Khajuraho was the capital of the Chandela Kings, now famous for its magnificent
temples. The temples were built by Chndela dynasty between 950 A.D. and 1050 A.D.,
are example of Indo Aryan architecture. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and
the Jain Tirthnkras, the temple show case the art and architecture of medieval India.
The Khajuraho temples have declared a world Heritage site. The Temples of Khajuraho
are divided in to three geographical groups western, eastern and southern.
The temples of Khajuraho are a confluence of spirituality and eroticism frozen in
exquisitely embellished architecture. These temples are located in a quaint little
village with a rich cultural heritage almost in the middle of nowhere in Madhya
Pradesh in the heart of India. The erotic postures of figures carved on the walls
have sparked off a lot of controversies and varied interpretations.
The amouous carvings are confined to the external walls as if to purge the earthly
desires outside before entering the sanctum of spirituality. It is also seen as
a "a strange union of Tantrism and fertility motifs, with a heavy doses of magic".
Another theory explains the erotica depicted on the temples as an exposure to prepare
the "brahmacharis" for the worldly role of the house holder and acquaint them with
real earthly passions. it could be a reactionary swing away from the austerities
of Buddhism as well.
Some even look upon the sensual carvings as influenced by Vatsyana's Kamasutra.
According to an old legend, the sexually explicit sculptures may have been meant
to scare away Indra, the menacing rain god. The temples commemorate the marriage
of Shiv and Parvati which is the celebration of cosmic energy and new life. The
Khajuraho group of monuments has been listed as a Unesco world heritage site, and
is hailed as one of the "seven wonders" of India. A lyrical depiction of love and
passion, it is an embodiment of the maturity of Indian aesthetics and artistry.
These temples took almost 200 years to be completed from the 9th through the 13th
They were built by the Chandella rulers in the Indo Aryan Nagara style of architecture.
However, only 20-22 of the 85 temples, have survived the ravages of time. Khajuraho,
also known as Khajuravahaka, was the cultural capital of the Chandellas and the
village derived its name from the abundance of 'Khajura' or date palm trees there.
In fact the whole area was supposedly enclosed by a wall with eight gates with two
golden date palms adorning each.
The temples were severely damaged by the Muslim invaders between 1100-1400 AD. The
locals living here always tried to preserve these temples as best as they could,
but it was left to Captain T.S. Burt, a British army, to rediscover the surviving
temples in 1838.
The temples embody the rich architectural heritage of India and have gained popularity
as "the apogee of erotic art.
The famous medieval court poet, Chanbardai, narrates that the royal priest of "Kashi"
(present Varanasi) Hemraj had a beautiful daughter, Hemavati, who was a child widow.
One night as she was bathing in a lotus pond the moon god was bewitched by her beauty
and he assumed human form and ravished her. He repented his action later when the
stricken Hemavati threatened to curse him. He blessed her with a valiant son Chandravarman,
who later became a king and built the legendary temples of Khajuraho in accordance
with his mother's wishes. Yet another legend goes that Hemavati sacrificed her honor
and dignity to save her father Mani Ram, the royal priest of Kalinjar from face
loss. Mani Ram had miscalculated the date of the full moon night in the presence
of the king.
Jodhpur | Udaipur
| Chittorgarh |
Sawai Madhopur | Jaipur |
Khajuraho | Varanasi