsath Yogini temple, dedicated to goddess Kali. Facing eastwards to the rising sum, Chitragupta temple is dedicated to the Sun God Surya. A three headed image of Brahma is enshrined in Vishwanath Temple. The lintel over the entrance of beautiful Lakshman Temple shows the trinity of Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, with Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort.
Eastern Group of Temples
: The temples in this group can be subdivided into two one being a cluster of Jain temples and another scattered through the small village. Parsvanath Temple is the largest in this group. The temple was initially dedicated to Adinath but the statue was replaced by that of Parsavanath in 1860 A.D. The Jain temple, Gantai temple, has a frieze, which depicts the 16 dreams of Mahavira's mother and a Jain goddess on a winged Garuda. Dedicated to the Jain saint Adinath, Adinath Temple is lavishly embellished with sculpted figures, including Yakshis.
Southern Group of Temples
: This comprises only two temples. A track running south from Jain enclosures reaches the first called Duladeo Temple. It is among the latest built temples at Khajuraho, more accurate, finer and equally graceful, with figures of Mithuna (sexual intercourse) and women in various poses. The other temple is Chaturbhuj Temple which has a three meter image of Vishnu.