Madhya Pradesh is one such state of India which is having a rich history. It acts as a home to some of the best monuments representative of various historic periods. A journey to Khajuraho Temples with erotic architecture, is an experience in itself. In fact, Khajuraho is like a city of temples with erotic architecture. Being one of the popular world heritage sites located in Central India the temples of Khajuraho have many stories to share with the people who love traveling and learning the history of monuments of importance. The Khajuraho temples are a perfect representation of human imagination which is artistic and creative in every sense. The brilliant architectural work and representation of eroticism will make you fall in love with the history of the temples of Khajuraho.
History of Khajuraho Temples
If you look into the pages of history you will find the names of the temples of Khajuraho during the time of Abu Rihan al Biruni in AD 1022. Ibn Batuta, the ancient Arab traveler who came here in 1335 AD have mentioned the presence of these temples in his writings. At one time, there were a total of 85 temples in Khajuraho, but only 25 of them still exist. The Indian Government is conducting serious preservation work to maintain the architecture of these temples. Today Khajuraho Temples are spread over an area of 9 sq miles, with around 25 temples.
Khajuraho – the capital of Chandella dynasty
Khajuraho looks just like a city of temples where you will see erotic architecture. But historical records point to the fact that Khajuraho used to be a religious capital of the Chandella Dynasty. The rulers of this dynasty made every possible effort to keep politics away from all religious sentiments and activities. Just for this reason, the kings established the capital at Mahoba which is located at a distance of 60km. The Chandella rulers built 8 gates, which were used for entry and exit. The interesting part is that for every gate there were 2 palm trees which we Indians call as Khajur tree. Khajuraho got its name from Khajur-vatika, the palm trees, which grew here, and later the place became popular as Khajuraho.
Khajuraho Temples Rediscovered
To the common tourist, a tour of Khajuraho is a tour of a city of temples with erotic architecture. Khajuraho During the period AD 1150 Khajuraho Temples faced huge destruction and that was because of the fall of the Chandella dynasty. Forest covered much of the land around Khajuraho Temples during the 13th to 18th centuries, and these temples were lost and forgotten. But when T.S. Burt, the British engineer came here, he rediscovered these temples.
How to tour Khajuraho Temples
The history of this city is very rich in culture, creativity, and exceptional architectural work. Apart from the temples here, you can visit the Raneh Falls and Ken Gharial Sanctuary. You can visit the temples on your own by hiring a Tempo Traveller if you are here in a group or you can hire a taxi. If you are looking for a good tour package to Khajuraho then we can say that it will be ideal to bank on the notable tour and travel agencies that organized such tours with all major facilities for solo and group travelers. If you want to go deep into the roots of the history of Khajuraho then we suggest you hire a local guide who will explain the true story behind the construction of each temple and the erotic figures sculptured on the temple walls.
Arts and sculptures at Khajuraho Temples
For most tourists, visiting Khajuraho is like entering a city of temples which have become famous for their erotic sculptures. But you will be amazed to know that these erotic sculptures are only 10% of the total sculptures in these temples. Nymphs, apsaras, and erotic couples are shown in various erotic positions. But the majority of these sculptures show everyday life in that era. These sculptures also portray mythical stories and the Hindu ways of life through these sculptures. Intricate carvings and inscriptions can also be seen on the shikhara (domes), walls, pillars, ceilings, halls and other sections.
Architecture of Khajuraho Temples
Khajuraho Group of Temples are the finest examples of Hindu architecture. The architects and sculptors of that era used the North Indian architectural style to build these temples. The uses of symmetry, geometrical patterns, Hindu motifs, and vastu shastra, are outstanding in their structure and form. From the shikhara to the mandapa and the garbhagruha, every part of these temples is a brilliant portrayal of the superstructure designs of the temple complex. Every temple has walking paths on which tourists can circumambulate the deities. This circumambulation process is called pradakshina in Hindu religion. It is said that the temple Shikhara is designed in such a way that they are a pure representation of Meru, the celestial mountain of the gods in the Hindu religion.
Famous Temples in Khajuraho
Each temple in the Khajuraho Temple complex is divided into these three groups, which are shown below.
Western Group of Temples
The temples in the Western Group of Temples are closer to the ASI Museum. The main attraction in these temples is the Kandariya Mahadev Temple, which is the best temple for architecture and carvings. The other temples include temples of Lakshmana, Matangeshwara, Varaha, Chitragupta, Nandi, Vishwanatha, Parvati, and Chausath Yoginis.
Eastern Group of Temples
These include the Vamana Temple, Brahma Temple, Javari Temple, and the Jain temples like Parsvanatha Temple, Adinatha Temple, Santinatha Temple, and Chantai Temple.
Southern Group of Temples
These include Duladeo Temple, Chaturbhuja Temple, and Beejmandala Temple.
Cultural events at Khajuraho
- Khajuraho Dance Festival takes place in February every year. Famous Indian and international artists perform classical Indian dances like Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, and others.
- Khajuraho Light and Sound Show takes place in the evening time every day. Authorities show it in both English and Hindi languages.
- Kandariya Mahadev Temple and some other temples are beautifully decorated during Mahashivratri festival.
Places to visit near Khajuraho
During your trip to Khajuraho Temples, you should also make it a point to include the below tourist attractions in your itinerary.
- Panna National Park
- Raneh Falls
- Pandav Falls
- Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum
- Jain Museum
- Ajaygarh Fort
- Gangau Dam
- Kalinjar Fort
Things to do in Khajuraho
You will be amazed to know that you can do much more in Khajuraho than you could have imagined. Take a look at all the exciting things you can do on your trip to Khajuraho Temples.
- Take a temple tour of the Khajuraho Group of Temples
- Wonder at the erotic sculptures and incredible temple architecture of Khajuraho Temples
- Enjoy the Sound and Light Show at Khajuraho Temples
- Spot a Bengal Tiger at Panna National Park and enjoy the jungle safari
- Enjoy the traditional Indian dances from acclaimed dancers at the Khajuraho Dance Festival
- Explore the arts, crafts, and folk handicrafts at the State Museum of Tribal and Folk Art
- Enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of Raneh Falls
- Feel awed by the striking wonder of the rugged cliffs and canyons at Raneh Falls
- Take a walking tour of the town of Khajuraho
- View the gorgeous beauty of Pandav Falls
- Walk in the ruins of Ajaigarh Fort
- Enjoy the mouth-watering street food of Khajuraho
- Soothe yourself with an Ayurvedic Spa therapy at Ayur Arogyam
- Revisit history by taking a walk in the ruins of Mastani Mahal
- Visit Orchha by taking a day trip and wondering at the marvelous palaces and temples
- Spot a Gharial in the river at Ken Gharial Sanctuary
- Enjoy the scenic views of Beni Sagar Dam
When to visit Khajuraho
Summer season in Khajuraho is very hot and the scorching heat of the sun makes it unbearable for tourists. Winter season is a very pleasant season to visit Khajuraho. You can visit the temples in the cool climate and the nights are not very chilling. You can make a tour plan of Khajuraho from September to March.
How to visit Khajuraho
You will find it very easy to visit Khajuraho Temple by road, railway, or flight. You can take various ways shown below to reach Khajuraho Temples.
- Rail: You can take the Khajuraho-Hazrat Nizamuddin Express from Delhi to reach Khajuraho. Mahoba (75 km) and Jhansi (230 km) are the other two railway stations near Khajuraho.
- Flight: There are direct flights from Delhi and Varanasi to Khajuraho Airport. But the main airport near Khajuraho is Lucknow International Airport.
- Road: Jhansi is a very convenient stop from where you can take a cab and reach Khajuraho. Orchha, Chitrakoot, Katni, Bandhavgarh, Satna, Bhopal, and Gwalior are some other cities from where you can get a cab to reach Khajuraho.
You will need 1 or 2 days to visit Khajuraho and nearby places.
Currently, Matangeshwara Temple is the only temple in Khajuraho where authorities allow puja and prayers.
Yes, you can. The authorities do not allow videography. ASI Museum does not allow photography.
It is therefore beyond any doubt that Khajuraho Temples are one of the finest Hindu temples in India. A journey to Khajuraho Temples is like revising history. Khajuraho is like a big city of temples with erotic architecture. The artisans and sculptors of that bygone era have shown an exceptional art and workmanship with the sculptures and carvings when they worked on the orders of the Chandella rulers. You should visit Khajuraho Temple once in your lifetime to see the glorious era of ancient Indian architecture and Vastu shastra sciences. It is no wonder that UNESCO has included Khajuraho Group of Temples among the finest temple complexes in India.