It is recorded that 85 temples were built in khajuraho by chandela kings between 950 AD to 1050AD.Now remain only 22 and have been divided in three cataogory namely western,eastern and southern group of temples by Arciological Servey of India for sake of preservance of this Unesco World Heritage .Western group of temples are most beautifull and main attraction of tourists,covered by a wallwd garden.this graden is very well maintained.Mian temples here are Kandaria mahadev,Lakshamn temple,Vishwanath temple ,Jagdambi temple and Chitragupta temple.You must buy the service of tourist Guide as they are available at Raja cafe,just opposite to the westren Group of temples.
Why sculptures of erotica on temples is often asked by visitors.Since no written record is available to answer this question there are various explanations given by scholars.One theory is that godess of lighting 'Damini' is virgin godess and she will not come here as such acts are prohibited for her to see, these carvings are here to save the structures from lighting.Many other theories also prevail but it is matter of research.
This group of temple is not far away from western temples as Khajuraho is small with in 6kilometers.Eastern group consists Jain Temples.There is Parshwanath Temple, Adinath Temple and ruins of Gantai temple.There is also a small muesum that contains many stutes which were found here and there in fields and lake near by.Now they are well preserved and shown to visitor.These temples and museum is managed by a Jain Turst.There is no entrace fee for temples but there is a nominal fee of Rs.5/- for museum.
This temple had chatrubhuj vishnu and godess laxmi.Many stories of lord krishna is also depicted in sculptures.many sculptures of Apsras and eroctic poses are here as described by Vatsyayan in Kamasutra .One sculpture shows a man is doing sex with horse which stunned many visitors.My friend Dr Ramesh who is an foresanic expert told me that beastality is a known fact and still cases comes to notice.Good or bad but this is also a fact of life.
Lord Rama has a very prominent place in hindu way of life but i find only two sculpturs of Rama in Khajuraho.This one i saw in the Parshwanath Temple as Rama and Sita standing closely and Hanuman is on the right of lord Rama.Infact Indian litreture has more influence of Rama but little place in temples for Rama in ancient & medival India.
This group of temple is not far away from western temples as Khajuraho is small with in 6kilometers.Eastern group consists Jain Temples.There is Parshwanath Temple, Adinath Temple and ruins of Gantai temple.There is also a small muesum that contains many stutes which were found here and there in fields and lake near by.Now they are well preserved and shown to visitor.These temples and museum is managed by a Jain Turst.There is no entrace fee for temples but there is a nominal fee of Rs.5/- for museum.These Jain temples are same as western hindu temples in terms of arcitexture and scluptres.Only difference is of main deity which are jain thirthankars.When Sir Alaxgender Cunnigham visited Khajuraho he saw many temples and temple ruins in 1852.When he revisited after 13 years in 1865 he saw a temple was built for the staute of Shantinath ji.Infact many stutes and sculptures which were scattered here and there in Khajuraho found there place in renovated temples or in mueseum.There are many sculptures on the walls of temples related to Jain mythological stories.
Lakshmana Temple is the first temple to your left at the entrance of the western group of temples in Khajuraho. In many respects it is the most famous for here is where you will find the erotic sculptures for which Khajuraho is notorious.
The temple was built in 950 A.D. and is remarkably well preserved. The images for which the Lakshmana Temple has gained its famed are depicted all over the exterior walls of the temple. The origin and purpose of the sculptures is debatable. They were either a sexual manual or even a warning about sexual misconduct. You will certainly see figures having sexual experiences in every possible position imaginable.
Kandariya Mahadev Temple is the tallest of the temples of Khajuraho. It stands a soaring 30m high. Like all the other temples here, it was built out of sandstone. The temple was built somewhere around 1025 and was dedicated to Hindu god, Shiva the Destroyer.
The sculptures covering this temple are not quite as erotic as on Lakshmana Temple. Here women are depicted performing all kinds of activities including playing ball and putting on make up. Still there are erotic sculptures aplenty here too, mostly on the Southern and Northern face of the temple.
Inside of the temple there is a linga which is supposed to be a phallic representation of the Lord Shiva.
The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is in the Western Group of Temples and is arguably the most impressive temple in Khajuraho. It is also the largest temple measuring almost 110 feet by 60 feet. It is 117 feet high and stands on a high terrace. It is said to "represent the pinnacle of North Indian temple art and architecture".
The temple is covered in 800+ sculptures. The sculptures depict gods, warriors, beasts, dancers and musicians, and erotic scenes. The first tier of the exterior has carvings of godesses and processional friezes.
