MP Diaries - Temples of Khajuraho, Love Personified



We planned to halt at Khajuraho for that night after completing Orchha and started late evening. The drive was very difficult and tricky due to poor visibility, owing to the fog accumulation.  We had to cross a small area of Uttar-Pradesh where the highway police were in full action, stopping by vehicles for checking and inquiry. We were allowed to pass by them. After driving carefully for more than half the distance towards Khajuraho, we suddenly realized that my ID was not returned by the lodge staff at Orchha!! Thoroughly disappointed with our negligence, we were contemplating whether or not to drive back to Orchha for the ID, as we had already traveled more than a 100 km. While I insisted it would not be feasible to do the same keeping in mind the bad foggy night drive and distance, my wife insisted that we drive back and get the ID as it was an important document and the lodge staff were rude and not trustworthy. Somehow she convinced me and taking a U-turn, we drove towards Orchha keeping our cool. We informed the lodge staff to keep the ID ready and that we were heading back to bring it. We had to pass by the police check again and this time, we were stopped by them and inquired as to why we had been traveling to and fro in such a short interval! We had our vehicle checked and after a thorough explanation of our story and showing them our ID’s, we were sent. This was the only encounter with Police during our entire MP trip. We reached Orchha and collected the ID and headed to Khajuraho without wasting any much time. This entire process added only additional stress and strain, but also was quite exciting! We reached Khajuraho around 1:00 am only to find that the roads were deserted and most of the lodges either were not responding or closed. After knocking on many lodges and and not getting any response, we stopped by Hotel Zostel and found an accommodation for the night.
Khajuraho Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its exquisite carvings of erotic sculptures that adorn its temple walls. This region was known as Jejakbhukti in medieval times and holds a significant role in Indian history. The remarkable temples at Khajuraho were built between 950 and 1050 AD by the Chandelas. Originally, there were around 85 temples, out of which now only around 22 survive. Most of the temples are built of sandstone except the Chausath Yogini, Brahma and Lalguan Mahadeva which are constructed partly of granite. The temples belong to Shaiva, Vaishnava and Jaina sects. The temples at Khajuraho are built in Nagara style of architecture and mark the culmination of Indian architecture design. The sculptures found on the exterior and interior of the temples at Khajuraho portray images of gods, goddesses and other divine figures, apsaras and sura-sundaris (celestial nymphs and beauties), amorous couples (mithuna), mythical creatures and animals, musicians and dancers, war and hunting scenes, and scenes from daily life. The temples are divided into western, eastern and southern groups. 
Reaching New  Heights - Khajuraho
The Western Group
Lakshmi Temple: This small temple is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, consort of Lord Vishnu and is plain, and simple in its structure and style.
Lakshmi Temple, Khajuraho
Lakshmi Temple, Khajuraho
Varaha Temple: This sandstone temple is built on a high platform and is simple in style. It enshrines a massive murti of Varaha (the boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu) which carries impressive miniature carvings of Hindu deities, close to 675 in number all over its body. At the base of the Varaha murti is seen a serpent and remains of a damaged sculpture, probably one of Goddess Bhudevi (earth goddess). This temple is datable to 900-925 AD.
Varaha Temple, Khajuraho
Varaha Temple, Khajuraho
Grand Lord Varaha, Khajuraho
Grand Lord Varaha
