India Guide

Khajuraho India Travel Guide The Temples of Khajuraho

Khajuraho India Travel Guide The Temples of Khajuraho

Khajuraho, made famous for its temples, is in a relatively small area of Madhya Pradesh. The Khajuraho complex of temples remains unique against the other temple architecture of India making it a place high on tourist lists. They are internationally renowned for their sculptures and the artistry that went into the construction of such temples. Containing the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, Khajuraho is an architectural sanctuary.

Khajuraho


In a hundred year period 85 temples were constructed in the area, quite amazing considering the techniques that were used. The exterior of the temples show a storyboard of life through gods and goddesses, warriors to mythological animals. While a prominent depiction is that of women and sex, one must look beyond the illustration and truly admire the magnificently created stone carvings that appear to bring to life the figures within them.

There are three sections of temples at Khajuraho with the western group the most fascinating and of course, the only one you have to pay for, but well worth it. Here you will find the largest of the temples, the Kandariya Mahadev, representing the climax of Chandelan architecture. At a good 30m in height, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Several hundred statues embrace the stone including the well documented, headstand position. Make sure you stay for the sound and light show at the Western group from 6.30pm. This and the other sections have many other temples well worth wondering through, all intriguingly decorated.

The history behind the creators of Khajuraho is rather interesting with the legend claiming its descent from the moon. It is said that the beautiful daughter of a Brahmin priest give birth to a child by the moon god. This half human, half god son was taken by his mother to the dense forest to escape the harassment by the town. The boy later came to found the Chandela dynasty and became ruler. After a supposed visitation from his mother in a dream who told Chandravarman to build temples to reveal human passions and bring the realisation of the emptiness of human desire to life, he started construction. Beyond Chandravarman’s rule, other rulers added their own temple additions to the complex.

Since then, twenty two have survived the destruction of time, allowing tourists to view the incredible art. You will notice that erotic art only appears on the exterior walls and are not portrayed on the inside or near the deities. This signifies that one must leave behind their sexual desires when entering the temple.

To get to Khajuraho is relatively easy with its own airport that links it with main cities such as Delhi and Agra. You can also travel in and out by rail (remembering to purchase your tickets from the bus station beforehand) or alternatively you can travel by bus that regularly link Khajuraho with places like Satna, Jhansi and Mahoba.

Finding accommodation isn’t hard with many hotels situated next to the temple complex and restaurants and shops also at the entrances. With temperatures reaching highs of 45°C in the thick of summer, the best time to travel here is between October and March.