Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Madhya Pradesh

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments in Madhya Pradesh is a group of ancient Hindu and Jain Temples with exquisite carvings and architecture. Listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, these monuments are a treasure of Indian heritage. Dated back to early 11th century, these magnificent monuments have withstood the ravages of time. The exotic sculptures carvings of the monuments have captured the attention of all. These artefacts are done with such finesse that spectators are left in awe of the artisans who created such perfection. They lure travelers from all over the globe.

History

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments have deep roots in Indian history and heritage. These buildings were created during the rule of Rajput Chandela Dynasty. Founded by Chardravarman of the Chandela Dynasty, from the 9th to the 11th century CE, every Chandela ruler contributed to the monuments. Locals say that there were more than 85 temples, but today only 25 remain. The huge complex was enclosed by a great wall and had around 8 gates flanked with date trees called 'khajura' in Sanskrit. That is why it got its name Khajuraho.

From 13th to 18th century Khajuraho went into the hands of Muslim Dynasties. In this period, some temples were desecrated. The vegetation and forest took over but in secret yogis and devotees visited the temples. In the 1830s, T.S. Burt, a British surveyor rediscovered the monuments.

What to See

Temples

The Hindu and Jain Temples of the Group of Monuments a Khajuraho are unique. The layout, architecture and construction are unrivalled. They are built of sandstone with unique mortise and tenon joints. Of the surviving temples, 6 are dedicated to Shiva and his consorts, 8 to Vishnu and his spouses, 1 to Ganesha, 1 to Sun god, 3 to Jain Tirthanks. For some ruins, there is insufficient evidence of the origins.

Lakshmana Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu houses more than 600 images of Gods and Goddesses of Hindu religion. The Kandariya Mahadev temple dedicated to Lord Shiva have around 900 awesomely carved sculptures. Vishwanath temple is famous for the beautifully carved sculptures of Shivlinga and idol of Lord Brahma. The temple also has a 6ft high Nandi bull. Of all temples, the Matangeshvara temple remains an active site of worship.

Carvings

The statues and carvings in the Khajuraho Group of Monuments here are sculpted intricately and celebrate life and the eroticism. Contrary to popular opinion, these statues are not deities, but humans in various stages of their life. They do not represent the Kama Sutra, but karmic sexual activity. The carvings are very intricate and abundant in the group of monuments, showcasing the glory of the times of its construction.

Cultural Presentation

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments relives its glorious heritage. At the backdrop of the monuments every year a Dance Festival is organized in the month of February, displaying various classical dance forms and music of India. Light and Sound Show and Guided Tours also offer insight into the history.

How to reach

By Air: Khajuraho has its own city airport. The domestic air terminal is connected with cities of India. The monuments lies 12 kilometers from the airport. Buses, taxis and cabs frequent the world heritage site.

By Rail: Khajuraho has its own railway station. The monuments are just 5 km from the railhead. Major cities of India are well connected by rail.

By Road: Khajuraho enjoys smooth connectivity by roads to cities in Madhya Pradesh and all over India. State owned buses, taxis and private vehicles commute to the city.

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