Despite centuries of foreign rule, marked with a penchant for destroying religious hot spots, India has retained its heritage through incredible architecture throughout its broad expanse. Visitors and locals alike have always considered India a land of infinite discoveries in culture, religion, food, and heritages. Khajuraho mandir is one of the most revered links to the Indian heritage. This temple is well known for its architecture. Many travelers across the globe prefer to visit the same once in a lifetime. This temple was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, and the listing made this temple more popular among tourists.
Khajuraho Temples were constructed by the rulers of the Chandela Dynasty to preserve the Hinduism and Jainism religion for a long time. Khajuraho Temple construction is also significant because it provides insights into the prevailing culture and beliefs of the Chandela dynasty in the medieval period of India.
These temples were so beautifully constructed and consisted of different forms of art that attracted a lot of tourists from across the globe. The temples have pyramid roofs, various shrines, images, and sculptures that have been constructed with different materials.
The statues that have been built in the Khajuraho Temples resemble the sculptures of Ajanta and Ellora caves situated in the Maharashtra region of India. The inscriptions provided on the sculptures for reading the names depict the details of the deities of the various religions.
These temples are an important heritage of India because many archaeologists and researchers visit the place to learn the medieval period Indian temple architecture styles. The temple was also listed among one of the seven wonders of Indian monuments. It became an international tourism symbol among people.
These temples provide evidence that rulers of the Chandela Dynasty ruled the Bundelkhand region for a long time and have a rich culture with excess resources.
The way temples were constructed, and materials have been used depicts the exceptional thinking style of the ruler of the Chandela Dynasty.
The presence of the water bodies in the Khajuraho Temple site shows the classic style of architecture. Khajuraho Mandir’s site helps in representing the Indian culture worldwide. It acts as a religious capital of the Chandel Dynasty till the present period.
Khajuraho Mandir photos
Best time to visit and modes of reaching the Khajuraho Mandir
Khajuraho Mandir is situated in Madhya Pradesh, and the state generally stays hot in the summers. So, the best time to visit the temple is between October to March. In this period, tourists will find themselves comfortable and do not get sunburn due to traveling on the structure constructed with granite and sandstone material. In this period lot of dance, festivals were proposed to be organized at the temple site, usually at night. The Mandir is well connected by road, train, and air.
The tourist can reach this temple by road because it is well connected to the cities like Chitrakoot, Orcha, Jhansi, Katni, Satna, Bhopal, Gwalior, Chattarpur, and Bandhavgarh. The tourists can reach this temple after taking a taxi from the Jhansi and Gwalior railway station if they do not want to drive long hours from a particular city.
The tourists can reach this place by train because Khajuraho itself has a railway station that is situated 5 Kilometers away from this temple. There are various trains of the Indian railways that run on a daily and weekly basis. Direct trains are available from Delhi, Satna, Katni, Bhopal, Haridwar, Gwalior, Bharatpur, Jhansi, and Mahoba railway station.
Tourists can take a direct flight to Khajuraho. The airport is eight kilometers away from the temple. Tourists can take flights from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Dehradun, Ahmedabad, Baroda, and Lucknow.
Distance of the major cities from Khajuraho Mandir
Khajuraho Village is 117 Km away from Satna, 42 Km away from Chattarpur, 350 Km from Bhopal, 340 Km from Ranchi, 175 Km from Jhansi, 92 Km from Hapalpur, 250 Km from Jabalpur, and 280 Km from Gwalior.
Khajuraho Mandir Landmarks and nearby places
The prominent places to visit at the Khajuraho Temple site and nearby are as follows. These places act as famous landmarks for this place. Khajuraho Museum, Khajuraho Temples, Raneh Fall, Panna National Park, Ken Gharial Sanctuary, Orchha, Ayur Arogyam, Ajaigarh Fort, Shramdaan, Dhubela Museum, State Museum of tribal and folk arts, Ganga Dam, Beni Sagar Dam, and Radha Rani Art Gallery.
Best Things to do in Khajuraho and Entry Fee
There are various activities get organized on the premises of the Khajuraho. This place gained popularity among tourists by organizing a unique dance festival in February every year.
The dancers from various regions of India visit Khajuraho to perform in the dance festival. Tourists in Khajuraho enjoy multiple dance styles in this festival, such as Kathak, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri, and others. This dance festival runs for a whole week in Khajuraho.
