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Khajuraho Temples are the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Khajuraho temples represent some of the most exquisite specimens of the Hindu architecture and sculpture, internationally famous for the erotic sculptures that adorn the walls. Life in every form and mood, has been captured in stone, testifying not only to the craftsman’s artistry but also to the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs under whose rule the temples were conceived and constructed from 950-1050 AD Tour Enquiry.
Number of temples in Khajuraho :
Originally there were 85 temples at Khajuraho, out of which only 22 survived.
Architecture of the Khajuraho Temples :
The temples belong to the Nagar style – the dominant style in the north. These are more compact and are built on a raised platform . The plan includes a portico- mandap, the antechamber- ardhamandap, the sanctum sanctorum- garbhagriha and the circumambulatory path – parikrama . The most striking feature of these temples is the curvilinear shikhar – the towering pinnacle. The main shikhar is wonderfully buttressed with the many miniature shikhars which dramatically enhance the effect of soaring upwards.
The sculptores and statues have their own terminology: Apsara- heavenly nymph, beautiful dancing women. Mithuna- Kahjuraho’s most famous image, sensuously carved and erotic. Salabhanjika- female figure with tree, which together act as supporting brackets in the inner chambers of the temple. Sardula- a mythical beast part lion, part some other animal or even human.
How to Reach Khajuraho :
By Air : Regular services link Khajuraho with Delhi, Agra, and Varanasi.
By Rail : The nearest railheads are Harpalpur (94 Km) and Mahoba (61 Km). Jhansi (172 Km) is a convenient railhead for those traveling from Delhi and Chennai; Satna (117 Km), on the Mumbai-Allahabad line of the Central Railway for those coming from Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi.
By Road : Khajuraho is connected by regular buses with Satna, Harpalpur, Jhansi and Mahoba.
Places of interest around Khajuraho: The places of interest around Khajuraho are Chachai Falls (208 kms), Dhubela Museum (64 kms) . Gangau Sanctuary (34 kms) and Panna (46 kms) etc.
What to see at Khajuraho
Western Group of Temples
Kandariya Mahadeo : The most prominent structure at Khajuraho is the Kandariya Mahadeo temple, which is the largest soars 31 km high, dedicated to Lord Shiva, the sanctum enshrines a lingam( a phallic symbol, a symbol of energy, fertility and potency).
Chaunsath Yogini temple : The amorous couples are most sensuously depicted in the Chaunsath Yogini temple, the only granite temple and the earliest surviving shrine of the group (900 A.D), is dedicated to goddess Kali.
Chitragupta temple : Facing eastwards to the rising sum , Chitragupta temple is dedicated to the Sun God Surya . The image of the deity in the inner sanctum is particularly imposing; five feet high and driving a horse drawn chariot.
Vishwanath Temple : A three headed image of Brahma is enshrined in Vishwanath Temple. The approach is equally impressive, with lions flaking the northern and elephants the southern steps that lead up to it.
Lakshman Temple : The lintel over the entrance of beautiful Lakshman Temple shows the trinity of Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, with Lakshmi, Vishnu’s consort. The finely carved sanctum has a three-headed idol of Vishnu’s incarnations, Narasimha and Varaha.
Matengeswara temple : One of the oldest temple, Matengeswara temple, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has an eight feet high lingam. Tour Enquiry
Eastern Group of Temples
The temples in this group can be subdivided into two one being a cluster of Jain temples and another scattered through the small village
Parsvanath Temple : It is the largest in this group. The temple was initially dedicated to Adinath but the statue was replaced by that of Parsavanath in 1860 A.D.
Gantai temple : The Jain temple, Gantai temple, has a frieze, which depicts the 16 dreams of Mahavira’s mother and a Jain goddess on a winged Garuda.
Adinath Temple : Dedicated to the Jain saint Adinath, Adinath Temple is lavishly embellished with sculpted figures, including Yakshis. The three Hindu temples of the group are the Brahma containing a four-faced linga; the Vamana, which is adorned on its outer walls with carvings of Apsaras in a variety of sensuous attitudes; and the Javari, with a richly carved gateway and exterior sculptors.
Southern Group of Temples
This comprises only two temples. A track running south from Jain enclosures reaches the first called Duladeo Temple. It is among the latest built temples at Khajuraho, more accurate, finer and equally graceful, with figures of Mithuna (sexual intercourse) and women in various poses. The other temple is Chaturbhuj Temple which has a three meter image of Vishnu.
History of Khajuraho :
Khajuraho was once the great bustling capital of the aggressive kingdom of the Chandellas, the moon dynasty. And the legend of the origins of that dynasty could be sung as a full-throated opera full of mystery, seduction, tragedy and final triumph. The dynasty of Chandellas started as a result of a divine seduction!
Once, a mythical time ago, Hemavati, the beautiful daughter of a priest, was seen bathing in moonlit lake by Chandrama, the moon. The bright immortal descended on earth and fascinated her. But when dawn came and Chandrma (moon) had to depart , he promised the distraught Hemavati that the son born of their union would be great king and possess the Philosopher’s stone which would turn base metals into gold and he will built a castle on the Kalinger mountain. Chandrma also told her that when your son become 16 years of age then ask him to perform a Yagna (ritual) that will again make you pious.
All that he had promised came true. Their son, Chandravarman was born, and at the age of 16, he saw both a tiger and a lion with a stone. He then founded the great Chandella dynasty, which ruled this area for more than a hundred years.
Chandravarman, performed the Yagna for her mother and built 25 temples. And that place became the Mehoba (the Moon’s festive place) and founded his capital there. Chandellas grew so powerful that they established themselves as independent rulers under Yasovarman and who is also Known as Lakshvarman. Lakshvarman celebrated his self-acquired kingship in the way that many rulers have done before him all over the world: he built a mighty shrine and thus started the great era of temple building in Khajuraho. Tour Enquiry
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