Khajuraho is a small town, located in the forested plains of Madhya Pradesh. The place is a standing ovation to the architectural brilliance of the Chandela Rajputs, who ruled Central India for many decades. The richly carved temples, with their distinctive graphics, testify the creative period that Khajuraho witnessed during the Chandela regime. Sculptured in Indo-Aryan architectural style, these temples are still recounted as masterpieces of Indian artistry and form the major tourist attractions of the place. Learn about the places to see in Khajuraho, forming the major tourist interest of the place.
Western Group of Temples Clustered near the left of the entrance, this group of temples includes some of the biggest sculptures of Khajuraho. One of the oldest surviving granite temples of this group is ‘Chaunsat Yogini’, dedicated to the Goddess Kali. The largest of the Western temple is ‘Kandariya Mahadeo’, whose presiding deity is Lord Shiva. It soars to a height of 31m and is exquisitely carved with delicate details. Close to it is the ‘Matangeshwara Temple’, which is also dedicated to Lord Shiva. It still sees many devotees and houses an eight feet high ‘shivalingam’ (sacred stone).
Another temple is the ‘Lakshmana Temple’, adjoined by four other shrines. This Vaishnavite temple is one of the finest architectural specimens of the place. The lintel over the entrance to this temple exhibits the figures of many Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The ‘Chitagupta Temple’ belonging to this group also poses a majestic sight, with brilliantly cut figures of elephants & lions. ‘Devi Jagadamaba’ is one of the most renowned temples of this group and is etched with many erotic images, like carved figures (mithuna) in various acts of lovemaking.
Eastern Group of Temples
These temples stand on the bank of the Khajur River. The ‘Parsvanatha Temple’ is the largest and most reputed of this group. This Jain temple is ornamented with sculptures that depict the mundane aspects of everyday life. It also houses an image of ‘Parsvanatha’ in the inner sanctum. It is decked with some of the most graceful figures of celestial beauties (sura-sundaris) on its different facades. Another prominent temple is the ‘Adinatha Temple’, dedicated to the Jain saint ‘Adinath’. It is richly emblazoned with lithe and delicate carvings on its three bands of sculptures.
‘Shantinatha Temple’ is another major shrine of this group and is famous for the 14 ft idol of Lord Shantinath. Miraculous happenings have always been associated with this temple. The ‘Ghantai Temple’ is another known Jain temple of the place, with a decorative frieze that depicts the 16 dreams of Mahavira’s mother and a beautiful sculpture of a Goddess on a winged Garuda. The ‘Brahma Temple’, belonging to the Eastern group, is simple in plan and is a beautiful artwork made of sandstone and granite. The ‘Hanuman Temple’ has a colossal statue of Hanuman and is another major temple of this group.
Southern Group of Temples
‘Dulah Deo’ and ‘Chaturbhuj Temple’ are two temples that are included in this group. ‘Dulah Deo’ is located about a kilometer to the south of the village of Khajuraho and half a mile to the southwest of Jain enclosures. It is also known as ‘Kunwar Math’ and is elaborately decorated with carved structures on the inner walls and three outer bands. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the inner sanctum of the temple houses a ‘shivalingam’. Though built in the same historical span and employing similar artistic lines, ‘Dulah Deo’ lacks the refinement & aesthetic sense of the temples belonging to the other groups.
‘Chaturbhuj Temple’ is located three kilometers to the south of Khajuraho, in a village called ‘Jatkari’. Two dilapidated adjoining temples now stand in the spot. One of the temples is consecrated to Shiva and stores a marble lingam. The other is a Nirandhara temple, with an 11ft image of Lord Vishnu in the Chaturbhuja (four-armed) form. It can be assigned to be belonging to a period of circa 1100. Over the lintel of the doorway, there are delicately engraved figures of various Hindu deities like Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. It is the only temple of Khajuraho that is devoid of any erotic carvings.