The state art and folk museum also gain the attraction of the tourists because that provides glimpses of the rich Indian culture. The tourists can do a jungle safari at Panna national park that is situated near the Khajuraho temple.
The entry fee for the temple site for Indian citizens is forty rupees per person, and foreign citizens are six hundred rupees per person. The children below 15 years of age get free entry into the temple premises.
History of Khajuraho Mandir
The history of the temple is rich in culture. To understand the intricacies and importance of the temple, we need to understand the significance of its construction and the relevance of its design. The following sections aim to do just that.
Formation of Khajuraho Mandir
Khajuraho Mandir is considered to be one of the largest temples situated at Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh. This temple is historical and constructed by the rulers of the Chandela dynasty between the period of 950 AD to 1050 AD. The period in which the temple was built is known as the medieval period in Indian history.
The medieval period is a period of India between ancient and modern periods. In this period, great rulers from different dynasties such as Rashtrakutas, Chola, Rajputs, and Chandela established their rules in various Indian regions. Chandela dynasty ruled the significant states of the Bundelkhand region of India.
It promoted Hinduism by constructing various temples, sculptures, and heritages between the 9th and 13th centuries. This dynasty ruled in the Bundelkhand region for approximately 500 years.
As per the facts provided in Indian history, the temple construction kept going until the end of the ruling of the Chandela Dynasty in India. It is believed that around 85 temples were constructed at the temple site in ancient times.
The architecture and construction style of these temples clearly describe the Chandela Dynasty’s religious beliefs and provide a deep insight into the growth and fall of the Chandela dynasty in the medieval period.
Khajuraho temples construction was proposed by the rulers of the Chandela dynasty when many political disturbances were going on in India.
Basic Architecture Plan of Khajuraho Temple
The construction style of the temple is always considered unique and different by the various Indian and global archaeologists who did surveys in the temple. Most of the Khajuraho temples have been dedicated to Lord Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu and constructed using five compartments of the advanced Hindu temple structure style. The five compartments of temple structure are mandapa, ardhamandapa, anatarla, cella, and mahamandapa. The description of these five compartments in the construction of the Khajuraho temple are as follows:
- An assembly hall is constructed in every Khajuraho Temple that is known as the first compartment or mandapa.
- An entrance porch is constructed in every temple known as the second compartment or ardhamandapa.
- An outside passage to enter the inner portion of the temples is also constructed, known as the anatarla.
- A portion to place the deities are also constructed in every temple known as cella or the fourth compartment.
- At last, an ambulatory passage is constructed in every temple that is mahamandapa or the fifth compartment.
Details of the Existing Temples at the Khajuraho Temple Site
At present, it is believed that around 20 temples exist at the Khajuraho temple site. These temples have been classified into three major categories: a western group of temples, an eastern group of temples, and a southern group of temples.
These temples are not only dedicated to Hindu deities but also include the Jain deities as well. Out of twenty temples, around three temples are dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras. It was believed by the historians that Khajuraho Temples covered an area of about twenty kilometers square in ancient times.
Still, at present, it holds a six-kilometer square of the entire site. Recently, a new temple has been discovered that is considered the most significant temple among all and is known as the Beejamandal temple.
The total length of this temple is thirty-five meters approx. The details of various temples that exist at the Khajuraho Site are as follows:
01. Chausath Yogini Temple
This temple was constructed between 850-900 AD using the simple construction style and granite material. The three yogini statues exist in this temple.
02. Laguna Mahadeva Temple
It was constructed in 900 AD by using sandstone and granite as a primary material. The statue of Nandin to depict Lord Shiva’s presence exists in this temple.
03. Varaha Temple
This temple was also constructed in 900-925 AD using ornamental carving and was dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
04. Matangeshvara Temple
This temple was also constructed in 900-925 by using sandstone as the primary material. A plain architecture design has been followed in the construction, and the temple is purely dedicated to Lord Brahma.
05. Lakshmana Temple
This temple was constructed in 930-950 AD, and a little granite has been used in the construction. There are erotic sculptures and images were built in this temple.
06. Parshvanatha Temple
It was constructed in the period of 950-970 AD. Some images, just like the Lakshmana temple, were built in this temple. The temple is purely dedicated to the Jains and has some erotic sculptures.
07. Ghantai Temple
It was constructed around the 10th century. This temple is also dedicated to the Jains. The 16 symbols representing the Svetambara tradition were built in this temple. The temple also has some images of Buddha.
