The name Khajuraho is derived from the Hindi word khajur meaning date palm tree. It was once the city that was the capital of the Chandela Rajputs - a Hindu dynasty that ruled parts of India from the tenth to the end of twelfth century. It is said that there have been other Chandela rulers who have been the patrons of the Khajuraho temples and instrumental in developing the art and the sculpture there. Some of them are Harshadeva, Yashovarman, Dangadeva, Jayavarman etc. Sadly by the time the temples were completed the Chandela dynasty had sunk into oblivion. It is fascinating to learn that these elegant medieval temples of the finest architectural styles were unknown to the outside world as they were probably forgotten among the forests for centuries following their abandonment. They were accidentally rediscovered recently. Over a span of about 100 years about 85 temples were presumed to have been built of which now only 22 stand!.
Reasons to visit
We welcome you to the most exciting tourist attractions and travel destinations which are given below. We take into notice each and every details about recreation, entertainment, adventure and relaxation. By looking at the things to do in a city one can see if that spot offers romance, family fun, sightseeing or adventure. Drill down into the tourist attractions below to find out more about each place and see how the local customs create a unique atmosphere.
The Western Group
The Western Group Temples are the largest of all temple groups in Khajuraho. Most of the temples here are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu. In addition, this complex also hosts the daily Sound-and-Light Show in the evening. The most prominent temples in this complex include:
The Kandariya Mahadev Temple
The Kandariya Mahadev is the largest and architecturally splendid
temple of Khajuraho standing at a staggering 31 mt! The temple is dedicated to
Lord Shiva, whose shrine is 102 feet long, 67 feet wide, and has a tower 118
feet high. Built intricately, the temple can be approached by the eastern
stairway and houses within an ardha-mandapa, mandapa, a maha-mandapa, the
garba-griha and the pradakshina. The sanctum of the temple houses a lingam, and
the walls are decorated with carvings of gods, goddesses, apsaras and erotic
figures of men and women. Especially noteworthy are the ceilings and the pillars
which are beautifully carved.
Lakshmana Temple is dedicated to the Vaikuntha manifestation of Lord Vishnu, this
exquisite temple is one of the best preserved of Khajuraho temples. The temple
inside, houses Vishnu idol, which is said to have been brought from Tibet and
the walls are covered with carvings of Hindu gods and goddesses. The most
interesting display is a lintel work depicting Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and
Lakshmi. Step inside the sanctum, where you’d find a three-headed image of
Vishnu as Narasimha and Varaha. The main shrine is surrounded by smaller
shrines, which have a garbha-griha and ardh-mandapa. The base of the temple is
also carved with depictions of battle scenes, hunting and royal processions.
Matangeshwara Temple is located a little away from the Western Temple complex, this is another Shaivite temple known for its 8 ft lingam and a 11-headed figure of Vishnu. The temple is also site to the Archeological Museum that houses statues and remnants collected from temples that no longer exist. This temple is also the scene of great activity during the Mahashivratri festival.
Devi Jagadambe Temple
Earlier built for Lord Vishnu, today it is dedicated to Goddess Kali. Its highlight is the richly decorated ceiling and walls that are carved with figures of gods, goddesses, celestial beings and erotic lovers. It is similar to the Chitragupta Temple, though smaller in size. The balconies of the maha-mandapa are larger that any of the other temples in the complex. The Eastern Group Temples are a set of relatively isolated Hindu and Jain temples dedicated to Brahma, Vamana, Javari, Ghantai, Adinath and Parsvanatha.
The Parshavanatha Temple
The Parshvanatha Temple is one of the largest Jain Temples housing an image of the Jain Tirthankara Parsvanatha. The main sanctum is surrounded by a wall, which is richly carved with figurines of men and women. However, you wouldn’t find any sexual motifs here. Among the notable sculptures are the lovely sura-sundaris (celestial beauties) – one applying make-up, the other removing a thorn from her feet and another tying ankle-bells. The outer wall is covered with carvings of Hindu gods and goddesses and actions from daily lives. Catch the exquisite creations of a woman writing a letter, a girl removing a thorn from her foot, and sculptures of elephants, lions and sea nymphs.
The Adinath Temple
Another temple dedicated to the Jain saint Adinath, it is the smallest of the other Jain temples in the complex. The sanctum houses a 10 ft statue of Adinath seated on a lotus. The architecture of the sanctum is very simple, though the ceiling is exquisite carved in a lotus shape. Surrounded by smaller shrines, the temple is created in yellow with black trimmings. While the inner walls are almost devoid of any carving, the outer walls are covered in beautiful sculptures. Notable among these are a woman reading a sad letter, female dancers, apsaras looking into the mirror, applying eye make-up and a mother kissing her child.
The Brahma Temple
The Brahma Temple is one of the three most important Hindu Temples in this complex. It could be dedicated to Brahma, though the sanctum doorway also has the figure of Lord Vishnu carved on it. However, the sanctum inside has a four-faced idol of Brahma and the temple is placed on a platform, which is 11 ft high. The temple is extremely simple made of granite and sandstone.
Housing an 8 ft colossal statue of Hanuman, the temple is almost in ruins. It has an old inscription of the pedestal and the architecture is absolutely simple.
Chaturbhuj Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it boasts of a 9 ft intricately carved image of Lord Vishnu as four-armed or Chaturbhuja. Approach the temple by a flight of 10 stairs. The platform is done in white sandstone. Architecturally similar to the Javari Temple, its shikhara is quite simple and no erotic structures adorn its walls. However, carvings of nymphs, lions and gods are quite prevalent. On the entrance you’d find carvings of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
Khajuraho Archeological Museum
Khajuraho Archeological Museum is the best place to get a glimpse of the culture of Khajuraho. This museum houses an impressive array of statues and sculptures rescued from the temples of Khajuraho. Among significant displays are the Nritta Gansha, Uma-Maheshwara, Andhakasuravadhamurti and Vaikuntha.
Panna National Park
A perfect escape for wildlife lovers, Panna National Park is located almost 60 kms away from Khajuraho and close to the Ken River. With its deep gorges, tranquil valleys, and dense teak forests it is home to a number of wildlife species. You could sight tigers and panthers, and even herds of chinkara. The Panna Diamond Mines are also located closely and although entry to the mines is restricted, you can still visit the area.
This waterfall is famous for its lovely rock formations and the multicolored crystalline canyon. In addition, its seasonal waterfalls make it a popular picnic area.
How to get there
By Road : There is a good network of roads that connects Khajuraho to Agra (395kms), Jhansi (on the Delhi - Mumbai road link), Orcha.
By Air : Khajuraho has a domestic airport. Several airlines regularly service the Khajuraho airport by flights from Delhi, Agra, Varanasi.
By Rail : Khajuraho does not have a railway station of its own. The most convenient railhead is Jhansi and Satna (on the Mumbai - Allahabad railway link). Jhansi is 175 kms away from Khajuraho whereas distance from Satna is 120 kms. Many important trains service both the railway stations regularly.
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