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A small village in Madhya Pradesh, is located in the Chatarpur district, about 385 miles or 620 kms. southeast of Delhi. One of the more important tourist destinations and vacationing place, it probably has the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples which are very famous for its erotic sculptures. There is a very interesting theory behind the creation of these erotic statues. It is believed that in those days since boys followed the Hindu law of being “brahmacharis” until attaining manhood, the only way they could prepare themselves for the role of ‘householder’ was through the study of these sculptures.
Khajuraho or Khajirvahila as it was earlier known, is derived from the Hindi word – “khajur”, meaning date palms. Like many other cities in India, Khajuraho has a great history connected with it. It was once the capital of “Chandelas” – a Hindu dynasty that ruled during 10th and 12th centuries. It is also fascinating to note that the complicated temples of Khajuraho were built in the span of just 100 years, from 950A.D to 1050A.D. There were originally 80 temples, out of which only about 22 survive at present.
The climate of Khajuraho is tropical; hence summers are extremely hot while the winters are extremely cold. Monsoon in Khajuraho starts from July and lasts till late September.
How to Reach
Air: Khajuraho is connected to Delhi and Agra with regular flight services.
Rail: The nearest railway stations are Mahoba(64 kms.), Harpalpur(94 kms.), Jhansi(175 kms.) and Satana(117 kms.). Khajuraho is easily reachable for visitors from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Agra and Varanasi.
Road: Khajuraho is well connected by regular bus service with Mahoba, Herpalpur, Satna, Jhansi, Gwalior, Agra, Jabalpur and Bhopal.
When to visit Khajuraho
The best season to visit Khajuraho is between September and March when the temperature is cool and very pleasant.
PLACES TO SEE
The Khajuraho temples are divided into 3 groups; the Western group, the Southern group and the Eastern group.
This group is the best known, particularly because the most famous Khajuraho temple – the Kandariya Mahadev belongs to this group.
This is the largest and the most famous holiday and vacation destinations of the Khajuraho temples. Perfectly symmetrical, it stands at an impressive 31 metre high and contains about 900 statues, most of which are more than 8 feet in length. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are 4 small temples that stand at the corner of the main shrine. Though these are in shambles, the main shrine has a beautifully carved entrance attached to it. The sanctum in the temple contains a ‘lingam’, while the main shrine depicts various Gods, Goddesses and Apsaras in exquisite detail. The sanctum also enshrines a beautiful marble - the Shivalingam.
Another important temple in the western group is the “Chaunsat Yogini”, which is the only granite temple in the whole of Khajuraho ; and is dedicated to Goddess Kali. Originally, there were about 65 cells in the temple, of which only 35 survives today. This is not at all surprising, considering the fact that it is the oldest temple in Khajuraho , which dates back to 900 A.D. An interesting thing to note here is, raised on an immensely high platform, there is an open courtyard which is surrounded by 64 “yoginis” or manifestations of Goddess Kali, hence the name “Chaunsat Yogini”.
Another Kali temple, which was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is the Jagdambi temple. It stands on the same platform as Kendariya Mahadev temple though it is much smaller and delicately proportioned than the Kendariya Mahadev. Inside it, one finds some of the finest sculptures of Khajuraho . The “Garbha Griha”, for example, is a huge image of the goddess of Universe or Devi Jagdambi.
Mainly Hindu and Jain temples make up the eastern group of temples. Most temples in this group are generally enclosed within a high wall although some are just scattered around Khajuraho .
The largest of the Jain temples, it has an image of Parshavanath, a Jain tirthankara in the sanctum, which was installed in the year 1860. The sculpture on the walls of the temple depict everyday life in exquisite detail, for example – a lovely girl removing thorn from her feet. In the temple, one also finds a bull emblem of the first tirthankar – Adinath. The sculptures found here makes this perhaps the finest in the whole of Eastern group.
Another very important Jain temple, which we find here, is the Ghantai temple. It is almost in ruins now, but still somehow it bears the original splendor of the temple. It depicts, in beautiful graphic detail, the 16 dreams of Mahavira’s mother as well as a multi-armed Jain Goddess perched on a Garuda.
This is last of the Jain temples, and is dedicated to a Jain saint, Adinath, while the sculptures of the Yakshis, among others enhances the beauty of the temple.
The Hindu temples in this group are the Brahma, Vamana and the Javari temple. The Brahma temple has a four-faced lingam, the Vamana temple is embellished with images of different Apsaras, while the final temple, the Javeri displays some lavish carvings.
The Southern group of temples is positioned about 5 kms from the Khajuraho village. The two most important temples in the southern group are – the Duladeo temple and the Chaturbhuj temple.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and like many other Khajuraho temples, has some of the most exquisitely crafted sculptures. The Duladeo temple, also known as “Kunwar Maha” was constructed in 1130 A.D on the bank of Kundar stream. This temple forms the last phase of building at Khajuraho and it is very famous for Chandella art and architecture. It is believed that it was built during the time of king Madanavarman who used to worship Lord Shiva. It measures 69 feet by 40 feet with all the sections fully developed.
It is a small five-chambered temple which has a large closed hall with the ceiling painted with 20 apsaras. The walls of the temple are embellished with images of Shiva and Parvathi, which are richly decorated with beautifully crafted jewellery.
During your vacations you can visit Chaturbuhj Temple, another important temple of Khajuraho . It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and has an intricately detailed 9 feet statue of Lord Vishnu, in ‘Chaturbhuj’ or four-armed form, Varada and Abhay with his upper right hand holding a manuscript along with a lotus in his upper left hand and a pot in his lower left hand. Located about 3 kms. from the eastern group of temples, it was built in 1100 A.D. It looks similar to the Duladeo temple except for its size, which is smaller.
The Hotels in Khajuraho range from five star to economy class depending upon the travelers' needs and budget.
- Hotel Marco Polo.
- Hotel Usha Bundela.
Content Copyright © Ricardo Fernan 2007, All Rights Reserved
29-dic-07 1:33 PM