The Chandela dynasty built a group of Hindu and Jain temples in Khajuraho, a small town located in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, a state in central India, between the 10th and 12th centuries. These temples feature intricate carvings and sculptures that depict various aspects of life, including daily activities, divine beings, and erotic scenes. The Khajuraho temples, which are considered some of the finest examples of Indian temple architecture and art, have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town attracts visitors from all over the world and is a popular tourist destination in India.
Table of Contents
- About Khajuraho
- Things to do in Khajuraho
- How to Plan a trip to Khajuraho Temple
- Places to stay in Khajuraho
About Khajuraho Temple
Probably one of the most famous heritage sites in India, the Khajuraho Group of Monuments in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh gained popularity due to the erotic sculptures and the nagara-style architectural symbolism. Khajuraho temple sculptures are intricately carved depicting various values of human life.
These temples were built by the rulers of the Chandela Dynasty between AD 900 and 1130. In fact, it is believed that every Chandela ruler has built at least one Khajuraho temple in his lifetime. Hence, building these temples was more of a tradition of Chandela rulers. These temples find their first mention in the accounts of the Persian Scientist and Historian Abu Rihan al Biruni in AD 1022 and the popular Arab traveler Ibn Battuta in AD 1335.
Temples here are scattered over an area of around 23.3 square kilometers. It is believed that there were nearly 85 temples in the area. However, only 22 of those have managed to survive the test of time.
Each temple built by the Chandelas had all elements of the Nagara style of architecture from North India. All temples have a central tower having its highest point right over the deity of the temple. It is called Shikhara. This tower usually has many smaller towers around it called Urushringa. These gradually rise to the peak of the central tower. The temple sits on a raised base called the Adhisthana. The arches in temples are created by using corbelling techniques wherein overlapping masonry courses are used to create the arch.
- The city of Khajuraho derives its name from the Hindi name of the date fruit – Khajur. This is because in ancient times the city was famous for its date palms.
- The Khajuraho Temple, constructed by the Chandela Dynasty is more than 1000 years old.
- While the temples gained popularity due to the carving of Kamasutra, Khajuraho Temples have other sculptures too. In fact, erotic sculptures are not even 10% of the overall sculptures at these temples.
- Craftsmen made the Khajuraho Caves and Temples from sandstone in subtle shades of yellow, buff, and pink.
- The temple art is considered to be the best example of translating theological concepts into symbolic art.
- Experts consider temple art to be the finest illustration of transforming theological concepts into symbolic art.
Things to Do in Khajuraho
Temples in Khajuraho
The temples in Khajuraho are divided into groups as follows:
1. Western Group of Temples
- Kandariya Mahadev Mandir – This magnificent Mahadev temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
- Lakshmana Temple – Dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
- Varaha Mandap – Dedicated to Varaha, the boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
- Chitragupta Temple – Dedicated to the Sun God.
- Devi Jagadambi Temple – Dedicated to Devi Jagadambika.
- Nandi Mandap – Dedicated to Nandi, the bull the serves as the mount of Lord Shiva.
- Vishwanath Temple – Dedicated to Lord Shiva.
2. Eastern Group of Temples
- Brahma Temple – Despite the name, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
- Javari Temple – Dedicated to Lord Shiva.
- Vamana Temple – Dedicated to Vamana, an avatar of Lord Vishnu.
3. South-Eastern Group of Temples
- Chaturbhuj Temple – Dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
- Duladeo Temple – Also known as Kunwar Math, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of a lingam.
4. Jain Group of Temples
- Adinath Temple – Dedicated to the Jai Tirthankara Adinatha.
- Ghantai Temple – Dedicated to the Jain Tirthankara Rishabhanatha (also known as Adinatha).
- Parsvanatha Temple – Dedicated to Parsvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara of Jainism.
- Shantinath Temple – The main deity is the Jain Tirthankara Shantinatha.
Book a cab in Khajuraho to visit all these religious places and enjoy a great trip with your family.
Best places to visit in Khajuraho
Here is a list of places to see:
- The first one is obvious – tour the temples of Khajuraho. The most famous temple is the Kandariya Mahadev Mandir.
- The best thing to do in the evening is to attend the sound and light show organized by the Western Group of Temples. The stories narrated during the show will bound to leave you in awe.
- Visit the Panna National Park. You can live in one of the exotic jungle cottages and spot some rare birds and animals.
- Witness the grandeur of the Khajuraho Dance Festival that takes place in an open-air auditorium near the Western Group of Temples. The Khajuraho dance festival history dates back to 1975; it is a celebration of dance as an ancient art form.
- One of the most interesting places to visit is the State Museum of Tribal Art and Folk Art.
- Visit the magical Raneh Falls Canyon to witness the crystalline granites created by the waterfall.
- Experience the rural life of Khajuraho.
- Visit the Ajaigarh Fort, one of the most important monuments of the Chandela Kings.
Hire a car rental in Khajuraho to travel around the place with ease and visit all these interesting places.
