Khajuraho "Land of Moon God". The Khajuraho Group of Monuments located in Chhatarpur District. The name Khajuraho, ancient "Kharjurav?haka", is derived from the Sanskrit words kharjura = date palm and v?haka = "one who carries". The Khajuraho Group of Monuments has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is considered to be one of the "seven wonders" of India. It has the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, famous for their erotic sculptures and the temples are made of sandstone. The city was the cultural capital of Chandela Rajputs.
the Archaeological Museum was established by government officer WA Jardine in 1910 as a place to house the loose statues and sculptures found lying on the grounds of the ruined ancient temples. Situated near the Matangeshwar Temple, the museum was constructed with an aim to preserve these artefacts. It consists of five galleries, including the main hall, showcase antique sculptures of Brahmanical, Jaina and Buddhist faiths. Housing more than 2,000 sculptures, the most prominent one is a seated Buddha figure, which indicates the existence of Buddhist shrine in the destination. Another prominent piece of collection is a four-headed Vishnu, which is also known as Vaikuntha. The idol depicts that the central head is human, while the other three are of Hayagriva, Narasimha and Varaha. One of the popular sculptures in the collection is the idol of Ambika, the Jain goddess, who was seated under a mango tree laden with fruits.
Chaunsath Yogini Temple
The oldest surviving temple in the group (900 A.D.). The name of the temple is derived from the numeral 64, which means Chaunsat in Hindi. Legends state that the temple once had 64 yoginis in its 64 cells, who attended goddess Kali. Only 35 of the original 65 cells remain and no image of Kali has survived not surprisingly, since this is the earliest surviving shrine of the group dated to 900 AD. Another Kali temple, which was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is the Devi Jagdambe temple.
Vishwanath Temple is located on the north-eastern corner of the western group complex. Housing beautiful marble Shivalinga as a prime deity, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Apart from the main deity, the interiors of the temples are adorned with the idol of Lord Brahma. Adding beauty to the shrine, images of lions and elephants can be seen on the southern as well as northern steps of the temple. Another prime attraction of the temple is a 6 ft high Nandi bull, which is seated on top of a wide platform with a sphinx-like expression. The beautifully carved exteriors of the temple are decorated with images of Apsaras to enhance the charm and beauty of this huge temple.
Chitragupta Temple is an ancient shrine located eastwards facing the direction of the rising sun. Constructed in 11th century, the temple is dedicated to Sun God, who is also known as Lord Surya. The temple houses a beautiful 5 ft high standing idol of Lord Surya driving a chariot, which is operated by seven horses. Adorned with beautifully carved walls, the temple presents a view of numerous carvings depicting historic events. The stone carvings of full figured surasundaris, image of Lord Vishnu in the 11 headed form and erotic couples are the prime attractions of the temple. Apart from this, intricate carvings of processions, dancing girls, elephant fights and hunting scenes are also done of the interiors of the temple. Apart from this, the temple also houses a three-storeyed stepped tank, which is another prominent attraction. Popularly known as Chopra, the tank was constructed by Chandela rulers. The exteriors of this beautiful temple are decorated with sculptures of Mithunas, Apsaras, Vyalas and numerous other deities. Apart from these, ascetic figures counting more than seventy are beautifully carved on the balcony panels of the temple.The south wall of the temple displays an eleven-headed Vishnu carving, which possesses ten different avatars of Lord Vishnu. The doorways of the temple portray a series of three similar but smaller figures of Lord Surya, which are also depicted in the main sanctum of the temple.
Kandariya Mahadev Temple
Kandariya Mahadev Temple is not only one of the biggest temples of the western group of temples in Khajuraho, but the first to be constricted on the general platform. Depicting the Chandela art, the huge shrine was constructed in 1025-1050. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, as at the centre of the Garbha Griha, a linga is installed. Beautiful architecture of the temple is based on typical five-part design, which consists of Garbha Griha, Ardhamandapa, Pradakshina and Mahamandapa supported with pillars. The tower present in the temple is more than 100 ft high. The temple is decorated with around 800 images, which are mostly 3 ft high. The statues carved around the temple are segmented in three bands, which include images of gods, goddesses, erotic groups, beautiful women and musicians. The borders of the walls are carved with images of elephants and horses, warriors and hunters, acrobats and musicians, dancers and devotees. It is the only local temple, which has preserved two beautifully designed interior 'toranas', both having a delicate design.
Ghantai Temple is among the three famous Jain Temples represented in Khajuraho. Constructed between 950 and 1050 AD, the Ghantai temple is in ruins. The walls of the temple are beautifully decorated with display of 16 dreams of Mahavira's mother. The temple also has a stone carved image of Mahavira's mother, which is represented as a multi-armed Jain goddess hovering on a winged Garuda. The name of the Ghantai temple is derived from the beautifully carved figures of chain-and-bell, also known as ghanta, on its tall and huge pillars. Apart from this, the temple is also famous for its ornamentation, stately form and classical architecture. The eastward facing temple possesses the same design as the Parsvanath temple; however, it is larger in its conception and almost twice in its dimensions. The temple is surrounded by various Jain temples including temples of Parsvanath, Adinath and Shantinath.
