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Khajuraho temple complex

16 speedy facts about Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho Temples are a group of Hindu and Jain temples located in the town of Khajuraho, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Khajuraho Location

1. The Khajuraho Temple is situated in Chhatarpur district, Madhya Pradesh, India. The temples are known for their intricate carvings and sculptures, which depict various aspects of life, including gods, goddesses, mythical beings, celestial beings, dancers, musicians, and animals.

2. The Temple is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in India. They were built between 950 and 1050 AD by the rulers of the Chandela dynasty. The temples of Khajuraho were built during the reign of the Chandela dynasty, which was a Rajput dynasty that ruled in the central region of India.

3. The name of Khajuraho Temple is derived from ancient Sanskrit (kharjura, खर्जूर means date palm, and vahaka, वाहक means “one who carries” or bearer). Khajuraho was once the capital of the Chandela dynasty but is now a small town in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh.

Style

4. The Temple is famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and a few erotic sculptures. The carvings also include scenes of eroticism, which has led to temples becoming famous for their explicit depictions of sexual acts. However, it is believed that these carvings are symbolic representations of divine love, fertility, and auspiciousness.

5. The Temple is dedicated to two religions, “Hinduism and Jainism”. Originally, there were around 85 temples in Khajuraho, but only about 25 temples survive today. The temples were mainly built using sandstone, which was locally available and easily carved into intricate designs.

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6. The Temple is located near a small town also known as Khajuraho. The temples are divided into three main groups: the western group, which is the most famous and well-preserved; the eastern group; and the southern group.

Khajuraho group of temples art panting

7. The Temple is also linked by the Indian Railways service, with the railway station located  approximately six kilometers from the entrance to the monuments. he largest and most well-known temple in Khajuraho is the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

8. The Temple was built between 885 CE and 1000 CE. UNESCO has designated the Khajuraho Group of Monuments as a World Heritage Site, recognizing its cultural and historical significance. The carvings on the temples depict not only Hindu gods and goddesses but also scenes from everyday life, mythical creatures, and various aspects of nature

Details

9. The Temple was built during the rule of the Chandela dynasty. The temples attract a large number of tourists and are popular for their annual Khajuraho Dance Festival, where various classical dance forms are showcased against the backdrop of the temples.

10. Khajuraho Temple is totally decorated with a profusion of sculptures with intricate details,  symbolism and expressiveness of ancient Indian art. Khajuraho temples are not just a significant religious site, but they also serve as a testament to the rich and artistic heritage of ancient India.

Temple in ruins in Khajuraho

11. The Temple is a group of monuments which consists different styles of temples,  sculptures, and monuments. There are three main categories of the carvings – celestial beings, earthly beings, and animal forms. Each category has its own symbolism and significance.

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12. When Temple (group of monuments) was built it had 85 temples which was spread over  20 square kilometers.  The erotic sculptures, which are often highlighted, constitute only a small portion of the overall carvings in the temples. They are believed to be representations of passion, love, and fertility.

Trivia

13. Bhand Deva Temple in Rajasthan was built in the style of the monuments and is often  referred to as “Little Khajuraho”. The temples were largely abandoned and forgotten after the decline of the Chandela dynasty in the 13th century. It was rediscovered by British surveyor T.S. Burt in 1838.

14. The Temple reflects the ancient Hindu tradition of building temples where gods love to pray. Many of the temples were in a state of disrepair and covered with vegetation. Extensive restoration work was carried out in the 20th century to preserve and protect the temples.

15. Khajuraho Temple follow a grid geometrical design called vastu-purusha-mandala. This design plan  has three important components – Mandala means circle, Purusha is universal essence at the core of  Hindu tradition, while Vastu means the dwelling structure.

16. The Khajuraho Dance Festival, held annually in February, attracts renowned classical dancers from all over India who perform against the backdrop of the temples, adding to the cultural vibrancy of the site.

Text by Ashutosh Kumar 

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