Lakshmana Temple: The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was built by the Chandela ruler Yashovarman between 930 and 950 AD. The temple stands on a high platform and consists of an ardha-mandapa (entrance porch), mandapa, maha-mandapa, antarala (vestibule) and garbhagriha (sanctum) with an ambulatory pathway. The platform has friezes depicting war scenes involving soldiers, elephants, camels, horses and other processions. The entrance is decorated with a beautifully and elegantly carved makara torana (arched entrance flanked by crocodiles). The sanctum houses a damaged murti of Lord Vishnu depicted as Vaikuntha with 3 faces (human, lion, and boar) and 4 arms. The exteriors of the temple are decked with intricately carved balconies with balustrades. The outer walls of the temple have two bands of sculptures of various gods and goddesses, sura-sundaris captured in different moods, and amorous couples and erotic scenes.
Lakshmana Temple, Khajuraho
Lakshmana Temple, Khajuraho
Kandariya Mahadev Temple: This marvelously beautiful temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built between 1025 and 1050 AD. It consists of an entrance porch, mandapa, maha-mandapa, antarala and garbhagriha with a pradakshina patha (circumambulatory passage). The entrance has an intricately carved makara torana. Its sanctum houses a shivalinga. The temples symmetrical proportioning is perfectly executed and so are its design and sculptures that adorn the walls.  The temple stands on a high platform carved with ornamental mouldings, geometric patterns, and friezes of elephants, horses, musicians, dancers, hunters, warriors, and miscellaneous scenes. The central shikara along with the miniature shikaras is imposing and impressive. It is an outstanding monument of Khajuraho.
Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, Khajuraho
Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, Khajuraho
Jagadambi Temple: Originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple now houses a murti of goddess Parvati in the sanctum. The temple stands on a high platform and consists of a sanctum, vestibule, a maha-mandapa with lateral transept and an entrance porch. The lintel of the sanctum contains a carving of four armed image of Lord Vishnu. Its outer walls are decorated with carvings of celestial beauties and amorous couples. The temple is datable to 1000-1025 AD.
Jagadambi Temple, Khajuraho
Jagadambi Temple, Khajuraho
Chitragupta Temple: This temple is dedicated to Lord Surya, the sun god and stands on a high platform. It consists of a sanctum, vestibule, a maha-mandapa with lateral transept and an entrance porch. The sanctum houses an impressive murti of the sun god driven by 7 horses. The outer walls of the temple carry carvings of celestial beauties (sura-sundaris), amorous couples and deities, including a partially damaged image of eleven headed Vishnu in the central niche of the south facade.  The temple is datable to 1000-1025 AD.
Chitragupta Temple, Khajuraho
Chitragupta Temple, Khajuraho
Vishwanatha Temple: This temple was built by the Chandela king Dhanga in 1002 AD and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is among the finest monuments of Khajuraho, housing beautiful sculptures. Originally being a panchayatana shrine, now only 2 subsidiary shrines have survived. The temple consists of an entrance porch, mandapa, mahamandapa and garbhagriha enclosed by an ambulatory. The inscription on the mandapa also refers to dedications of 2 lingas, one made of emerald and the other of stone.  
Vishwanatha Temple, Khajuraho
Vishwanatha Temple, Khajuraho
Nandi Shrine:  Standing apart and facing the main deity Lord Shiva of Vishwanatha temple is a large murti of Nandi, the bull mount of Lord Shiva.  The Nandi is quite simple and plain in style and enclosed in a small shrine whose roof is supported by 12 plain pillars.  
Nandi Mantapa
Matangeshwara Temple: The temple is situated next to the Lakshmana temple and can be dated to 950-1002 AD. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of a linga and is the only temple where daily worship is still continued. The festival of Mahashivaratri is elaborately celebrated, with many pilgrims visiting this temple.
Matangeshwara Temple, Khajuraho
Matangeshwara Temple, Khajuraho
Lord Matangeshwara and The Priest
Chausath Yogini Temple: This granite temple is dedicated to the 64 yoginis and is now in a ruined state with only a few of the cells surviving. The temple is rectangular in plan with an open courtyard bordered by smaller cells housing yoginis. It is the earliest surviving temple dating to 900 AD. 
Chausath Yogini Temple, Khajuraho
Chausath Yogini Temple, Khajuraho