Adinath Temple is situated on the north of the Parsvanath Temple and is one of the important temples of the Jain group of temples in Khajuraho. It is believed that this temple was constructed in the 11th century and was dedicated to Adinath, a Jain saint. This temple was constructed by the rulers of Chandel Dynasty during 950-1150 A.D. the temple also possesses a single towered shikhara, which makes the shrine beautiful. The walls of this temple are decorated with beautifully carved images and movements and postures of court musicians. The wall carvings also provide the closer view of the dance style of Nilanjana, a famous dancer in the court of Lord Adinath. Apart from these, figures of Apsaras, Shashan Devis, Yakshines and Vidyadevis add meaning to the carved walls.
State Museum of Tribal and Folk Art
State Museum of Tribal and Folk Art is located within Chandela Cultural Complex in Khajuraho. The museum displays Indian tradition and culture, its fusion with foreign cultures, which came into existence through trade and incursion. Housing the rich collection of tribal and folk art and artefacts, the museum offers a brief history of custom and rituals of the tribal people. Galleries of the museum display more that 500 representative items of terracotta, wood crafts, jewellery, tribal and folk paintings, masks, tattoos and metal crafts. Apart from this, the museum also exhibits evolution of various forms, styles and designs that have transformed and evolved over passed centuries.
Kalinjar Fort is known for its vast collection of monuments and sculptures, which reveals many historic events and practices. Housing numerous temples and structures within it, the fortress represents an architectural expertise of the Chandela dynasty. Similar to other forts, this fort was also constructed by the Chandela rulers at the end of 1st and beginning of 2nd century for protecting their kingdom from enemies. The huge fort is located on the top of a holy hill, which is mentioned in many Hindu scriptures. The fortress was known as Kirtinagar in Satyuga, Madhyagarh in Treta, Singhalgarh in Dwapar and Kalinjar in Kalyuga. Other attractions of the fort are the palaces, chhatris, temples and structures, which are constructed in the Hindu style of architecture. Offering an unparalleled artistry and intricate stone carvings, the fort attracts many tourists to the destination round the year. The fort was constructed on 25-30 m wide foundation to provide maximum strength to the fort. It has a height of 30-35 m with 8 m wide summit with length of around 7.5 km over the hillock. The fort is constructed using sand stone and granite pieces, which are placed over each other. The name of the fort was coined by using Kalanjar, which is related to the incident of Lord Shiva consuming the poison. It is strongly believed that the place is a holy abode of Lord Shiva. Evidences for the same can be seen in the temple of Neelkanth Mahadev situated within the fort premises. The stone dug ponds and lakes are other attractions of the fort. Apart from this, the temples of the fort have rare stone images of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Bhairava and Bhairavi, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Shakti. The stone carvings of birds, animals, apsaras, mithuna and other structures are some of the important sculptures engraved on the walls of fort.
At 80kms away, Ajaygarh Fort is some distance from Khajuraho. The fort is believed to have been built around 900 BC by kings of the Chandela Rajpur dynasty; and, like most structures of its nature, it was designed to protect the local population during offensive and sieges. The fort also houses sculptures in a row formation of goddesses called Ashta Shakti. Ajay Pal ka Talao, a famous lake, and the ruins of a Jain Temple are other prominent attractions present within the fort. The fort offers a beautiful view of Ken River, which flows within the beautiful destination. Historians state that the huge structure was provided to the fort for protecting natives from attacks and encounters of enemies and outsiders. Presently, the fort can be accessed by its two gates namely Darwaza, situated on the north and Tarhaoni, situated to the south-east.
Beejamandal Temple is one of the ruined temples located in Vidisha at Khajuraho. Marked on the top by a white stone, it is believed that the temple was under the stack of earth. The architecture of the temple is influenced by Indonesian or south-east Asian styles. Since ages, the villagers of the destination regularly light the holy oil-lamp each night at this place. The ruins present at this the place depicts that the temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati. The exteriors of the temple are decorated with intricately carved stone animals, pillars and walls. Apart from this, the interiors of the temple have beautiful sculptures of human forms describing vivid postures.
Brahman, Vamana and Javari comprise the three Hindu temples within the eastern group. All three temples feature the same style of erotic carvings as the others; while Braham is known for its four-faced lingam statue, Vamana for its sculptures of nymphs, and Javari for its magnificent gateway.
Shilpgram is popular for promoting ancient culture of India in the form of various performances of folk arts. The cultural centre sprawls across an area of about ten acres and was established in 1998 by the government to preserve the culture and tradition of the country. The open-air site is thronged by tourists during evening to view the beautiful performances of classical and folk dancers.
