The Khajuraho group of Monuments, consisting of the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, is one of the most popular tourist destinations of India. These structures, situated in Chhatrapur District of Madhya Pradesh, are one of the ‘Seven wonders of India’. The Khajuraho Temples are famous all over the world for the erotic sculptures carved on their exterior. These temples have unique architecture and sculpture. The Khajuraho Temples are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the past, the temples in Khajuraho were surrounded by a wall, which had eight gates. Originally there were 80 Hindu and Jain temples in Khajuraho, but only 25 of them are in good condition today. These 25 temples are spread over an area of 20 square kilometres and depict explicit sexual sculptures representing the sexual life during medieval times. In the past, the locals living in the Khajuraho village were well aware of these temples and did their best to preserve them. An Englishman discovered these temples in the late 19th century, but by then the jungle had taken a toll on these monuments.
Presently, some of the temples in Khajuraho are Chausath Yogini Temple, Brahma Temple, Lalgun Mahadev Temple, Matangeshwar Temple, Varaha Temple, Lakshman Temple, Parshvanath Temple, Vishvanath Temple, Devi Jagadambi Temple, Chitragupta Temple, Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, Vamana Temple, Adinath Temple, Jawari Temple, Chaturbhuja Temple, Duladeo Temple and Ghantai Temple.
Khajuraho was the cultural capital of the Chandelas from the 10th to the 12th century. The Chandelas were a Hindu, Rajput dynasty. Their political capital was Kalinjar. The group of monuments at Khajuraho were built by the Chandelas when they were at their peak, from 950 to 1150. So it took over 200 years to build these monuments. The capital of the Chandelas moved to Mahoba later. There are no forts in Khajuraho as the Chandelas never lived there.
The technique used in construction was one in which, one part of the temple was fixed in a hole cut in another part of the temple. Mortar wasn’t used in the building of the Khajuraho temples. These temples are held together by gravity. Very precise joints are required for this building pattern. These temples are built of sandstone. Megaliths weighing as much as 20 tons were used for construction. The temples do not bear erotic art inside and most of them have 2 layers of walls. There is some erotic art on the outside of the inner wall in these temples. There are various interpretations of the erotic art. One interpretation is that, one should leave all the earthly desires behind before entering the temple and become one with god. It is also said that the deities inside the temple are pure like the soul and have nothing to do with the physical desires of the body. Only ten percent of the carvings of the Khajuraho Temples show erotic art, the rest of the carvings show people of that time going about their daily chores. Other beings are also shown in the carvings. Some of the carvings are that of musicians, women putting on makeup, farmers, potters and other folk. All these carvings are at some distance from the deities.
The Khajuraho Temple Complex offers a professional light and sound show every evening. The first show is in English and the second show is in Hindi. The show narrates the philosophy, history and the art of sculpting of these temples. The show is held in the open lawns of the temple complex.
Please make sure that you have made hotel reservations before you visit the Khajuraho Temples because of the constant inflow of tourists in Khajuraho. It is advisable to visit during the winters. A visit to the Khajuraho group of temples is a memorable one because of the beautiful architectural style and the carvings of the temple. This temple being one of a kind impresses you by its rustic existence and gives you an insight into the life in medieval period.
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The Khajuraho group of temples is one of the most visited tourist destinations in India. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the temples are situated in the Chhatrapur District of Madhya Pradesh. Known for the erotic sculptures carved on their exterior, the temples are one of the ‘Seven wonders of India’. It took more than 200 years to build these temples. Built by the Chandelas, these monuments have a unique architectural style. The Khajuraho temples provide an insight into the life during the medieval period.