The temples of Khajuraho are India’s unique gift to the world. They are an ode to love in stone and are a testimony to the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs under whose the temples were conceived and constructed. The Khajuraho temples were built in a 100 years, from 950-1050 AD. of the 85 original temples, 22 have survived till today to constitute one of the world’s great artistic wonders. Architecturally the temples are a highly imaginative recreation of the rising peaks of the Himalayas, abode of the gods and are divided into three geographical divisions that group the temples as western eastern and southern.
The Western Group: This is the main group and is the must see if you have less time. The temples are built on large platforms and have tall shikharas under which is situated the garbha graham for the main deity. The largest and the most typical of the Khajuraho temples, is the Kandariya Mahadeva temple which soars 21 m high. Dedicated to Shiva, the deity is a marble shiva lingam. The temple is exquisitely carved and almost 900 sculptures on the platform.
The other important temples are the Chaunsath Yogini is the only granite temple and the earliest surviving shrine of the group ( 900 AD ), it is dedicated to Kali. The Chitragupta temple is dedicated to the Sun god, Surya. The image of the deity is five feet high, and driving a hourse drawn chariot. The Vishwanath temple is a Brahma Shrinewith a three headed image and a Nandi bull facing the Shrine.
The best preserved temple is the Lakshman temple which houses the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva with Lakshmi, Vishnu’s Consort.
The finely carved sanctum has a three-headed idol of Vishnu’s incarnations, Narasimha and Varaha.
Easter Group –
The Parsvanath Temple is the largest Jain Temple and exquisite in detail. The sculptures on the northern outer wall are particularly noteworthy. This Ghantai Jain Temple has a frieze which depicts the 16 dreams of Mahavira’s mother, and a Jain goddess on a winged Garuda. The Adinath temple dedicated to the Jain saint has detailed carvings of Yakshis. The three hindu temples of the group are the Brahma, containing a four faced lingam, the Vamana, which is adorned on its outer walls with carving of apsaras in a variety of sensuous attitudes; and the Javari, which a richly carved gateway and exterior sculptures.
Southern group –
Duladeo Temple: Dedicated to Shiva the apsara and ornamented figures are the temple’s most striking features..
Chaturbhuj Temple –
This temple has a massive, intricately carved image of Vishnu in the sanctum.
How to reach –
~ Regular sevies link Khajuraho with Delhi and Varanasi
~ Khajuraho is connected by regular buses with Satna, Harpalpur, Jhansi and Mahoba.
~ Khajuraho has its own railway station linking it to Delhi, Jhansi ( 172 kms ), Harpalpur ( 94 km ) and Mahoba ( 64 km ), Satna ( 117 km ) which is on the Mumbai – Allahabad line of the central Railway is a convenient rail link for those coming from Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi.