Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho Temples – A World Heritage

It is my second visit after 44 years to Khajuraho. last time I visited this place was when I was 16 years old and probably I alone traveled from my uncles house in Chhatarpur to Khajuraho (60 KM). The only faded memory was of the Nandi statue in all these 45 years. During these years it seems the place has been given adequate attention to make it cleaner and today whole city looks to me like a resort. So clean.

The Khajuraho temples are 1100 years old and built by Chandel Rajput kingdom. These are scattered in 3 groups (Western, Eastern, and Southern) in range of 4 KM. Though Khajuraho was under Muslim rule from 1300-1800AD the temples are still preserved as these were buried in earth for long time, but many were destroyed by them. Chandels left this place in 14th century and since then these temples went in oblivion.

We see that non erotic theme is more prominent here. Erotic ones comprise only 10%. So the viewer has to closely notice them. The reason articulated behind erotic sculptures are such as to deviate public from entering ascetic to “गृहस्थ” life. Also in Sanaatan Hindu religion ” अर्थ, धर्म, काम और मोक्ष ” is part of life. So these temples in Khajuraho depict the complete reality of human life  accepting these without any guilt. Also it was the period when Siddha cult was prevailing in almost all North half of India and they believed in attaining मोक्ष from “Sambhog”. Just note Acharya Rajneesh also preached this in modern India and even in whole world.

 

Time to spend 8 hours. Better is 1 night and 2 days.

Our Itinerary

Now it is December.2018. The climate is ideal but still we can feel some heat of sun. We have a marriage function at Lucknow and therefore plan our 3 nights and 4 full days itinerary to cover these popular places from Dec,17 to Dec,22, 2018.

Our Itinerary by train

Day -1

We start at 12.30 PM from hotel to visit Eastern and Southern group of temples by auto. It takes 4 hours and auto  drops us at Western group of temples at 5 PM to see the Light and sound show starting 6.30 to 7,30 PM (English). Auto charged us only Rs.500 for this half day.

Day 2

Since to know details of  Western group of temples needs minimum of 5 hours we plan this day only for this group. The guide settled for Rs. 1600 clubbing another family with us. First he takes us to giant Varah temple.

      Varah Temple (Vishnu incarnation in form of boar to save earth)

Oldest temple in the premises of Western. Incarnation of Vishnu in form of boar to save earth by bringing it back from “patal lok”. Since the earth was very dirty so Vishnu had to take incarnation  of boar to eat all wastes of earth. Saraswati on the snout of the Varaha reflects that every sound seeks blessing of Devi Saraswati {Goddess of speech,learning and knowledge).

Chandels constructed this icon with altar in front to declare them selves as “Bhupati”(God of earth). There are images of 8 grahas, dadhi kumar, Matr devi, devoteel, Seshnag serpant, demon gods. Note that it is the only temple west facing indicating as it is not for pooja. Even though I saw people paying homage to this icon.

Lakshaman Temple (Western Group, dedicated to Lord Vishnu)

Built by Yashovarman of Chandel dynasty in 930-50 AD.

Lakshmana Temple from front. My photo with a Romanian tourist

Dancing Ganesha

Vishnu- He is always in blessing hand (up) state.

Shiva- He is always in giving state of hand (down).

God Surya- Recognized with long shoes. He is accompanied by Sandhya (signifies that in company of sun it became dark, and Chhaya is her other name..

Goddess Shakti

Graha Mercury- Book in hand signifies business khata.

Jupiter- On inspection flanked by officers

Kuber- identied by a mongoose in bottom

One of the Erotic sculpture in this temple

Erotic sculpture. As per guide these are getting Siddhi from Bhoga. There are several logics as to why Chandels made so many erotics here.

Kandariya Mahadeo temple (Western Group, dedicated to Lord Vishnu)

Built by Vidyadhara of Chandel dynasty in 1025-50 AD.

The carvings and Frienzes of devils, Gods, elephants, horses, warriors, hunters, acrobats, musicians, dancers, devotees, and erotic carvings. There are 7 mother goddesses such as Kaali, Indrani, Varahi, Vaishnavi, Karthikeya, Maheshwari and Brahmani.

