Khajuraho Travel Guide
- By:Vinay Choubey
The temples of Khajuraho are India's unique gift to the world, representing, as they do, a paean to life, to love, to joy; perfect in execution and sublime in expression. Life, in every form and mood, has been captured in stone, testifying not only to the craftsman's artistry but also to the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs under whose rule the temples were conceived and constructed.
The world renowned temple town of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh designated by UNESCO as a world heritage site for its archaeological and historical monuments.
The Creators of Khajuraho claimed descent from the moon and the legend behind the founding of this great dynasty and the temples is a fascinating one. Hemwati, the lovely young daughter of a Brahmin priest, was seduced by the moon-god while bathing in a forest pool. The child born of this union was Chandravarman, founder of the Chandela dynasty. Brought up in the forests by his mother who sought refuge from a censorious society, Chandravarman, when established as a ruler, had a dream-visitation from his mother. It is said that she implored him to build temples that would reveal human passions, and in doing so, bring about a realization of the emptiness of human desire. It is also possible that the Chandelas were followers of the Tantric cult, which believes that gratification of earthly desires is a step towards attaining the infinite liberation of nirvana.
Places to see in Khajuraho
State Museum of Tribal & Folk Arts
A fine collection of masterpieces of tribal and folk art and artifacts from all over Madhya Pradesh is on display at the Chandela Cultural Complex. The tradition of tribal and folk arts and crafts has evolved over centuries. It represents the best of Indian culture and tradition and its synthesis with foreign cultures that came through trade and invasions. The State Museum has more than 500 representative items of terracotta, metal craft, woodcraft, tribal and folk paintings, tattoos, jewellery and masks.
The architectural style of the Khajuraho temples is very different from the temple prototype of that period. Each stands, instead of within the customary enclosure, on a high masonry platform. Combined with the upward direction of the structure, which is further accentuated by vertical projections, the total effect is one of grace and lightness, reminiscent of the Himalayan peaks. Each of the chief compartments has its own roof, grouped in such a way that the highest is in the centre, the lowest over the portico, a triumph of skill and imagination in recreating the rising peaks of a range.
Eastern Group of Temples
Adinath Temple: Dedicated to the Jain saint, Adinath, the temple is lavishly embellished with sculpted figures, including yakshis. The three Hindu temples of the group are the Brahma, containing a four faced lingam, the Vamana, which is adorned on its outer walls with carving of apsaras in a variety of sensuous attitudes; and the javari, with a richly-carved gateway and exterior sculptures.
Western Group of Temples
The Western group is certainly the best known, because it is to this group that the largest and most typical Khajuraho temple belongs: The Kandariya Mahadev.
Southern Group of Temples
Dulah Deo Temple: This finest temple at Khajuraho also called Kunwar Math offers some of the choicest sculptures especially the Shalbhanjika. It is a fully developed temple measuring 21 m by 12 m (69 ft. by 40 ft.) with the ardhamanadap, the mandapa, the maha mandapa, the antarala and the garbha griha with no circumambulatory passage.
How to Reach
Regular services link Khajuraho with Delhi, Agra and Varanasi.
The nearest rail heads are Harpalpur (94 km) and Mahoba (61 km ) . Jhansi (172 km) is a convenient rail head for those traveling from Delhi and Madras; Satna (117 km) , on the Mumbai-Allahabad line of the Central Railway for those coming from Mumbai, Calcutta and Varanasi.
Khajuraho is connected by regular buses with Satna, Harpalpur, Jhansi and Mahoba.
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