The Eastern Group
Brahma Temple: Though it is called as Brahma temple, its sanctum houses a Shivalinga and the lintel of its sanctum has a carving of Lord Vishnu. This temple is datable to 900 AD.
Brahma Temple, Khajuraho
Brahma Temple, Khajuraho
Vamana Temple: This temple is dedicated to Vamana, the dwarf incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It consists of a sanctum with seven projections in plan (saptaratha), vestibule, mandapa with lateral transepts and an entrance porch. The sanctum is devoid of any ambulatory path (nirandhara) and enshrines an image of 4 armed vamana flanked by chakrapurusha and shankapurusha on left and right. The shikara is simple and the outer walls are decorated with 2 bands of sculptures which include graceful figures of sura-sundaris. The temple can be dated to 1050-1075 AD.
Vamana Temple, Khajuraho
Vamana Temple, Khajuraho
Javari Temple: This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is datable to 1075-1100 AD. It has a garbhagriha, vestibule, mandapa and portico but without pradakshina patha. The makara torana is remarkable and so is its shikara. The outer walls are decorated with 3 bands of beautifully carved sculptures. 
Jevari Temple, Khajuraho
Jevari Temple, Khajuraho
Ghantai Temple: This Jain temple is now completely in ruins, with only a portion of its mahamandapa and pillars of the entrance porch surviving.  Its name is attributed to the presence of chain and bell motifs on its tall pillars.
Ghantai Temple, Khajuraho
Ghantai Temple, Khajuraho
Parshvanatha Temple: This is the largest and best preserved among the Jain temples of Khajuraho having individual features of plan and design. The temple was built in the middle of the 10th century and is partially made up by latticed windows and has a shrine attached to the rear of the sanctum. The three bands of sculptures on its outer walls feature graceful sura-sundaris, celestial beings, couples, Hindu gods and goddesses which are exquisitely finished. 
Parshvanatha Temple, Khajuraho
Parshvanatha Temple, Khajuraho
Adinatha Temple: This Jain temple is dedicated to Jina Adinatha and was built in the latter half of the 11th century. It now consists only of a sanctum without any ambulatory path and a vestibule. The exterior walls comprise of three bands of sculptures including graceful sura-sundaris.
Adinatha Temple, Khajuraho
Adinatha Temple, Khajuraho
The Southern Group
Dulhadeo Temple: The temple faces east and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It consists of a sanctum which houses a linga, vestibule, mahamandapa and an entrance porch. The main shikara is clustered round by 3 rows of miniature shikaras and looks plain. There are 3 bands of sculptures seen on the outer walls. The original temple is can be dated to the early 12th century AD and has undergone extensive repair and restoration at a later stage.
Dulhadeo Temple, Temple
Dulhadeo Temple, Temple
Chaturbhuj Temple: The temple stands on a high platform and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It consists of a sanctum without an ambulatory, a vestibule, mandapa and an entrance porch. The sanctum houses a 9 feet tall murti of four armed Lord Vishnu. The lower part of the doorway of sanctum shows Ganga on the right and Yamuna on the left, standing in tribhanga flanked by door keepers. This temple is devoid of any erotic sculptures. There are three bands of sculptures around the outer walls. The temple is datable to 1100 AD.
Chaturbhuj Temple, Khajuraho
Beautiful Murti of Chaturbhuj Vishnu
Bijamandal: This group of mounds in the surrounding areas of Khajuraho is one of the 18 mounds unraveled during an intensive survey by the ASI in 1980. Excavations at the main mound of Bijamandal group in 1998-99 exposed remains of a big temple comparable in size with the Vishwanatha temple at Khajuraho and a huge Shivalinga, presence of other temples, sculptures and artifacts.  However, the site is yet to be fully excavated and completely explored.
Bijamandal, Khajuraho
Bijamandal, Khajuraho
How to reach Khajuraho: Khajuraho is well connected by air and also has a good bus network. However, the options of train travel directly to Khajuraho are limited, with one having to hire a cab to travel to Khajuraho from the nearest railway station. By road, we traveled on NH 39 from Orchha until a turn towards left directing towards Khajuraho.
Entry Fee: Entry is Rs.30/- for Indians and Rs.500/- for foreigners
Accommodation: There are many options for accommodation here. We stayed at Zostel which is one of the best budgeted options for bag packers and budget travelers.
Where to eat: There are many options including a few road-side eateries.

References:
1.ASI Information Boards
3.Madhya Pradesh – RBS Visitors Guide India

Comments

  1. Good that the rude lodge guys did not create much issue in giving back ID. Beautiful temples.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amazing place. Awesome Temples.
    Loved all photos.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Quite a different view of Khajuraho temple. Thanks for sharing such a detailed post with us all. It's very useful..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amazing.. each one of them are breathtaking.. thanks for this share

    ReplyDelete

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