The temple is curvilinear with a porch, mandapa, side aisles, a vestibule, sanctum, and circumambulatory. The portico has seat slabs with sloping backs similar to the ones in Nandi Temple (also a nice place to reflect or take a break from trying to see all the sculptures). Window openings are in the hall and circumambulatory.
The main Shikhara (spire) is 98 feet tall. 84 other spires rise towards it creating an impression of a mountain range. It is said that the mountain range is Shiva's home, Mount Kailasa.
The door frame to the inner sanctum is richly carved but the sanctum itself is plain and dark, representing a womb. Inside is a linga, the sacred symbol of Shiva. (In all Shiva temples, the linga is the main object of worship.)
There are large erotic panels on the northern and southern exterior walls. The three theories of the sculptures are: to serve as a love manual, to celebrate the marriage of Shiva and Parvati, or to express an exuberant celebration of life and creation.
The last thing of note in this temple are the Apsaras. Apsaras are nymphs with sensuous grace and charm and you will see hundreds of carvings of them in Khajuraho. They are shown as attendants of the deities, dancers, or just engaged in normal everyday activities. Often Apsaras are carved as support bracket figures as they are in this temple. Be sure to look for them.
The Western Group contains what are probably the major temples in the area, and as such they are contained within a fenced in park for which an admission fee is charged (250INR Feb 2009). It is open sunrise to sunset, and is well worth paying to see. Go early to experience the temples in peace and quiet, and also to avoid the heat of the day.
The Lakshman Temple is in the Western Group of Temples and one of the earliest temples of Khajuraho (circa 950 AD). It is a Quincunx - "geometric pattern consisting of five points, four of them forming a square or rectangle and a fifth at its center" - with a shrine at each of the four corners. There is also a four-armed sculpture of the Hindu God, Vishnu in the santcum.
The temple has a porch, an entrance portico, a pillared outdoor hall, vestibule, and circumambulatory around the sanctum. The interior is decorated with carved designs and sculptures.
But it is the exterior and porch that is....WOW! There are beautiful friezes that depict every day life. And then there are the friezes of the Mithunas ('state of being a couple'). The Mithunas are depicted in four postures: lavanyamaya (graceful), asakta (amorous), maithuna-rata (coitus), and bhrasta (perverted). The bhrasta mithunas are more pronounced here than anywhere else in Khajuraho. There is every kind of coupling, grouping, and sexual act that you can imagine. There is so much detail here to take in.
So why all the sex?? Please see my Khajuraho Intro for the theories about this.
Please remove your shoes when entering the temple.
Situated 200m to the north of Javari temple, and slightly older (c1050-1075), Vamana is dedicated to the dwarf incarnation of Vishnu. It again stands in solitude in the middle of a field. It consists of a mahamandapa (main hall), vestibule and sanctum, which is 'nirandhara' or without ambulatory passage. This enshrines a statue of a four-armed Vamana.
It is notable for it's simple sikhara without subsidiary spires, and for a peculiar roof known as a Samvarana over the Mahamandapa, which is characteristic of the medieval temples of western India. The outer walls of the temple have two bands of sculpture which include graceful figures of sura-sundaris (divine nymphs).
The views out over the surrounding countryside from this temple are superb!
The Brahma Temple is one of the oldest in Khajuraho, dating from around 900AD, and has a sandstone structure topped with a granite sikhara (spire). It has been suggested that it has been incorrectly named, and its original attribution may be confused due to the Shiva lingam in the sanctum, the image of Vishnu carved on the lintel above the sanctum doorway!
It is a small, squat structure consisting only of a sanctum with no halls, and the roof, instead of being the characteristic conical spire (sikhara) has a pyramidal shape. The stone lattice windows project a little way from the walls, which are unadorned with the usual complicated decorations. It sits next to Narora Sagar (lake), in what is a very peaceful setting.
This is the main lake in town, situated on the main road and right next to the Western Group of Temples. Women carry out their washing on the ghats, and people can be seen bathing in the water early in the morning.
Watching the sunset over the lake can be a sublimely peaceful experience.
This photo was taken very early in the morning, as a lone woman was walking into town with her tiffin can.
The temple is 87ft x 46ft in size and sits on a large platform which is reached by two staircases. These are guarded by a lion and an elephant. The exterior is highly decorated with ornate carvings and is similar to the Kandariya Mahadeva temple. This is especially so surroundings of the doorways and the ceilings and columns within.
The Vishvanatha Temple is dedicated to Shiva.