With guide at Kandariya Mahadeo temple back side

One of the 7 mother goddesses on outer wall of the temple

See left side is winning army marching with high morale after war while front warriors lost and going limping

Elephant army

Cavalry of horses

Warriors with bow and arrow

People performing daily chores

Carrying a sick man

One of the erotic sculpture at this temple

Vishwanath temple (Western Group, dedicated to Lord Shiva)

Constructed by king Dhanga in 1002 AD..

Vishwanath Temple

Top of temple. All temples have this structure at top.

Nandi- Chariot of Lord Shiva in front of Vishwanath Temple. This is the only Icon which I remembered since childhood until I visited after 45 years again.

See how much is the raised platform of the temple.

 

Vishwanath Temple- Outer wall carvings.

One of the erotics on wall of the temple- Depicting yoga from Bhoga

Jagdambi temple (Western Group, dedicated to Kuldevi of Chandela kingdom)

This enshrines the kuldevi temple of Chandel kingdom. This also has erotic sculpture on its wall. It was built in early 11th century.

Jagdambi temple- All temples are on high raised platform.

Wall on Jagdambi teple

Jagdambi temple. By side of it is Chausath Yogini Temple

 Dulha Dev temple (Southern Group, dedicated to Lord Shiva)

Built by Madanvarman in 1100-50 AD.  As per guide it means holy bridegroom – reference to Lord Shiva.

Dulha Dev Temple – The apsara and ornamented figures are the striking features. The temple enshrines a small Shiva Linga.

Ghantai temple – Built in late 19th century. Depicting the 16 dreams of the mother of Lord Mahavira though this temple is now in dilapidated stage.

Chaturbhuj temple (Southern Group, dedicated to four armed Vishnu)

Built by Kirttivarman in early 11th century AD.

Chaturbhuj temple- Dedicated to four armed lord Vishnu. The only temple devoid of erotic sculptures.

Beejamandal  temple (Southern Group, dedicated to unknown yet)

Beeja Mandal Temple being excavated since 2004

Different parts of Beeja mandal temple excavated

Bramha temple (Eastern Group)

Built in 900 AD. It is on bank of Ninora Tal which was almost dried when I saw this. It is mis-called as Bramha temple as people confuse it with four headed Shiv linga. It was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Bramha Temple- built in 900 AD.

Adinath, Parshwanath and Shantinath  temple (Eastern Group, dedicated to Jain Teerthankaras)

Adinath Temple – constructed late 11th century

Shantinath Temple- Enshrines Jain teerthankar Rishabh Dev

 

Parshwanath Temple – constructed in mid 10th century. Front is added much later in 19th century.

Excursions

  • Panna National Park- 22 KM. Safari is from 10.30 to 2 and from 2.30 to 5 PM. You need to book the canter after reaching there or from your hotel.
  • Nachna- 40 km from Panna was a famous city of the Nagvakataka and Gupta empire.
  • Orchha – Go to Jhansi. From there it is 16 KM by road.
  • Raneh Falls (19 km)
  • Ken Nature Trail – A 22 km , close to Raneh falls, is a jungle track, a natural beauty and imparts a knowledge of the surroundings.
  • Ajaygarh Fort- located 80 km away from Khajuraho, It was once the capital of the Chandels during their decline.
  • Kalinjar – A historical fort.- You need to go to Attara railway station. From there 22 KM by bus.
  • Pandav Falls (34 km)
  • Majhgavan Diamond Mines (56 km) – India’s only working diamond mines.
  • Benisagar Dam (10 km)
  • Ranguan Dam (25 km)
  • Gangau Dam and Sanctuary (34 km)
  • Jhansi – 175 KM

Travelers

Travelers

Epilogue

Journey to India is incomplete without seeing these temples. This is most visited places of India after Taj Mahal. It is still in veil of mystery as written records are rarely written about ancient dynasties of India. These temples give the message that ” अर्थ, धर्म, काम और मोक्ष ” is part of life and we should accept this without guilt.

 

 

Comparatively today lesser known among Indians, this place was once the capital of Bundela Rajput
This glorious history  is just 3 generations ago. This is the story of not independence
A two hundred years historical observatory due to which Ujjain enjoyed a position of considerable
April,2017 Sanchi a relic commissioned by Ashoka whose wife Devi belonged to Vidisha which is
Today Ujjain abounds in temples and traditions and legends are still even today attached to

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Categories: Madhya Pradesh

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