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Khajuraho Tourism

Khajuraho

Introduction


Khajuraho is a village in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, located in Chattarpur district. The name Khajuraho comes from the Hindi word khajur meaning date palm.


Temples in Khajuraho were built over a span of a hundred years. the temples here never had large destruction. They are the precise examples of Indian architectural styles that increased popularity in the medieval times.


The detailed style of architecture is distinctive of the Khajuraho complex. Khajuraho temples, built with spiral superstructures, subscribe to the northern Indian shikara temple style and often to a Panchayatna plan. While some of the temples are devoted to the Jain tirthankaras, the rest have been built in the name of the Hindu trinity (Brhama,Vishnu and Shiva) and the different manifestations of the Devi.


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A Panchayatana temple has four adjunct shrines at the every corner surrounding the main shrine at the centre. The temples here come grouped into three geographical divisions: western, eastern and southern. The shikharas or spires add a special character to the Khajuraho temples, by merit of their ranked rise.


The Khajuraho temples do not deliver erotic artwork inside the temple. Khajuraho temples are at present primed in a parkland landscape. The Khajuraho group of constructions are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Eastern group of temples


Adinath Temple

Adinath Temple is devoted to the Jain saint Adinath. The architecture on the walls is elegant, with images of yakshis. This temple was built in the late eleventh century during the reign of Kirtavarman. Adinath Temple is an important part of the Jain temple complex.


Parshwanath Temple

The temple is the biggest in the Jain complex. Its intricate carvings appear as a defining feature of the temple. This is built of variable shades to sandstone right from cream and red to black. The continual theme of the temple sculpture is St. George beating a dragon. The theme gets perennial at regular intervals, only with mild variations.


Other sculptures show women in everyday life. The famous scenes of a women taking a thorn from her toe and a women cuddling her baby have been etched on the southern face of the temple. Several statues in yogic posture surround the temple, a style typical of Jain architecture but is absent from the Hindu temples in Khajuraho.


Ghantai Temple

This Jain temple was built in the late tenth century. This represents as its theme is the sixteen drama of Mahavira’s mother and a Jain deity on the celestial vehicle Garuda. The name comes from its location in the village of Ghantai, to the south east of Khajuraho.


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Brahma Temple

Brahma Temple was devoted to Lord Vishnu, the Hindu God of Preservation. The temple stands on an 11 feet high platform on the banks of the Ninora Tal, the largest tank in Khajuraho. The temple forms of a square shrine erected on the granite pillars. The 'jagati' is apparent with 12 outstanding offsets and its lower courses continue submerged in the water of the tank for some months of the year. The Khajuraho group of temples are truly noted for lofty terraces (jagati) and is functionally impelling plans. The roof is made of sandstone, while the structure below is made of granite. The shrine is set with projections from each side, to symbolise the cardinal directions. A vestibule-like projection on the east forms the entrance, while the northern and southern faces have windows with awesome lattice work.


Southern Group of Temples


Dulah Deo Temple

This is the most impressive temple in Khajuraho , owing to its sculpture work, especially in the Shalbhanjika. This is a fully developed temple with the ardhamanadap, the mandapa, the maha mandapa, the antarala and the garbha griha. The top of the maha mandap comes as a series of decreasing circles to the overlapping stones. The temple falls are devoted to the Lord Shiva as the sanctum houses a shivlingam.


The construction of the temple here follows a panchayatna plan, with the auxiliary shikhars built around the central shikhara. Contrasting themes have been etched on the temple walls, with the bodies of the apsaras on one hand and the squat figures of beasts on the other hand. Another interesting theme is the flying wizards, travelling through space with their consorts and playing musical instruments.


The outside decoration is evenly rich. Exceptional erotic work such as couples in an intimate embrace is the defining feature of Khajuraho temple architecture.


Chattarbhuj Temple

Among the many temples of Khajuraho, Chaturbhuj temple comes as one of the most popular temple located near a village Jatakara at Khajuraho. Devoted to Lord Vishnu, the Chaturbhuj temple is the only temple that lacks any erotic or tantric sculptures. Dating back to 1100 AD, the temple is also known as Jatakari temple, named after the village Jatakari where it is located.


Western Group of Temples


Chitragupta Temple

Chitragupta Temple is set at the northern end to a row of four temples, increasing from south to north. The temple, built in early 11th century, is an address to the Lord Surya, the Sun God and presents an evolution when compared with the Lakshmana and Vishvanatha monuments.


Kandariya Mahadeva Temple

Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is as the biggest and most-adorned temple among the famous middle-aged cluster of Khajuraho temples. Now, Khajuraho stands one of the world famed tourist destinations in the country. Khajuraho once served as the spiritual centre of the Chandela Rajputs. This temple befalls as a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Within the divine place for the worship, there is a linga made of limestone standing for Lord Shiva. The responsibility to safeguard this place of worship gets trusted with the Archaeological Survey of India.


