Khajuraho Temples Complex
- Built in : Between 9th And 11th Century AD
- Built by : Chandela Dynasty
- Location : Khajuraho
The temples of Khajuraho are one the finest examples of the central Indian style of temple architecture. Though these temples have gained popularity because of their erotic carvings, they are reflective of the traditional way of life of the Hindu society in the medieval period.
The diffrent group of Temples
Among the 22 surviving temples out of the original 85, some remain well preserved while others are less so. They are located in three groups of which the largest and most easily accessible is the western group.
The Western Group
The Kandariya Mahadev is the best example of the Central Indian style of temple architecture. It is the largest of the Khajuraho temple and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located close to it is the Matangeshwara temple, the only one in the entire complex where the deity (Shiva) is still worshipped everyday with prayers and rituals. The Lakshman temple is finest of the western group of temples and has four shrines attached to it. The Devi Jagdamba temple is known for its erotic sculptures and houses Khajuraho’s most talked-about image, the mithuna (the sensuously carved figures of amorous couples). The temple of Vishvanath and Nandi depict the marriage of Lord Shiva with Parvati. The Chaunsath Yogini is the oldest of the surviving temples at Khajuraho and is dedicated to goddess Kali.
The Eastern Group
This is also known as the Jain group. The Jain Mandir of Parasnath, Adinath, Shantinagh, and Ghantai have fine examples of elaborate carvings and are bereft of the erotic sculptures seen in the Hindu Mandir. These temples are dedicated to Jain deities, each temple having a finely sculpted image of the presiding deity.
The three Hindu temples here are those of Vamana, Javari and Brahma. The temple of Brahma and Hanuman are two of the oldest Mandir of Khajuraho and are made of granite and sandstone.
The Southern Group
This group has two temples only, the Chaturbhuj Mandir and the Duladeo Mandir.
These temples mark the resurrection of Hinduism and all the walls, windows, pillars, and ceilings are carved with figures of mythical and historical origin. Many of these depict women in postures of innocent play, while others depict carnal love (mithuns). These depictions symbolize the tenet of Hinduism that considers sexual love a form of energy.
Apart from the erotic sculptures, there are several categories of sculptures, which dominate the sensual by far. The most revered are the cult images located within the sanctum for purposes of worship, and these depict Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Surya and the Jain Tirthankars (teachers). Numerous gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon grace the walls of these Mandir.
The next range of sculptures depicts everyday life, such as people working, listening to teachers, waging battles etc. Then there are representations of real and mythical animals and beasts. And finally, to fill in the gaps, are the geometrical bands and floral motifs, especially on the higher spires. The ceiling of the entrance porch of the Lakshman Mandir is counted among the best in the country. These Mandir was not only repositories of religion, they also reflect the fashion and contemporary lifestyle of the medieval Indian society.
The origin of these Mandir is shrouded in mystery. According to a simple tale, the Moon God fell for the charms of a Brahmin woman, which heralded the beginning of the Chandela dynasty. And these Mandir were built by the first Chandela ruler to atone for his mother’s sin.
Khajuraho Temple Festival
The beautifully lit Mandir provide a perfect backdrop for the annual Dance festival of the city. This festival is held every year in the month of February\March and leading exponents of various Indian classical dance forms (Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Odisi, Kathakali etc) perform here.