Best place to eat
Here are some places to eat in Khajuraho:
- Zorba The Buddha, Jain Temple Road – a multi-cuisine restaurant
- Madras Coffee House, Sevagram – authentic South Indian food
- Paradise Restaurant, Opposite Shivsagar Lake – Indian, Asian, and Chinese food with vegetarian and vegan options
- Mediterraneo, Jain Temple Road – Italian cuisine
- Maharaja Cafe & Restaurant, Opposite Western Group of Temples – Indian and Chinese food
- La Bella Italia, Jain Temple Road – Italian cuisine
- Raja Café, Bhanumati Road – a multi-cuisine café
- Badri Seth Sweets, Near Shivsagar Lake – a must-visit for Chironji Barfi and Ghol sweets
- Lassi Corner, Jain Temple Road – Indian and Asian food
Top Festivals to Experience in Khajuraho
Apart from its rich heritage, Khajuraho is also known for its vibrant festival culture. Here are some of the top festivals that you should not miss in Khajuraho:
- Khajuraho Dance Festival: The Khajuraho Dance Festival is an annual event that takes place in February. The festival features classical dance performances by some of the best dancers from all over India. It is a great opportunity to witness the beauty and grace of Indian classical dance forms like Kathak, Bharatanatyam, and Kuchipudi.
- Mahashivratri: In February or March, the people of Khajuraho celebrate Mahashivratri, a major Hindu festival that honors Lord Shiva and is marked by elaborate processions, music, and dance performances. During the festival, the Khajuraho temples, particularly the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, feature beautiful decorations.
- Diwali: Diwali is the festival of lights, celebrated across India in October or November. In Khajuraho, the festival is marked by lighting up the temples and houses with earthen lamps and candles. The atmosphere during Diwali is electric and is a great time to experience the local culture and customs.
- Chhath Puja: The local Bihari and UP communities in Khajuraho celebrate Chhath Puja, a popular festival observed in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. During the festival, people offer prayers to the sun god and take dips in the holy rivers. It is a great opportunity to witness the traditional customs and rituals of North India.
In conclusion, Khajuraho is a fascinating destination that offers much more than just its temples. With its rich festival culture, it is a great place to experience the colorful and vibrant side of India. Make sure to plan your trip to coincide with one of these festivals to have a truly unforgettable experience.
How to Plan a Trip to Khajuraho
How to Reach Khajuraho Temple
Here are different ways in which you can reach the Khajuraho Temple:
While Khajuraho has its own railway station, it is not well-connected to other cities in India. If you are in Delhi, then you can take the Khajuraho-Hazrat Nizamuddin Express which reaches Khajuraho in around 11 hours. Mahoba (at a distance of around 75 km) and Jhansi (at a distance of around 230 km) are other railway stations near the town and from there, you can book a cab to reach your destination.
Khajuraho has good road connectivity with most major cities in Madhya Pradesh. Here are some options:
- Chhatarpur – a distance of around 44 km. You can hire a Chhatarpur to Khajuraho taxi and reach there in around an hour.
- Mahoba – a distance of around 75 km. You can hire a Mahoba to Khajuraho taxi and reach there in around 2 hours.
- Jabalpur – a distance of around 260 km. You can hire a Jabalpur to Khajuraho taxi and reach there in around 5-6 hours.
- Bhopal – a distance of around 380 km. You can hire a Bhopal to Khajuraho taxi and reach there in around eight hours.
Khajuraho has an airport with flights from Delhi and Varanasi. The airport is located at a distance of around 5-6 km from the temple. The Lucknow International Airport is the best option to reach Khajuraho by flight. You can catch a flight from anywhere in India to reach Lucknow and then hire a Lucknow Airport to Khajuraho Temple taxi. The distance is around 300 km and the travel time should be around 7 hours.
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Best Time to Visit the Khajuraho Temple
The best time to visit these Temples is from October to February. The temperatures during these months range between 10 and 30 degrees C. During the summer months of March to June, the temperatures can soar to 47 degrees C. While the monsoon can make the city look lush green, humidity and sudden downpours make these months not an ideal time to visit.
The Khajuraho temple opening time is 8 AM and the closing time is 6 PM. It is open on all days of the week.
Temple Entry Fee
The entry fee for Indians is Rs 10 while foreigners are charged $5 as an entry fee to the temple.
Best Places to Stay in Khajuraho
Here are some places to stay in Khajuraho:
- Hotel Chandela Khajuraho, Airport Road
- The Lalit Traveller Khajuraho, Opposite Circuit House
- The Lalit Temple View, Opposite Circuit House
- MPT Kutni Island Resort, Kutni Dam-Chhatarpur
- Clarks Khajuraho, Near Khajuraho Airport
- Mint Bundela Resort, Khajuraho Airport Road
- Radisson Jass Hotel, Bypass Road
- Hotel Golden Tulip, Opposite Pahil Vatika
- Syna Heritage Hotel, Near PWD Circuit House
- Ramada, Airport Road
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Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by blogadmin