Khajuraho ranks the highest amongst the myriad temples in India in terms of the sheer brilliance of architecture. Nearly a thousand years ago, under the patronage and supervision of the Chandela Rajput kings, 85 magnificent temples were built in a complex. Unfortunately, the ravages of time have left only 22 intact. The remaining 22 temples stand erect as a testament to the skills and creative inspiration of the architects, sculptors, artisans and workers whose efforts resulted in one of the most incredible temple architectures ever seen. The beautiful temples are an ode to creativity and joy. They are the ultimate example of the spiritual fusion of man and God. Khajuraho is a symbol of the Indian medieval heritage. It reflects the spiritualism of not only Hindus but also of Jains. The ancient walls of the temples are a journey into erotica with their incredibly stunning and intricate carvings. However, erotica comprises only a tenth of the sculptures found in Khajuraho. There may be many theories as to the presence of the erotic carvings. However, the fact remains, that the skills of the sculptors were supreme. This fascinating complex of temples has found a place in the World Heritage List with three of its temple groups representing it in the list.
How to Get There
By Air :
Khajuraho Airport is the nearest airport about 2 Km south of Khajuraho city, which links to other major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Bhopal, and Mumbai.
By Rail :
Khajuraho has a railway station, but only a few trains halt there. The next nearest railway station to Khajuraho is Mahoba which is located at 63 km from Khajuraho.
By Road :
Khajuraho city is very well connected by Jhansi, Orchha, Satna, Katni, Bandhavgarh, Chattarpur etc. Deluxe AC, Non AC, Volvo buses and various others sets of buses are available from Khajuraho to various other major stations. Distance from places; Gwalior: 279 Km, Bandhavgarh National park: 282 km, Jabalpur: 274 km, Satna: 115 km, Jhansi: 175 km, Panna National Park: 66 km
Western Group of Temples
Some of the most important temples are located in the western side of the Khajuraho temple complex. This Western group has been identified as the home of some of the most fascinating temples as well.
This incredible temple is one of the largest in Khajuraho. The Lakshmana Temple is considered to among the earliest temples in the complex to be constructed. The facades of its platform are covered with some fascinating sculptures that depict scenes of a royal nature such as regal processions. The sculptures of the temple itself are just as interesting. The sculptures will start moving as if a movie showcasing the various scenes when you move around the temple in a clockwise direction. The temple itself is dedicated to the brother of Lord Ram, Lakshmana.
Kandariya Mahadev Temple:
The largest temple in Khajuraho is also the most magnificent. It is also rather fitting that its residing deity is Lord Shiva, the Mahadev. The presence of the smaller Devi Jagdambi Temple on the same platform accentuates the grandeur of the larger Kandariya Mahadev Temple. According to various sources, the architect of the temple was so awed by its magnificence that he never attempted to build temple grander or bigger than this one. The massive proportions of the temple along with its incredible attention to the details in the sculptures have certainly made it unique even in Khajuraho.
Devi Jagdambi Temple:
Although smaller in scope compared to the magnificent Kandariya Mahadev Temple that lies on the same platform, the Devi Jagdambi Temple is still fascinating. It is home to some of the loveliest sculptures in the entire temple complex of Khajuraho. Stunning small sculptures cover the niches in the temple.
Constructed from coarse granite, the Chaunsat Yogini Temple is one of the oldest in Khajuraho. The architecture is exceptional even in Khajuraho. There were once 67 seven shines inside the temple. This fact has given rise to the name of the temple. Unfortunately, only 35 of those shrines have survived the passage of time. Each of these shrines is plainly decorated. The shrines themselves are quite basic with a simple shikhara crowning each of them. The incredible basic design and execution of the structure makes it rather unique in Khajuraho.
Eastern Group of Temples
The western group of temples in Khajuraho is home to Hindu temples only. In the eastern group, you will come face to face with some spectacular Jain temples. The presence of these Jain temples alongside Hindu ones just goes to show how easy it is to achieve harmony between religions.
The biggest Jain temple in the Khajuraho complex is the Parsvanath Temple. It is also the most incredible Jain temple. The walls of the temple are covered with fascinating sculptures that depict Hindu gods alongside Jain beliefs. The intricate carvings simply showcase the incredible talent of the sculptors of the age.
One of the most incredible Jain temples in Khajuraho, the Ghantai temple is going to astonish you with its frieze. This amazing frieze shows the 16 dreams that the mother of Lord Mahavira had. Alongside the dreams, a multi-armed Jain goddess is depicted mounted on a Garuda.
Adianth, the first Tirthankara of the Jain religion, is honored at the Adinath Temple. As expected from the sculptors of Khajuraho, the structure is a suitably amazing one. You can just while away the time looking at the various detailed carvings on the facades of the temple.
The massive idol of the monkey god, Lord Hanuman, now lies in ruins. However, the splendor of the sculpture has not been lost to the ages. The temple is among the oldest in Khajuraho.
Also one of the most ancient temples in Khajuraho, the Brahma temple honors, the four-headed god, Lord Brahma. Due to its age, the temple is a very simple one. Its structure suggests it was one of the initial temples to be constructed.
The beautiful Vamana Temple offers a spectacular view of the surrounding fields. These fields provide a fascinating background which changes with the season. A view of the Vamana Temple with the golden harvest bowing under the wind is a mesmerizing sight. Even during the summer months, the glorious green of the ripening crop provides a stunning background to enjoy the architecture of the temple. The porch of the temple may have collapsed, yet, the temple still retains its former magnificence.
The Javari Temple rises in the middle of a field. The diminutive size of the temple is unable to take away the beauty of the structure. Bands of fantastic sculptures line the walls of the temple. However, the sculptures are considerably shorter than the other ones at Khajuraho. Yet, they are incredibly detailed which just goes on to show how skillful the sculptors were.
Southern Group of Temples
The southern group of temples in Khajuraho has lost much of its former glory. Only a couple of temples are left in this group reminding you of the glory that Khajuraho commanded at its peak.
Time has not been kind to the Dulhadev Temple. It has been damaged quite severely but still manages to stand up with pride. You have to admire the tenacity of the temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple depicts him as the divine bridegroom with his wife, Lady Parvati. The marvelous sculptures showcase the loving couple.
The ruins of the Beejamandal Temple are like a mysterious gateway to an ancient world. The temple is yet to be explored completely making its enigma a reality. In spite of its condition, the temple is magnificent to look at with its fascinating architectural style.
Chattarbhuj Temple or the Jatkari Temple:
The Chattarbhuj Temple is going to surprise you with its orientation. It faces the west and you should take the effort to visit it at the day end. The architecture of the temple is fascinating but what makes this temple unique is the absence of any erotic sculptures. Instead, you will be stunned on laying your eyes on the elegant and enormous idol inside the temple. As the sun sets, its golden rays enter the temple and bathe the idol in its warmth. You will almost feel that the idol of Vishnu is beating with life ready to shower you with his bountiful blessings.
Light and Sound Show at Western Group of Temples
As the day turns to night, multicolor lights sweep the western group of temples in Khajuraho. The soothing melodies of Indian classical music enchant you as the show begins. As the lights and music overpower your senses, the rich baritone of Amitabh Bachchan takes you on a journey through the history of Khajuraho.