Vaman Temple belonging to the eastern group of temples is dedicated to Lord Vama, the dwarf lord. Being located in the north of Khajuraho, the temple is surrounded by lush green barley fields. The top or the third row of the jangha represents framed niches containing diamonds in the place of sculptures. The architecture of the temple is similar to that of others located in Khajuraho. The temple has a single spire shikhara, a sanctum, a mahamandapa with tangential transepts, an atrium and a porch. In addition to this, the ceilings of the balconied windows are carved with various postures of women.
Dulhadev Temple is the last temple of the Southern Group of Temples located in Khajuraho. Constructed in 1130, the temple features classic representation of Chandela art and architecture eatures the obligatory erotic sculptures; the second is Chaturbhuj Temple, which is notable for its 3m-high image of Lord Vishnu.. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the interiors of the temple are decorated with images of Shiva and his wife, Parvati. The intricately carved jewellery work and the fine finishing of the idols portray the skills and workmanship prevalent during that period. The ceilings of the temple are decorated with stone carvings of the Apsaras and other ornamented sculptures.
Shanthinath Temple is a famous Jain temple dedicated to Lord Shanthinath, the 16th Jain Tirthankara. The Shanthinath Temple belongs to the eastern group of temples in Khajuraho. A famous Jain temple of Digambar sect, the temple is originally dedicated to Adinath, a Jain saint. The temple also has a picture gallery, which displays a vast collection of photos of most significant Jain monuments of India in a chronological order of their establishment.
Javari Temple is located near the Brahma Temple and is situated in the east of Khajuraho. Falling under eastern group of Khajuraho, this temple is comparatively smaller and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Constructed between 1075 and 1100, the temple displays the ancient Khajuraho architecture. It is believed that the name of the temple is derived from the name of the owner of the land, as no Hindu deity has this title. Being similar in structure with the Chaturbhuj Temple, the holy place stands alone with dimensions measuring 11.88 m in length and 6.4 m in breadth. Representing the beautiful figures of native maidens, the exteriors of this beautiful temple are decorated with numerous complicated carvings. The elaborated entrance and the huge tower of the temple add to its beauty.
Lakshmana Temple is a huge stone temple of Khajuraho, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Possessing the same architecture as that of Kandariya Mahadeva and Vishwanath temples, this temple is considered to be one of the oldest existing temples in western group. Constructed in 930-950 AD, the temple is one of the well preserved temple having a full five-part floor plan and four subsidiary shrines. This east facing temple is famous for housing more than 600 images of gods and goddesses of the Hindu mythology. The platform of the temple is beautifully decorated with patterns of elephants and horsemen carrying out parade. Apart from this, scenes of battles, hunting and processions are also engraved on the borders of the platform of the temple. Adorned with images of apsaras, the guardians of directions and other divine creatures, the bands of the temple are divided into 2 instead of 3. The western side of the temple is beautifully decorated with sculptures and the full figures of different forms of women with ornate jewellery.
Lakshmi Temple and Varaha Temple are the two small shrines located in the ancient city of Khajuraho. These temples are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu deity of wealth. The interiors of the temple are adorned with huge, solid and intricately carved figure of the boar, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Matangeshvara Temple is one of the oldest temples in Khajuraho, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Constructed using polished sandstone, the temple houses an 8 ft Shivalinga, which is believed to be among the largest in India. The temple has pillars, which are short and rigid in construction. Further, they also carry plain capitals and brackets, which are not accompanied by any sculptures or carvings. The ceilings of the temple display ornaments of cusps and floral cusps, which are not lined by any borders and elaborations.
Brahma Temple is located on the banks of Khajur Sagar or Ninora Tal. Constructed in 900 AD, the temple houses images of Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu. Possessing simple plan and architectural design, the temple is made with granite stone and the shikharas are built by using sandstone. It is believed that the temple stands on the twelve pillars of granite, situated on a high platform at an average elevation of 11 ft. Enshrined with a four faced picture of Brahma, the temple originally has been devoted to Lord Vishnu.
Parsvanath Temple is one of the beautiful temples that is under the eastern group of temples of Khajuraho. Dedicated to one of the Jain tirthankaras, the temple is considered to be one of the largest Jain temples present in India. The temple lies in the protected zone of the city and was constructed in around 954 AD. On the basis of sculpture, architecture and inscriptions, it is believed that the temple was dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain tirthankara. Furthermore, it is also believed that the temple was built by Pahila, who was honoured by King Dhanga. The interiors of this beautiful shrine are adorned by the idol of Parsvanath. The temple is famous for housing many non-erotic sculptures, out of which images of surasundaris in various postures are prominent.
Raneh Falls is one of the prominent tourist attractions, which is named after King Rane Pratap, the erstwhile ruler of the region. Situated in close vicinity of the destination, the waterfall emerged at the confluence of Ken and Khuddar rivers. Forming 30 m deep and around 5 km long canyon, the falls flow down at the Ken Gharyal Sanctuary. The surroundings of the falls are adorned with crystalline granite, which is present in varying shades ranging from pink, red and grey. Apart from certain large and small falls that are formed at the assemblage, some seasonal falls also appear during monsoon season.
|Best Time To Visit: October to March.|
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