Khajuraho One of the top destination in India
The Khajuraho temples were built in the short span of a hundred years, from 950-1050AD in a truly inspired burst of creativity. Of the 85 original temples, 22 have survived till today to constitute one of the world’s great artistic wonders. The world renowned temple town of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh designated by UNESCO as a world heritage site for its archaeological and historical monuments. The Creators of Khajuraho claimed descent from the moon and the legend behind the founding of this great dynasty and the temples is a fascinating one. Hemwati, the lovely young daughter of a Brahmin priest, was seduced by the moon-god while bathing in a forest pool. The child born of this union was Chandravarman, founder of the Chandela dynasty.
Brought up in the forests by his mother who sought refuge from a sensorious society, Chandravarman, when established as a ruler, had a dream-visitation from his mother. It is said that she implored him to build temples that would reveal human passions, and in doing so, bring about a realization of the emptiness of human desire. It is also possible that the Chandelas were followers of the Tantric cult, which believes that gratification of earthly desires is a step towards attaining the infinite liberation of nirvana.
Lets Explore Khajuraho – Sightseeing in Khajuraho :
Some of the tourist attractions of Khajuraho are:
Adinath Temple Dedicated to the Jain saint, Adinath, the temple is lavishly embellished with sculpted figures, including yakshis. The three Hindu temples of the group are the Brahma, containing a four faced lingam, the Vamana, which is adorned on its outer walls with carving of apsaras in a variety of sensuous attitudes; and the javari, with a richly-carved gateway and exterior sculptures. The sanctum of the temple is quite simple and the Vedika (alter) seems to have been built at some later stage. The roof has been built with a Padmashila (lotus like stone giving much beauty to the sanctum. To the sculpture of this temple, the craftsmen have been marvelously successful in imparting expression to various emotions in stone. On the southern wall, there is a figure of a women, who has received a letter with sad news. The letter received is clearly visible in one f her hands and the grief caused by the message finds expression in her face and the other hand. On the outer wall of the temple, near about the starting point of Parikrama (circumambulation) in themiddle row of figures, there exists a remarkable Apsara image of a female dancer.
The smartness of her body and te restlessness of her feet, the vigorous, dynamic movement all have been so aptly carved out. The figure is so attractive that one is reminded of the famous dancer Nilanjana in the court of Lord Adinath. Among these charming figures of Apsaras, the figures of Shashan devis, Yakshines and Vidyadevis at their appropriate places add much charm, meaning and symbolism. Of these Apsara figures, the one looking into the mirror and applying collyrium in the eyes and the other that of a mother kissing her child are remarkable for their exquisite finish and artistic merits. Nayikas, Kaminis, Bhaminis, the various categories of women are depicted in a very dignified and graceful manner and their workmanship is very good.
Parsvanath Temple The group’s largest Jain temple and exquisite in detail. The sculptures on the northern outer wall are particularly noteworthy . The themes depict, in charming detail, everyday activity. Within, a throne faces the bull emblem of the first tirhankara, Adinath. The Parsvanath image was installed in 1860.
Ghantai Temple This Jain temple has a frieze which depicts the 16 dreams of Mahavira’s mother, and a jain goddess on a winged Garuda.
Hanuman Temple One comes across the Hanuman temple while proceeding from the Western group towards the Khajuraho village. There is a colossal statue of Hanuman. “The monkey God” about 8 ft high in the temple which is now in ruins. There is a very ancient inscription on the pedestal dating back to the time of Maharaja Harsh, 922 A.D. This is the oldest structure discovered here so far and is very interesting from the archaeological point of view.
Brahma Temple On the bank of Khajur Sagar or Ninora Tal near the village stands the Brahma Temple. It is simple in plan and design with its body in granite stone and shikhare and made in sandstone. in the sanctum is now enshrined a four faced image of Brahma, hence it is called the Brahma temple. Originally this temple must have been dedicated to Lord Vishnu, as it is clear from his figure carved centrally on the lintel of the sanctum doorway.
Chitragupta Temple The largest, most typical Khajuraho temple, it soars 31 m high. Dedicated to shiva, the sanctum sanctorum enshrines a lingam. The main shrine is exquisitely carved and features, in delicate detail, gods, goddesses, celestial maidens and lovers. Particularly noteworthy are the entrance arch, the ceilings and pillars of the interior compartments.
Chaunsat Yogini The only granite temple and the earliest surviving shrine of the group (900 A.D.), it is dedicated to Kali. Only 35 of the orginal 65 shrines remain. Another Kali temple (originally dedicated to Vishnu) is the Devi Jagdambe Temple.
Lakshamana Temple The lintel over the entrance of this beautiful Vaishnavite temple shows the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva with Lakshmi, Vishnu’s idol of Vishnu’s incarnations, Narasimha and Varaha. This boar incarnation also appears in a nine-feet high statue at the Varaha Temple.
Dulah Deo Temple This finest temple at Khajuraho also called Kunwar Math offers some of the choicest sculptures especially the Shalbhanjika. It is a fully developed temple measuring 21 m by 12 m (69 ft. by 40 ft.) with the ardhamanadap, the mandapa, the maha mandapa, the antarala and the garbha griha with no circumambulatory passage. The ceiling of the maha mandap is a series of diminishing circles of overlapping stones. There is an image of Shiva on the lintel of the entrance to the garbh griha indicating that the temple was originally dedicated to Lord Shiva
The sanctum today enshrines a shivlingam. The superstructure is in the traditional style, with several subsidiary shikhars clustering around the central shikhara. in this temple also, apart from the othr various sculptures inside the temple, the outer walls of the temple are decorated with three bands f sculptres. “The masters of Dulhadeo temple worked on a high level of inspiration”, remarks Stella Kramrisch. “indeed, whether oe examines the ‘superb grace and elegance’ of the Shalbhanjika-bracket capitals of the mahamandap, or the glory of the breathing bodies of apsaras on the pilasters of the ardhamandapa or again the squat forms of the living four armed ganas which provide the contrasting elements the ugly against the lovely-the masterly touch is ever apparent. The outside ornamentation is equally rich. Specially noteworthy are the vidyadhar which occupy the highest of the three bands of sculptures. The images of these wizards are carved flying singly and flying in pairs with their consorts. They carry weapons and garlands, brandish swords, play on musical instruments, carry dance in their hands, flight in their legs, and sentiment of detachment on their faces. Their form is of the purest medieval cast, on the high level of serenity”. A few extra ordinary erotic couples(mathunas), including one or two of the most embarrassing variety, provide that essential ingredient present in Khajuraho’s greater temples tha putting stamp of excellence on this temple.
Chatturbhuja Temple Three kilometers south of Khajuraho, in the village of Jatkari lie the two temples now in ruins. One of them is a Shiva temple enshrining a marble ligham. The other one enshries a 3.3 m (11 ft.) high image of Chatturbhuja (Vishnu) in the sanctum with an expression of transcendental calm and bliss on its face.
Over the lintel of the doorway are carved exquisite figures of Brahama, Vishnu and Mahesh. It is a nirandhara temple of a modes tsize similar to Javeri in plan and design consisting of a sanctum, mandapa and an entrance porch. The shikhara of the temple is plain. There are three bands of scuolptures on the jangha of the temple. The temple is an earlier and smaller version of the Duladeo temple and can be assigned to circa 1100.