Chaunsat Yogini

Chaunsat Yogini is the oldest surviving temples of Khajuraho. This is a construction devoted to the Goddess Kali. This seems as the only granite construction in the entire Khajuraho complex. The name Chaunsat (sixty-four) falls derived from the cells of 64 attendants of Goddess Kali. This temple is part of the western group that assumes a unique quadrangular shape. Built in late 9th century, this is set about three furlongs south of the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple. The temple has been erected on a platform around 15 feet high from 14 to 18 feet high.


Lakshamana Temple

Lakshamana Temple is the oldest structure in the western group of temples devoted to Lord Vishnu. The entrance of this temple welcomes you with the images of the Trinity and Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort. The sanctum has intricate carvings of a three-headed idol of Vishnu’s incarnations. Emperor Lakshavarma was instrumental in the creation of this temple, after he was gifted the idol by the Pratihara ruler Devapala. The temple offers to the panchayatana scheme, with the main shikara being enclosed by four others.


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This temple also shows scenes from battle, while the porch bears the lotus design. The pillars on each corner represent Apsaras or celestial beings on the carved brackets and among the finest of sculptures. Architecturally, this temple has some noteworthy features. The roofs of its 'maha-mandapa', 'mandapa' and the entrance porch are of the 'phamsana' type. The temple displays a pyramidal superstructure of a straight contour, which is crowned by a spectacular chime. This is one of the only two temples at Khajuraho, the other is Parsvanath, exhibiting bold sculptures at the door-lintels.


Matangeswara Temple

This is the seat of an eight-feet high lingam made of yellow sandstone. As the legend explains that Lord Shiva who lived a severe life in the Himalayas was served well by Parvati, the beautiful daughter of the mountains. Shiva opened his eyes. He saw Parvati and instantly fell in love. However, Shiva opened his third eye and reduced the God of Love to ashes, as he was angry that his meditation had been disturbed. The world was immediately filled with a doleful darkness.


Then Shiva caused a great linga to appear before them to reaffirm his omnipotence, power and wonder. This linga is the image in the Matangeswara temple. This myth only adds pages of interest that this temple at Khajuraho which was built to celebrate definite episodes in the marriage of Shiva and Parvati and helped to explain why Khajuraho was esteemed as sacred to Lord Shiva. This temple has contributed with its mainstream architecture themes, in contrast to the deviate themes of the other temples.


Excursion to Panna National Park

After all the temple tourism, Panna National Park offers you a taste of wildlife. It stretches along the river Ken, at a distance of 32 kms. from Khajuraho. The forests harbour numerous species of wildlife. Panna National Park is a habitat of the tiger, with other rare species such as the Leopard, Wolf, Gharial, Herds of Bluebull, Chinkara and Sambar. On the road to Panna, there are the spectacular Pandav Falls.


Legend has it that the Pandavas of Epic Mahabharata spent a major part of their banishment period in the forests of the Panna National Park. The park initially served as the private hunting region to the royal family of Panna. After independence, the park was announced as a wildlife sanctuary in the year of 1981, to assist the different forms of flora and fauna. Now it draws the attention of wildlife enthusiasts in big numbers. Panna is also renowned for its diamond mining industry that makes it an interesting place to visit.


Festivals


Truly a visit to Khajuraho is elegantly formed with the Light and Sound show held every evenings. Khajuraho Dance Festival is one of those festivals of the country that all dance lovers enthusiasticly wait for. The 7-day Khajuraho Dance Festival, which is expected to happen from 25th February to 2nd March every year from 2002 to 2009 features the abundance of the Indian classical dance. This festival witnesses performance by some of the foremost classical dancers in the country every year, who preform against the awesome backdrop of the magnificently lit temples. The different dances performed here are Kathak, Odissi and Bharat nattyam that showcase the several classical dances of India.


Accommodation and food


Khajuraho is doing well as a tourist destination, with the mixture of restaurants catering to the culinary needs of tourists from across the world. Here one could try Italian food, South Indian, Punjabi and Jain thalis.


Climate


Khajuraho has extreme climate. While summers come exceedingly hot, winters are enjoyable and a better time to visit. So head to Khajuraho any time from September-March. March in Khajuraho is when the Dance Festivaltakes place. This should not be missed.


How to Get There


Khajuraho airport is well linked to Delhi, Varanasi and Mumbai. Rail here is well-connected to the rest of the country. The Delhi-Jhansi Dakshin express is the best bet. And the buses ply regularly on the Satna and Jhansi routes.


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Shopping


Iron, brass and stone sculptures are available at the handicraft stores in the town. Pick up some curios items as a reminder. The Crafts Emporium, Jain Temple Road and the Tuesday Market at Rajinagar are good bets for silver and brass ware shopping.


Khajuraho, the site of medieval Hindu and Jain temples is the most visited destination in Madhya Pradesh.

 

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