is famous for its magnificent temples dedicated to Lord Shiva,
Lord Vishnu and the Jain Tirthankaras. These temples are built
between 950 A.D. and 1050 A.D. The temples of Khajuraho
represent some of the most exquisite specimens in medieval
India, only 22 temples out of 85 now survive.
The art of Khajuraho India has a long history. Today the art
of Khajuraho India is world renowned. The beautiful temples
that dot the town of Khajuraho are believed to have been built
by the mighty Chandela rulers in 9th and 10th century AD. The
engravings on these temples are highly sensual and erotic and
much has already been discussed their symbolic importance.
Tantricism and the Shakti cult, where the pancha makaras (five
tenets), namely, matsya (fish), madira (wine), maithun (sexual
activity), mamsa (meat), and mudra (gesture) were to release
the human spirit from the bondage of the flesh, have been
described as the possible explanations for the sculptural
sensuality of Khajuraho.
Out of 85 temples, only 20 have survived the ravages of time.
Made of sandstone blocks fitted together, the temples are
aligned east-west. For convenience, these may be divided into
western, eastern, and southern groups of temples.
Places to See
Architecturally, the temples of Khajuraho India reveal the art
of Khajuraho, they followed a three- or five-part floor plan.
The larger temples have an ardhamandapa (porch), then a
mandapa (hall) leading to a mahamandapa (main hall) from where
an aunterale (vestibule) led into the Garbha Griha (sanctum)
containing the devta (god) or devi (goddess). An enclosed
pradakshinapathar (corridor or verandah) runs around this
Western Group of Temples
The Kandariya Mahadeo is considered the most evolved example
of central Indian temple architecture. Dedicated to Lord
Shiva, this temple is also the largest of Khajuraho's temples.
The Lakshmana Temple
The Lakshmana Temple is one of the oldest and finest of the
western group of temples. The temple is rather big with four
other shrines attached to it. Although the general norm in
other temples is three bands of sculpture, this temple has
only two. Recurrent themes are battles, hunting, and women.
The temple of Devi Jagdamba is considered by many to be one of
the most erotic temples of Khajuraho. The temple houses
Khajuraho's most talked-about image, mithuna, and the
sensuously carved figures. It is not clear until today as to
which deity this temple is dedicated.
Vishvanath and Nandi Temple
The temple of Vishvanath and Nandi celebrates the marriage of
Lord Shiva with Parvati. The way women have been depicted in
this temple draw the most attention. From traditional images
of women fondling babies and writing letters, they are seen
also as the most provocative of images.
Chaunsat Yogini is the oldest of the surviving temples of
Khajuraho India. This temple is dedicated to goddesses Kali.
This is the only temple in Khajuraho India that is built in
granite. The name chaunsat (sixty-four) comes from the cells
of 64 attendants of Goddess Kali. Goddess Kali herself was the
Other important temples in the western group are the temples
of Lakshmi and Varaha, Mahadev, Chitragupta, Parvati, and
Eastern Group of Temples
The temple of Parsvanath is the largest of the Jain temples in
Khajuraho India and the finest. The temple was originally
dedicated to Adinath and latter to Parsvanath. It is the
finest example of the sensitive art without any sexual motifs.
Near this temple is the temple of Adinath with fine carvings.
The temple is quite similar to the Hindu temples of Khajuraho.
Shantinath is the youngest of all the temples in Khajuraho
India. Though it looks like the most other temples in
Khajuraho, it is just a century old. The temple has a four and
a half meter statue of Adinath.
Mostly in ruins now, the temple of Ghantai has fine columns
and chains and bells, with a figure of a Jain goddess on a
One of the oldest temples in Khajuraho is the temple of Brahma
and Hanuman. The temple is built mostly of granite and
sandstone. Actually, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Nearby is a Hanuman temple reputed to have the earliest
inscription dating back to AD 922 on a 2½ -m statue.
Two other notable temples are Javari and Vamana temple.
The Southern Group
There are only two temples in the southern group of temples.
The Duladeo is somewhat new and built in a time when the
creativity of Khajuraho was well down its peak. The temple has
wooden structures that take away its authenticity somewhat.
The other temple is of Chaturbhuja, pretty far from the
village. The temple has a 3-m-high statue of Vishnu.
Apart from the temples, another place that can be visited here
is the Archeological Museum. It has a very good collection of
sculpture, inscriptions, and architectural objects.
Dhubela Museum is 64 km away from Khajuraho. Located on
the bank of a lake, the museum houses a wide variety of
sculpture of the Shakti cult. There are different sections on
garments, weapons, and paintings.
Benisagar Lake is a tourist spot around 7 km away from
Khajuraho. There is a dam on Khudar River and is an ideal
place for boating and angling.
Panna is a historical city and was the capital of Bundela
kingdom. Panna has one of the most famous diamond mines of the
world and is around 56 km from Khajuraho. There is also the
Panna National Park, spread over 546 km and situated on the
banks of Ken river. This is an ideal place for wildlife