08. Khakhra Matha Temple
It was also constructed in the 10th century and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The sculptures were built on the walls, and inscriptions were also given to reading names. Granite and sandstone were used as primary materials in the construction.
09. Chitragupta Temple
It was constructed from 1000 to 1025 AD and dedicated to Lord Surya. The architecture style of Visvanatha and Kandariya Temple was used in the construction of this temple.
10. Devi Jagdamba Temple
It was constructed from 1000 to 1025 AD and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple construction has similarities to the Chitragupta Temple.
11. Visvanatha Temple
It was constructed in 1000 AD and dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple construction style is similar to the Lakshmana temple. The erotic images are also present in this temple.
12. Nandi Shrine and Parvati Shrine Temple
Nandi Shrine and Parvati Shrine Temple are both parts of the Visvanatha Temple. Nandi Shrine Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, whereas Parvati Shrine Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
13. Shantinatha Temple
It is a core Jain Temple and the period of construction is still untraceable after the various archaeological surveys.
Siva Temple is also a core Lord Shiva dedicated temple at the Khajuraho Mandir site. This temple has construction similarities to Kandariya Mahadeva. The temple is a bit destructed, and not all the parts are present on the site.
14. Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
It was constructed from 1025 to 1050 AD and dedicated to Lord Siva. The temple architecture and structure are more complex and have similarities like Visvanatha Temple. The magnificent sculptures were constructed in this temple.
15. Vamana Temple
It was also constructed from 1050 to 1075 AD and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This temple is tiny in size and has beautiful sculptures.
16. Adinatha Temple
It is a core Jain temple, and the construction period is not known. The temple is dedicated to Adinatha, and some parts are already ruined.
17. Duladeo Temple
It was constructed from 1100 to 1150 AD and dedicated to Lord Siva. This temple has unique characteristics and is different from other existing temples.
18. Chaturbhuj Temple
It was constructed in 1100 AD and dedicated to Lord Siva. This temple has some sculptures but is not inscribed in detail.
19. Javari Temple
Javari Temple was constructed from 1075 to 1100 AD and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This temple is also tiny in size but resembles a large temple sculpture.
Philosophy and Beliefs behind the construction of Khajuraho Mandir
The construction of the temple depicts different beliefs and philosophies. The other carvings in the temples represent the four main human life persuasions: Kama, Dharma, Artha, and Moksha. The inclusion of the human and animal images on the sculptures depicts the Indian culture beautifully.
Many historians believe that the temple was constructed to represent the different sex styles that males and females could make during intercourse because many erotic images exist on the premises.
The rulers of the Chandela Dynasty constructed this temple with a belief to keep the dynasty culture alive for a more extended period in India. The rulers did not want to mix politics and religion, so they established Khajuraho as a religious capital.
The various rulers from the Islamic faith have an intention to gain control over the central regions of India in the medieval period. The Chandela Dynasty rulers formed a plan to construct many temples at the Khajuraho site to gain control over the more extensive land of Bundelkhand.
This belief helped the Chandela rulers to survive and fight with the Mughals rulers in the long run. The passages were constructed in the temples, so people could quickly enter and exit the temples.
The rulers of the Chandela Dynasty followed tantric principles for a long time. Those beliefs have been used in constructing the sculptures and images of the Khajuraho temples.
Various facts and myths are associated with the temple. Some facts presented here have been taken from the history books, and some have been taken from ordinary people and historian beliefs.
- The temple was under construction until the end of the ruling of the Chandela Dynasty.
- Khajuraho Mandir’s name has been derived from the Indian word “Khajur.”
- The temple sustained for over one thousand years even after getting continuous attacks from the Islamic rulers.
- The UNESCO website of the Khajuraho monument is famous for its Nagra architecture pattern and beautiful nayikas sculptures.
- Khajuraho museum has around five hundred antique items.
- Chandela dynasty was founded by ruler Nanuka.
- There is a belief that each temple of Khajuraho is built separately by an individual ruler.
- Khajuraho Temple’s construction style have similarity with the Konark Temple of Orissa and Somnath temple of Gujrat.
- Khajuraho temples were rediscovered by British Army Engineer named Captain T.S Burt in the year 1838.
- Khajuraho Temple has been labeled as the sex temple of India due to having erotic images and sculptures showing exposing male and female bodies.
Only twenty-two temple exists currently at the Khajuraho Temple, and others have been destroyed