Khajuraho Tourist Attractions
Khajuraho has the largest collection of exquisite Hindu Temples in India, which has made the city a major tourist destination. The architecture and sculptures are noted for their religious works mixed with erotica.The city of Khajuraho was once the religious capital of the Chandela Rajputs, a Hindu dynasty. The temples were built between 950 to 1050and the area was enclosed by a wall with eight gates, each flanked by two golden palm trees.The group of monuments within Khajuraho have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The erotic sculptures are famous the world over but the question remains why so much? There are several theories - that it was a kind of kamasutra in stone for adolescent boys growing up in all male temples or tantric images that gratify our basic instincts but the most convincing is that the sculptors of Khajuraho were presenting life as it was in their society, with sexual expression flowing alongside depictions of day to day life.The temples feature gods, goddesses, musicians, and animals among the dominant erotic scenes. There are three groups of temples in Khajuraho. The western group of temples is dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. The northern group has mostly Vaishnava temples and the southeastern group consists of Jain temples.
Western Group of Temples
The Western Group of temples in Khajuraho is near the tourist part of town, they are housed in a fenced in area.The famous Lakshmana Temple stands on a high platform and is dedicated to Vishnu. Dating from 950, it is one of the earliest temples in Khajuraho. Surrounding the temple are two bands of sculptures featuring asparas and erotic scenes.The Varaha Temple is supported by 12 pillars and set on a rock foundation. The Varaha is dedicated to Vishnu's boar incarnation. Within the temple is a huge sandstone boar with hundreds of deities flanking it.Kandariya is a large typical Khajuraho temple, dedicated to Shiva. The main shrine features delicately carved details of gods, goddesses, celestial maidens and lovers.Chitragupta Temple has a three-headed image of Brahma enshrined within, lions flanking the northern steps and elephants beside the southern steps.Matangeswara Temple is not located within the fenced enclosure because it is still used as a place of worship. It is one of the plainest temples but features an eight-foot high lingam (phallic image of Shiva).Chaunsat Yogini is the only temple in Khajuraho made of granite. It is probably the oldest and best surviving shrine built in 900. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali.
Eastern Group of Temples
The Eastern Group of Temples in Khajuraho consists of three Jain temples within a walled area and four other temples scattered throughout Khajuraho.Parsvanath Temple is the largest Jain temple in the group and the most charming. The sculptures on the northern outer wall are of particular note. The themes depict, everyday activities including classic figures. The Parsvanath Temple is dedicated to Parsvanath, which was installed in 1860, originally the temple was dedicated to Adinath.Adinath Temple is dedicated to the Jain saint, Adinath. This smaller temple has been restored over the centuries and features three bands of sculptures that have been intricately carved.The Brahma Temple is one of the oldest in Khajuraho. Built with sandstone and granite, the Brahma Temple is similar to Hindu Temples but has the four-faced image of Brahma within the inner sanctum.
Southern Group of Temples
The Southern Group of Temples in Khajuraho has the youngest temple, Duladeo. Also called Kunwar Math, the Duladeo Temple offers some of the best sculptures especially the Shalbhanjika. The ceiling is a series of circular overlapping stones. An image of Shiva indicates that the temple was originally dedicated to Lord Shiva.Chaturbhuj Temple has an intricately carved image of Vishnu in the sanctum. Now in ruins, the Chaturbhuj Temple is still worth the visit.